Many thinkers were trying to understand these changes in society. They also wanted to try and find out the true meaning of life. During this period, Buddha and Mahavira attained enlightenment and spread their knowledge and learning about the real meaning of life to ordinary people. About 2500 years ago, Siddhartha, the founder of Buddhism, was born. He was also known as Gautama Buddha. The Buddha belonged to a small gana known as the Sakya gana and was a Kshatriya. When he was a young man, he left the comforts of his home in search of knowledge. Siddhartha meditated for days on end under a peepal tree at Bodh Gaya in Bihar, where Siddhartha attained enlightenment. He spent the rest of his life travelling on foot, going from place to place, teaching people, till he passed away at Kusinara. The last and 24th Tirthankara of the Jainas was Vardhamana Mahavira. He was a Kshatriya prince of the Lichchhavis, a group that was part of the Vajji sangha. At the age of 30, he left home and went to live in a forest. For 12 years he led a hard and lonely life, at the end of which he attained enlightenment. He taught a simple doctrine: men and women who wished to know the truth must leave their homes. They must follow very strictly the rules of ahimsa, which means not hurting or killing living beings.
Both Jaina and Buddhist monks went from place to place throughout the year, teaching people.