BAHU BALI -THE REAL HERO Part II

Karnataka preserves the largest number of Jain inscriptions in India. The actual anointment ceremony began on February 17th  and officially closes on 26th  2018. However over the next few months pilgrims would be allowed to perform the rituals. The Jain temples are similar to their Hindu counterparts in many ways like structure, pillared galleries, carved pillars, depiction & deities. The point of difference is the use of marble in North India & that of granite in South India. The South Indian Jain temples are more popular for their monolithic sculptures of the deities. Women play an active role in the rituals in Jainism.

 

Situated by  Vindhyagiri and Chandragiri Hills, protected by the monolith Bhagwan Bahubali, Shravanabelagola is home to over 2,300 years of Jain heritage. The town bears testimony to the legendary mental strength of Tyaga (renunciation) and the tender message of Ahimsa (Non-Violence) that embodies the Jain way of Life.

King Vrisbhanatha decided to reounce the world & so divided between his two sons Bharata & BahuBali who in  his external appearances was both beautiful and serene. Bharata set out to conquer the world. Great wealth & great power was what he earned but what troubled him was the fact that Bahubali  refused to surrender. They tried a unique battle with three duels-

Dhristi Yuddh (battle of staring at one another.) jala Yuddha ( battle in water)& Malla Yuddha ( wrestling) . Bahubali won all three. His brother however started plotting to kill him. Ashamed of his brother’s greed, Bahubali renounced the world & stood in meditation seeking the blessings of Adideva. Years passed by anthills & creepers grew at his feet. Enlightenment seemed really far away.

 

Worried about his brother , Bharata went to Lord Adisvara. The Lord told Bharata that Bahubali was very close to enlightenment but was troubled that  the land he was standing on was his brother’s land. Bharata then prayed & released Bahubali from the tough decision. Bahubali thus attained enlightenment & soon followed it up with Moksha.

The Story is as fascinating as the 12 year ritual. It is such a popular ritual that the number of devotees are in millions. The story of Bahubali is a reminder that man can attain Moksha if he is in touch with his inner self.

The true essence of the Mahamastabhisheka:

Jalabhishek: To be liberated from the cycle of rebirth.

Ikshurasa: In memory of Lord Adinath

Kashayabhisheka: To be devoid of inherent Human traits.

Gandhabhisheka: to eradicate suffering

Ashatabhisheka: for immortality

Pushparchana: To be liberated from lust & good.

Lampa: to overcome darkness of ignorance

Frankincense: to elimate te eight Karmas.

Fruits: offered to attain salvation.

Interesting trivia:

The Jains look upon Bahubali as the first moshka gami in the present cosmic cycle. Therefore he occupies an exalted position!

Gommateshwara means lord of the Hillock.

There are 8 categories of Kalasha are  :

Shatabdi, Divya Kalasha, Ratna Kalasha, The Suvarna Kalasha, Rajat Kalasha.

Tamara Kalasha, Kasya kalasha & Gullakayaji kalasha.

BAHU BALI -THE REAL HERO

The monolith- Gommata

The Mahamastakabhisheka is currently being celebrated at Sharvanabelgola after 12 years. My friend Bala covered the event in 2006 & published a coffee table book called Gommata. It is an amazing collection of photographs & mateial which I will be sharing from in this series called Bahubali- The real hero!

Why is the idol of Bahubali cleansed every 12 years? It is a custom that has been followed for the last 1000 years & it is said to be in remembrance of the 12 year drought that affected most of the northern parts of India in the 4th century AD. This anointing of the statue is called Maha mastakabhisheka & it carries on for over a week .For those who take this pilgrimage it is an experience. The Jains especially make it a point to go through this at least once. Jains are divided into two groups- The Swetambers & the Digambars. While the Swetambers retain clothing when they attain monkhood,  the Digambars go one step ahead & give up everything materialistic including clothes they wear. Only the Jains meditate standing. Read more

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