Atop Vindhyagiri Hills, February 8, 2006: Shravanabelagola woke up on Wednesday to a ceiling of mist hanging over it and the gaint monolith Bhagawan Bahubali peering throught it atop the Vindhyagiri hills. Barely hours later, milk, sandal paste, flowers, and other holy liquids covered his body as Jain hymns, slogans and chants rent the air. The 86th Mahamastakabhisheka of this enduring universal symbol of peace and renunciation had begun.
At the stroke of 10.34 am, the new millennium’s first Mahamastakabhisheka of Bhagawan Bahubali began with members of the Patni family from Kishangarh, Rajasthan, commencing the abhisheka by emptying the first kalasha. A sight eagerly savoured by millions, some 6000 strong gathering lucky enough to be present on the three tier platform atop Shravanabelagola and others glued to the Television sets to watch live telecast on Five channels, Astha, Sanskar, Doordarshan, Udaya TV or Eenadu TV. Many other vantage points in this pilgrim township for those enthusiasts who failed to secure entry included the Chandragiri Hills, opposite the Vindhagiri Hills. As many as 108 Kalashas of water from different rivers in the country will be used on Wednesday before the Lord Bahubali is anointed with liquids.
The rituals of the day leading up to the anointment commenced around 9 am in the morning atop the hills after the Agrodaka (Holy water) left the Digambar Jain Mutt premises for the Vindhyagiri Hills.
Shravanabelagola Pontiff Swasthishri Charukeerthi Bhattaraka was the first to reach the hills and after the Bhaktamara Nrutya, Mangalashtaka,and Sandhyavandane Sakalekarana performed the Kalasha Sthapana Vidhi in front of Bhagawan Bahubali. Chanting Jain hymns, he filled a giant Kalasha with rice and placed a silver coconut with water on top, signaling the commencement of the Mahamasthakabhisheka. Soon, a mandala was drawn up around the kalasha and idols of Adinath, Bharata and Bahubali placed in front of the giant monolith.
As the clock ticked to the magic minute, Acharya 108 Vardhamana Sagar, who had arrived with the entire 200 strong monks group to the venue, went down near the statue and alongwith Swasthishri Charukeerthi Bhattaraka hoisted the first kalasha onto the shoulders of Ashok Kumar Patni, who secured the honour of pouring the
first drops of water on Bhagawan Bahubali’s head after a gap of 12 long years: In the day-long ceremony that followed,the Mahamastakabhisheka will take place through the Shatabdi Kalasha, Jalabhisheka (108 pots), Narikela Abhisheka (500 pots), Ishkurasa Abhisheka (300 pots), Milk Abhisheka (300 pots), Shwetha Kalkachoorna Abhisheka (100 kgs), Haritha Kalkachoorna Abhisheka (100 kgs), Kashayaabhisheka (25 kgs), Chatushkona Kalasha, Srigandha Abhisheka (25 kgs), Chandana Abhisheka (25 kgs), Ashtaganda Abhisheka (25 kgs), Kesari Abhisheka (¼ kgs), Suvarnartna Pushpavrushti, Pushpavrushtiwith flowers from different parts of the world, Poornakumbha Kalasha and Ashtadravya pooja. – Jain Heritage Centres News Service (JHCNS)