Shravanabelagola, January 22, 2006: The new millennium’s first Mahamastakabhisheka celebrations was flagged off today by President Dr.A PJ Abdul Kalam with a clarion call for world peace.
Dr.Kalam, speaking after lighting the lamp marking the commencement of the celebrations and declaring open the 100 bed Bahubali Children’s Hospital, said the values of non violence and renunciation enshrined in the life and ideals of Bhagawan Bahubali holds the key to world peace.

Inauguration of Mahamasthakabhisheka Mahotsava - 2006 by Abdul Kalam.
Inauguration of Mahamasthakabhisheka Mahotsava – 2006 by Abdul Kalam.

The President termed it as a privilege to have got the opportunity to inaugurate Mahamastakabhisheka, celebrating the life of Bahubali, a great unifier bringing people from all walks of life and different religions together.
“It is a beautiful sight of people of multiple faith and affiliations gathered to celebrate a great cultural event. The most sacred meaning of life consists of helping the establishment of the peace and harmony on the earth. This can only be achieved through the practice of Truth, Ahimsa and Vairagya by all of us,” he said.

Abdul Kalam being Felicitated.

Dr.Kalam said the stone sculpture of Bahubali symbolizes renunciation, self-control and subjugation of ego as the first step towards salvation. The digambara form of Bahubali represents the complete victory over earthly desires and needs that hamper spiritual ascent towards divinity. “Let this message travel to all parts of the country and bring forward peace and harmony among all the citizens of the nation”, he said.

Abdul Kalam inaugurating Mahamasthakabhisheka Mahotsava 2006.
Abdul Kalam inaugurating Mahamasthakabhisheka Mahotsava 2006.

Dr.Kalam said Shravanabelagola should be declared as a world heritage site and a Jain research center should be established at Shravanabelagola propagating the values of Jainism as enshrined in various fields and to ensure that all the best works of great saints of Jainism is synthesized. This would enable the propagation of the value system adopted by the great tradition of Jainism in the affairs of the contemporary world, he added.

Abdul Kalam being felicitated.
Abdul Kalam being felicitated.

Turning to the majestic monolith of Bahubali, the President said he was inspired by the serenity and peace radiating in the face of the Gommateshwara. “Now, when I am at Shravanabelagola standing in front of the majestic Gommateshwara statue built by Chavundaraya in 981 AD, the serenity and peace radiating in the face of the Gommateshwara inspires me. The sculptor Aristenemi carved out the beauty and harmony hidden in the huge rock by the skill of his hands, so creatively,” he lauded.
Terming Bahubali as a ‘warrior of Non-violence’, he recited a celebrated poem written by a devotee as “A strain of sanctity”:
“A strain of sanctity You stand sky high,
un-clad in mind and body,
Bahubali! A warrior of non-violence.
You wrought your mind in sobriety; the damsel
Of detachedness enamoured you: your soul bloomed.
This poem celebrates a warrior of non-violence.”

The inaugural function.
The inaugural function.

Recalling how he came into spiritual contact of Jain Dharma, the President said in 2003, he visited Pavapuri in Bihar. “There was a beautiful temple of white marble in the midst of a placid lake. Lord Mahavira walked on this sacred land. I was studying Mahavira’s life and I found that Mahavira spent seven days preaching to all the rulers
of the world when he felt that he was to leave this world soon. All the rulers learnt the beliefs of Jainism particularly protecting the lives of all living beings including animals and plants. Mahavira was a great teacher and he taught that before becoming free, a person has to pass through four stages namely Sadhu (Ascetics), Upakhyaya (Teachers), Acharya (Heads of Orders) and Arhat (Freed Soul, which are still attached to mortal condition). What a beautiful ascent of human soul!” he marveled.
The President said he then undertook the traditional parikrama of the temple while chants of religious slokas rent the air. During the Parikrama, he saw lotus flowers around him blooming in the sprawling Lake. His mind engulfed in beauty of the flowers, a couplet written by a famous Tamil poet Tiruvalluvar 2000 years ago, which gives the axiom of life came to his mind.

After reciting the couplet in Tamil, he explained the meaning. “It means: whatever be the depth or the state of cleanliness of the pond, the lotus flower springs out and blooms majestically looking towards the sun. Similarly the human living can be transformed into a purposeful high living, whatever the circumstances may be, only when a
great aim engulfs the mind of the individual.
Dr.Kalam said Jainism has had a great influence on the people. The contribution of Jains to the Indian philosophy, thought, literature and science is noteworthy. The great poet Pampa, Ranna, Ratnakara Varni and many others have enriched Kannada literature. Jain rulers also contributed immensely in the architecture. With its ever-lasting smile and benign looks Gommateshwara Bahubali declares Ahimsa and Vairagya as the solution for all the ills of this world, he said.
“I am happy that Mahamastakabhisheka has become an auspicious festival, not only for the Jains but also for people from different religions. This is a great unifier. I wish that this message of unification is taken and all the sects in every religion forget the differentiation and follow the twin principles of Ahimsa and Vairagya,” he said.
He lauded the activities towards the Mahamastakabhisheka being supported by State Government, Central Government, political leaders, religious leaders and people from all walks of life. This spirit of cooperation for a common cultural endeavour should percolate in all our nation building activities, he added. – Jain Heritage Centres News Service (JHCNS)