Shravanabelagola, January 24, 2006: The dharmic rituals of Mahamastakabhisheka Mahotsav 2006 that began with the consecration of the statue of Bhagwan Mahaveer at the Panchakalyana Pendal and later the 108 Kalasha Abhisheka to the feet of Bhagwan Sri Bahubali Swami (Gommateshwara Statue) atop the Vindhyagiri hills, simultaneously even as the President A P J Abdul Kalam light the ceremonial lamp at Panchakalyana Nagar is gathering momentum by the day.
In the dharmic rituals that began early morning on Sunday the highlight was the consecration of Mahaveera’s statue, which was carried from the Bhandara Basadi to the pendal in Thyagi Nagar in a grand procession with a poorna kumba features. His Holiness Acharya Vardhamana Sagar Muni Maharaj, Swasthishri Charukeerthi Bhattaraka Swamiji and all the Jain acharyas and Mathaji’s lead the procession into the Panchakalyana Pendal.
The procession led by horses and an elephant with school children marching to the tune of drum beats behind followed by ladies attired colourfully in saffron sarees carried the mangal kumbas through the procession offering salutations to the Bhagawan, which was carried in a newly built silver palanquin. The Acharyas and other monks followed with Swasthishri Charukeerthi Bhattaraka Swamiji and others of the mutt making the rear.
People standing on both sides of the road welcomed the procession with great reverence even as bhajanas reverberated the early morning air and the sun seemed shining welcoming the procession even as the wind wafted those in the procession in a cool morning breeze.
After the procession reached Thyagi Nagar, Charukeerthi Bhattaraka of Moodbidri and Thyagi Seva Samithi President Shripalji Gangwal unfurled the Mahamastakabhisheka flag amidst dharmic slogans.
The scene shifted to Chandragiri Hills on Monday and Tuesday with the footprints of Bhadrabahu in the Cave being worshiped yesterday and the imprints of Bhadrabahu and Chandragupta Mourya on the tip of the hills being worshiped today.
After the morning poojas in different Jain temples yesterday morning, a colourful procession led by Acharyas and Swasthishri Charukeerthi Bhattaraka Swamiji climbing up the hills for paying homage to the first Acharya of Shravanabelagola and guru of Emperor Chandragupta Mourya, Sruthakevali Bhadrabahu.
Drum beating devotees and the Jain monks braved the hot afternoon sun and climbed the hills armed with a golden replica embedded with precious tones of the foot imprints of Saint Bhadrabahu found inside the cave where the saint meditated, preached and later attained Nirvana.
On reaching the cave, the Archaryas along with Swasthishri Charukeerthi Bhattaraka Swamiji entered the cave amidst chanting of slogans and bhajanas. The Swamiji worshipped the foot imprints and the golden replica of the same as the Acharyas looked on.
Later speaking to media persons, the Swamiji said Sruthakevali Bhadrabahu was a scholar beyond comparison and knew all the Jain scriptures, known as the `12 Angas and 14 poorvas’. “Sruthakevali Bhadrabahu migrated from North to South along with Chandragupta Mourya and 12, 000 other followers and stayed atop the Chandragiri hills.
2000 years ago Chandragiri was full of monks. This first Acharya of Shravanabelagola gave deeksha to Chandragupta Mourya and since then the Emperor turned Sadhu was known as Prabhachandra. Both Bhadrabahu attained Nirvana and Sallekana (the final moments of his life) atop the hills and so did his disciple Chandragupta.
“Emperor Ashoka named Chandragiri hills in the memory of his father and hence, even before the Bahubali Monolith was carved Shravanabelagola was a Jain pilgrim Centre. The first Prakruth University was also functioning from Chandragiri and poet Ratnakara, who has left behind his signature on the Chandragiri hills, which is as old as 2300 years with 555 scriptures and 5 caves, endorses this. The cave is also closely associated with the royal families Ganga, Hoysala and Vijayanagar kingdom,” the Swamiji explained.
Today, similar scenes were witnessed atop the hills with the procession climbing up to the edge of the Chandragiri hills to worship the footprints of Bhadrabahu and Chandragupta Mourya. Swasthishri Charukeerthi Bhattaraka Swamiji who worshipped the footprints in the presence of the Acharyas and monks later visited the Chandragupta Basadi, built by Emperor Ashoka, and detailed out the screen stone sculptures narrating the arrival of Bhadrabahu and Chandragupta Mourya to the Chandragiri with 12, 000 followers. Later, at the Panchakalyana Pendal in the afternoon, Acharyas, monks and other speakers offered salutations to the life and times of Chandragupta.
On Wednesday, an early morning procession would leave for Chandragiri hills from Bandara Basadi (temple) to commemorate the arrival of Emperor Ashoka. Later, in the afternoon, the monks including revolutionary monk Tarun Sagar will pay salutations to Emperor Ashoka in the afternoon. – Jain Heritage Centres News Service (JHCNS)