Atop Vindhyagiri Hills (Shravanabelagola), February 8, 2006: A surreal experience that will linger for a lifetime unfolding during the course of a day. This was Mahamastakabhisheka of Bhagawan Bahubali on Wednesday, when this handsome monolith exhibited the different shades of his personality with the different liquids showered on him. The celebration, being conducted after a gap of 12 years, brought out the relevance of Bahubali and his ideals of peace, non violence and renunciation, to the troubled 21st century just five years and a month long.
Shravanabelagola woke up on Wednesday to a ceiling of mist hanging over it and the giant monolith Bhagawan Bahubali peering through it atop the Vindhyagiri hill. By evening though, the different dimensions of his personality as brought out by the various abhishekas left the millions who gathered or watched the proceedings live on television, spell bound.
If the abhisheka using 300 kalashas (pots) of milk made Bhagawan Bahubali look saintly, the abhisheka using 100 kgs of white rice flour looked as if the divine Bhagawan was virtually coming down from his nirvana state to the earth from the milky way, all divine and glorious right in front of your eyes. The 6,000 strong gathering around the 58.8 ft monolith were spellbound. But the exhibition was anything but over. The Ishkurasa or Sugarcane juice abhisheka, in 300 kalashas, seemed to reveal the secre behind Bahubali’s enduring personality, transcending time. The haritha kalkachurana or turmeric abhisheka revealed the monk he was. The Sandalwood abhisheka, using 25 kgs of sandalwood in a gold kalasha, a first, made him heavenly. The Chandana abhisheka revealed that he was a man of flesh and bones with blood in his veins and yet showed the world the path to peace. The Kesari vrushti showed the power of his meditation and the shower of flowers from 57 countries merely reflected why he is universal. The 86th Mahamastakabhisheka of this enduring universal symbol of peace and renunciation was magical as it was memorable.
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 tierplatform 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 with the Agrodaka (Holy water) leaving the Digambar Jain Mutt premises for the Vindhyagiri Hills early in the morning. 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 took 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.
When the day’s celebrations atop the hills ended and all those atop the hills prepared to climb down for an evenings rest savouring the experience, the sight that greeted them was thousands of people patiently waiting in queues to climb up the hills for a darshan of the monolith, in his last state of reflecting in various hues with a giant garland around him, after the day long Mahamastakabhisheka. A remarkable day indeed celebrating a remarkable human born on this earth. – Jain Heritage Centres News Service (JHCNS)