Shravanabelagola, February 10, 2006: In a strange coincidence, day four at the Mahamastakabhishekha of Bahubali belonged to members of the judiciary and general public, away from the glare of the media and the officialdom.
As the day began, the celebrations began with the media out of the picture in order to respect the sentiments of the members of the Judiciary including Five High Court judges Justice Ajit Gunjal, Justice Anand Byrareddy and Mohan Shantanagoudar, all of Karnataka High Court, Justice Balachandra Vagyani of Mumbai and Justice Jain of Delhi, at the special show organized especially for the members of the judiciary.
HH Swasthishri Charukeerthi Bhattaraka Swamiji, speaking on Saturday’s programme in which passes were only issued by the mutt authorities to a select group of invitees apart from the 250 members of the judiciary from different parts of the country, said the programme had to be a mastakabhisheka as the padapooja of the celebration period has been completed. The celebrations, which were more symbolic than dharmic on the day, ended ahead of normal schedule.
The police, harassed as they were by security considerations and the surging crowds on the first three days utilized the day to provide a breather to the large crowds that had to wait the whole day till evening for a darshan of Bhagawan Bahubali. The crowd was allowed up the hills throughout the day to have a darshan of Bhagawan Bahubali and return even as the Mahamastakabhisheka was in progress.
For the celebrations that commenced with inauguration by President APJ Abdul Kalam on January 22, Saturday provided a much needed breather for some segments of the silent yet hard working bunch of youngsters, be it volunteers or employees of the Digambar Jain mutt, or those at the Government Media Centre. And hence, an appropriate moment to retrace the steps of Mahamastakabhisheka 06 to date.
The new millennium’s first Mahamastakabhisheka Celebration of Bhagawan Bahubali Swami began with the consecration of the statue of Bhagwan Mahaveer at the panchakalyana pendal at Sharavanabelagola during the
wee hours on January 22. In the dharmic rituals that began early morning with 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 Mathajis led the procession into the Panchakalyana Pendal.
Later, during the day, President Dr. A PJ Abdul Kalam formally inaugurated the celebrations with a clarion call for world peace even as a giant screen on the dais telecast live pictures of the Bhagawan Bahubali padapooja proceedings atop the Vindhyagiri Hills. Dr. Kalam, speaking after lighting the lamp marking the commencement of the celebrations and declaring open the 100 bed Bahubali Children’s Hospital, had said the values of non violence and renunciation enshrined in the life and ideals of Bhagawan Bahubali holds the key to world peace.
The scene shifted to Chandragiri Hills on the next three days with the footprints of Bhadrabahu in the Cave being worshiped, followed by homage to the foot imprints of Bhadrabahu, and finally the imprints of Chandragupta Mourya on the near the foot of the hills. Later it was the turn of remembering Emperor Ashoka before the 24 theerthankaras received silver Chatrathrayas.
Then it was the turn of the Sri mutt authorities to remember a remarkable woman whose tragic death was silently felt throughout the celebrations till Dharmasthala Dharmadhikari Veerendra eggade, came out of his hibernation, and again onto the public a few days ago. The Mutt paid homage to Mathrushree Ratnamma Heggade, mother of Dharmasthala Dharmadhikari Veerendra Heggade at a memorial held at the Bandara Basadi.
Paying tribute to Mathrushree Ratnamma Heggade, who passed away in road accident, Swasthishri Charukeerthi Bhattaraka Swamiji said Mathrushree was an exceptional figure in the modern society and was the inspiration behind the consecration of the Bahubali statue at Dharmasthala.
On January 27, doyens of peace and communal amity Former Principal Secretary (Karnataka) Chiranjeev Singh, Pejawar Seer Vishveshatheertha Sripadangal, Adichunchanagiri Seer Balagangadharanatha Swamiji, Karnataka Minorities Commission Chairman Dr. K S M Masood, Rajayogini B K Lakshmiji of Brahmakumari Vishwavidyanilaya (Mysore) and Swami Nityashtananada of Ramakrishna Ashram (Mysore) were conferred ‘Sarvadharma Samanvaya Acharya’ titles at the Sarvadharma Samanvaya Sammelan.
The celebrations gained momentum with the ‘Mathru Vandana’, wherein womanhood was celebrated, examined and evaluated in keeping with the changing times and the challenges ahead. Women came in droves for this programme. And one man, Swasthishri Charukeerthi Bhattaraka Swamiji, was working away silently both on the stage as well as one the sidelines to ensure that the celebrations went on smoothly, coordinating with various agencies in the Government as well as different sub committees of MMC 06, exhibiting sterling leadership qualities.
As the D-day Feburary 8 inched closer, attention turned toward the various townships that were coming up, and the impact of the political changes both at the Centre and the State on the preparations and the celebrations. But, despite these uncertainties the festivities continued and the royal patronage to Jainism was remembered in ‘Karnataka Vaibhava’. Around the same time the Sri Mutt acquired a proud possession in the form of a silver chariot, which along with the statues of 24 Teerthankaras in silver/wooden palanquins was the cynosure of lakhs that turned out to witness the grand Mahamastakabhisheka procession on February 5.
The next day belonged to Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat. Addressing the gathering after performing the ‘Rajyabhisheka Ceremony’ in Pachakalyana Mahotsav of Adinath, the first Theerthankara, on the occasion of the Mahamastakabhisheka Mahotsav, he spelt out a new development dimension to Ahimsa, stating true non-violence does not mean only doing away with violence. All types of exploitation, deprivation and inequality constitute violence. So long there is poverty, backwardness and illiteracy in our country, the stigma of violence will continue to be upon us. As long as 26 crore people continue to remain below the poverty line, deprived of basic amenities like employment, nutritious food, education, health and safe drinking water, a truly non-violent society cannot be established, he warned.
Suddenly, everything paled into the background and all eyes were on Mahamastakabhisheka proper. Soon the illumination of entire Shravanabelagola inclusive of the Vindhyagiri and Chandragiri came alive. And before one realized the D Day was here and the rest is history, moments that belong solely to Bhagawan Bahubali and his immortal and time immemorial ideals.
Swamiji Satisfied: Expressing satisfaction at the way the celebrations have gone so far, Swasthishri Charukeerthi Bhattaraka Swamiji said he had convened a meeting of officials on Friday evening to review the loose ends that have been identified including breaking up of drinking water pipelines, and some sanitation and drainage issues. A meeting of the officials has been convened again for later today and tomorrow to take stock of the situation.
The Swamiji said the interests of the devotees have been given paramount importance and some changes have been made to the schedule in order to accommodate theses interests and also the interest of unnecessarily increasing the load on Shravanabelagola. “The town currently is hosting as many as 30,000 devotees. But the number is going up and we cannot accommodate more. And this, despite the live coverage on television. So, we are trying to ensure that nobody overstays and faces unwanted hardships including unnecessary expenditure because of the celebrations, and accommodating those we have to, through revisions in the schedule,” he said.
CJ Tomorrow: Chief Justice of India Y K Sabarwal and Karnataka High Court Chief Justice Cyriac Joseph will participate in the celebrations on Sunday, featuring 1008 kalashas. The cultural programme features legendary singer from Kerala K J Yesudas. – Jain Heritage Centres News Service (JHCNS)