Shravanabelagola, January 23, 2006: Jain monks and devotees moving around from one place of action to the other is the order of the day at Shravanabelagola.
After the morning poojas in different Jain temples in the morning, the action today shifted to Chandragiri hills with 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. – Jain Heritage Centres News Service (JHCNS)