– Nitin H.P., Bengaluru

The number 108 is derived from a formula based on theories in Jain scriptures:- There are kinds of Kashayas (passions) These come into our life in ways: Thought, speech and body There are 3 aspects of passions Acting with passion our selves, acting with others and instigating/encouraging others to do so. It takes steps for an act to take place Resolution, start, and execution. Therefore the formula used is 4 x 3 x 3 x 3 = 108. So 108 is the number of ways a human being can indulge in impure activities. Each way must be closed to the influx of bad karmas. With this reasoning 108 Kalashas of pure water are poured on Jina idols just to achieve the purification of our soul.

1008 is an equally auspicious number for Jains, again, it is described in Jain scriptures that after gaining enlightenment each Thirthankar is so omniscient that he/she can be worshipped by devotees with 1008 different names. The pouring of 1008 Kalashas becomes a ritualistic way of showing the highest form of respect to the concept of enlightenment.

12 Years – Usually Mahamasthakabhisheka to Bahubali idols at Shravanabelagola, Karkala, Venur and Dharmasthala are conducted once in 12 years. There are various interesting stories/interpretations around this.

  • One of these stories says that it took almost 12 years to carve the idol of Lord Bahubali at Shravanabelagola and hence to mark this Mahamasthakabhisheka is conducted once in 12 years.
  • One other story says that Chavundaraya who got the idol of Lord Bahubali at Shravanabelagola had instructed for performing Mahamasthakabhisheka once in 12 years.
  • Further, while we  look into the Jain scriptures it is seen that 12 is an auspicious number.
  • Practically speaking to conduct the masthakabhisheka of an idol of such a huge magnitude it involves a lot of efforts, time and money. Hence masthakabhisheka is performed once in 12 years.
  • Why 12 Years at Karkala, Venur and Dharmasthala – Since inception the Bahubali idol at Shravanabelagola has been worshipped by Jains all over the world and particularly from Karnataka. As it has been a tradition there to perform the masthakabhisheka once it 12 years the same tradition has been followed.