13.02.2013 ►Nakoda ►Shri Mahavir Bhagwan Mandir

Published: 26.04.2013
Updated: 29.04.2013

It was the right morning to visit the famous Nakoda Jain Temples. Nakoda is only 13 km from Balotra, and easy to reach via the small town of Jasol. At 08:00h we left Oshwal Bhawan and looked for transportation. Swami Dharmananda wanted to go directly to Tapra again, and the three of us made appointment there for early afternoon. The distance to Nakoda was easy to make by 3-wheeler, and very soon we found one.

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Jain Torana in the midst of the road to Nakoda   

It still was a little bit foggy, and we a bit dozy. Nearly we missed the Torana in the midst of the road. It is situated shortly after Jasol where the road just is surmounting a hill. A Torana indicates a location with spiritual significance through a saint, a teacher or a Jain temple, perhaps quite some time ago. Anyway, here it gives the right impression to the visitor on his way to Nakoda.

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Only some cows and 3-wheelers

The big parking place was nearly empty, so we were lucky enough to be there before the mass of visitors would have conquered the whole location. Even the traders had not yet arrived at 09:00h. So we got an unspoiled impression of the location’s charm. We turned and saw a small temple to our right ahead of the main entrance of the temple complex.

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Nakoda Shri Mahavir Bhagwan Mandir

The welcoming open doors were like an invitation, and when we approached the small temple, a kind old man came near and made an inviting gesture. He said the temple’s name and confirmed our impression that it had been finished some years ago only. On the porch we saw the same depiction as on the Torana on the way. Two antelope like animals are balancing a wheel between their upwards directed throats. The wheel contains petals arranged in a circle. In the centre of this circle a liquid is pouring out of a jar down to the margin of the wheel.

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Hall inside the temple

When entering the small temple, one gets aware of the deeper meaning of the word Mandir (temple), namely that in such a location two worlds are meeting, the celestial and the mundane. As an eye catcher acted the contemporarily designed illumination of the hall, combining neatly the daylight coming in through frosted glass dormers with LEDs and neon lamps. Not self-understood in Jain temples, especially not in elder ones where electric cables or office lamps are providing light giving an impression of interim solution. Particularly they are in contrast to the sculptures made from precious materials.

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Detailed view on the depiction of Mahavira

Noticeable is the lack of a Garbhagriha. The glorious depiction of Mahavira is on a stage like platform. Looking around one knows why. No religious rituals are celebrated here, but different situations of Mahavira’s life are presented here in words and pictures.

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The gods are celebrating the birth of the future Tirthankara: Sakendra carries him to Mount Meru

The birth of a Tirthankara always is regarded by the gods as an event of the epoch. This is expressed by the fact that the future Tirthankara is transported to Mount Meru where he is welcomed first by the gods with a ceremonial bath. Here the embryo was brought to Mount Meru by Sakendra, accompanied by celestial musicians and dancers, protected by an umbrella.

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Indra holds the future Tirthankara in his lap

Sakendra was posing the future Tirthankara in Indra’s lap for the ceremonial bath. Many gods and goddesses were present, all 63 Indras included. Waters from many holy places have been brought to Mount Meru for the bath. The ceremony with all the music and dancing was a celebration of joy. After this the little prince Vardhaman got his name from his royal parents in a worldly ceremony.

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Prince Vardhaman with his family

Until the age of 28, prince Vardhaman lived a life of worldly comfort with the privileges of noble origin. He was married to a princess and had one daughter with her. Here prince Vardhaman (l. with his elder brother) is shown with his parents (m) - his mother Trishala has her little granddaughter Priyadarshana on her lap - his wife Yasoda (r. with her sister-in-law), surrounded by musicians and dancers while performing the evening prayer.

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Prince Vardhaman with 9 Lokantika gods

In the gap between his worldly life and his initiation some events took place which influenced prince Vardhaman’s path of life in direction of being the future Tirthankara Mahavira. Nine Lokantika Gods approached prince Vardhaman. Lokantika Gods do not participate in the compensations and delights of celestial life. During their long life span as gods they stay concentrated on meditation and prayers, only aiming at dissolving and releasing karma. Consequently they are preparing their next incarnation as humans, being then able to attain moksha. The Lokantika Gods were asking Vardhaman for the foundation of a religious order, e.g. to dedicate his further life to the reconstitution of the religious order of 23rd Tirthankara Parshvanath.

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Vardhaman begs permission of his elder brother to renounce worldly life.

At the age of 28 Vardhaman asked the permission of his elder brother to renounce worldly life and to lead a totally spiritual life according to the appeal of the Lokantika Gods and his own wish. His brother was very sad because of the recent demise of their parents. Therefore he requested his brother Vardhaman to wait for two more years. Vardhaman agreed. Corresponding to the wish of the now late parents, he previously had accepted to wait with initiation until they died.

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Vardhaman‘s bravery and courage were tested

When Vardhaman during this time was with his friends, a jealous god wanted to test his bravery and courage. The mischievous god assumed the form of a formidable cobra crossing the way of the young men. Vardhaman’s friends took flight as fast as possible, while Vardhaman looked firmly into the snake’s eyes and flung it away.

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The god took the form of demon

After passing the first test the god did not give up and approached Vardhaman in the form of a child. He proposed a game to Vardhaman in which the victor could carry the loser over one shoulder. The god came off as winner, but immediately with Vardhaman on his shoulder changed into the form of an enormous demon and rose into the air. Vardhaman gave a strong punch to him resulting in the god’s pained shrink into his original size. Vardhaman fell down to earth from great height. Sakendra hurried to help him, cured his wounds, and bestowed the name Mahavira - big hero - on him.

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The last rites for Mahavira were celebrated by gods and humans together.

Mahavira lived for 42 years the life of an ascetic preaching the principle of Ahimsa as highest spiritual aim. During these years he initiated thousands of men and women, building together with male and female lay followers the fourfold Jain community. At the age of 72 Mahavira held his Chaturmas in Pavapuri, Rajasthan. There he gave his last sermon which took 48 hours. While he delivered it, his last four remaining karmas dissolved. This resulted in the total annihilation of the potential for 8 karmas, and he attained omniscience and moksha. Since then he is staying at a location inaccessible to humans where according to Jain doctrine all liberated and released souls are dwelling in eternal bliss without being forced to incarnate again. The mortal remains of Mahavira were surrendered to the blaze in a common ceremony of humans and gods.

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Mahavira was absorbed in meditation and prayers for 12 years and 6 months nearly uninterrupted.

After he had renounced the world Mahavira was absorbed in meditation and prayers for 12 years and 6 months nearly uninterrupted. During these years he attained the highest possible state of consciousness, but simultaneously was exposed to prosecution, dispraise, and incomprehension by his fellow men. He then lived in parks and the woods on the little alms given to him.

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Mahavira in deep meditation (standing in Kayotsarga)

This excursion, a short period in material time, but eons in spiritual, into the details of Mahavira’s legendary biography was both, memorable and impressing. In former times it was the task of a temple to also narrate the legendary biographic details of saints in the form of pictures. Here it was an appealing mixture of words and depictions deepening familiar details of Mahavira’s life. Ahead of us was the visit to the Nakoda Parshvanath Temple, originally dedicated to Mahavira. As the old man at the beginning assured waggishly, perhaps this small temple was erected because of this.

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This construction area was in front of the small Mahavir temple, perhaps another accommodation for pilgrims and students?

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Main entry of the temple complex

Now we approached the main entrance of the spacious temple complex where renovation work was in progress. Now there was more life as half an hour before. Restaurants were about to open, and the small traders build up their stands. We felt that we had to rush inside to avoid being slowed down by someone.

Sources
Photos by HN4U
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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Ahimsa
  2. Balotra
  3. Bhawan
  4. Chaturmas
  5. Consciousness
  6. Garbhagriha
  7. HN4U
  8. Indra
  9. Jain Temple
  10. Jain Temples
  11. Jasol
  12. Karma
  13. Karmas
  14. Kayotsarga
  15. Mahavir
  16. Mahavira
  17. Mandir
  18. Meditation
  19. Meru
  20. Moksha
  21. Mount Meru
  22. Nakoda
  23. Nakoda Jain Temples
  24. Nakoda Parshvanath Temple
  25. Nakoda Shri Mahavir Bhagwan Mandir
  26. Oshwal
  27. Parshvanath
  28. Pavapuri
  29. Rajasthan
  30. Swami
  31. Swami Dharmananda
  32. Tapra
  33. Tirthankara
  34. Torana
  35. Trishala
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