News ►05.05.2018

Published: 07.05.2018

Wedged between two hills, Shravanabelagola, 'Jaina ascetic's white-lake', has a unique place in the history of India. Famed and haloed for over two millennia, the place has bloomed as a cultural corridor of India. It has preserved intact a vibrant religious tradition of peace, nonviolence and tranquility. This famous settlement of Jaina tradition is a rare enchanting place from where the pilgrim returns with a sense of fulfillment and spiritual bliss. Shravanabelagola, an invaluable treasure trove of art and architecture, has preserved over 570 inscriptions of historical importance. Chandragupta (340-298 BC), the Mauryan emperor, renounced his kingdom and followed his preceptor shrutakevali Bhadrabahu, and both reached and breathed their last on the small hill here. To commemorate and perpetuate their memory, the small hill and the ancient temple were named after Chandragupta as Chandragiri and Chandragupta basadi, and the ancient cave as Bhadrabahu cave.

Lord Bahubali, Karnataka and Shravanabelagola have become synonymous. Bahubali is a kevali, 'omniscient', and siddha, 'a liberated soul '. Because of his formidable austerity and renouncing the legitmate kingship in his very moment of triumph over his elder brother, Bahubali has become popular that he enjoys the Glory of a Teethamkara. He is celebrated in songs and stories, in art and poetry, and in legends and literature. The images of Bahubali of colossal proportions are found in many parts of Karnataka. The earliest extant image of Bahubali that belonged to Karnataka and preserved in the Metropolitan Museum,New York, is assigned to the 4th century. One more extraordinary metal image of Bahubali, also from Karnataka and datable to seventh century, is preserved in the Prince of Wales Museum, Mumbai.

Bahubali is more popular in Karnataka as Gommata, Gommateshvara and Gommata Jina. Gommata means 'the handsome'. Bahubali is one of the 24 Kamadeavas. Chavundaraya (978), army chief and minister of Rachamalla, the Ganga king, founded the immortal monolithic colossus of Bahubali of 58.8 feet tall, on the summit of Vindhyagiri at Shravanabelagola in the year 981. It is the biggest freestanding image in the world and looks as though the fully chiseled colossus had sprung from the earth. The matchless statue with unbound compassion as his clothing and the open sky as his shelter radiates peace and tanquility. His heart beats for the entire mankind Chavundaraya had the title of Gommataraya. His teacher Nemichandra Siddhanta Chakravati (930-990) composed an abridged version of the Shat-khanad-agama, 'the Scripture in six parts'. Since it was written to preach his student Chavundaraya alias Gommataraya, this book verily earned the name as Gommatasara. This colossus on the top of Vindhyagiri is also known as Dakshina Kukkuteshvara and Unnata Kukkuteshvara. Kukkutasarpa means a wild cock with a cobra head.

The traditional ritual called the Maha-mastaka-abhisheka, 'the great head-anointing', ceremony of Bahubali statue, usually takes place once in 12 years. A taste of Jaina history, culture and ritual unfolds with most amazing spectacle of the ablution. While water milk, curds, rice powder, sandal paste, flowers, sugarcane juice, etc., are poured over the statue from head downwards in reverence, its grandeur increases manifold. The vibrant and energetic ceremony heralding the arrival of creative spirit and reminding the transcendent dimension of life is a unique event, The summit of the Hill serves as the hypaethral temple for Lord Bahubali.

To commemorate the great sacred event of 2018 lustration, it is thought of publishing a series of Books of socio-cultural and literary importance. This series is titled as akshara abhisheka. We are glad to publish the two volumes of the Kuvalayamala of great Prakrit poet Udyotanasuri (779). The volumes in English are edited by Professors Christine Chojnacki and Hampa Nagarajaiah (Hampana). In fact, the work is translation of a Doctoral thesis written in French by Professor Christine Chojnacki, Lyon University, France. We are happy to recall that Dr. Christine Chojnacki is one of the Awardees of the Prakrit Jnanabharati International Award, instituted by Bahubali Prakrit Vidyapeeth, Shravanabelagola. On our request Mr. Alexander Reynolds has rendered it into English. Subsequently, Christine Chojnacki prepared the press copy. We place on record Mr. B. Prasannaiah's support in getting the work translated. It is Hampana who was deeply involved in the scheme. He wanted to facilitate non-French readers and tried his best to get his dream come true.

Both the scholar writers and research friends, Chojnacki and Hampana, deserve our gratitude for the excellent work they have done. We wish them a successful academic journey,

Svastishree Charukeerti Bhattaraka Pattacharya Ji
Chief Pontiff
Jaina Matha
Shravanabelagola.

Sources

Dr. Hampa Nagarajaiah (Hampana)

Bahubali Mahamastakabhisheka 2018

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Abhisheka
  2. Bahubali
  3. Bahubali Mahamastakabhisheka 2018
  4. Bahubali Prakrit Vidyapeeth
  5. Basadi
  6. Bhattaraka
  7. Chandragupta
  8. Charukeerti Bhattaraka
  9. Chavundaraya
  10. Chojnacki
  11. Christine Chojnacki
  12. Gommata
  13. Gommatasara
  14. Gommateshvara
  15. Hampa Nagarajaiah
  16. Hampana
  17. JAINA
  18. Jaina
  19. Jina
  20. Karnataka
  21. Kevali
  22. Mahamastakabhisheka
  23. Mahamastakabhisheka 2018
  24. Matha
  25. Mumbai
  26. Nemichandra
  27. Nonviolence
  28. Prakrit
  29. Prakrit Jnanabharati International Award
  30. Shravanabelagola
  31. Siddha
  32. Soul
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