14.01.2014 ►Shravanabelagola ►Abhisheka of all 24 Tirthankaras

Posted: 18.04.2014
Updated on: 03.07.2015

About 10:30 h our friend Prof. Dr. Nagarajaiah Hampana came to our lodging with his spacy car and driver. Very soon thereafter we started. The driver was familiar with his city. Showing this by driving us safe and easy through all kind of narrow streets to NH48 to Mangalore, on which Shravanabelagola can be reached best from Bangalore. During our journey through some ancient quarters of the city not yet touched by any of the building projects we even got an impression of the original appearance of Bangalore. There was amazingly small traffic on this Tuesday, and we reached our destination about 13:30h. Some kilometers ahead of Shravanabelagola Dr. Shantinath Shirahatti (we called him Dr. Shanti) of Jain of National Institute of Prakrit Studies And Research (NIPSAR) joined us in the car. He had been entrusted to take care of us during our stay and to accompany us. After our arrival he showed us our accommodation in a nice and clean guesthouse, but asked to hurry a little as an extraordinary event was being prepared for us. All of us met again in a hall at the ground floor of the hostel and we were told to meet very soon with His Holiness Karmayogi Swasthishri Charukeerthy Bhattaraka Mahaswamiji.

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Entry of Bhanadara Basadi Temple

Shortly after we moved again. Our destination was Bhanadara Basadi Temple, commissioned by a Jain ruler and completed in 1157CE. We approached the broad area from one side where the backward walls of attached buildings made it difficult to recognize. Only in front of the complex we saw that it was an ancient temple we were about to enter. Freshly painted Yantras made us guess to have something very special in front. Our friend Prof. Hampa hurried ahead after having made us wait in the entrance hall. Already during our trip we had noticed that he sometimes looked on his watch rather relieved enjoying being good in time. We had no idea why.

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Prof. Hampa hurried ahead,...

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...while we admired the Rangolis...

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...and then went into the entrance hall.

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Inside the ancient temple

But when our friend returned he explained to us which special honour would be given to us. His Holiness Karmayogi Swasthishri Charukeerthy Bhattaraka Mahaswamiji (in short: Bhattarak ji) would celebrate a ritual in the ancient temple max. twice in a year performed at the occasion of our arrival. It is the Abhisheka of all 24 Tirthankaras. The in an impressing line presented Tirthankaras in the temple are honoured one after another by reciting the mantra traditionally dedicated to each of them while a Pujari is moving ritually a golden devotional plate in front of the statue.

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Behind the columns we saw His Holiness Karmayogi Swasthishri Charukeerthy Bhattaraka Mahaswamiji, who was very concentrated in studying a text...

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...looking directly along the statues of the Tirthankaras with the golden plates and the ritual objects placed in front of them.

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A Pujari was controlling the arrangement of the devotional objects.

Shri Bhattarak ji spoke Holy verses, and we saw plates with fruits and devotional objects in front of all Tirthankara statues. Silver bells were pending from a flower garland. When we arrived, a Pujari checked the correct exposure of the holy arrangements. On our way inside Prof. Hampa had whispered to us that this Abhisheka is very costly because of the precious stones offered to each Tirthankara and because of the devotional objects made of gold and gemstones.

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Prof. Hampa came near to show the golden plates and devotional objects from a close range.

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Silver jars behind the plates

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Prof. Hampa celebrating Abhisheka

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Abhisheka soon will be complete.

On the golden plates near the devotional objects in form of a lamp ornate with gemstones were a coconut and an orange, bananas, apples and small branches with white blossoms. Further there were jars made of silver each decorated with a fresh rose blossom and a coconut wrapped in a small palm leaf. Prof. Hampa for some minutes had disappeared, but returned to our surprise dressed in the saffron coloured robe of a Pujari. He was celebrating the Puja himself! After an understanding glance with Prof. Hampa Shri Bhattarak ji started breathtakingly fast to recite the mantras. His pronunciation however was very clear and good to distinguish, even for us not knowing Prakrit language. Before Prof. Hampa had asked us not to address Shri Bhattarak ji while he was reciting the mantras, as this recitation required high concentration. This was perfectly intelligible and self-understood during the ceremony.

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Prof. Hampa and His Holiness after Abhisheka

After the Abhisheka we left the temple, although the Puja still went on. This was because we were attended for lunch. In front of the building we met again with Prof. Hampa, and it took some time for us to give words to the miraculous event we just had witnessed. Abhisheka of all 24 Tirthankaras very often comes to our mind as the extraordinary auspicious happening we immediately had felt about when experienced.

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Prof. Hampa in puja dress after Abhisheka in front of an image of Goddess Padmavati in the temple

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Only when leaving we got aware of the fresh painted Rangolis on the floor of the temple.

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Our small group is leaving the temple; "Dr. Shanti" in front.


Photos ►2014.01.14 HN4U ►Shravanabelagola ►Abhisheka of 24 Tirthankaras

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