Om namo arihanthaanam
Om namo Siddhaanam
Om namo aayriaanam
Om namo uvajhaayaanam
Om namo loye savyasaahoonam
It was in the year 2006, I travelled to Hasan district in Karnataka. Enroute I stopped y to visit Shravanabelagola, the abode of the Lord Gomateswara on the Vindhyagiri Hill. It was during the month of November, a pleasant climate all round, I climbed the Hill’s (3347 feet) 620 steps to reach the top to a view which is so magnificent and was awestruck by the serenity and beauty of the statue of Bahubali Gomateswara . It was there I decided to visit the place once again during the Mahamasthakaabhisheka (the anointing ceremony) which would be held 12 years later.
I am very happy that I made that decision 12 years back. The 88th anointing ceremony which concluded on the 25th February, 2018 was hugely attended by the devotees and pilgrims from all over the world. I managed to get an entry pass at the Media Centre.
The first day on the 17 February, the expected gathering, I was told would cross a lakh. At any ordinary times, the hill top can never withstand such a swelling of crowd presence. But the scaffoldings and platforms built by German engineering made it possible to locate such a large crowd with ease and comfort.
The concept of Maha Masthakaabhisheka dates back to the time of the installation of the Bahubali Statue. The first record of the anointing ceremony as per the available records was held in 1398 AD. An integral part of Jain tradition, once in every 12 years, the head anointing ceremony takes place. The sacred bath consists of 1008 vessels (kalasa) containing water, tender coconut water, sugarcane juice, milk, curd, rice flour, turmeric paste, ghee (clarified butter), turmeric paste, sandalwood paste, saffron, gold, silver, precious stones, and flowers are poured atop the statue.
WHO IS BAHUBALI?
Bahubali’s is a thrilling story. A story of peace from sacrifice; happiness from non-violence’. This tale is timeless.
The first Tirthankara of Jains, Vrishabhanatha, the king of Ayodhya, had two wives, Yashaswati and Sunanda. Yashaswati bore 99 sons and a daughter. Bharata was the eldest among them. Sunanda had only one son and one daughter. Son’s name was Bahubali and he was known to be the most handsome and exceedingly good looking. (The statue of Bahubali at Shravanabelagola gives only a glimpse of his great charm). If Bharata was supremely courageous, Bhahubali was incomparable in valour.
The war fought for supremacy between Bharata and Bahubali, Bharata was defeated. The incident made Bahubali realise that pride, anger, greed and valour are of no use and lead to eternal conflicts. Disgusted, Bahubali took an oath to become a saint. He stood in standing posture (kayotsarga) to meditate for one year. He attained (Moksha) liberation to become first Jain monk (Mokshagami).
During the reign of Ganga King Rachamalla (974 A.D. – 999 A.D.), and the king’s minister Chavundaraya (as per the wishes of his mother) under the guidance of the great sculptor Acharya Nemichandra Siddhanta made arrangements to erect this huge monolithic Statue (58.8 feet in height) atop Vindhyagiri in 981 A.D.
The Ceremony started with a colourful pageants and variety of classical and folk dances from all over the country.
Devotees and tourists from all over the world came together to witness the grandest event of 2018.