Jainworld
Jain World

Sub-Categories of Passions - The Sacred Sravana - Belagola

FOREWORD
 
PREFACE
 

SIGNIFICANCE OF SRAVANA BELAGOLA

 
SHRINES OF SRAVANA BELAGOLA
 
EARLY HISTORY OF SRAVANA – BELAGOLA
 
  ROYAL PATRONAGE OF SRAVANA-BELAGOLA
 
  CHAMUNDA-RAYA AND SRAVANA-BELAGOLA
 
  BAHUBALI COLOSSUS OF SRAVANA-BELAGOLA
 
  GOMMATESVARA IMAGE OF SRAVANA-BELAGLA
 
  GRAND FESTIVAL OF SRAVANA-BELAGOLA
 
  GLORY OF SRAVANA-BELAGOLA
 
  CONTRIBUTIONS OF SRAVANA-BELAGOLA

GRAND FESTIVAL OF SRAVANA-BELAGOLA


�This is also the holy spot sacred to the Munisvara Gommata whom tradition represents to have been the younger brother of Bharata, the eponymous Emperor of Bharatavarsha. The land of Mysore, therefore, symbolises Gommata�s spiritual Empire, as Bharatavarsha stands for the empire of his brother Bharata. For a thousand years the Munishvara�s colossal statue carved as it may be, out of a huge boulder on the rock and visible for miles around has ruled over this scene unsurpassed in massive grandeur and sublimity of spiritual power by anything that the Egyptian or Assyrian monuments can show.

�But Jainism not only found a second birth place and home in Mysore, it also repaid the debt. For the noblest master pieces of Kannada literature in its early history have mostly been inspired by Jainism and created by Jaina-Charya and scholars signal service to it.

�No less memorable have been the services of Jainism to the evolution of India�s spiritual and Philosophical life. Jainism has cultivated certain aspects of that life which have broadened India�s religious outlook. It is not merely that Jainism has aimed at carrying Ahimasa to its logical conclusion, undeterred has attempted to perfect the doctrine of the spiritual conquest of matter in its doctrine of the Jina, what is unique in Jainism among Indian religions and philosophical systems is that it has sought Emancipation in an upward movement of the spirit towards the realm of Infinite and Transcendance, - and that it has made Power, Will, Character, in one word Charitra, an integral element of Perfection side by side with Knowledge and Faith. And Jainism has sought a harmony of all religons and of all philosophical and dialectical standpoints in its Sarvadharma samabhava and Anekantavada. At the other end of the scale in its rock cut sculptured architecture, Jainism has created a new style, and carried it to a pitch of excellence which places the glories of Mount Abu side by side with the mausoleum of the Taj among the architectural wonders of world�.

3. On the 26th of February, 1940 A.D. : After an interval of fifteen years the grand festival of �Mahamastakabhisheka� was celebrated on the 26th of February, 1940 A.D.

The significance of this grand ceremony was that it was wholly and solely managed for the first time by the Muzraj Department of the Mysore State, instead of the All-India Digambara Jaina Tirthakshetra Committee, Bombay, which had managed the preceding two �Mahamastakabhisheka�, held in 1910 and 1925 A.D. The Change �over in the management and control of the grand ceremony introduced this time has been continued to the present day. Of course, the State Government has established the practice of organizing the caremony in close collaboration and co-operation with His Holiness Charukirti Bhattaraka of Jaina Matha at Sravana-Belagola, the All India Digambara Jaina Tirthakshetra Committee, Bombay and other leading Associations of Jainas from different parts of the country.

The Government of Mysore by its order No. 877-28-2, dated 4th November 1938 A.D. sanctioned the holding of the �Mahamastakabhisheka�, festival in February 1940 A.D. Accordingly the great festival began on 11th February, 1940 A.D. with different preliminary ceremonies and reached its highest point on 26th February, 1940 A.D., when the grand �Mahamastakabhisheka� ceremony was celebrated in the presence of about 2 lakhs of people who had specially assembled from all parts of the nation. The grand ceremony started at 9.30 a.m. on 26th February, 1940 A.D., when the first �Abhisheka� i.e., anointment of the image of Gommatesvara was performed by His Highness Shri Krishna-Rajendra-Wodeyar, the Maharaja of Mysore, accompanied by the Prince Shri Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar. This time also His Highness Shri Krishna-Rajendra Wodeyar opened the special session of the All India Digambara Jaina Mahasabha held on 26th February, 1940.

The outstanding feature of the grand festival was that the 1008 �Kalasas�, used for the �Mahamastakabhisheka� ceremony were divided into four categories as follows :

 

1. Gold Kalasas 51
2. Silver Kalasas 300
3. German Silver Kalasas 300
4. Brass Kalasas 357
  1008



All the Kalasas were disposed of in auction. The first Gold Kalasa of great honour was taken for Rs. 8001/- by Shri Kevalchand Ugrachand Doshi of Phaltan from Maharashtra. By the auction sale of these �Kalasas� over Rs. 75,000/- were collected and deposited with the Mysore Government. This amount is to be used for the protection and upkeep of the sacred image of Gommatesvara.

4. On the 5th of March, 1953 A.D. : The Government of Mysore by its Order No. S.R. 653-56-Muz. 188-48-6, dated the 2nd of May, 1952 gave their sanction to hold the �Mahamastakabhisheka�, ceremony in March, 1953. Accordingly, two committees, viz, the �Religious Committee� and the �General Committee� were formed to organize and to conduct the celebrations. The Religious Committee under the chairmanship of His Holiness Charukirti Bhattaraka of Jaina Matha at Sravana-Belagola, was composed of prominent Jaina devotees like Sahu Shanti Prasad Jain of Calcutta and others. The Religious Committee was meant for looking after the religious affairs of the celebrations. The General Committee was formed with the Deputy Commissioner, Hassan District, as its Chairman and its main duties were to exercise control over the finances and to make all arrangements for providing facilities to the pilgrims.

This time the 1008 �Kalasas� used for the �Mahamastakabhisheka� ceremony were divided into only 2 categories. Viz., 900 silver Kalasas and 108 Gold Kalasas. The 900 Silver Kalasas ware disposed of at a flat rate of Rs. 101/- each and the 108 Gold Kalasas were disposed of in public auction. Further, four �Chatushkona Kumbhas� and �Pushpavrushti�, i.e., showering of flowers, were added as new items and were also disposed of by public auction. The first Gold Kalasa of great honour was taken for Rs. 18,001 (as against Rs. 8,001/- on the previous occasion) by Shri Javanmal Sujanchand of Mensal from Bikaner in Rajasthan. The rest of the 107 Gold Kalasas inclusive of four �Chatushkona Kumbhas� and �Pushpavrushti� were sold for different sums ranging from Rs. 121/- upto Rs. 5,501/-.

It is interesting to note that at the 1925 �Mahamastakabhisheka� celebrations, out of 1008 Kalasas only 546 Kalasas were disposed of with a total realisation of Rs. 77,193/- whereas, for the 1953 celebrations the full number of Kalasas were disposed of. In this way the total relaisations were Rs. 1,59,799/- as against the anticipated income of Rs. 1,00,000/-.

The preliminaries of the �Mahamastakabhisheka� Ceremony commenced on the 18th of February, 1953 and the great �Abhisheka� was conducted in the ceremonious manner on the 5th of March, 1953 in the presence of His Highness Shri Jaya-Chamara-jendra Wodeyar, the Maharaja of Mysore. In accordance with the time-honoured practice and the ardent wishes of the devotees the first puja to the sacred Image was performed by His Highness Shri Jaya-Chamarajendra-Wodeyar. After this first �puja� Shri Javanmal Sujanchand of Mensal, Bikaner, conducted the �puja� as he had offered the highest bid. The remaining devotees who had purchased the Kalasas performed �pujas� in their turn.

The great rush of pilgrims from all parts of India commenced on the 25th of February, 1953 and continued to increase from day to day. It reached the climax on the 4th and 5th of March, 1953. On the 5th of March, 1953 at about noon, the gathering was estimated at about 3 lakhas.

The remarkable feature of this festival was that many Jaina Associations held their special sessions or conferences during the period of the festival at Sravana-Belagola. The All-India Digambara Jaina Mahasabha held its special session on the occasion as they did on previous occasions. Similarly, the Jaina Young Mens� Association of Mardras, the Jaina Mahila Parishad of Bombay and the Vira Seva Mandir of Delhi held their special sessions by taking the opportunity of this great festival. But the most significant meetings were (I) the second session of the �World Jaina Mission� held on the 5th of March, 1950 which was attended by Hon�ble Shri Ajit Prasad Jain, the then Minister for Food Supplies and Rehabilitation, Government of India and the Hon�ble Minister for Education, Mysore State, and (ii) the second �Cultural Conference of Ahimsa� held on the 6th of March, 1953 which was addressed by the renowned Jaina scholar Principal A. Chakravarti of Madras. These two meetings were organised by the �World Jaina Mission� under the inspiration of its Honorary Director, Shri Kamta Prasad Jain.

5. On the 30th of March, 1967 A.D. : As per practice started from the 1940 �Mahamastakabhisheka� celebrations, the Muzrai Department of the Government of Mysore, organised the �Mahamastakabhisheka� ceremony on the 30th of March, 1967. Accordingly, the �Religious Committee� and the �General Committee� were constituted to plan and to carry out the celebrations. In religious matters of the celebrations, the conspicuous thing, this time, was the encouraging presence of a large number of Jaina Sadhus and Sadhvis under the leadership of Acharyaratna Desabhushana Muni Maharaj, the head of the Digambara Jaina ascetic order.