Jain World

Sub-Categories of Passions - The Sacred Sravana - Belagola





King Narasimha II (1220-1235 A.D. ) followed the policy of his father King Ballala II. The Inscription No. 186 at Sravana-Belagola ascribes paramount titles to him and records that the king confirmed in 1231 A.D. the grant made by one Shri Gommata-setti as a perpetual endowment for the worship of Gommatesvara and the twenty-four Tirthankaras.

Similiary, king Narasimaha II ( 1254-1292 A.D.), the grantson of King Narasimha II and the son of Somesvara, and others with a view to provide milk-offerings for Gommatesvara and the twenty-four Tirthankaras temple situated in the enclosure on the Vindhyagiri Hill. This king Narasimha III and his brother Ramanatha ( 1254-1295 A.D.) who ruled over a sectionof the Hoysala Empire were devout Jains. About King Narsimha III´┐Żs Diety as a Jaina we have eviodence in the Parsvanatha Basti stone record found a Bastihalli near Halebid, the Hoysala capital. The spiritual adviser of this king was famous Jaina sant Maghandi Siddhanta of the Balakara ´┐Żgapa´┐Ż, i.e., section. This is gathered from the Bennegudda inscription at Sravana-Belagola dated 1282 A.D. In this inscription at best of the Acharyas, royal ´┐Żguru´┐Ż to the Hoysala king, and the emperor of philosophers. To saint Maghanadi king Narasimha III granted village kallangere together with fourteen hamlets attached to it for maintaining the Jaina temple called ´┐ŻTrikutaratnatrya- Santinatha-Jinalaya,´┐Ż obviously as a mark of esteem and loyalty to the king.

During the reigns of the last two Hoysala monarchs, Viz., Ballala III ( 1292- 1343 A.D. ) and Ballala IV ( 1343-1345 A.D. ) Jainism did not get as much royal patronage as it had during the regns of all other Hoysala kings from 1006 A.D., Yet there is ample proof to show that Jainsim still predominated in Karnataka in the reigns of these two rulers.


Although the rulers of the Vijayangara Empire were devotees of Vishnu and Siva, they not only tolerated jainism but encouraged it. The finest example of this noble tradition of toleration is found in the Inscription No. 344 at Sravana-Belagola which refers to a reconciliation brought about by the Vijayanagara King Bukka-Raya I between the ´┐ŻBhavyas´┐Ż, ( Jainas) and the ´┐ŻBhaktas´┐Ż (Vaishnavasn) in 1368 A.D. It opens with a verse in praise of the Srivaishnava apostle Ramanujacharya and proceeds to say that ´┐Żthe Jainas having made petition to the king about the injustice done to them by the Vaishnavas, he, taking the hand of the Jainas and placing it in the hand of the Srivaishnavas of the eighteen ´┐Żnadus´┐Ż ( i.e., districts ) including the Acharyas of Srirangam, Tirupati, Kanchi and Melkote, and other Vaishnava sects, and declaring at the same time that there was no difference between the Vaishnava and the Jaina ´┐ŻDarsanas´┐Ż, i.e., decreed thus: The Jaina creed is as before, entitled to the privileges of five great musical instruments and the ´┐ŻKalasa´┐Ż or vase. If loss or advancement should be caused to the Jaina creed through the Vaishnaves, the latter will kindly deem it as loss or advancement caused to their own creed. The Srivaishnavas will to this effect kindly set up a ´┐ŻSasana´┐Ż or inscription in all the ´┐Żbastis´┐Ż or temples of the kingdom. For as long as the sun and moon endure the Vaishnavas and the Jainas are one (body): they must not be viewed as different. Tatayya of Tirupati will, out of the money levied from every Jaina house thought-out the kingdom, appoint twenty servants as a bodyguard for the god at Belagola and repair ruined Jaina temple. He who transgresses this decree shall be a traitor to the king, a traitor to the ´┐Żsangha´┐Ż and the ´┐ŻSamudaya´┐Ż.

The details given of the administration of this unique edict seem to show that the king Bukka Raya I was even partial to the ´┐ŻBhavyas´┐Ż, as the Jainas were called, and threw the burden of the protection upon his coreligionists, the ´┐ŻBhaktas´┐Ż, as the Vaisnavas were called.

Later on, this attitude of protection towards the Jainas would seem to have advanced the Jainas even a step further. For, according to Inscription No. 337 of about 1410 A.D. at Sravana-Belagola. Bhima-Devi, the queen of Deva-Raya I of Vijayanagara, was a disciple of the Jaina teacher Abhinava-Charukirti-Panditacharya and she set up an image of Santinatha-Tirthankara, in the Mangari Basti at the village Sravana-Belagola. Further, Inscription No. 253 of 1422 A.D. at Sravana-Belagola refers to Iruguppa the General of Vijayanagara king Harihara II grove and tank built by him, for Gommatesvara. A large portion of this Inscription mentions the pedigree and praises of Irguppa. He was a Sanskrit scholar and wrote the metrical lexicon ´┐ŻNanartharatnamala´┐Ż. Two of his other inscriptions found in Karanatka and bearing the dates 1382 A.D. and 1387 dated 1385 A.D., states that Iruguppa who adhered to the doctrine of the Jaina teacher Simhanandi built the stone temple of Kumthu-Jinantha at Vijayanagara.


Like the Gangas of Talakad and the Hoysalas of Halebid, the Wodeyar Kings of Mysore also extended their patronage to Jainism and always took special interest in the upkeep and proper maintenance of the shrines at Sravana-Belagola which for med a part of the Mysore kingdom. In several incriptions and literary works there are many references to the visits of Mysore kings to Sravana-Belagola, to the presence of Mysore rules at the different grand head-annointing ceremonies of the colossal image of Lord Gommatesvara and to various instances of actual sore kings to the solve particular problems connected with the management of the properties attached to temples in Sravana-Belagola. The best instance of this type has been recorded in the Inscription No. 250 dated 1634 A.D. It says that the great king of Mysore, Chama-Raja-Wodeyar, finding that the temple lands of Belagola had been for a long time mortgaged to certain Jaina merchants, sent for the latter and proposed to pay off the mortgage, whereupon the merchants unanimously agreed to release the mortgage as a work of merit in the presence of this whole transaction are given in Inscription No. 352 which is a copper plate grant of 1634 A.D. This grant lays down a strict prohibition against any of the temple manages mortgaging the lands in future and against any one granting a mortgage thereon. Though the inscriptions do not expressly say so, the king must have visited Belagola in connection with this transaction of release of mortgage of temple lands. But the literary work ´┐ŻMunivamsabhudya´┐Ż composed by Chidanadakavi in 1680 A.D. gives several details of the kings visit to Belagola. In this work it is specially mentioned that King Chama-Raja-Wodeyar took personal interest in re-instating with due honors on the seat of Bhatatraka the former traditional gure Charukriti who had abandoned Sravana-Belagola and was living at Bhattatakipura (i.e. Gerusoppe) under the protection of Bhairvaraja with view to escape from the trouble caused by the Teelgu chief Jagadeva of Chennapattana and that the king made a special grant to the Jaina Matha on this occasion.

The successors of King Chama-Raja-Wodeyar also continued to extend their generous patronage and to grant rich endowments for the upkeep and worship at Sravana-Belagola.

i) King Doda-Dava-Raja-Wodeyar ( 1659 ´┐Ż 1673 A.D. ) made, as per Inscription No. 401, a grant of the village Ragibommena halli in 1672 A.D. for the upkeep of a feeding house for the Brahmanas. The ´┐ŻSthala-purana´┐Ż says that he visited Belagola in the year 1672 A.D.

ii) King Chikka-Deva-Raja-Wodeyar ( 1673-1704 A.D. ) caused, as per Inscription No. 365, the construction of the ´┐ŻKalyani´┐Ż (pond) at Sravana-Belagola.

iii) King Krishna-Raya-Wodeyar I ( 1717-1731 A.D.), the grandson of Chikka-Deva-Raja, as per Inscription No. 249, paid a visit to Sravana-Belagola in 1723 A.D. and made the grant of certain villages of Kabale for the maintenance of alms-house situated near the Chikka-Deva-Raja pond. The inscription further states that on seeing the face of the divine Gommata the was greatly pleased, and, with horripilation, made the grant.

iv) King Kirshna-Raya-Wodeyar III, as per Inscription No. 353, confirmed in 1810 A.D. the former grant of village Kabale made by Krishna-Raja-Wodeyar I. The inscription No. 354 records the grant in 1830 A.D. of three villages to provide for the expenses and repairs of all the temples at Sravana-Belagola. The number of temples is given as thrity-three as follows :

8. on the Dodda-Betta, i.e., Vindhyagiri hill, consisting of the big god Gommatta, and seven minor temples;

16. on the Chikka-Betta, i.e., Chandragiri Hill,

8. in the village Belagola, and

1. on the hill at Maleyur.

It is also stated that formerly the ´┐ŻMatha´┐Ż or monastery was in receipt of  cash grant of only 120 ´┐Żvarahas´┐Ż to meet all these expenses; and as the amount was found insufficient, the present grant of three villages was made in lieu of the former cash grant. Further, the king got the grand head-annointing festival of Gommatesvara performed in 1827 A.D.

v) King Krishna-Raya-Wodeyar IV paid his first visit to Sravana-Belagola on 10th November 1900, and this visit is indicated by his initials K.R.M<. engraved on the summit of Chikka-Betta i.e., the Chandragiri Hill, Further, the king got three grand head-annointing festivals of Gommatesvara performed in succession on (a) the 30th march, 1910, (b) the 15th of March, 1925, and (c) the 26th of February, 1940. The grand festival of 1940 A.D. was very significant, in the sense that it was completely arranged for the first time by the Mysore Government while all the earlier festivals were arranged by the Jaina community-and that the later festival held on the 5th of Mrch 1953 and on the 30th of March 1967 were also organised by the Karnataka Government in close co-operation with the Jaina community.