Jain World

Sub-Categories of Passions - The Sacred Sravana - Belagola





You to see him. Pleased with your devotion, he will , however, manifest himself to you on the summit of the larger hill .Purify yourself and discharge a golden shot from your bow from the smaller hill and the god will instantly become visible.'' The mother Kalala-Devi, too, had a similar dream. The next morning chamunda �Raya purified himself and standing on rock on the smaller hill, facing south, discharged form his bow a golden shot to a boulder on the larger hill. As soon as the shot struck the boulder and head of Gommata revealed itself. When afterwards the officiating priest placed a diamond chisel on the boulder, and struck it with a jewel hammer, the layers of stone fell off and the full image became visibl. Then with the help of sculptors chamunda �Raya caused to be made the 'Patala gamba ' with Brahma to the right , the 'Yaksha-gamba ' with Brahma in fornt, the upper storey, the ' Tyagada-pillar' with Brahma, the enterance known as 'Akhanda-Bagilu' carved out of a single stone, and flights of steps here and there.He then made elaborate arrangements for performing the 'abhisheka' or annointment of Gommata. He also founded a village at the foot of the hill and granted for the god a large number of villages (68 named ) of the revenue value of 96,000 'varahas� and named the village as 'Belagola ', He obtained renown by foundng this �abhinava�. i., e., modern Podanapura.

Similarly , the work '' Bhujabali-Sataka'' composed in sanskirt verses by Doddaiya gives the tradition with a little variation. It states that in the city of Madhura in the Dravida country there was a king , named Rajamalla, who encouraged the spread of Jaina tenets, and was the worshipper of simhanandi, belonging to the Desiya gana. His minister was called Chamunda-Raya..One day , when the king sat with his minister in the royal court, a travelling merchant came there and told them that in the north there was a town called Podanapuri, where there was an image of Bahubali, also called Gommata, established by Bharata. Hearing this, the devout Chamunda Raya resolved to visit the shrine of the image ,and going home narrated the tale to his mother Kalika-Devi, whereupon she also wished to go with him to the sacred spot. Chamunda-Raja then went to his spiritual preceptor, Ajitasena, who revered Simhanandi and made a vow before the latter that he will not drink milk till he sees the image of Bahubali. Accompanied by Acharya Nemichandra, his mother and numerous soldiers and attendants, Chamunda-Raja started on his pilgrimage and reached the Vindhyagiri in Sravana-Belagola. In the night the Jaina Goddess Kushmandi (the Yakshi attendent on Neminatha, the 22nd Tirthankara) appeared in a dream to Chamunda �Raja, Acharya Nemichandra and kalika �Devi and told them that it was very diffcult to go to Podanapuri but on that very hill there is an image of Bahubali , formerly established by Ravana, which will be visible if the hill be cleft by a golden arrow . According to the dream. On the next morning, Chamunda �Raja stood on the hill with his face towards the south and let loose a golden arrow form his bow. Immediately the mountain was cleft in twain , and an image of Bahubali became visible. Chamunda-Raja then established and consecrated the image and granted lands for theworshipof this image.when king Rajamallaheard of this affair, he conferred the title of '' Raya'' on Chamunda- Raja and granted further lands for the regular worship of the image .

Further, the 'Gommatesvaca- charite' of Ananta- Kavi tells us that On Chamunda-Raya shooting arrows the image fo Gommata revealed itself to him. He got it touched up and improved by sculptors and then had it consecrated.

Moreover, according to '' Sthala �purana* also, the image of Bahubali was already in existence at Sravana �Belagola. It states that '' Chamunda-Raya. King of Dakshina Madhura, and the descendant of Jaina Kshettri Pandu, set out with his family , escorted by an army of infantry, cavalry , elephants, and charriots, with a view of visiting the god Gommatesvara (500 'bilu' high ) at Podana �pura, and the 1254 other gods in the smaller temples scattered throughout the surrounding country. En route he came to Sravana-Belagola Kshettra' having heard a good deal about the god Gommatesvara (18 �bilu� high ). He repaired the ruined temples and among other ceremonies had that of sprinkling the god performed. He appointed siddhacharya as Guru of the Matha, to conduct the daily , monthly, annual and other processions. He established in the Matha a Chattram

* for English translation of '' Sthala-purana�� , vide copt. J.S.F, Mackenzie; '' sravana Belagola'', Indiam Antiquary, vol. II May 1873, pp129-133. Where food, medicine, and education were provided for pilgrims�For this purpose certain villages, giving an annual revenue of 1,96,000 pagodas, were made over to the temple.��

On the same lines in a kannada work � Rajavali-kathe�, witten by Deva-Chandra in 1838 A.D.,the old storly is repeated, with variations in detail .It states Chamunda �Raya was a feudatory chief of king Rajamalla. His mother learnt from Adi-purana, when this work was being read to her, that in Podanapura, there was an image of Bahubali Thereupon she set out with her son to see to this image .But on her way on the hill where Bhadrabahu Svami died, she dreamt one night that Padmavati appeared to her and said that there is an image of Bahubali on that very hill , covered by stones , which was for merly worshipped by Rama aod Ravana and also by the latter�s wife Mandodari . On the next morning an arrow was shot and the image of Bahubali became visible.

The Kannada poetic composition '' Munivamsabhyudaya' of Chidananda-Kavi written in 1680 A.D. also refers to god Rama in this connection and furnishes the information that Rama and sita brought the images of Gommta and Parsva form Lanka and were worshipping them respectively on the larger and the smaller hills of Sravana-Belagoa. It further states that unable to lift these images up, they left them there and went their way.

Thus, in the legendary accounts of the Jainas, we find that Chamunada- Raya was not the peron who caused the image of Bahubali to be made, but that there was already an image of Bahubali on the hill at Sravana-Belagola which he established and consecrated in the proper way .The high priest at sravana Belagola had also stated, according to these traditions, that ''in ancient times, an image of Bahubali was at this place, self formed form earth, under the shape of Gomata Isvara Svami which Ravana,the monarch of the Rakshasas, worshipped to obtain happiness��,


The traditional accounts about the Bahubali image maintain that the image was already there on the Vindhyagiri hill at sravana �Belagola from ancient times in a concealed form, that Chamunda �Raya came to know about it about it through divine suggestion and that Chamunda �Raya merely discovered the image and started its worship. But thsee legendary contentions cannot be accepted as true, because in the book concerned we find only a collection of traditions handed down form mouth to mouth ,with variations arising from such a course. Again , the detes of many works containing these traditions cannot be definitely ascertained .But from their style it can be inferred that they were composed long after the establishment of the Bahubali image and that they were written in the form of narrating stories of a ficitional nature. For example, it is stated that the book 'Rajavali �kathe' is '' a compendium of Jaina history legends and chronogy, drawn up early in the present century for Deviramma, a lady of Mysore royal family , by Devachandra of the Jaina establishment at Maleyur'' . (vide Lewis Rice : '' Inscription at shravana �Belogola�� (1889), Introduction , page3). Similarly, the work � Sthala-purana� was intended merely to be a collection of legends and fables. To mention one among many inaccuracres in �Sthalapurana� we may refer to the state mnet that ''Chamunda �Raya was the king of Dakshina Madura and the descendent of Jaina Kshtri Panda��, The historical fact is that Chamunda-Raya was only the minister and not the king .

It is obvious that in these works chamunda- Raya has been depicted as merely the discoverer of the image ,since the writers of these works desired to ascribe to the image a greater antiquity, causing the image to be considered as an object of deeper veneration.

But this major contention of these traditional accounts that Chamunda-Raya discovered the ancient Bahubali colossus at Sravana-Belagola cannot be accepted as historical truth in the absence of other kinds of evidence of a reliable nature. On the contrary there is ample historical evidence based on inscriptions, literary works and other reliable sources to prove that Chamunda �Raya did not discover but did install the Bahubals colossus. This historical fact can be seen form the following records:

Inscription No. 234 : This lengthy inscription , dated 1180 A.D. is carved on a stone on the left of the Boppana which categorically states that '' Chamunda �Raya resolved to erect such an image himselif and with great effort succeded in getting this statue and set up.''