CHAPTER  VIII

 

GRAND  FESTIVAL  OF  SRAVANA-BELAGOLA

 

1.‘MAHAMASTAKABHISHEKA’CEREMONY

 

          The great general Chamunda-Raya not only installed the colossal image of Gommatesvara on the top of the Vindhyagiri hill at Sravana-Belagola but also performed the Pratishthpana Mahotsava i.e., the great ceremony of consecration of the image, on Sunday, the 13th of March, 981 A.D, in accordance with the detailed rituals prescribed in jaina scriptures for the purpose and on a very grand scale befitting both the huge size of the image and the extermely high status of the Yajamana i.e., the host.  As a part of the sacred ritual the cremony of Panchamritabhisheka i.e., bathing of the image with five liquids, viz milk, curds, ghee or orcharified butter, saffron and water, which is also known as Mastakabhisheka, i.e., the head-anointing ceremony, was performed with grandeur, dignity and solemnity in keeping with the extra-ordinary nature of the occaison. Later on this festival of performing Mastakabhisheka was continued and it came to be termed as Mahamastakabhisheka’, i.e., the great head-anointing ceremony, since it came to be performed only at certain conjunctions of the heavenly bodies at intervals of several years usually 10 to 15 years, and at a great cost.  The huge proportions of the graceful colossus, whose head is anointed on the particular day after an interval of 10 to 15 years by thousands of priests and pilgrims, gives to the ritual an impressive character.  Hence the Mahamastakabhisheka ceremony is popularly known as the “Grand Festival of Sravana-Belagola”.

 

          This festival beings about a fortnight earlier and terminates after a fortnight of the ‘Mahamastakabhisheka’.  Between these two dates there are various festivals and ‘pujas, i.e., worships.  Generally more than two-hundred-thousand pilgrims of Jain religion and thousands of tourists of other religions gather at the village of Sravana-Belagola to participate and to withness the ‘Mahamastakabhisheka’ ceremony.  Since all the participants and the spectators are in the festive religious mood and in their holiday attire, the entire festival becomes a colourful spectacle.

 

          On the morning of the ‘Mahamastakabhisheka’ day, the court-yard before the colossus is strewn with layers of fresh paddy.   On this green carpet, one thousand-and-eight colouredKalasas’, i.e., pots filled with sacred water are arranged in rows, sticking out from the mouth of each, a coconut with cremonial dressing of mango leaves fastened with coloured sacred twine.  Out of these 1008 pots, 900 pots are used for the first anointing, 103 pots for the second, and only     5 pots for the third and last anointing.

 

          When ceremony is due to start, a number of Jaina priests take up their positions on the high scaffoldings specially prepared out of strong wooden pillars for the purpose.  Each priest holds in his hands one ‘Kalasa’ i.e., a pot brimming over with milk, and one pot with ghee.  At a signal of the officiating dignitory, they start the anointing or bath by pouring potfuls of milk over the image.  Then ghee follows.

 

          After these preliminary baths or anointings, Gommatesvara is worshipped till noon by the Jaina priests.  At the stroke of 1 o’clock, the great ‘Mahamastakabhisheka’ begins.  The former Maharajas of Mysore state had always been the greatest patrons of this colossal image of Gommatesvara, since its installation at Sravana-Belagola a part of their Kingdom, and it is they who had the hereditary privilege of performing the first ‘puja’ or worship of the image on this auspicious occasion.

 

          As the appointed hour draws near, the thousand priests climb to their places on the scaffolding with pots of water.  Suitable music is played by temple musicians while the priests chant hymns and prayers from Jaina sacred texts.  Meanwhile the vast assembly of the pilgrims shout orations in praise of Gommatesvara.  Then at the bidding of the Master of the Ceremony, the thousand pots of water are emptied over the image.

 

          Following these baths 15 other offerings are showered on Gommatesvara image in the following order :

 

          1. Water             2. Cocoanut       3. Plantains

          4. Jaggery                    5. Ghee               6. Sugar

          7. Almonds                   8. Dates              9. Poppy-seeds

          10. Milk              11. Curds            12. Sandal

          13. Gold Flowers        14. Silver Flowers       15. Silver coins.

 

          This kind of ‘Mahamastakabhisheka’ ceremony was performed on the occasion of the Consecration of the Image on Sunday, the 13th of March, 981 A.D.  by General Chamunda-Raya, who was the ‘Yajamana’, i.e., the host, of the grand ceremony as he had caused that image to be installed at great cost.  In connection with this first ‘Mahamastakabhisheka’ ceremony performed on a very grand scale by Chamunda-Raya, there is a legend which describes how the pride of Chamunda-Raya, for installing such a huge image was humbled by a devoted old lady named ‘Gullakayaji’,  The story is as follows :

 

          Chamunda-Raya, after having established the worship of this image, became proud and elated, at placing this God by his own authority at so vast an expense of money and labour.  Soon after this, when he performed in honour of the God the ceremony of ‘Panchmritabhisheka’, i.e., bathing the image with five liquids, vast quantities of these things were expended in many hundred pots; but, through the wonderful power of the God, the liquid descended not lower than the navel, to check the pride and vanity of the worshipper, Chamunda-Raya, not knowing the cause, was filled with grief that his intention was frustrated of bathing the image completely with this ablution.  While he was in this situation, the celestal nymph ‘Padmavati’ by order of the God, having transformed herself into the likeness of an aged poor woman, appeared, holding in her hand the five ‘amritas’, i.e., liquids, in a ‘Beliya Gola’ (or small silver pot) for bothing the statue; and signified her intention to Chamunda-Raya, who laughed at the at the absurdity of this proposal, of accomplishing what had not been in his power to effect.  Out of curiosity, however, he permitted her to attempt it, when, to the great surprise of the beholders, she bathed the image with the liquid brought in the little silver vase.  Chamunda-Raya, repenting his sinful arrogance, performed a second time,  with profound respect, his ablution, on which they formely wasted so much valuable liquids, and bathed completely the body of the image.  From that time this place is named after the ‘Beliya Gola’ i.e., the silver vase, which was held in Padmavati’s hand.  (vide ‘Asiatic Researches’, vol. IX, page 266).

 

          2. CEREMONIES  TO  THE  END  OF  THE  19TH  CENTURY

                            

          Written records are available to establish the ‘Mahamastakabhisheka’ ceremonies having taken place in the following years upto the end of the 19th century :

 

          1. In 1398 A.D. : The earliest reference to ‘Mahamastakabhisheka’ is found in inscription No. 254 dated 1398 A.D. Which also states that one Panditarya did perform seven ‘Mahamastakabhisheka’ like this prior to it.

 

          2. In 1612 A.D. : The poet Panchabana refers to an anointment caused to be performed by one Santi Varni in the year 1612 A.D.

 

          3. In 1659 A.D. : Performed by His Highness Shri Maharaja Dodda Devaraja Wodeyar Bahadur of Mysore.

 

          4. In 1677 A.D. : Poet Anantakavei refers to the anointment ceremony conducted at the expense of Visalaksha-Pandita, the Jaina minister of the Mysore King Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar in 1677 A.D.

 

          5. In 1800 A.D. : Performed By His Highness the Maharaja Mummadi Krishna-Raja Wodeyar (III) Bahadur of Mysore.

 

          6. In 1825 A.D. : Mentioned by Pandita Santi-Raja of its being performed by Mysore King Krishna-Raja Wodeyar (III) in about 1825 A.D.

 

          7. In 1827 A.D. : In inscription No. 223, a specific reference has been made to a similar ceremony performed in 1827 A.D.

 

          8. In 1871 A.D. : Capt. J.S.F. Mackenzie of Mysore Commission mentions that “Once in twenty years the great ceremony of washing the god is performed.  The last occasion was in the early part of June, 1871. (vide ‘Indian Antiquary’, Vol. II, May, 1873, page. 129).

 

          9. In 1887 A.D. : Sri Laxmi-Sena Bhattaraka Swami of Kolhapur Matha performed the ‘Mahamastakabhisheka’ on the 14th of March 1887 A.D.  It is said that this Laxmi-Sena Bhattaraka spent Rs. 30,000 for this purpose.  The following account of the ceremony is taken from the May 1887 issue of the journal ‘Harvest Field’ :

 

          The 14th of March 1887 was the day of anointing for the statue of Gommatesvara.  It was a great day in anticipation of which 20,000 pigrims gathered there from all parts of India.  There were Bengalis, there were Gujaratis and there were Tamil people in great numbers.  Some arrived a full month before the time and the stream continued to flow until the afternoon of the day of the great festival.  For a whole month there was daily worship in all the temples, and ‘pada-puja’ or worship of the feet of the great idol besides.  On the great day, the 14th of March, 1887, people began to ascend the hill even before dawn in the hope of securing good places from which to see everything.  Among them were large numbers of women and girls in very bright attire, carrying with them brass or earthen pots.  By 10 o’clock all available space in the temple enclosure was filled.  Opposite the idol an area of 40 square feet was streamed with bright yellow paddy, on which were placed 1,000 gaily painted earthenware pots, filled with sacred water, covered with cocoanuts and adorned with mango leaves.  Above the image was a scaffolding, on which stood several priests, each having at hand pots filled with milk, ghee and such like things. At a signal from the kolhapur Swami, the master of the ceremonies, the contents of these vessels were poured simultaneously over the head of the idol.  This was a sort of preliminary bath, but the  grand bath took place at 2 o’clock.  Amid the great dissonance of many instruments the thousand pots already mentioned were lifted as if by magic from the reserved area to the scaffolding and all their contents poured over the image, the priests meanwhile chanting texts from the sacred books.  Evidently the people were much impressed.  There were mingled cries of “Jai Jai Maharaja” and Ahaha, ‘ahaha’, the distinctive exclamations of Northern and Southern Indians to mark their wonder and approval.  In the final anointing fifteen different substances were used , namely : (1) water, (2) cocoanut meal, (3) Plantains, (4) Jaggery, (5) Ghee,        (6) Sugar, (7) Almonds, (8) Date, (9) Poppy Seeds, (10) Milk, (11) Curds,          (12) Sandal, (13) Gold Flowers, (14) Silver Flowers, and (15) Silver Coins.  With the gold and silver flowers there were mixed nine varieties of precious gems, and silver coins to the amount of Rs. 500/- completed the offering”.

 

          10. In 1900 A.D. : There is a reference in the ‘Indian Antiquary’ to the effect that in 1900 A. D. the ‘Mahamastakabhisheka’ ceremony was performed.

 

                                      3. CEREMONIES  IN  THE  20TH  CENTURY

 

          In the present twentieth century the ‘Mahamastakabhisheka’ ceremonies ware held on the following days :

 

(1) the 30th of March, 1910,

(2) the 15th of March, 1925

(3) the 26th of February, 1940

(4) the 5th of March, 1953 and

(5) the 30th of March, 1967.

 

          The iastMahamastakabhisheka’ ceremony has been held on the 22nd of February 1981 A.D.  It would be worth while to note the important features of these six ceromonies.

 

          1. On the 30th of March 1910 A. D. : There was a grand head anointing ceremony on the 30th of March, 1910 A. D.  On this occasion an interesting event took place, that is, an aerial post was tried by one Mr. G.F. Edwards who sent a message regarding the ‘puja’ i.e., worship, by a homing pigeon which was received by the ‘Madra Mail’, Newspaper office at Madras within three hours and forty minutes.

 

          His Highness Krishna-Rajendra Wodeyar, the King of Mysore, attended the ceremony and also performed the ‘puja’ of Gommatesvara.

 

          This ‘Mahamastakabhisheka’ ceremony proved a great success from the social point of view.  On this occasion for the first time a special session of the All-India Digambara Jaina Mahasabha was held on a large scale and through the various resolutions passed a definite and new direction to social reforms was given to the society.  Among these resolutions the most important was about the scheme sponsored Seth Manikchand Hirachand Zaveri, J.P. of Bombay and his ‘guru’ Brahmachari Shitalaprasadaji regarding the imparting of religious education along with the Western of English education to Jaina student and for this specific purpose establishing Jaina Boarding schools at various Jaina centres in India.  Accordingly new Jaina Boarding schools were opened at Ahmedabad, Allahabad, Meerut Belagum, Sangli, Poona and othe important places in India and a new area in education among the Jainas was ushered in.  Such Jaina Boarding schools were already established at Bombay, Sholapur, Surat, Kolhapur and Hubli.

 

          2. On the 15th of March, 1925 A. D. : After the lapse of a decade and a half, very grand ‘Mahamastakabhisheka’ was performed on the 15th of March, 1925 A.D.  Months before this date a ‘Puja-Committee’ was formed with his Holiness Charukirti Bhattaraka of Jaina Matha at Sravana-Belagola as the President and Mr. M.L. Vardhamaniah of Mysore as the Secretary.  On this occasion Mr. Vardhamaniah initiated a new policy of propaganda for involving large number of Jainas in the festival and accordingly he toured all over India and invited all ranks of Jainas to participate in the festival.  As a result, an intense attraction was created, for the first time among the comman people to undertake a pilgrimage to Sravana-Belagola on this occasion.

 

          The great festival began on the 27th of February, 1925 A.D. with different preliminary ceremonies and culminated in the grand ‘Mahamastakabhisheka’ ceremony on the 15th March, 1925 A.D.  Approximately 30,000 people were present for this grand ceremony.  His Highness Krishna-Rajendra Wodeyar, the Maharaja of Mysore, walked up the hill bare-footed, witnessed the entire anointment ceremony, personally performed the ‘puja’ offered donations of Rs. 5000/- to the ‘Abhisheka Fund’ and Rs. 500/- to the Jaina Matha and showed personal regard by offering ‘namaskara’ to His Holiness Charukirti Bhattaraka, the head pontiff of Sravana-Belagola.

 

          The most remarkable event of this grand festival was the memorable speech delivered by His Highness Krishna-Rajendra-Wodeyar, the Maharaja of Mysore, as the President of the All-India Digambara Jaina Conference on the 14th of March, 1925.  On this occasion an address was presented on behalf of the Jaina community in India to His Highness Krishna-Rajendra-Wodeyar by Shri M.R. Vardhamaniah under the presidentship of Sir Sarupachandaji Hukumachandaji of Indore.  While welcoming the Jaina community at large to the land of Mysore symbolighing Gommata’s spiritual empire, the Maharaja paid  a warm tribute to the past Jaina poets and pandits who made a singular contribution to Kannada literature in its initial stages.  The entire speech of the Maharaja was saturated with a sense of high gratitude to the selfless services of Jaina authors which stand unparalleled in the history of Jainas and Jainism in India.  The speech was full of love for Jainism, Sravana-Belagola, and Jaina community alike.  To quote from the speech of the Maharaja :

 

          “It gives me great pleasure to be with you on a solemn and auspieious occasion like the present when you have assembled in such large numbers from all parts of India for a holy purpose.

 

          “In welcoming this All-India gathering of the Jainas to the land of Mysore.  I cannot forget that this land to them is a land of pilgrimage, consecrated by some of the holiest traditions and tenderest memories of their faith.  This picturesque rock on an elevated tableland was, as a thousand years’ old tradition has it. The scene where the venerable Bhagwan Shrutakevali Bhadrabahu leading the first migration of the Jainas to the Southern Peninsula broke his journey and took up his abode, and tradition still points to the cave in which he passed away in Sallekhana.  It was in this holy land, the Dakshina Kashi, the Benaras of the South, that as the same tradition has it, the Mauryan Emperor Chandragupta, the fame of whose prowess turned away the invincible hosts of Alexander the Great, doffing the Emperor’s for the ascetic’s robe, nursed his master, the Shrutakevali, in his last moments and worshipped his footprints, since that day, many a royal prince of the South and many a holy monk of the North have vowed themselves to death by the rite of sallekhana.

 

          “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

 


                                      Total :         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 ‘pujaShri 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.

 

          In keeping with the established practice, the 1008 Gold and Silver Kalasas meant for the ‘Mahamastakabhisheka’ ceremony were made available to the devotees through public auction and sale.  The first Gold Kalasa of great honour was taken in public auction for Rs. 47,500 (as against Rs. 18,001/- and Rs. 8,001/- on the preceding two occasions in 1953 and 1940, by Shri N.K. Jinachandran of Kalapatta in Kerala.

 

          The preliminaries of the ‘Mahamastakabhisheka’ ceremony commenced by 15th March, 1967 and the great ‘Mahamastakabhisheka’ was conducted in the ceremonious manner on 30th March, 1967 in the presence of Shri. S. Nijalingappa, the then Chief Minister of Mysore, Dr. K.L. Shrimali, the then Vice-Chancellor of Mysore University, the Jaina ascetics and the heads of the Jaina Mathas.  Shri. N.K. Jinachandran performed the first ‘puja’ and poured the first Kalasa of the ‘Abhisheka’ as he had offered the highest bid.  The remaining devotees who had purchased the Kalasas performed ‘Abhisheka’ in their turn.  The entire ceremonies on this day were witnessed by a huge gathering which was estimated at about 5 lakhs.

 

          The most spectacular and memorable feature of the celebrations on the 30th of March, 1967 was ‘Akasa Pushpavrushi’, i.e., the showering of flowers on the Image of Bahubali from the sky.  This time for the purpose of showering flowers on the Image from the sky a novel and picturesque arrangement was made by specially procuring a helicopter from the Indian Air Force.  This helicopter appeared on the scene at 10.30 A.M., came near the Image, remained stationary at about 20 feet above the 57 feet high Image of Bahubali and showered multi coloured flowers on the Image.  Then the helicopter performed three ‘Pradakshinas’, i.e., it moved three times in a circle round the Image as a mark of profound devotion, again remained stationary above the Image in a specific position and once more showered the multicoloured flowers along with huge quantities of red vermillion and saffron colour powder in succession.  As these coloured flowers and powders accurately fell on the colossal Image from the air, the entire gathering of about 5 lakhs was extremely thrilled with utmost joy and mental satisfaction and spontaneously gave expression to its feelings of reverence by loud shouts of ‘Shri Bahubali Bhagawan Ki Jai’, i.e., ‘victory to Lord Bahubali’.  This ‘Akasa Pushpavrushti’ was the most distinctive and unique event in the 1000 years history of ‘Mahamastakabhisheka’ celebrations.  It was indeed a sight for the gods to see and the angels to admire.

 

          For the first the Government of India took a film of the entire ‘Mahamastakabhisheka’ celebrations and this Indian News Reel film No. G. 65 was shown all over India from 7th to 13th April 1967.  Similarly, some American and other foreign companies televised the different aspects of the ‘Mahamastakabhisheka’ celebrations in their countries.

 

          In accordance with the established practice, the ‘All India Digambara Jaina Mahasabha’ held its 72nd session on 31st March, and 1st April, 1967.  In his inaugural speech, Dr. K.L. Shrimali, the former Minister for Education, Government of India and the then Vice-Chancellor of Mysore University, made a fervent plea for the scientific study of different aspects of Jainology for establishing “Jaina Chairs” in different Universities for this purpose.  It was also resolved in the session to organise a seminar of the heads of prominent Jaina educational institutions in India so as to evolve a uniform educational policy and programme among the Jainas.  On the same lines, special sessions of ‘Siddhanta Samrakshini Sabha’, ‘All India Mahila Parishad”, and “All India Digambara Jain Tirthkshetra Committee, Bombay’ were also held.

 

          6. On the 22nd of February, 1981 A.D. : The programme of the ‘Mahamastakabhisheka’ festival has been held in February-March, 1981.  The festival began from 9th February, 1981 and continued upto the 20th of March, 1981.  The great ‘Abhisheka’ ceremony has taken place on 22nd February, 1981.  An extra ordinary special signi ficance of historical nature has been attached to this ceremony as it marks the 1000th anniversary of the consecration of the Image of Bahubali, which was performed on Sunday 13th March, 981 A.D. under the leadership of Military General and Chief Minister Chamunda-Raya who had installed this colossal image on the top of the Vindhyagiri hill at Sravana-Belagola.  Obviously the preparations for the festival were made on an unprecedented grand scale in every respect.  For this purpose a high power Committee termed as “Bhagwan Bahubali Pratishthapana Sahasrabdi and ‘Mahamastakabhisheka’ Committee” was constituted under the Chairmanship of the most senior and respected Jaina leader Sahu Shriyans Prasand Jain of Bombay who is also the founder-President of All-India Digambara Jaina Mahasamiti, Delhi.  Further, for looking after the religious affairs of the festival the Government of Karnataka, as per established practice, had appointed a ‘Religious Committee’ with His Holiness Charukirti Bhattaraka Swami of Jaina Matha, Sravana-Belagola as its Chairman and Seth Lalchand Hirachand of Bombay (who is the President of ‘All-India Digambara Jaina Tirtha Kshetra Committee, Bombay) as its Vice-Chairman.  The Government of Karnataka, who have been managing such festivals from 1940 onwards, have been taking particular interest in this historic festival and as such have sanctioned five crores of rupees for arranging these celebrations and have out several improvements of permanent nature at Sravana-Belagola.  ‘The General Committee’ appointed by the Government of Karnataka had been looking after all these works of permanent constructions and development.

 

          The entire work of planning and directing the schemes of 1000th Image Consecration Anniversary Celebrations’ and of ‘Mahamastakabhisheka’ Ceremony was carried out under the superb guidance and personal supervision of the world renowned Jaina saint Elacharya Munishree Vidyanand Maharaj, who had been specially invited for these memorable celebrations by the Chief Minister of Karnataka in view of the fact that the Munishree was the main architect behind the successful completion of the ‘Bhagwan Mahavira 2500th Nirvan Mahotsava was celebrations organised throughout the world during the year 1974-75A.D. As a result, this historic festival of world-importance was arranged on a huge scale and for the first time the Prime Minister of India, Smt. Indira Gandhi, along with other Central Ministers and Chief Ministers of States, attended the celebrations on 21st Feb, 1981 and showered flowers from the helicopter on Bhagwan Bahubali.  It was really a very happy coincidence of history that just as Siddhanta Chakravarti Acharya Nemichandra, who gave inspiration to his favourite disciple Chamunda-Raya to install the colossal image of Bahubali, guided the ‘Praishthhapana Mahotsava’, i.e., the consecration ceremony, of the Image of Bahubali held on the 13th of March, 981 A.D., similarly Siddhanta-Chakravarti Elacharya Munishree Vidyanand Maharaj, who has been effectively spreading to the entire world the message of non-violence, self-control, renunciation and universal peace preached by Bahubali, i.e., has guided the ‘Pratishthapana Sahasrabdi Mahotsava’, the Consecration’s 1000th Anniversary Ceremony, of the Image of Bahubali held on the 22nd of February, 1981 A.D.

 

          In accordance with the time honoured traditional, practice, the 1008 ‘Kalasas’ meant for the ‘Mahamastakabhisheka’ ceremony were made available to the devotees through sale at fixed prices.  The 1008 Kalasas had been divided into eight different categories and had been priced at different rates as follows :

 


 Serial        Type of Kalasa           Number of                   Amount to be paid for

   No.                                                  Kalasas                 each Kalasa Rs.

 


  1.              Satabdi Kalasa               10                              1,00,000/-

  2.              Divya Kalasa                   4                                  50,000/-

  3.              Ratna Kalasa                   4                                  25,000/-

  4.              Suvarna Kalasa                     200                                 11,000/-

  5.              Rajat Kalasa                 200                                   5,000/-

  6.              Tamra Kalasa               140                                   2,500/-

  7.              Kasya Kalasa               200                                   1,000/-

  8.              Gullikay Ajgi Kalasa    250                                      500/-

 


                                                          1,008        

 

 


          All the categories of Kalasas had been purchased by the devotees.  In this way the sale of Kalasas created a record in the history of No. ‘Mahamastakabhisheka’ festivals arranged during the last 1000 years.

 

          Further, under the enlightened and broad lroad leadership of Elacharya Munishree Vidyanand Maharaj, the most novel and impressive scheme of “Jana-mangala, Maha-Kalasa Pravartana” was launched.  In a way, it marked the beginning of the ‘Bahubali Pratishthapana Sahasrabdi Mahotsava’, i.e., the 1000th Anniversary Celebrations of the Consecration of the Image of Bahaubali, held on the 22nd February, 1981, at Sravana-Belagola According to this scheme, an eight feet high holy copper urn was placed on a decorated chariot which started its travel from Delhi and passing through 110 major cities and towns of the country reached the destination of Sravana-Belagola on the 20th of February, 1981.  This ‘Jana-mangala Maha-Kalasa’ was given a ceremonial sendoff by Smt. Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India on the 29th of September, 1980, at Red Fort grounds in Delhi.  This ‘Holy Urn’ was accompanied by large groups of Jaina pilgrims, who, on the way, went on spreading the message of humainty, love and peace of Lord Bahubali,. Who was the symbol of Indian culture which believed in tolerance, non-violence and national integration.

 

 

 

                                                BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

(A)   BOOKS  IN  ENGLISH

 

          Bsham, A.L                                    : The Wonder That Was India (Sidgwick &

                                                            Jackson, London, 1954).

 

          Brown, Percy                        : Indian Architecture (Buddhist and Hindu)

                                                            (Taraporevala, Bombay, 1965)

 

          Coomaraswamy, A.K.                  : History of Indian and Indonesian Art

                                                            (Dover Publications, New York, 1965)

 

          Derrett, J.D.M.                     : The Hoysals : A Medieval Indian Royal

                                                            Family.  (Oxford Univ. Press. Madras,

                                                            1957)

 

          Desai, P.B.                                      : Jainism in South India and Some Jaina

                                                            Epigraphis. (Jain Sanskriti Samrakshak

                                                            Sangha, Solapur, 1957)

 

          Fergusson, James                          : History of Indian and Eastern Architecture,

                                                            Vols. I & II. (John Murray. London, 1910)

 

          Fiseher, Klaus                      : Caves and Temple of the Jains. (World

                                                            Jain Mission, Aliganj, 1957)

 

          Ghosh, A. (Ed)                      : Jaina Arts and Architecture, Vols. I to III

                                                            (Bharatiya Jnanapith, New Delhi, 1974.)

 

          Jain, Jyoti Prasad                          : The Jaina Sources of the History of

                                                            Ancient India (Munshi Ram, Delhi, 1964)

 

          Jain, Kamta Prasad            : The Religion of Tirthankaras (World Jain

                                                            Mission, Aliganj, 1964)

 

          Jindal, K.B.                                    : The Prefaces (Jindal, Calcutta, 1958)

 

          Mahamastakabhisheka                : Souvenir, 1953

                                                            (Poornima Publications, Bengalore, 1953).

 

          Majumdar, R.C. (Ed).                   : The History and Culture of the Indian

                                                            People, Vol. II. (Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan,

                                                            Bombay, 1951)

 

          Mallinath, C.S                       : Glory of Gommateshvara. (Mercury

                                                            Publishing, Madras, 1953)

 

          Mookarji, Radha Kumud             : Ancient India (Indian Press, Allahabad,

                                                            1956).

                             -do-                      : Chandragupta Maurya and His Times.

                                                            (Motilal Banarasidas, Delhi, 1966).

 

          Murty, H.V.S. and                         : A History of Karnataka (S.Chand, New

            Ramkrishanan, R                           Delhi, 1978)

 

          Narasimhachar, R.               : Epigraphia Carnatica, Vol. II. Inscriptions

                                                            at Shravana-Belagola. (Mysore Govt. 

                                                            Press, Bangalore, 1923)

 

          Ramchandran, T.N.             : Jaina Monuments of  India (Vira Shasana

                                                            Sangh, Calcutta, 1944)

 

          Ramchandra Rao, S.K.                : Jainism in South India (Oriental Research

                                                            Trust, Madras, 1970)

 

          Report on the Working                 : Mahamastakabhisheka Ceremony of Shri

                   Of the                             Gommateshvar Swami at Sravana-Belagola 

                                                            held on 5th March, 1953.

                                                            (Govt. Press, Bangalore, 1961).

 

          Rice, Lewis, B.                      : Inscriptions at Shravana Belagola

                                                           (Archaeological Deptt.,  Mysore, 1889).

                   -do-                               : Mysore and Coorg from the Inscriptions

                                                            (Archibald Constable, London, 1909).

 

          Saletore, B.A.                       : Medieval Jainism (Karnataka Publishing

                                                            House, Bombay, 1938)

 

          Sangave, V.A.                       : Jaina Community-A Social Survey

                                                           (Second Edition) (Popular Prakashan,

                                                            Bombay, 1980)

 

          Sastri, K.A.                                     : Age of the Nandas and Mauryas

          Nilakanta (Ed.)                     (Motilal Banarasidas, Banaras, 1952)

 

          Shah, U.P. and                      : Aspects of Jaina Art and Architecture.

          Dhaky, M.A. (Ed.)                         (Gujarat Government, Ahmedabad, 1975)

 

          Sharma, S.R.                         : Jainism and Karnataka Culture (Karnataka

                                                           Historical Research Society, Dharwar,

                                                            1940)

 

          Sivaramamurti, C                          : Indian Sculpture (Allied Publishers,

                                                            Bombay, 1961)

                   -do-                               : The Art of India (H.N. Abrams. New York,

                                                            1977)

 

          Smith, Vincent, A                          : History of India, (Oxford Univ., 1923)

                   -do-                                 The Early History of India, (Fourth

                                                            Edition) (Oxford Univ. 1957).

 

          Theodore de Bary (Ed.)                : Sources of Indian Tradition (Columbia

                                                            Univ., New York, 1958)

 

          Workman, W.H.                             : Through Town and Jungle (London, 1904)

 

         

 

                                      (B)  BOOKS  IN  HINDI

 

Divakara, S.C.                      : Vishvatirtha Sramanavelagola (All India

                                                 Dig. Jain Tirthakshetra Committee,

                                                            Bombay, 1967)

 

          Jain, Hira Lal                       : Jaina Silalekha Sangraha, (Manikchand,

                                                            Dig, Jain Granthamala, Bombay, 1928)

 

          Jain Jyoti Prasad                           : Pramukha Aitihasik Jaina Purusha aura

                                                           Mahilayen.  (Bharatiya Jnanapith, New 

                                                            Delhi, 1975)

 

          Jain, Lakmi Chandra          : Antardvandon ke Para : Gommateshvara

                                                            Bahubali (Bharatiya Jnanapith, New Delhi,

                                                            1979),

 

          Jain, Raja Krishna                        : Sravana-Belagola Aur Dakshina-ke Anya

                                                            Jaina Tirth (Viraseva Mandir, Delhi, 1953)

 

          Jain, Surendra Nath            : Jaina Badri-ke Bahubali Tatha Dakshina-

                                                           ke Anya Jaina Tirtha (Jain Publicity

                                                            Bureau, Bombay, 1953)

 

 

                                                          (C)  JOURNALS

 

          Indian  Antiquary

          Jaina Antiquary

          Jaina Gazette

          Voice of Ahimsa

          Jaina Siddhanta Bhaskara (Hindi)

          Sammati (Marathi)

 

 

                            

 

 

          BY  THE  SAME  AUTHOR

 

                   * Jaina Community – A Social Survey

                             (Second Edition, 1980)

 

                   * Life and Legacy of Mahavira – A Social Study

                             (First Edition, 1975)

 

                   * History of Dakshina Bharat Jaina Sabha

                             (First Edition, 1976)

 

                   * Story of Mahavira

                             (First Edition, 1963)

 

                   * Outlines of Jainism

                             (Revised Edition, 1975)

 

                   * Sociology

                             (Third Edition, 1972)

 

                   * Sociology (Kannada Translation)

                             (First Edition, 1971)

 

                   * Social Authropology (In Marathi)                       

                             (Second Edition, 1976)

 

                   * Social Authropology (Gujarati Translation)

                             ( First Edition, 1971)

 

                   * Primitive Social Life (In Marathi)

                             (Second Edition, 1978)

 

                    * Introduction to Sociology (In Marathi)

                             (Second Edition, 1975)

 

                   * Social Problems in India (In Marathi)

                             (First Edition, 1979)

 

                   * Elacharya Munishree Vidyanand (In Marathi)

                             (First Edition, 1980)