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Gommateshwara Bhagawan Sri Bahubali Swamy Mahamasthakabhisheka Mahotsava - 2006


Two Jains Initiated As Ascetics At Shravanabelagola

Dharmic Rites Conclude At Shravanabelagola

Justice Venkatachalaiah At Shravanabelagola





27-year old Brahmachari Mahendra Shah (in saffron loincloth) and 71-year old Brahmacharini Roopavathi Chougle (in white saree on left) being initiated as Kshullak Hithendra Sagar and Kshullika Heerakmathi Mataji by Acharaya 108 Vardhamana Sagar Muni Maharaj in the presence of HH Jagadguru Karmayogi Swasthishri Charukeerthi Bhattaraka Swamiji and other monks at Chavundaraya Mantap in Shravanabelagola on Friday morning.

Shravanabelagola, Mar 10: Amidst dharmic fervour, two Digambar Jain Brahmacharis 27-year old Brahmachari Mahendra Shah and 71-year old Brahmacharini Roopavathi Chougle were initiated (deeksha) as Kshullak Hithendra Sagar Maharaj and Kshullika Heerakmathi Mataji respectively on Friday by Acharya 108 Vardhamana Sagar Munimaharaj in the presence of Acharya 108 Gunandi Munimaharaj, HH Jagadguru Karmayogi Swasthishri Charukeerthi Bhattaraka Swamiji, and other Jain monks and nuns.

 The day began early morning with venerated Jain monk Acharya 108 Vardhamana Sagar Munimaharaj, and other Acharyas and Arikas, performing Keshalonchana, the manual plucking of the hair on the head and the beard of Mahendra Shah and the hair on the head of Roopavathi Chougle, at Varani Bhavan inside the Mutt premises. Later, the duo was ceremoniously brought to the Bandara Basadi where they worshipped Sahastra Koota Jina Bimba after a holy bath, 'mangala snana'. The family members of both the ascetics were present through out the ceremony.

 Later, at Chavundaraya Mantap, the initiation process was finalized after the two requested that they be initiated and the gathering of Acharyas, monks and nuns accorded permission for the same along with those in the gathering and the family members of the two ascetics. Acharya 108 Vardhamana Sagar Munimaharaj sought performed initiation ceremony by first removing tufts of hair locks from the scalp of the duo amidst chanting of Jain hymns. After a brief ceremony that followed, Brahmachari Mahendra Shah removed his cloths and clad himself in a loincloth. His mother Sunita Jain received the cloths and all other adornments, before she along with her husband Sureshchandra Jain, daughter Kavalshree Jain and others handed the traditional symbols of a Jain monk, the 'pincchi' (a fan of peacock feathers) and 'kamandala' (the water carrier).

 Simultaneously, her son Udyakumar Chougle and other family members handed Brahmacharini Roopavathi Chougle her 'pincchi' and 'kamandala'. Brahmacharini Roopavathi Chougle was clad in sparkling white cloths, and the duo were given another set of their new dress code, a saffron loincloth for Brahmachari Mahendra Shah and a white sari and other addendums to Brahmacharini Roopavathi Chougle. With the initiation process thus complete, Acharya 108 Vardhamana Sagar named them Kshullak Hithendra Sagar and Kshullika Heerakmathi Mataji, and a roar of approval went up among the crowd.

Addressing the gathering Acharya 108 Vardhamana Sagar Munimaharaj and HH Jagadguru Karmayogi Swasthishri Charukeerthi Bhattaraka Swamiji complimented the family of two, especially the parents of Kshullak Hithendra Sagar, in allowing them to embark on this course to salvation despite the severe peer pressure they had to overcome while allowing the two ascetics to embark on the course they had decided for themselves.

Kshullak Hithendra Sagar, a M.A (Hindi) post graduate, hails from Bholi, Sawai Madhavpur near the Jain holy shrine Mahaveerji kshtra in Rajasthan. Acharya Vardhamana Sagar initiated Shah as a Brahmachari 1 years ago.

Kshullika Heerakmathi Mataji hails from Bhose Village in Sangli, Maharasthra and had been a Brahmacharini for eleven years. She had visited the Jain holy place of Kshikarji in Jharkhand five times and had arrived at Shravanabelagola for the Mahamasthakabhisheka from Belgaum by walk with Acharya Vardhamana Sagar's team. Wife of late Devappa Annappa Chougle, Brahmacharini Roopavathi Chougle's mother was also a nun, late Aarika Sri Parswamathi Mataji. Munishri Approvasagar had initiated Roopavathi Chougle as a Brahmacharini.


Shravanabelagola, Mar 14: The dharmic rites in connection with the Mahamastakabhisheka celebrations 2006 ended at the Digambar Jain Mutt here on Tuesday with the conclusion of the eight day Ashtanika Siddha Chakra pooja for world peace that began on March 7.

It maybe recalled here that the Mahamasthakabhisheka celebrations had commenced with a similar Ashtanika pooja that lasts eight days. The pooja, which concluded today evening with Acharya 108 Vardhamana Sagar Muni Maharaj and Acharya 108 Gunanandi Muni Maharaj among others addressing the devotees inside the Bandara Basadi after the Siddha Chakra pooja, marked the closure of dharmic rites in connection with the Mahamasthakabhisheka celeberations. HH Jagadguru Karmayogi Swasthishri Charukeerthi Bhattaraka Swamiji graced the occasion.

The Ashtanika pooja began with the Siddha chakra aradhana, and Ashtavidharchana and Vinyanjali later in the evening, to the Sahasra Koota Jina Bimba, encompassing all the 24 Teerthankaras. As a part of the pooja abhisheka, during the course of the pooja that lasted eight days, the deity was worshipped with items increasing daily by the multiples of eight. When the rituals ended today, the deity had received as many as 2,400 abhishekas with different materials.

 Acharya 108 Vardhamana Sagar Muni Maharaj speaking on the occasion said it was important for a devotee to turn his mind totally toward divinity whenever he or she performs a ritual or recites the name of a saint or deity in whom he believes lies the path to salvation.

 Acharya 108 Gunanandi Muni Maharaj, addressing the devotees explained that life of a human being is nothing by an eternal quest to become one with the eternal truth, the creator, who form or shape is beyond the grasp of man. "That is why we worship Bhagawan Bahubali, who has attained salvation and has left behind the path for attaining the same, for he has traveled that much more spiritual distance than we have," the Acharya said.


Shravanabelagola, April 16: When everybody expected him to go up the Vindhyagiri by 'doli', Karnataka Lok Ayukta Justice N Venkatachalaiah surprised everybody on Sunday when he climbed up the 620 steps to the sanctum of Bhagawan Bahubali with his family and Karnataka High Court Justice A C Kabin in tow.
Later, a visibly moved Justice Venkatachalaiah participated in the Mahamastakabhisheka celebrations of Bhagawan Bahubali and confessed that he forgot the world and was overcome by devotion when he performed the Abhisheka.
Speaking to media persons immediately after he performed the Abhisheka of the 57 ft giant monolith, Justice Venkatachalaiah described Bhagawan Bahubali as a great boon to humanity. "People who arrive here derive peace and later spread this message of peace to rest of the world. This is the message that is needed in the country today and we all should be grateful to Jagadguru Karmayogi Charukeerthi Bhattaraka Swamiji for continuing the great tradition in such a befitting manner", he said.
Continuing, Justice Venkatachalaiah said people of all faiths come and worship here. "I have derived immense peace today by performing the Abhisheka and I am personally grateful to the Swamiji for giving me the opportunity," he added. He descended the Hills only after witnessing the three hour long Abhisheka in full.
Asked to comment on the visit of so many eminent personalities including jurists to the Mahamastakabhisheka, Jagadguru Karmayogi Charukeerthi Bhattaraka Swamiji quipped that while Bhagawan Bahubali purveys the world from Shravanabelagola, the world comes to him. "It is what he embodies that makes him what he is and what brings devotees to his presence. The then Mysore Maharaja commented in 1953 that Bahubali stands in south facing north and brings devotees from different parts of the country to Karnataka, the land of Bahubali," he added.



Shravanabelagola, May 3: In a day long operation, a team of 13 artisans brought down the giant copper Chatratraya (or the umbrella) over the Bhagawan Bahubali monolith on Wednesday, heralded in the end of the Millennium's first Mahamastakabhisheka celebrations.
But, in the giant chatratraya and the three ft high Gold Kalasha atop it, which was brought down last Wednesday, lays a tale hitherto untold. For, it was for the first time in the history of the Mahamastakabhisheka that a Gold Kalasha was hoisted up the giant monolith and equally, it was for the first time that the Bhagawan received a Chatratraya of copper. During all the years hitherto, it was always a Chatratraya of cloth, twisting and tearing in the winds and never completely weathering the vagaries of time.
It was in last March that HH Jagadguru Karmayogi Charukeerthi Bhattaraka Swamiji sent a young M Shivaprasad of Mangalore up the Vindhyagiri hills saying that he needed a copper chatratraya and a Gold Kalasha atop the statue of Bhagawan Bahubali during the millennium's first Mahamastakabhisheka celebrations. The Swamiji wanted to eschew with the traditional cloth Chatratraya and tiny copper Kalasha.
"Though I do not hold a professional degree in this kind of work and have only carried out works for some of the leading temples, I never thought I would be able to carry out this work. When the Swamiji told me that I have to do an umbrella atop the hills and sent me to have a look, I went up armed with a 10 ft tape. But, when I stood before the giant monolith, I felt like a small fly. I came down with the thought I cannot do it and it is impossible on my part to have a umbrella done up for this giant. But the Swamiji instilled me with courage and egged me on and I decided to give it a go. Now, when I see it, I still cannot believe that my team and myself did it. It is like achieving something next to impossible," says Shivaprasad, while supervising the dismantling the Chatratraya, his labour of love.
 The decision taken, K P Padmanabh, architect from Bangalore and the Convener of Platform Committee and Shivaprasad were involved in the planning that followed. It was first planned to go for a three tier Chatratraya with the lowest being 10 feet wide, next 7 ft and the topmost 5ft with the Kalasha over it. This was planned in keeping with the parameters that were being followed all these years while making the cloth chatratraya. Then it was realized that such a chatratrya would not cover the shoulders of the Bhagawan, as it should. Plans were revised for a chatratraya with a first tier of 27 ft diameter to give complete coverage to the 58 ft statue. The second tier was to be 18 ft and the top most 9 ft with the three foot tall gold Kalasha weighing around 10 kgs with Rs.4 lakhs worth gold in it, perched atop. The new copper chatratraya was to be 41ft above the statue from its head, as against 10 or 15 ft when the cloth chatratraya was used.
A model was made using bamboo sticks and cloth at Mangalore and it was constantly reviewed and modified nearly eight times with Mr.Padmanabh visiting Mangalore on all these occasions. By November 05, the model was finalized keeping in mind the safety, look and the grandeur of it.

Then the manufacturing work began. First the skeletal stem structure in hollow iron pipes was readied keeping in mind the need to keep it as light in weight as possible. Then in order to adhere to the Vaastu parameters, measures were taken to ensure that the copper sheet did not touch the iron pipes by cushioning with wooden stripes on top.
Simultaneously, the work on the copper umbrella top began using as many as 92+3 sheets of copper all 4 ft by 4 ft in dimension. Another 22 sheets of the same dimension were readied for the various decorative hangings around the chatratraya. As many as 33 artisans led by M Shivaprasad worked round the clock for nearly three months to get the Chatratraya ready in time for the celebrations. Each copper sheet was screwed onto each other and different traditional figures numbering around 90 of them were embossed on it. These sheets were treated with chemicals to ensure that it stood the test of weather, be it hot or cold, ensuring that it did not corrode or come apart. Skilled artisans using only traditional equipments did all embossments manually by hand.
By January 15, the copper chatratraya and the skeletal structure were ready for being mounted. Mr.K P Padmanabh coordinated between the PWD engineers working on the scaffolding and Shivaprasad's team working on the chatratraya. Even while the chatratraya was being readied Mr. Padmanabh brought in the representatives of TOR Steel, the steel industry for safety and regulatory inspections of the chatratraya.
Necessary changes were brought in keeping the safety requirements necessitated by wind pressure and the load analysis in relation to the scaffolding, as the entire chatratraya was weighing three tones with the 27 ft chatratraya.

 However, as the scaffolding was still in the final stages, the team had to wait around two weeks. The team reachedShravanabelagola with the Chatratraya and the structure on January 27th. Meanwhile the formal inauguration of the celebrations by President A P J Abdul Kalam had begun on Jan 22. But, the work on the scaffolding was still in progress and hence, the Chatratraya was taken to the top on February 4. Simultaneously, the need for removing the air blocks of the Chatratraya for providing increased tenacity and safety was realized and work began on cutting holes for allowing free airflow in the copper sheeting.
But, more drama was in store. The PWD stood firm by its stand that it would not allow the firs tier of the chatratraya with 27 ft diameter to be hoisted up above the statue. The PWD maintaining that the scaffolding has not been planned for supporting the 27ft diameter chatratraya. All efforts to convince them that TOR Steel, which had also cleared the scaffolding, had approved the umbrella failed. With the clock ticking away and just days to go for Feb 8, the first Mahamastakabhisheka day, it was a crisis management situation.
Taking up the gauntlet, Shivaprasad and a team of three artisans rushed to Mangalore on Feb 5 evening, worked the whole night and day, and returned to Shravanabelagola with an umbrella of 5 ft in diameter as the traditions stipulated that Chatratraya has to have three tiers. Finally, the team, racing against the clock, began the process of hoisting the giant three tier umbrella on February 6 evening, the first tier being 18ft in diameter, the second 9 ft and the third, 5 ft.
On Feb 7, Mr. Mruthyunjaya of the Scaffolding Committee carried the three ft tall Gold Kalasha atop the hill on his head after it was put through the traditional rituals. The Kalasha was then hoisted up the main stem of the Chatratraya and the three tiers of the umbrella structure screwed around it and the other three supporting stems. And lo! It was all ready for the grand show on February 8. But, more was in store as concerns were raised regarding the safety of the copper hangings with slightly sharp edges from the chatratraya owing to the strong gushing winds. So, deciding that caution was better part of valour, Shivarapasad and team decided to do away with the copper hangings that were shaped like leaves by the third day of the celebrations February 10.
"There were certain critical parameters we kept in mind while doing the entire exercise. First, the arch inside the chatratraya had to be such an angle that it was aero dynamic. Second, the chatratraya was meant to be a re-usable addition to the Mutt's Mahamastakabhisheka inventory and hence had to be such a manner that it could be screwed up and brought down as easily as possible and even while occupying the minimum storage space", says Shivaprasad. Total cost Rs.15 lakh for the chatratraya plus Rs.4 lakh worth gold for the Kalasha.
Lessons learnt? "Avoid last minute rush at any cost. Have enough time for a trial run for carrying out corrections. Have better co-ordination."



Shravanabelagola, June 1: The Mahamasthakabhisheka celebrations of Lord Bahubali that was scheduled to be concluded on May 28th, 2006 has been extended till mid July and would be concluded on 18th July, 2006. This is due to the huge rush experienced at Shravanabelagola during the week end Anointing ceremonies and the demand from the general public to witness the mega event. The abhishekas to Lord Bahubali would be held on 4th, 11th, 18 & 25th June, 2006 and on 2nd, 9th and 16th July, 2006.

48 days Mandala Pooja: The Mahamasthakabhisheka Mahotsavas Mandala Pooja programmes will be conducted for 48 days beginning from 1st June 2006 and concluding on 18th July 2006. The Mahamasthakabhisheka Mahamangala pooja would be performed on 18th July, 2006. As a part of the Nitya pooja rituals Jalabhisheka and panchamrita abhisheka would be performed to Bhagawan Bahubali on all the days till 18th July, 2006. The dismanteling of the scafolding to the Lord would begin on 19th July 2006. A series of Aradhanas have be organised at Shravanabelagola for 48 days from 1st June, 2006 onwards.

It could be recalled here that the official abhisheka of the Lord was organised from 8th February 2006 to 19th February 2006 by the Jain Mutt in cooperation with the Governments of India and Karnataka. Latter on the Jain Mutt had arranged a series of abhishekas to Lord Bahubali during the week ends on sundays in order to facilitate the ones who could not perform and witness the early part of the event due to huge crowd.

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