07.07.2017 ►Shravanabelagola Chaturmas ►Dr. Hampana's lecture

Published: 08.07.2017
Updated: 09.07.2017

The auspicious event of commencement of the Chaturmas took off in a glittering colourful event at Shravanabelagola on 7th July 2017, in the Holy presence of Jain Digambara Acharyas and Svastishri Charukeerthi Bhattarak ji. The Governor of Karnataka was the Chief Guest of Honour. Prof.Hampana spoke on the occasion and here are extracts from his speech:

We have assembled here in Shravanabelagola, Chavundaraya's dream come true town. Holier than the holy places,the place has over the years evolved into a Global Divine center. Jainism, Shravanabelagola, and Gommatadeva are synonyms. Gommata means 'the handsome'. Bahubali has been celebrated in art and architecture,songs and stories,and in legends and literature. Lakhs of pilgrims of all walks of life and of all communities flock to the place to quench their spiritual thirst. The men of wisdom and foresight have referred to the eternal message of Lord Bahubali - peace from non-violence, and happiness from generosity- as the only panacea to the trouble torn world. Pater Familias Chamundaraya, the illustrious minister and General of the Ganga army, responsible for commissioning the monolithic colossus of Bahubali, heralded a golden chapter in giving a new dimension to Shravanabelagola. Yes, he will surely be happy to hear that thousand years after his departure, his dreams are realized and the sacred thirtha still holds the qualities he strived for. The 58.8 feet dominating monolith colossal of Gommata wrought in granite, standing nude on the summit of the Vindhyagiri, is exposed to sun,rain,cold, wind and abrasive dust for more than a millennium. Yet,the colossus is as fresh and well polished as the devout sculptor gave it shape. In the words of James Furgusson < Nothing grander or more imposing exists anywhere out of Egypt, and even there, no human statue surpasses it in height.

Discovering Shravanabelagola is like unravelling many layers of Jaina ethos and ancient remains come alive. Nestled between two hills the place provides an ideal backdrop for meditation.Lush,sylvan spot where a pool of shimmering water lay between two hills,has lent the name of bel-gola or dhaval-saras, to this place. Because of the frequent presence of shramanas or jain monks, the place earned the name Shravanabelagola, 'Jain monk's white pond'. The place has witnessed tremendous harvest of cultural activities.This is the only place on earth where nearly 600 inscriptions from 6th century to 18th century, and of different languages,are found,There are many ancient and beautiful temples, built on the hills and in the town. Great architecture takes time and does not emerge overnight. Generations of master builders and skilled artisans have created magnificent monuments that leave us spellbound. The ancient rocks and temples glow with rising sun and setting sun,with its changing hues. Thus SB is flourishing as the southern Sammetagiri,Pavapuri, Urjayantagiri and Rajagriha.

Look at the unique congregation of peace radiating monks and nuns headed by parampujya Acharya Shri VardhamanaSagar ji Maharaj, who are here for observing the chaturmas. Acharya Shree and his munisamgh's Mangala pravesh was on 4th June. my sharp but sweet memory goes back and vividly recollects Parampujy Vardhamanasagagar ji's previous Mangalpravesh here which was on 25th June 2005. We do hope Acharya Shri VardhamanaSagar ji Maharaj will come back to Shravanabelagola once again in 2030 to observe Chaturmas and guide the Mahamastakabhishek deliberations.

Its a wonder and a mystery that people congregate and pay homage to these ascetics.They are not wearing any crown, they do not possess four or more hands. Their hands are free from weapons, Their human frame is free from ornaments and is devoid of shining bright cloth. They do not possess any property. They will not travel in luxurious vehicles. During ahar-dan,they do not sit and eat in silver plates placed on decorated tables, they do not sleep on lovely beds spread on elegant cot. All this sounds a miracle! Then how do they live is our million pound question. Look at those digambar naked monks who have walked thousands of kms bare foot, They eat food only once in a day by standing and testing each morsel of food put in their palms, they do not possess anything except a pinchi, the peacock- feather flywhisk, and a kamandala, dried gourd or water-pot of ascetics. Yet they command so much respect from President and Prime Minister to a common man on the streets. What a wonder? How come the unclothed and unarmed are worshiped wherever they move? What is the secret of their strength? There is no secret or maya-mantra. Everything is transparent.

The fountain of their spiritual strength springs from within. For the Digambara yati, the vast sky is their cloth, the four cardinal directions are their fort, mother earth is their cot and mat, they are victorious by conquering the five sense organs, salvation is their aim,ಸಮ್ಯಗ್ಚಾರಿತ್ಯ, sterling character is their path, truth are their words,they practice non-possession and preach jinavani - the paramount message of ahimsa propounded by Tirthankaras. In brief they are transparent virtue and canonical knowledge personified.

Let me bring to the kind notice of the Governor and the august assembly the cordial relationship between the Rajbhawan and the Shravanabelagola Jain Monastery, that has blossomed for decades. Almost all the Governors have visited the place and were profusely blessed by Pujya Swastisre Bhattarakji. Many of my books published by Pujya Bhattarakji since 30 years were released by previous Governors in the Rajbhavan premises. I cite an example. To commemorate the 18th year of Acharya pp Vardhamanasagarji's elevation to Acharyapad, in2007, svastishree Charukeertiji published my famous book Morphology of Jaina Architecture. It was released in the Rajbhavan by the then Governor T.N.Chaturvedi ji on July 28th, 2007. The prestigious Vishvamanava Award was bestowed on me in the Rajbhawan Auditorium. I recall with gratitude the Governors who were very kind and generous to me, and who publicly acknowledged- '' Prof. Hampana is our cultural adviser ". Your predecessors had made Rajbhavan people friendly. Its my friend and most well wisher respected Chaturvediji who used to repeatedly say- " Governors does not descend from heaven.They must not live in ivory towers "! How true! In line with that glorious tradition, today our dear Governor shri Vajubhai R Vala JI is here. We are very much delighted sir.

The Mahamastaka Abhisheka or " The great head anointment ", as we all know, usually takes place once in 12 years. I was lucky that I could watch the extraordinary event as a child of six years. Subsequently, I had the pleasure of watching 5 more abhishekas. It is sheer providence that I am alive to witness the 7th ritual bath of Lord Bahubali.! As a crowning glory to this divine experience, I was privileged to give running commentary for the All India Radio and the Television for four lustrous divine sight from 1967 onward. Fortunately, I am the only one in the country who has given running commentary for 4 Mahamastaka abhishekas and who has also watched six such unique events.


Dr. Hampa Nagarajaiah (Hampana)

Professor Emeritus

1079,18 A Main,Rajajinagara

Bengaluru. 560010.

TeleFax; 080-23207133.Land; 080-65991350. M: 9964371596.

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Abhisheka
  2. Acharya
  3. Acharyas
  4. Ahimsa
  5. Bahubali
  6. Bengaluru
  7. Chamundaraya
  8. Charukeerthi
  9. Chaturmas
  10. Digambar
  11. Digambara
  12. Gommata
  13. Hampa Nagarajaiah
  14. Hampana
  15. JAINA
  16. Jaina
  17. Jainism
  18. Karnataka
  19. Mahamastakabhishek
  20. Mangala
  21. Meditation
  22. Non-violence
  23. Pavapuri
  24. Pravesh
  25. Rajagriha
  26. Shravanabelagola
  27. Tirthankaras
  28. Yati
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