Sarsanghachalak performs Maha Mastakabhisheka
Sarsanghachalak performs Maha Mastakabhisheka of Sri Bahubali at Venoor Jain shrine
— Mohan Bhagwat
By Rajesh Padmar in Bengaluru
“Sri Bahubali is an icon of non-violence and represents national integrity. Bahubali brought the dharma in practice in life. He is a Mahapurush,” said RSS Sarsanghachalak Sri Mohan Bhagwat. He was participating in the 4th day of Maha Mastakaabhisheka of Sri Bahubali at Venoor Jain shrine on January 31. Maha Mastakabhisheka is a festival held once in 12 years, when the image of Gomateshvara is bathed with milk, curds, ghee, saffron and gold coins.
Speaking on the occasion Sri Bhagwat said, “Implementation of religious theories in practical life is not easy. It requires strong will. Values in dharma is the current need of the world. Life should be filled with eternal values like sacrifice, patience and non-violence. The Indian way of life teaches to earn by two hands and serve by 1000 hands. Helping the needy is what our dharma has specified. Dharma is the only factor, which unites the society, all of us,” he said.
Udupi Pejawar seer Swami Vishwesha Theertha, Jain seer Sri Charukeerthi Bhattaraka Swamiji of Shravanabelagola, RSS Akhil Bharatiya Sewa Pramukh Sri Sitaram Kedilaya, RSS top functionaries Sri Mangesh Bhende, Dr Kalladka Prabhakara Bhat, Sri Kajampady Subrahmanya Bhat, Sri DM Ravindra, Sri Chandrashekar Bhandary and Sri Dishesh Kamat of Samskrita Bharati were also present during the ceremony. Dr D Veerendra Hegade, Dharmadhikari of Dharmasthala Temple, felicitated the Sarsanghachalak Sri Mohan Bhagwat.
Bahubali, also called Gomateshwara, is a Jain deity. According to Jain history he was second of the hundred sons of the first Tirthankara, Rishabhadevji, and king of Podanpur. The Adipurana, a 10th century Kannada text by Jain poet Adikavi Pampa (941 CE), written in Champu style, a mix of prose and verse and spread over in sixteen cantos, deals with the ten lives of the first Tirthankara Rishabhadevji and his two sons, Bharat and Bahubali.
Bahubali’s elder brother, Bharat, was envious of his wealth, grandeur, strength and success. His desire was for all of Bahubali’s kingdom and wealth, and thus, Bharat decided to attack the lands Bahubali ruled. Fearing that the war would destroy both the kingdoms, as well as thousands of innocent soldiers, the ministers of both sides began negotiations. After much thinking, it was decided that a personal contest between the two brothers would be a better option than war. The brothers were required to enter three traditional forms of martial contest: drishti yuddha, jala yuddha, and malla yuddha.
The last battle was to be fought by hitting heads with fists. Bharat had the first shot, because he was older than Bahubali, which knocked Bahubali nearly to the ground. Then, it was Bahubali’s turn. Bahubali’s name means ‘Bahu’ – arm, and ‘Bali’ – strength, he was known for the immense strength of his arm. Everybody knew and worried that if Bahubali’s blows struck Bharat, Bharat would probably die. This contest could have been easily won by Bahubali striking Bharat. But as Bahubali raised his arm to land a blow, he paused, realising that fighting his elder brother for land, wealth, and power was neither sane nor righteous. Indeed, it would have been a grievous moral failure for a son of a Tirthankara.
As a rule for a Kshatriya, once he has taken action, it is not possible for him to withdraw or retreat. So, instead of landing a blow on his elder brother with his raised arm, he simply changed direction, pulling out his own hair with the same hand, thus avoiding striking Bharat. With this, he put aside all of his possessions, and became a solitary renunciant. Learning from this example, Bharat came to understand the folly of his greed for land, money and power forgiving his younger brother. Bharat continued to ruled for some time, until eventually joining Lord Rishabdev as a solitary renunciant.
The fight with his brother troubled Bahubali, so after much contemplation, he decided to give up his kingdom and take up the ascetic life. He took to meditation with a thirst for truth, but – it was for ego that he took to meditation on his own. Among monks who accept monastic vows, one must bow to all others who have accepted previously regardless of age. Bahubali knew that if he went to Lord Rishabdev (Aadinath) for permission to take monastic vows, he would have to bow down to all his 98 younger brothers, who had renounced before him. Bahubali began meditating with great resolve to attain supreme knowledge, but did not succeed because his ego, which stopped him from visiting his father’s court, did not allow him to attain this Keval Jnana.
However, Bahubali was adamant. He continued his practice unmindful of the vines, ants, and dust which enveloped his body. Concerned, his sisters Brahmi and Sundari asked Tirthankar Adinath about their worldly brother Bahubali. Tirthankara Adinath said although just moments away from enlightenment, Bahubali could not achieve it because he didn’t realise that he was standing on ‘the elephant’ – ego. Now understanding his folly, the sisters approached him and said ‘O more bhai, ave to gaj ti utro’ (O my dear brother, at least now get down from the elephant). This saying from the sisters led Bahubali to question “Am I really standing on any kind of elephant?” From this question he soon realised that the elephant he was standing upon was his pride and ego. As Bahubali realised his mistake, shedding his pride and ego, truth and enlightenment dawned upon him. Blessed with the knowledge of Truth, Bahubali went to see his father who welcomed him. Bahubali began teaching and showing people the right path.
Bahubali is a major figure in Jain hagiography. His story exemplifies the inner strength of Indian culture. He won everything from his brother and could have become an emperor, but he returned everything to the brother. Bahubali is considered the ideal of the man who conquers selfishness, jealousy, pride and anger.