Today marks a historic and wonderful day for the Jain community, as a 41-foot monolith of Bahubali Bhagwan is being consecrated at the traditional Jain ceremony, Shree Aadinath Digambar Jinbimb Panch Kalyanak Pratishtha Mahotsav. The ongoing festival is from the 19th to the 26th of January in Songadh, near Palitana in Gujarat’s Bhavnagar district.
On the final day, the ‘Mahamastakabhishek,’ or Grand Anointment Ceremony of the newly consecrated Bahubali statue, will be performed with great pomp and show. The Mahamastakabhishek is done once every twelve years.
Meanwhile, about 25000 devotees have arrived at the venue to witness the significant event. Lord Bahubali was the second son of the first Tirthankar, Aadinath, also known as Rishabhdev in Jain tradition.
Along with Bahubali Muniraaj, a replica of Jambūdvīpa with a 91ft tall Sumeru Parvat holding 140 idols of Jain Gods will be consecrated.
Notably, Sumeru Parvat is a tribute to the 91 years of saintly life of Pujya Gurudevshree, the prominent Digambar Jain saint Kanji Swamiji who preached the principles of Jainism for more than four decades.
For the unversed, Jain cosmology places Sumeru Parvat in the centre of the world, bounded by Jambūdvīpa with a diameter of 100,000 yojanas (about 900,000 miles); it is believed that Jambūdvīpa is the centre of the universe.
The trustees of Shree Digambar Jain Swadhyay Mandir Trust, Songadh, are of the view that the prestigious Panch Kalyanak Mahotsav initiative will help in spreading the basic principles of Jainism, benefiting many with its universal values of Ahimsa, Satya, Achaurya, Brahmacharya, and Aparigraha.
In the Jain faith, the festival provides an opportunity to reflect on the path of righteousness and the goal of spiritual enlightenment. Each devotee actively participates in this ceremony, hoping to halt his cycle of rebirths and achieve liberation.
The Mahotsav is a significant event held to consecrate idols of Gods known as Tirthankars in the Jain tradition. Tirthankars are the Omniscient Gods who preach and disclose the path to liberation through their holy teachings.
Generally, five occasions are commemorated during the construction of any new temple, with devotees portraying each significant occurrence to recreate the Tirthankar’s life. During this time, devotees perform intricate rituals and recite religious scriptures, culminating in placing idols representing Tirthankars’ celestial trip. These occasions include:
Conception – garbha kalyanak
Birth – janma kalyanak
Initiation – diksha or tapa kalyanak
Omniscience – kevalgyaan kalyanak
Liberation – nirvan or moksh kalyanak
Bahubali Maharaj Monoliths
In 981 CE, the visionary warrior Chamundraay dreamt about a hidden Munindra Bhagwan statue in the mountain of Vindhyagiri, Shravanabelgola, now in Karnataka. He turned this dream into reality by commissioning the creation of the world’s largest monolithic statue, reaching a majestic height of 57 ft. Crafted from fine-grained white granite, the idol of Bahubali stands on a lotus, earning acclaim as an epic statue in medieval Karnataka’s sculptural art.