Maha masthak abhisheka is very famous and popular festival that is performed once in 12 years. The word Maha mastak abhisheka is a combination of three words Maha meaning great or excellent, Masthaka means head and Abhisheka meaning anointing or coronation. The words literally mean 'the head anointing ceremony'. It is an important Jain festival, and the most famous one is held in the town of Shravanabelagola in Karnataka (160 kilometers from Bengaluru), India. It is performed in reverence to the Eighteen metre high monolithic statue of Bahubali at Shravanabelagola.Devotees pour milk on the 58 feet monolithic statue of Gomateshwara or Lord Bahubali on the second day of the 88th Maha masthak abhishek in Shravanabelagola in Hassan district, some 150 km from Bengaluru on Feb 18, 2018. The Maha masthak abhishek takes place once in 12 years.
History Of Maha mastak abhisheka
According to the legend, Bahubali was the son of Rishabhadeva, the first tirthankara of Jainism. When Rishabhadeva decided to become an ascetic, he abandoned his worldly possessions and divided his property between his two sons. While Ayodhya was given to Bahubali’s elder brother, Bharata, Bahubali received the kingdom of Podanpur.The saint was saddened that his brother was so lost in his hunger for power, that he could fight his only brother. He then decided to follow his father’s footsteps by renouncing his property. He stood right there on his brother’s land, meditating on his feet, begging God for forgiveness. Even though he was observing meditation and penance for many years, he couldn’t attain enlightenment. Thoughts that he was still standing in Bharata’s land affected his reflections.
Who is Bahubali?
The son of the first Tirthankara of Jainism, Bahubali is a revered figure among the Jains. Jain mythology holds up Bahubali as the one who succeeded in attaining liberty from worldly desires through a long period of sustained meditation. The story of Bahubali, though varied in details, is that of a ruler who won against his brother and was filled with grief over his actions and therefore abandoned his possessions and kingdom in search for omniscience. The Jain poet Bopanna wrote of him as the one who “gave back the whole earth though he had completely conquered it”.
Celebration of Maha mastak abhisheka
The celebration involves smearing the idol from the contents of 1008 pots carried by the devotees. The preparation for the event starts around 18 days before the due date. On the main day of the festival, the worship of the Lord begins from early morning. Devotees place the 1008 pots near the feet of the idol. A large number of priests chant divine hymns as devotees carry the pots to reach the top of the huge statue. After climbing around 600 stairs, the devotees reach the top of the idol and pour water on it.The idol is then smeared with various things like milk, turmeric paste, rice flour, coconut water, sandalwood, sugarcane juice, vermilion, and 52 varieties of flowers. Then the lord is also offered precious stones and gold and silver coins as a mark of respect. It is also showered with flower petals. The ceremony continues for around 10 hours during which countless devotees show their devotion to the Lord. The Jains believe that attending this ceremony is helpful for uplifting their souls.
Bahubali – His Life as an Ascetic
Bahubali spent several years of his life in meditation by giving up the bare necessities for every human such as clothing, food and water. Even with such resolve towards meditation, Bahubali was not able to attain supreme knowledge and power as there was one thing which was stopping him – his ego.
He did not wish to meet his father and brothers as he felt that he had to bow down to them to take monastic vows. Concerned about their brother, Sundari and Brahmi, his sisters, met him and gave him the advice to let go of his ego, as it was stopping him from attaining the ultimate knowledge.Realising his mistake, Bahubali shed his pride and ego and attained the supreme knowledge of life and truth.
How to Reach Shravanabelagola
By Air: Bangalore International Airport is the closest airport to reach Shravanabelagola. Upon reaching you can take the buses, private cabs or taxis
By Train: Shravanabelagola does not have any direct railway station. The nearest railhead is Hassan city that is around 45 km from Shravanabelagola. The buses and taxis are available from the station.
By Road: Shravanabelagola is around 160 km from Bangalore. The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) runs buses to Shravanabelagola city from Bangalore. Besides, Bangalore, the buses are quite conveniently available from Channarayapatna town that is about 11 km away from Shravanabelagola.