The statue of Bhagwan BAHUBALI at Dharmasthala, Karnataka

The monolithic statue of Bhagwan Gomateswara (alias Bahubali) stands tall at Dharmasthala establishing the morals and values of Jainism to the world and represents the conquest of selfishness, jealousy, pride and anger. The statue is depicted as a symbol of supreme sacrifice, peace and meditation in the interest of humanity as a whole.

There is an interesting story of Bahubali which runs like this:

Once a fierce battle took place between the brothers, Bharatha and Bahubali over the kingdom of their father, Virshabharatha of Ayodhya. The mighty Bahubali defeated his elder brother Bharatha in all the combats and won the war. However, he was unhappy and ashamed of his brother’s lust and greed for power, wealth and land that resulted in the bitter battle between them and so decided to renounce the world. There upon, returning the kingdom to his elder brother, he went to perform a penance. He spent a number of years in the forest with absolute resolve in difficult and challenging conditions of Nature in the realization of Truth. He was unmindful of the mundane forces that prevailed over there and disturbed him in the form of dust, ants and the vine creepers that crept climbing, winding on his limbs. However, not realizing his own folly, the penance failed to get him that supreme knowledge called ‘Kevalajana’. Moved by his quest for enlightenment, his sisters, Brhami and Sundari approached the Tirthankar, Shri Adinathji who advised him to get out of the two elephant like stumbling blocks, pride and ego, which were standing on his way to glory. Eventually Truth and Enlightenment dawned on Baahubali after shedding these follies of life. He then became known as Bhagwan Bahubali to the world.

The monolithic stone statue at Dharmasthala is 39 feet tall and was installed in 1973. On both sides of the steps leading to the high pedestal where Bahubal’s statue is installed, are kept two beautifully carved stone elephants, perhaps as a symbolic representation of pride and ego.

A much larger monolithic statue of 57 feet tall, which is the original form of Bahubali is there at Saravanabelgola, Karnataka and was installed in 981 AD. The famous head anointing ceremony of the statue of Bahubali known as Mahamasthakabisheka is performed once in 12 years, which draws a large number of visitors and devotees from all over the world. There are also other similar statues of Bahubali, but smaller in size and the details are as below:

Statues of Bhagwan Bahubali

  1. Sharavanabelagola – 57’-        981AD
  2. Kamabadahali — —   5’6” –   9th century
  3. Karkala — — — — – 42’ –   1432 AD
  4. Dharmasthala — — – 39’ –   1980 AD
  5. Venur — — — — — – 35’ —  1604 AD
  6. Gomatigiri-Indore- –  21’ —  1981 AD

The beautiful statue at Dharmasthala is a photographer’s delight too. The perfect shape, bodyline and features exhibited at any angle and the intrinsically carved tattoo like design on the body would make any one greedy to capture as much of its beauty as possible through the lens of one’s camera!

CSG Raju


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