The tranquil town of Venur in Belthangady Taluk is all set for the Maha Majjana. The 35 foot tall monolithic Statue of Bhagawan Bahubali, the supreme embodiment of Sacrifice will be offered Mahamastakabhisheka in the auspicious presence of several religious heads of Jainism and under the guidance of Sri D Veerendra Heggade, Dharmadhikari of Dharmasthala, for nine days beginning from January 28. Devout Jains as well as people from various other communities from all over the state and also various parts of the nation, have already begun flocking this small town to witness this event of grandeur, the second of this century.
Set in the backdrop of the evergreen Western Ghats on the banks of the Phalguni River, the quiet town of Venur has something great to boast of. The statue of Bhagawan Bahubali which stands majestically amid mountains and hills. Venur once a great seat of Jainism has attracted worldwide attention due to the presence of the gigantic monolithic statue, the third largest and the second oldest among the four monolithic statues in the state. Located about 20 kms from Moodbidri, Venur is also prominent for its several Jain temples.
Apart from the Gommata statue at Venur, there are four other monolithic statues of Bahubali which are above 20 feet in height in Karnataka, indicating the state's patronage to Jainism. Gomateshwara statue at Shravanabelagola which is the tallest, is a staggering 58 feet, while the one at Karkala is the second tallest at 42 feet. The Gommata statue at Dharmasthala is the youngest and is less than three decades old. Bhagwan Bahubali will be worshipped over a period of nine-days from January 28 to February 5. A host of religious and cultural programmes showcasing the Jain community's cultural traditions and spreading the message of peace, sacrifice and non-violence, will be organized on all the days .The ceremonial ablution or the Mahamastakabhisheka of the statue is held once in 12 years as per custom. This event of grandiose involves anointing of the statue with various ingredients or Dravyas namely water, tender coconut, milk, sugarcane juice, saffron and sandalwood paste.
The statue will also be sprinkled with turmeric powder and vermillion. Each ingredient or Dravya as it is known in local dialect, which is poured on the Lord has its own significance. If water is meant to cleanse, sandalwood would spread the fragrance of Bahubali's great virtues.
Milk is a symbol of purity; sugarcane juice relieves hunger while choorna beautifies. This time, two hundred tender coconuts, 175 litre sugar cane juice, 480 litre milk, 30 kg rice flour, 70kg turmeric powder, 10 kg kashaya, 5 kg of pure sandalwood, 20 kg of sandalwood powder, 40kg Chandana, 60 kg Ashtagandha, 100 baskets of flowers, a 45 feet long garland and sandalwood oil would be used for the Abhisheka. There is a belief that those witnessing this glorious ceremony called Mahamastakabhisheka would also be blessed and cleansed as Bahubali is considered a supreme symbol of sacrifice, non-violence and compassion.
A wooden platform or elevation has been erected to facilitate devotees to take part in this anointment ceremony and also have a closer look at the gigantic statue which stands with all sereneness and calmness. Various pitchers or Kalashas grouped under different categories, are also being auctioned to generate revenue.
The total cost of this event of grandiose has been estimated at Rs 1.5 crores. There will be various cultural programmes on all days, while an Exhibition and Panchakalyana Mahotsava too have been arranged.
The second Masthakabhisheka of this century at Venur will be held under the blessings of Acharya Sri Vidyananda Munimaharaj. Four leading Digambar saints, namely Acharya Gunadara Nandi of Navagraha Thirtha, Varoor near Hubli, Acharya Kalpa Suvidhi Sagar, 108 Prabhava Sagar, accompanied by 9'matajis and 16 Bhattaraka Swamijis, will participate. Pavana Keerthi Maharaj would head the list of religious leaders from the community attending the event.
Sri Charukeerthi Pattacharyavarya Mahaswamiji of Shravanabelagola Jain Mutt will guide this great event along with Sri Charukeerthi Pandithacharyavarya Swamiji of Moodbidri Jain Mutt.
Dr. D. Veerendra Heggade, Dharmadhikari of Dharmasthala, as usual has been the key motivator and is overseeing the entire proceedings as the Honorary President of the Mahamasthakabhisheka Committee. Timmannarasa Dr Padma Prasad Ajila is the Founder Hereditary Aras and Reception Committee President and V Dhananjaya Kumar, the Delhi representative of Karnataka government is the Executive President of the Committee. The Venur Bahubali has been offered Mahamstakabhisheka thrice in the past 110 years.. The first Mahamastakabhisheka was in the year 1928 followed by another grand ceremony in the year 1956.Though Jain scriptures say the ceremony has to be performed once in 12 years, the Bahubali of Venur has missed this ceremony several times for various reasons. However, the ceremony this time would be the second successive one in a row, thanks to the government patronage to this event.