Stock Taking

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While the New Year in the calendar of the modern world starts on 1st January, the Commercial Calendar starts on 1st April and ends on 31st March.

This probably is so because in days of yore, the calendar of different civilizations started with the Vernal Equinox which occurred around early April.

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Vernal Equinox – Sun’s rays falling parallel to the earth’s Equator, Equal Day and Equal Night

The traders of the world, continuing their tradition, have therefore been using April 1st as the start date for their Commercial Calendar which has continued to this date.

Time to take stock

The end of the previous Commercial Calendar is the time that we take stock of all our dealings. This is commonly known as the stock taking period. It is the time to take stock as we transition from one year to another, to carry forward what is needed for the next year, our future.

The traders take stock of their goods.

Similarly, in our personal lives too, there is need for a time, when each of us can take stock of our personal lives. Take stock of the situation, events and progress around us. Take stock of where we stand and where we are heading and at the end of our personal stock taking, discard unnecessary baggage and carry forward only what is of relevance to bring prosperity and happiness unto oneself and others.

So, this transition period is a period of taking stock of oneself, one’s situation and one’s environment.

Transition – Sandhi

India, through the ages has given a great deal of significance to the concept of transition and the transition phase.

The concept of transition from one stage to another, is known as Sandhi in the Indian thought.

Starting from

  • the daily transition of thithi, day to night and day,

  • to the transition of paksha, lunar fortnights from waxing to waning to waxing,

  • to the transition of rtu, seasons,

  • to the transition of varsha, year,

  • to the transition of yuga, time cycles,

these transitions have all been continuously tracked, recorded, revered and observed by our ancestors all the way from 8000 years ago to the present generation of Indians even to this day.

Sandhi

Transition, Sandhi period

Transitions periods were cherished as poignant moments in space and time to take stock of one’s personal life vis-à-vis the space, time, environs and society, i.e entire Nature, around us and adjust our behaviour, attitude and approach to life thereon.

The concept of Sandhi, how it has was revered and celebrated, has been discussed in good detail in our latest book “2012-The Real Story”, which is part of the Bharath Gyan series.

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When we talk of taking stock, there are various happenings and shifts that we need to take stock of.

Decentralization

The world in the last couple of hundred years has been going through a commercial era. It has also gone through a phase of colonization and fight for independence by many lands. The colonization and commercialization era led to the overbearing thought and practice of centralization of power and a centralized economic model therefore.

As the world steps out of the shadow of colonialism, it sees itself in a new light. While the world seems to be more connected, the increasing interdependency across lands, even for basic needs, which erodes into each nation’s economic insulation and quickly leads the entire world into waves of depression or boom, has started to cause concern.

As the world is slowly getting over the hangover of colonialism and its offshoot, the concept of centralization, we see more and more cases of fragmentation occurring, the world over.

We have seen colonialism itself breaking down with the independence movements in the various colonies, giving rise to independent nations.

We have seen large confederations such as USSR breaking up into constituent smaller nations.

We have seen larger states in India breaking up into smaller states.

We keep continually seeing demands, world over, by groups wanting their own state or nation inorder to govern themselves.

While many of these have taken the extreme shape of violent uprisings, most are an expression of the people’s innate desire to be free of hegemony and control.

It is an expression of their innate desire to control themselves.

It is an expression of their wanting their primary localized needs to be met by local production, local supply and local economies, over which they can have local control. Basically, call for a local administration for deploying available funds, for generating more funds, produce and services, to meet the local requirements with local priorities and local relevance.

Fundamentally, a more decentralized model.

When these cries are not listened to and instead suppressed, through usage of power or politics, it leads to violent uprisings.

If instead, this innate desire is steered in the right direction of a healthy, decentralized model of administration with a centralized oversight to keep them united, networked and interconnected through basic resource sharing and cultural bonds, it can lead to seeing prosperity and harmony.

Through many millennia too, people in many parts of the world, had enjoyed their respective, sustained prosperity for successive generations, mainly due to the practice of such a healthy, decentralized model.

It is just not a preferred, but a natural model for the coming age too. We discuss about this model in good detail in our book ‘You turn India’.

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 Isms of past

In the process of colonization and commercialization, the world went though many “isms”, successively one after the other and at times, concurrently too. Some of the prominent ones being, colonialism, capitalism, communism, socialism, mixed economy model is also an ism, so on and so forth.

In all these “isms” of economic models, the practices, the ideas that got marginalized were the crucial practices of sustainability with relevance and reverence to Nature, value for human life and human endeavour.

These words and the thought these words represent, are now slowly coming back in the discussions of economic models.

Most ancient civilizations which had their times of glory, were glorious because they focused on the model of sustainability with relevance to Nature and reverence for the humans who toiled in it.

Let us pause, think, take stock of the past and position ourselves for the future.

Let us ready ourselves to be part of the process to usher in a new era in the world for, in a way, we are in a Sandhi.

We can see that changes in many ways, are imminent. We can see that we are in the threshold of a new era – an era where old age mantras, come back as new age coinages.

Humanism model

Going forth, let us look forward to a harmonious, sustainable, interconnected future, through a new decentralized, economic and administration model based on humanism where humans, along with all other components of Nature, live in a harmonious, sustainable way.

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Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj – Punya Tithi

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Shivaji Maharaj attained Punya Tithi on the Chaitra Purnima day.

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Chatrapathi Shivaji

Not long ago, we celebrated Shivaji Jayanthi on February 19th. A day observed by the state Government of Maharashtra to mark the birthday of a boy born about 400 years ago. A boy, who would grow up to establish the Maratha Empire and become its ruler as Chatrapathi Shivaji.

Birth Place of Shivaji Maharaj and his cradle

Born Shivaji Raje Bhosle, Shivaji made significant contributions not only to the Maratha Empire, but also to the destiny of the rest of India.

Two storeyed wooden temple of Lord Vinayaka, called Kasba Ganapati temple, built by Shivaji’s mother Jijabai in November 1630, when Shivaji Maharaj was only 8 months old. This deity is today the Gram Devata of Pune

Named After Shivaidevi

Named Shivaji after the deity Shivaidevi, a form of Goddess Durga, an embodiment of courage, strength and fearlessness, Shivaji, true to his name, fearlessly strode the path that would eventually liberate the land from the oppressive rule of the Mughals and their vassals in different parts of India.

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Sculpture of Shivaji Maharaj from his life time

The legends of Shivaji, his conquests, the Guerilla warfare that he popularized, the ploys he adopted to outwit the Mughals, are all well known and well documented.

An old painting, dated c.1668 CE, of Shivaji Maharaj with soldiers setting out for war

Shivaji, the humanist

Apart from his conquests, Shivaji is known for his respect for every human being, He honoured every women even if they belonged to the enemy ranks.

Jadunath Sarkar in his book ‘Shivaji and His Times’ speaks of an incident that shows the high upbringing of Shivaji. He writes,

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Built a robust administration

We all know Shivaji as a great warrior, but how many know he built up a very robust administration too. And this when he had no formal education and spent most of his life in battle. Some of his achievements

1) Ashta Pradhan a council of 8 ministers who advised him on all matters

2) Recognized the importance of a navy to protect Konkan coast and built one.

3) Built sea forts at Sindhudurg, Jaigad to protect from pirates.

4) Did away with Jagirs and paid army in cash, this eliminated corruption.

5) Built up a very professional army.

6) Disallowed dancing girls, to maintain discipline in army.

7) State looked after families of dead soldiers.

8) All enemy property seized during a campaign belonged to Treasury, none was allowed to use for personal purpose.

9) Robust revenue collection system.

10) Maintained a large network of forts and garrisons.

A Wrong perception

A popular statement made by many is that,

the British took over the political control of India from the Mughals”.

Little known to many is the ground reality, corroborated by British Maps themselves.

Ground reality

Defeating Mughals

After Shivaji and his forces had dealt a decisive blow to the Mughal forces, the Mughal empire, along with many of their vassals had disintegrated. In their place, the Maratha rule and the Maratha confederacy of Peshwa, local kings and heads of principalities, started ruling different parts of India.

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A Portrait of Shivaji Maharaj

Maratha confederacy

It was a confederacy because while there were many Peshwa ruling in their respective localities, they shared the ideals, principals, goals and the rule of law of the Marathas.

British Map Testifies

All this is borne out as a fact when we see the British map of 1780, during the times of Robert Clive, where it shows the Maratha Empire covering pretty much, most portions of present day India – Central, North and South India. It stretched from Tamil Nadu in South India to Peshawar in the north, in modern day Pakistan and upto Bengal in the east.

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British Map of India, 1780 – Maratha Empire is the Region in Yellow

Naval forces keeps colonial powers at bay

The Naval force that the Marathas created under the able leadership of Kanhoji Angre, helped guard the Konkan coast for nearly a century and kept the colonial powers at bay. The colonial powers could only function as minor trading posts in the Konkan coast and become colonial powers in this region only after they managed to defeat the Naval forces of the Marathas.

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Statue of Kanhoji Angre in Alibag, Maharashtra

A rare gold coin of Shivaji prob. issued on the occasion of his coronation.- Devnagari Legend on the coin reads Shri Raja Shiv Chatrapati.

The Maratha Power

Shivaji had personally marched through much of Karnataka, central parts of Andhraand visited even Madras, which was a fledgling town then, primarily a British trading post operating out of Fort St.George.

Gifts from British

During this visit to Madras, the British sent him gifts, honorariums, which in the local language  is called “Kappam”, twice within a month, to his camping site near the Kalikambal temple, which formed the entry point to Madras then. They did this as a good will gesture requesting him not attack their trading post saying that they were only peaceful traders.

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Fort St. George, Old Madras

Marathas at power when British arrived

This corroborates the point that it was indeed the Marathas, who were in power when the British arrived in India. If Shivaji had then gone ahead, attacked and decimated this fledgling trading post, then the history of India would have taken on a different turn.

The only live sketch of Shivaji Maharaj , discovered by historian V S Bendrey

The Maratha Effect

Anqetil DuPerron

Many years later, Anqetil DuPerron, a French orientalist and linguist, who had visited India and stayed here for 7 years between 1755 and 1761, quotes a traveller as,

“When I entered the country of the Maharattas, I thought myself in the midst of simplicity and happiness of the golden age … misery was unknown … the people were cheerful, vigorous and in high health.”

Anqetil du Perron

Anqetil DuPerron

This statement of DuPerron highlights to us that not only had Shivaji and his lineage of Marathas, conquered the lands they did, but were administering them in a sustainable manner with the welfare of the people in mind.

Barring a few parts of India, it was the Maratha Confederacy which was in power after the Mughals. It was a campaign, initiated and given a form by Chatrapathi Shivaji, that brought India together as a cohesive unit after the Mughals and before the British.

Shortlived Resurgence

Then how could the British have taken over India from such a powerful empire? While it was a period of resurgence in India, which applied a healing balm to many a wounds that had been inflicted by the various foreign invasions and their oppressive rule, sadly this period of resurgence was shortlived.

Mughals joing hands with Afgans

The defeated Mughals started joining hands with the Afghans and the Nawabs to counter the expansion of the Maratha empire and started pushing the Marathas back.

Infighting

Also, the individual rulers in the Maratha Confederacy, whose autonomy had grown over the years, soon started fighting amongst themselves due to jealousy and thirst for power.

It was by dethroning these individual, infighting rulers in the Maratha Confederacy in the 1800s, through bribe, deception, trade, threat, treachery and force, that the comparatively smaller in size, but devious British force, weakened the confederacy and gained monopoly over India – literally every inch of it.

Shivaji’s efforts in vain

All the unification brought about by Shivaji and his followers, had gone to vain. This is an excellent lesson on how,

“United we stand, divided we fall.”

The word “Maratha” today conjures up an image of present day Maharashtra alone, for the present generations. It invokes a picture of pleasant, simple, sincere and hardworking locals, popularly termed as “Marathi Manus” these days.

The contribution of Shivaji and the Marathas, towards the unification of India before the British and in the development of a spirit of fearlessness in the Indians, which helped them later to resist the British and eventually gain Independence, cannot be acknowledged enough. Anything said will only be an understatement!

Hanuman Jayanthi

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Hanuman is one of the popular divinities across India. Hanuman is venerated by millions, for his intelligence, strength, devotion, faith and courage. He is one of the central characters of Ramayana and is worshipped as the foremost devotee of Lord Rama. It is often said that, Rama as an Avatar, could not fly on His own, but Hanuman could fly over the seas.

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Hanuman flying with the Sanjeevani Parvat

Hanuman, Meaning

Hanuman as the name suggests in Samskrt language, is a person with a long jaw. Hanuman is depicted as a human with a protruding jaw, which resembles that of a monkey. His imagery shows that he had a protruding jaw, prompting people then, to call him Hanuman.

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Hanuman

Hanuman is regarded as Vayu Putra or the son of the wind divinity. He is also called Maruti, the son of Marut, the divinity for a special type of spatial wind.

Anjaneya is another name for Hanuman, meaning, ‘the son of Anjana’, who was the mother of Hanuman.

Chiranjeevi

It is believed that Hanuman lives on even today, as he is one of the Chiranjeevi, living eternally in the physical body.

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Hanuman, the Chiranjeevi

We see his footprints in the Mahabharata. He is a distant cousin of Bhima, one of the Pandava. In the Kurukshetra battle, the chariot of Arjuna, another Pandava, has a Vanara Dwaja, with Hanuman in his flag.

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Bhima

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Arjuna’s chariot with Vanara Dwaja

Different dates of birth

The birth of Hanuman is celebrated on different dates in this land. This is probably due to different systems, scriptures and calendars in the country.

In North India, this day is observed on the 15th Shukla Paksha of Chaitra month.  In Tamil Nadu and Kerala, Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated in the month of Margazhi, Margashirsha, in the months of December-January, as there is a belief here that Hanuman was born under Moola Nakshatra, scorpio star of Amavasya.

Different birth Places

In the Tirumala hills of Andhra, also called Sapthagiri as it comprises of 7 hills, there is one hill called Anjandari. This is not the actual place of Hanuman’s birth, but was the area where Anjana, the mother of Hanuman resided.

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Anjanadri hill, Tirumala

There is one belief which suggests that Hanuman was born in Kishkinda at Anjaneya hill near Hospet, in north Karnataka. There is another belief which has Anjanari in Nasik district, as the birth place of Anjaneya.

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Hanuman statue at Hanuman’s birth place in Anjanari

Similar figure in Mexico

The image and story of Echtill in the Aztec legends of Mexico, is similar to that of Hanuman of the Indian legend.

The Aztec legends speak about Echtill, who is explained as the son of wind. The same legend further goes on to state that, it is his breath that moves the Sun.

A statue was found while excavating for a subway station in Mexico City and reported in the National Geographic magazine in the December 1990. This figure excavated in Mexico too, is that of a human with a long jaw face.

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       Mexican Image   

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 Indian Image

Observe the Jaw Protrusion in both

In the Aztec legend there is a link between the Sun and Echtill. In the Indian legend of Hanuman too, there is an interesting anecdote of Hanuman flying towards the sun to eat it.

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Hanuman Flying towards Sun

More on this in our book, “2012 – The Real Story”.

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Was Hanuman a monkey?

Now, Hanuman and other Vanara are commonly referred to as Monkeys. Were they really monkeys?

Monkey is a term that has been loosely used in the last couple of hundred years to explain the term Vanara in the English language. The term Vanara when analyzed, can give us vital clues, some of them being,

  • People of the forest or Vana –Vana nara, nara meaning man
  • Vanara could be an exclamatory! Word, Vah nara? “Are they human?”

So human like, yet different!

This may have been the way to express different varieties of people as is evident from other words in our ancient texts such as Kinnara or Kimpurusha. Kin, Kim here meaning, “Are they?” and Purusha and Nara meaning men or humans.

There probably were people in those days, very similar to what we now understand as normal humans, but who had a minor but perceptible variance, which raised exclamation. This could well have been a part of the evolution process.

Vanara were known as Rama Banta, meaning “A follower of Rama” in the Andhra and Karnataka regions of South India. The word Bantu was used for singular form and Bantlu for plural. This word Bantlu was used by people as respect and formed a part of many surnames in these regions.  In ancient time, these regions in South India comprised of the geography of Vanara region. The people who lived in the forests of Andhra were called Banajara.

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Geography of Vanara region

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                                                                 Rama Bantlu                                                                            

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 Banjara

More on this and the various incidents involving Hanuman in the Ramayana, the dates pertaining to these events are discussed in our book and Film ‘Historical Rama’.

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On this Hanuman Jayanthi, let us take inspiration from Hanuman and follow in His footsteps. Then Hanuman will live on in our hearts.

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Statues of mighty Sri Hanuman in Bali, Indonesia

Divine Marriage Day – Panguni Uthiram

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Divine marriages are celebrated on Panguni Uthiram – Meena Uttara-phalguni.

Shiva – Parvati, Rama – Sita, Murugan – Deivanai.

Panguni Uthiram also known as Meena Uttara-phalguni in Samskrt. It falls on the day the moon transits in the asterism, nakshatra of Uttara-phalguni, Uthiram in the solar calendar (March–April). It is the full moon of the month of Panguni. Panguni is special because of the coming together of the star Uthiram and full moon Pournami.

Let us see as to how this day of Divine marriages is celebrated in North India, Central India and South India, across the land, across times.

Rama – Sita Marriage

The marriage of Rama and Sita was celebrated on Meena Uttara-phalguni at Janakpur, South Nepal.

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              Rama – Sita Marriage

Vijayanagar Kingdom

An epigraph of 1582 CE of the reign of the Vijayanagara King Sriranga Raya mentions an endowment for offerings to be made during this festival of Panguni Uthiram which is specially called Serakula-Nachiyar Panguni Uthiram Sathumurai. The images of Serakula Nachiyar and Senai Mudaliyar (Vishvaksena) are taken in procession to a garden named Dalavaya Toppu where offerings were made.

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Kanchipuram Vishnu

In Varadaraja Swami Temple in Kanchipuram, the Panguni Pallava Utsavam lasts for seven days when the sacred text Hastigiri Mahatmyam (the sthala-Purana of this temple) is read in the 100 pillared mandapa in front of the deity.

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 Varadharaja Perumal with Thaayaar

Shiva – Kamakshi Marriage

Shakti Uma Devi performed puja for the Lord in the form of Devi Kamakshi. At the end, the wedding of Siva and Shakti took place here as prayed for by the celestials. An inscription on a gopuram of the Kamakshi Amman temple in Kanchipuram mentions a gift of two villages for Puja on the occasion of the Panguni Utsavam.

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 Shiva – Parvati

Murugan – Deivanai

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           Murugan – Deivanai

The word Murugan means ‘God of War’. The word also means ‘One who is very attractive to look’. Skanda, Subrahmanya and Karthikeya are among the other names of Murugan.

Deivanai is known as Devasena, Devayanai or Deivayanai in south-Indian texts. The Sanskrit name of the goddess Devasena means “army of the Divine” and thus, her husband is known as Devasenapati (“Lord of Devasena”). She is the adopted daughter of Indra and his wife Shachi. And she was raised by Indra’s white elephant Airavata. Deivanai or Deivayanai in Tamil, literally meaning “celestial elephant”.

Their marriage is celebrated on Panguni Uthiram day.

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                       Deivanai-Indra-Murugan

In Sangam Literature

In the Ahananuru, a Tamil work of the Sangam period, there is a mention about a festival in Panguni which is equated to Uthira Vizha.

We see here from Rama and Sita, Vishnu and Lakshmi, Shiva and Kamakshi, Muruga and Deivanai all this marriages are celebrated on this Divine Marriage Day.

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Watch the Facebook live video on Panguni Uthiram here :

Bahubali

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Bahubali is one of the revered personages in the Jain tradition. Bahu means arms, and Bali, Bal refers to strength. Bahubali was the one who possessed great strength in his arms. This name Bali is similar in context to the story of Mahabali Chakravarthi, the all-powerful king and also to the story of Bali and Sugreeva, the two Vanara brothers of the Ramayana, of whom Bali possessed greater strength.

This name, Bahubali is a pointer to the fact that Bahubali was powerful and had conquered the whole world.

Son of Rishabhadeva,

Bahubali is the son of Adi Nath, the first Jain Tithankara, known as Rishabh Dev.

Sugar, Ikshvaku, Rishabh Dev

The Samskrt word for sugarcane is Ikshu.

One of the oldest dynasties of India, the Surya Vamsa, solar dynasty, which gave rise to luminaries such as Rama, Dasaratha, Aja, Raghu, Dilipa, Bhagiratha, Sagara, Harishchandra, Prthu and many more, was called the Ikshvaku dynasty after one its very early kings, Ikshvaku.

More on the Ikshvaku dynasty in our book, Historical Rama.

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In the Jain tradition too, the first Tirthankara, Lord Rishabhdev, known as Adi Natha is also referred to as Ikshvaku. Rishabhdev earned the name Ikshvaku as he could extract sugar from sugarcane. He also broke a year long fast with sugarcane juice.

As Jain records go, Bhagavan Rishabh Dev went on a fast to show His disciples, how to lead an ascetic’s life by eating only what is given in alms. Unfortunately, wherever He went seeking alms, He only received jewels and other non-edible items. This went on for close to 400 days. He finally landed up in a sugarcane farm belonging to His great grandson Shreyans, near Hastinapura, the famed kingdom, which was much much later ruled by the Pandava during the Mahabharata period, in 3100 BCE.

It was in Hastinapur that he was received with sugarcane juice and He thus ended His fast after more than a year.

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1st  Jain Tirthankara, Bhagavan Rishabhdev or Adinatha breaking fast with Sugarcane Juice

This legend thus speaks of sugarcane cultivation and extraction of sugarcane juice during Bhagavan Rishabh Dev’s times.

More on the Ikshvaku and the sugarcane connect in our book, Brand Bharat – Vol-1 – Made in India.

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8th Avatar of Vishnu

In the Bhagavata Purana, Rishabha is listed as the 8th Avatar of Lord Vishnu, among His 24 Avatar. The story of Rishabh Dev appears in the 5th Skanda of Bhagavata Purana.

Bahubali was the son of such an illustrious father.

Jada Bharata was the other son of Rishabh Dev.

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Jada Bharata

Jada Bharata was one of the early great kings. The story of Jada Bharata is also narrated in the 5th Skanda of the Bhagavata Purana. His rule was able and prosperous, when the glory of this land reached its pinnacle. Thus the name Bharat was attributed to this land, after Jada Bharata.

Fight between Bahubali & Jada Bharata and departure of Jada Bharata

After Rishabh Dev renounced his kingdom, the mantle of ruling fell into the hands of his two sons, Bahubali and Jada Bharata. With time, there ensued some differences between the two brothers, and there was a fight between them.

Jada Bharata didn’t want to fight against his brother, and so decided to renounce the royal life. He renounced his kingdom, attachments and retired to the forest, to seek true knowledge.

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Jada Bharat renouncing his kingdom

Detachment to kingdom and attachment

While in the forest, he became attached to a deer, as even a great renouncer like Jada Bharata was not free from attachment to the mortal coil. The one who gave up a kingdom, became attached to a mere fawn. Attachment and detachment are facets of human life.

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Jada Bharata getting attached to a deer

Jada Bharata eventually attained Moksha, after undergoing a birth as a deer, in a subsequent life.

Bahubali too

Just like his brother, after attaining many victories, Bahubali too renounced the world. It is interesting the way this renunciation actually took place.

After having conquered the whole world, Bahubali asked his soldiers to go on top of the tall mountain and inscribe his name as the first king to conquer all. His soldiers go up there, to inscribe his name, but what they find is that the rock is already inscribed by the names of earlier kings, and there is no space left for Bahubali’s name.

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Bahubali looking in wonderment at the inscriptions of the names of earlier kings

What this tells us is that even before most of the ancient kings who thought they were the earliest, there were many kings of greater antiquity, who had had conquered the land and had inscribed their names.  Satapatha Brahmana and Aitareya Brahmana mention 16 kings or Chakravartin who ruled India from sea to sea. Yet scholars claim the idea of empire in India started only with the Mauryas.

Such an illustrious land this is of such antiquity.

One of the so called earliest kings by name Bahubali is infact a much later king, in the illustrious lineage of great kings.

This incident created a dawning of realization in Bahubali, the mighty king, who then decided to renounce worldly pleasures and take up spirituality.

He attained Kevala Jnana.

Kevala Jnana

Kevala Jnana is a term used in Jainism to indicate absolute knowledge or wisdom. As per this concept, every individual soul has Kevala Jnana as its inherent quality. This Jnana is however covered by Karma, the deep impressions of previous thoughts and actions. Once this veil of Karma is removed through wisdom, then the state of Kevala Jnana naturally shines forth.

Such a state was attained by Bahubali, who is today revered and worshipped as Gomateshwara.

Gomateshwara

Bahubali’s statue today stands tall at Shravanabelagola, one of the most revered pilgrimage sites for the Jains, in the state of Karnataka, where He is worshipped as Gomateshwara. This statue of Gomateshwara is one of the 7 wonders of India. The consecration and the first Mahamastakabhisheka of this statue of Gomateshwara happened on 13th March, 981 CE. In the year 1981, the 1000th year of the installation was celebrated with much grandeur at Shravanabelagola, with a Mahamastakabhisheka.

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Gomateshwara

How did this place attain the name Shravanabelagola?

The Legend

King Chamunda Raya, had this idol installed, with great effort. The story goes that the king soon after establishing the worship of this statue became proud, as he felt that he had installed the deity through his mighty strength. In the coming days, when the king performed the Panchamritabhisheka of this idol, i.e. bathing, abhisheka the idol with 5 liquids, it was found that even though huge qualities of liquid were poured, the liquid did not descend lower than the navel. This miracle was enacted by the Divinity to dispel the vanity that had possessed the king. The king was frustrated and filled with grief as he was unable to bathe the idol of Lord Gomateshwara completely with the ablution. In this situation, on the orders of the Divinity, a celestial apsara named Padmavati, disguised herself as a poor old lady, and appeared before the king, with the five liquid held in a small silver pot, “Beliya Gola”, with the intention of bathing the statue. The king mocked at Padmavati stating that how she could accomplish this as he himself had failed in this endeavor. However on further insistence on her part, the king allowed her to perform the abhisheka, out of curiosity. Padmavati brought the liquid and was successful in performing a complete ablution of the statue. The king realized his arrogance, and giving up his vain pride performed ablution with great respect. From then on this place took on the name of Beliya Gola, meaning a Silver pot.

Chandragupta Maurya

The great king Chandragupta Maurya was the founder of the Mauryan Empire, who ruled from Pataliputra. After establishing the Mauryan Empire, he decided to follow spirituality. He came all the way from Pataliputra and settled down at Shravanabelagola.

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Chandragupta Cave

Chanakya and Bhadrabahu

Chanakya as a Guru to Chandragupta Maurya, taught him the various arts of administration, warfare and social welfare. He was also Chandragupta’s political advisor and helped him strategize the plan for expanding his kingdom. Later on in his life, after he renounced his kingdom, Chandragupta took up Jainism. At that stage in life, Bhadrabahu, the Jain monk was his spiritual Guru.

The knowledge of the basic tenets of Jainism was passed on to Chandragupta Maurya by his Guru Bhadrabahu, at the Bhadrabahu Cave, in the Chandragiri hills, near Shravanbelagola.

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Bhadrabahu Cave

Two sects of Jainism

There are two sects in Jainism namely, Swethambara and Digambara.

Swethambara are those who dress themselves in white, Swetha, while Digambara are those with sky as their covering.

Bahubali belonged to the sect of Digambara, as can be understood from his statue in Shravanabelagola.

Unfortunately, this noble ideal of Digambara has been misunderstood by the materialistic society of today.

Mahamastakabhisheka

Mahamastakabhisheka is a prominent festival dedicated to Lord Gomateshwara, held at Sharavanbelagola, based on the conjunctions of planetary bodies at an interval of 12 to 15 years.

History of Mahamastakabhisheka

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The consecration and the first Mahamastakabhisheka of the statue of Lord Gomateshwara – Bahubali happened on 13th March, 981 CE. In the year 1981, the 1000th year of the installation was celebrated with much grandeur at Shravanabelagola, with a Mahamastakabhisheka.

This festival involves the bathing and anointing of the statue of Lord Gomateshwara, with milk, sugarcane juice, saffron paste and sprinkled with powders of sandalwood, turmeric and vermilion.

A festival that sees a congregation of thousands, who want to witness the Abhisheka of their Divinity.

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Mahamastakabhisheka of Lord Gomateshwara