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Karkala Gomateswara

Karkala, situated about 35 kms. from Udupi which is a town of historical importance and a pilgrim centre for Jains. Jainism is widely practised here.

The single stone 42-foot (13 m) statue Gomateshwara (Lord Bahubali) is located about 1 km from the center of the town and is the second tallest in Karnataka . The 45-feet tall statue is estimated to weigh 80 tons. There are about 18 Jain basadis here. This statue of Lord Bahubali was installed at Karkala on February 13, 1432 on the instructions of the pontiff of Karkala, Lalitakeerti. There are several other temples, mosques and churches in and around Karkala.

Several jain temples were constructed namely Chaturmukha Thirthankara Basadi, Hiriyangaddi Neminatha Basadi, and Anekere Padmavathi Basadi. All of these sites mentioned are listed in Archaeological Survey of India, Government of India. In appreciation of the majesty, splendour and strong spiritual significance, Bahubali came to be known as Gomata. The statue of Lord Gomateshwara has withstood the test of time reinforcing the truth,”Realization of the self is the real way to Moksh”.

Just opposite to this image there is a Jain ‘Basadi’ known as ‘Chaturmukha Basadi’ which is built of granite. In front of this temple, there is a beautifully carved  pillar called Manasthamhha which is nearly 50 feet high. It is the most beautiful and tallest of 11 Manasthambhas.  Like Moodabidri, there are 18 temples at Karkala.

The monolith of Gomateshwara formed the nucleus around which the Jain Math and Basadis sprang up. They draw 3 streams of devotees, lovers of art and students of history.

History :

The fight with his brother, Bharat, troubled Bahubali. So after much contemplation, he decided to give up his kingdom and take up the ascetic life. He took to meditation with a thirst for truth, but – it was for ego that he took to meditation on his own. Among monks who accept monastic vows, one must bow to all others who have accepted ascetism previously, regardless of age. Bahubali knew that if he went to Lord Rishabdev (Aadinath) for permission to take monastic vows, he would have to bow down to all his 98 younger brothers, who had renounced before him. Bahubali began meditating with great resolve to attain supreme knowledge, but did not succeed because of his ego, which stopped him from visiting his father’s court, did not allow him to attain Keval Gyaana,the enlightenment.

However, Bahubali was adamant. He continued his practice unmindful of the vines, ants, and dust which enveloped his body. His sisters Brhami and Sundari were concerned and asked Tirthankar Adinath about their worldly brother Bahubali. Tirthankar Adinath said , although just moments away from enlightenment, Bahubali could not achieve it because he didn’t realise that he was standing on ‘the elephant’ – Ego. Now understanding his folly, the sisters approached him and said, Oh my dear brother, at least now get down from the elephant. These words from his sisters led Bahubali to question “Am I really standing on any kind of elephant?”. From this question he soon realised that the elephant he was standing upon was his pride and ego. Bahubali realised his mistake and shed his pride and ego. He had just lifted his feet to go and bow, when, truth and enlightenment dawned upon him. Blessed with the knowledge of Truth, Bahubali went to see his father who welcomed him. Bahubali began teaching and showing people the right path.

Bahubali is a major figure in Jain hagiography. His story exemplifies the inner strength of Indian culture. He won everything from his brother and could have become an emperor, but he returned everything to the brother. Bahubali is considered the ideal of the man who conquers selfishness, jealousy, pride and anger

About Pavanesh D

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