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Mahamastakabhisheka Celebrations

  • 11 Feb 2019
  • 4 min read

Recently, the 10-day long Mahamastakabhisheka for the monolith 39-foot high Bahubali statue started in Dharmasthala, Karnataka.

  • This year (2019), Mahamastakabhisheka Mahotsava will be observed from February 9 to February 18.
  • This is the fourth mahamastakabhisheka of Lord Bahubali since its installation in 1982. Earlier were performed in 1982, 1995, and in 2007 in Dharmasthala.
  • It was sculpted by Renjala Gopalakrishna Shenoy under the aegis of Ratnavarma Heggade in 1973. It was then positioned atop Ratnagiri Hill in the temple town of Dharmasthala in 1982.


  • In 2018, the anointing ceremony of the Gomateshwara Bahubali statue at Shravanabelagola took place from February 17 to February 25.
  • The statue at Shravanabelagola is believed to be one of the largest free-standing statues in the world (at 57 feet), which was built in 983 AD by the minister of the Ganga dynasty, Chamunda-Raya.


  • The word Mahamastakabhisheka is a combination of three words viz: Maha (great), Masthaka (head) and Abhisheka (anointing) which literally means ‘the head anointing ceremony’.
  • The ceremony is called Mahamastakabhisheka (also referred as Grand Consecration) and not Mastakabhisheka because the ceremony is performed only once in 12 years.
  • The Mahamastakabhisheka Mahotsava is an anointing ceremony of the statue of Lord Bahubali.

Lord Bahubali

  • Lord Bahubali was the son of lord Rishabhanatha who was the first of the 24 Jain Tirthankaras.
  • Jain mythology holds up Bahubali as the one who succeeded in attaining liberty from worldly desires through a long period of sustained meditation.
  • The sculpture of Lord Bahubali is in upright posture of meditation known as Kayotsarga which stands for renunciation, self-control and subjugation of the ego as a reflection of his life.
  • This is the digambara form of Bahubali which represents complete victory over earthly desires and needs, which forms the edifice for spiritual ascent towards divinity.


  • The most famous thinker of the Jainas, Vardhamana Mahavira was born in 540 B.C. in Kundagram village near Vaishali. He was a Kshatriya prince belonging to the Lichchhavi clan.
  • According to the beliefs of the Jain tradition, Mahavir was the 24th Tirthankara, who succeeded the 23rd Tirthankara, Parshvanatha.
  • Tirthankara is a Sanskrit word meaning 'Fordmaker', i.e., one who is able to ford the river, to cross beyond the perpetual flow of earthly life.
  • Mahavir attained ‘kaivalya’ or omniscience at the age of 42.
  • He passed away at the age of 72 at a place called Pavapuri, near modern day Rajgir (in Bihar) after preaching for thirty years.
  • Jainism attaches utmost importance to ahimsa or non-violence. It preaches 5 mahavratas (the 5 great vows):
    • Ahimsa (Non-violence)
    • Satya (Truth)
    • Asteya or Achaurya (Non-stealing)
    • Brahmacharya (Celibacy/Chastity)
    • Aparigraha (Non-attachment/Non-possession)
  • The three jewels or triratna of Jainism include Samyak Darshana (right faith), Samyak Gyana (right knowledge) and Samyak Charitra (right conduct).
  • Jainism is a religion of self-help. There are no gods or spiritual beings that will help human beings. It does not condemn the varna system.
  • The texts containing the teachings of Mahavira are called the Agamas.
  • In later times, it got divided into two sects: Shvetambaras (white-clad) under Sthalabahu and Digambaras (sky-clad) under the leadership of Bhadrabahu.
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