Hombuja (Shimoga District, Karnataka), November 14-17, 2011: The much awaited event of the Jain samaj in south India and particularly the Digambar Jain samaj of Karnataka – the “Pattabhisheka Mahotsava of His Holiness Swasti Sri Devendrakeerthi Bhattaraka Swamiji” as the new pontiff of Hombuja/Humcha Jain Mutt had finally arrived after a long wait of 16 months. It was a very unique event for many people and particularly the youths of present times. Unlike many other Jain events which keep happening very often this kind of events happen very rarely. Many of us might have witnessed the diksha or kesh loch ceremonies of Jain munis or aryikas or the Pancha Kalyana or even the Mahamasthakabhisheka mahotsavas of Bahubali idols but we are very sure that we haven’t witnessed a pattabhisheka mahotsava of a Jain Bhattaraka. Here I have made an attempt to briefly record the events that took place in the selection of a new Bhattaraka and as well have tried to record the proceedings that took place during the pattabhisheka mahotsava. Also I have tried to record the feelings that existed in the minds of people during the process. My apologies if I have missed out to record any of the names or events or if there are any mistakes. Please feel free to get in touch with me for any queries/suggestions/clarifications.
Sad Demise of Previous Bhattaraka
The news about the sad demise (14th July 2010) of the previous Bhattarkha of Hombuja came as a shock to the Jain community across the world. Condolences started to pour in from across the globe. He was one of the very few people amongst the Jain scholars and Jain ascetics who could speak authoritatively on any aspect of Jainism. There existed a big question mark in the minds of many. They include leaders/dignitaries/office bearers of different Jain organisations, Jain scholars, Jain priests, Jain samajs and individuals. The questions were many – Who will be the next incumbent to this ancient Bhattaraka seat? Will he be able to handle the huge responsibility of leading the Jain samaj and handle the administration of the Jain Mutt? Will he be able to patch up big divide that existed in between the rest of the Bhattarakas and the previous incumbent of the seat? What is the process to be followed in the appointment of new Bhattaraka? and what kind of rituals will be conducted during the Pattabhisheka Mahotsava? Additionally, many Jain friends spread across the world might have had different questions about this. I have made a honest attempt to answer these questions. Thought not fully I think I will be successful in answering some of your questions.
Soon after the sad demise of the previous Bhattaraka the Government of Karnataka took charge of the situation through the Tashildhar of Hosanagara taluk and appointed an adhoc committee to look after the last rites. Post that a pooja and anna dhana was organised in the Jain Mutt as a honour to the previous Bhattaraka.
Choosing of the new Bhattaraka
Soon after that a committee was constituted to look after the day to day administration of Sri Kshetra Hombuja and to choose the next incumbent to the seat. Rajarishi Dr.D.Veerendra Heggade of Dharmasthala was the honarary president of the committee and D.Surendra Kumar of Dharmasthala and K.Jayavarma Ballal as working presidents and other members. The committee did a very commendable work by streamlining the administrative set up of Hombuja Jain Mutt and undertook many developmental works at Hombuja. Further, after lot of deliberations and meetings it was decided to choose Vicharapatta Kshullaka Sri Dharmakeerthiji, a disciple of His Holiness Swasti Sri Charukeerthi Bhattarkha Swamiji of Shravanabelagola Jain Mutt as the next incumbent to the Bhattaraka seat. Finally, Dr.D.Veerendra Heggade of Dharmasthala made the announcements at Shimoga after the formal process of asking ‘Prasada‘ from Goddess Padmavathi the chief deity of Hombuja. Prasada is a ritual followed in Karnataka where in a question is placed before the fully decorated idol of the Goddess by a priest or Shravaka (Jain house holders). Falling of flowers from the right of the idol is considered as auspicious and people go ahead with performing a particular task. A similar task was followed on Friday September 23, 2011.
Karnataka Jain Samaj Over Joyed – The Jain samaj of Karnataka was over joyed over the selection of Sri Dharmakeerthiji as the next Bhattaraka of Hombuja. People started making phone calls and sending SMS soon after they heard the news and celebrations went on for days together by means of organising special poojas and other rituals in different temples of Karnataka.
The decision of conducting the Pattabhisheka Mahotsava (consecration) of Sri Dharmakeerthiji as the Bhattaraka of Hombuja was announced on 3rd October after a meeting scheduled at Shravanabelagola. This was held in the presence and guidance of Sri Charukeerthiji attended by Sri Heggadeji and other members of the committee. It was decided to conduct the event from 14-17 November, 2011. Here is a link to the detailed programme schedule
Soon after the formal announcement, Sri Dahrmakeerthiji along with D.Surendra Kumar visited Elacharya 108 Muni Sri Vidyanandaji Maharaj and many other Jain Munis to seek their blessings.
Accommodation – Hombuja being a village was not well prepared to host the huge number of audience attending the event. The 50 plus rooms at the Hombuja Jain mutt was not at all sufficient to accommodate the devotees. Devotees started exploring all possible opportunities for their four days stay at Hombuja. Some ended up making arrangements with in Hombuja and other surrounding villages. Many people made deterrent efforts by using their influences to get the rooms in the Jain Mutt. People made bookings in many hotels, resorts and home stay at places around Hombuja such as Tirthahalli, Hosanagara, Koppa and Shimoga. It was a great time for the hoteliers in and around Shimoga district with almost 95-98% occupancy. The organisers fell short of options to accommodate the Bhattarakas, dignitaries, priests, volunteers and related people. Finally, they had to accommodate some of them at many far of places and had made travel arrangements.
We should bow down to the dynamism shown by Dr.D.Veerendra Heggade, his team and the employees of Dharmasthala Gramodyoga Samsthe for their services offered during the event.
Sri Charukeerthiji’s involvement – His Holiness Swasti Sri Charukeerthi Bhattaraka Swamiji of Shravanabelagola Jain Mutt reached Hombuja a week before the event to over see the preparations. His interest in the minutest of the minute details in the preparations of the event made a huge difference in the over all success of the event.
Generosity of Local People – Many Jains and non Jains at Hombuja offered a portion of their houses to the devotees as a gesture and involved themselves with the event. I should consider my self very lucky in this aspects to have stayed in a farm house with our team of six members at a village called Goranahalli at a distance of 3.5 Kms from Hombuja. I should quote the words of Mr.Renukappa who hosted us, “Sir, we would consider this as a life time opportunity for us and our generation for being a part of this great event”. This shows the amount of devotion and followership Hombuja enjoys amongst the non Jain community.
14th November – Pura Pravesha
Sri Dharmakeerthiji after his visit to various religious places and seeking the blessings of religious gurus had stayed at Narasimharajapura a Jain pilgrim centre (popular for Goddess Jwalamalini and the Jain Mutt) situated at a distance of around 70 Kms from Hombuja. Members of the Shimoga Jain Samaj visited Narasimharajapura and welcomed him. Sri Dharmakeerthiji, entered Hombuja at sharp 4.00 pm and the other rituals related to the event were conducted. He was given a rousing Poorna Kumbha Swagatha to Sri Kshetra Hombuja. He was garlanded by the local Jain Samaj and other dignitaries, followed by arati and pada pooja (washing his feet by the priests along with chanting the holy hymns) and was taken in a procession lead by different band sets to the Jain Mutt premises. Members of the Mahila Samaj assembled on either sides of the entrance to Sri Parshwanatha Jain temple with mangala Kalashas on thier head. Many other Bhattarakas from different Jain Mutts accompanied Dharmakeerthiji in the procession. Soon after this Dharmakeerthiji had his first darshana of Lord Parshwanatha and Goddess Padmavathi. The event was witnessed by aroudn 5,000 devotees from across India.
Purapravesha was followed by a Dharmika Sabha (religious gathering) in the evening addressed by different Bhattarakas and Sri Dharmakeerthiji.
15th & 16th November
Both these days were reserved completely for conducting different Aradhanas & Vidhanas. Sri Dharmakerthiji visited the places around the Jain Mutt that hold a unique place in the history of Hombuja. These include Bogara Basadi (located behind the Jain Mutt), point of origin of river Kumudvathi, Bahubali & Parshwanath idols on the hillock behind the Jain Mutt, Makkala Basadi and Muttina Kere.
Below is a list of aradhanas/vidhanas conducted on 15th November:
At Sri Parshwanatha Temple
24 Tirthankaras Aradhana
Pooja of Dashadikpalakas
Below is a list of aradhanas/vidhanas conducted on 16th November:
At Sri Parshwanatha Basadi
Abhisheka to Lord Parshwanatha with 108 Kalashas
Kalikundala Yantra Aradhana
At Sri Matada Basadi
At Sri Padmavathi Devi Mantapa
Navagraha Mahashanthi Aradhana
Offering of flowers to the Nishadhi’s of former Bhattaraka’s
To Goddess Padmavathi
Shodasha Upachara Pooja
Sahasranama Kumkuma Archana
Dharmika Sabha & Cultural Programmes
17th November – Pattabhisheka
This was the big day that Jain samaj was looking for since many days. The days schedule started off early in the morning at around 4.30 am with the Mangala snana of Sri Dharmakeerthiji i.e. holy bathing of the incumbent to the Bhattaraka seat before the pattabhisheka. This was followed by Jina Mandira Darshana, Pattabandha, Mangala Kalasha Sthapana, Japa, Dhyana & Sakalikarana.
After this the following rituals/poojas were observed from 6.00 am onwards – Navakalasha Abhisheka to Lord Pashwanatha, Chanting of Mahashanthi Mantra, Shanthidhara. Special Abhisheka Pooja in all the Temples at Hombuja, Panchamrutha Abhisheka Pooja to Goddess Padmavathi followed by Mahamangalarathi along with Shodashopachara.
Due to lack of space inside the Parshwanatha temple, Pattabhisheka Mahotsava was restricted to very few people (around 60 to 70 people) including the media personnel. However, all the rituals were telecast directly through closed circuit TVs to the devotees outside the temple.
From 10.51 am onwards under the auspicious Makara lagna the poorvakriyas for pattabhisheka (i.e. rituals before pattabhisheka) and simhasana (the Bhattaraka seat) pooja were performed. Around this time all the Bhattarakas and dignitaries assembled inside the Parshwanath temple.
Sarasangami family – One of the worth noting and unique aspect of the entire Pattabhisheka mahotsava is that the Sarasangami family members led almost all the rituals as they happen to be connected with the Jain Mutt since centuries. Dr.Hombannavar a doctor by profession who stays at Haveri a north Karnataka district represented the family in all the rituals.
Main Rituals – Sri Dharmakeerthiji was led inside the Jain mutt by Dr.Hombannavar along with Heggadeji and other Bhattarakas. Post that Sri Dharmakeerthiji had a darshan of Lord Parshwanath and bowed down to his guru His Holiness Swasti Sri Charukeerthi Bhattaraka Swamiji of Shravanabelagola. Around this time the silver Kamandala, golden Padukas and golden Pinchi were brought near the simhasana by the priests. The Kamandala, Padukas and Pinchi is said to have been inherited from the previous Bhattarakas and are said to be more than 4 centuries old. Dharmakeerthiji was then led to the area around Simhasana by Dr.Hombannavar. While Dharmakeerthiji was involved in offering his prayers to the Simhasana Dr.Hombannavar along with the priests were involved in performing pooja to the simhasana. The pooja included the ashtavidha archana and arathi by the priests. By the time all these rituals were completed it was close to around 11.10 am. Dr.D.Veerendra Heggade took charge of the events and announced that the much awaited auspicious time for pattabhisheka has arrived. He further said that the muhurta choosen for this was very auspicious, it has been choosen after lot of deliberations and such kind of muhurta come only once in every thirty years. While it was exactly 11.14 am Dr.Hombannavar led Dharmakeerthiji to the Simhasana. From then on Sri Dharmakeerthiji was called as Swasti Sri Devendrakeerthi Bhattaraka Swamiji. The priests started chanting holy mantras while Devendrakeerthiji offered his prayers sitting on the simhasana. The devotees around shotued slogan saying “Devendrakeerthi Bhattaraka Swamiji Ki Jai”. Further, Dr.Hombannavar offered the ancient Kamandala, pinchi, golden chain, finger ring and a chain with 108 beads of Sphatika (crystal snow) to Sri Devendrakeerthiji. The golden chain was garlanded to Devandrakeertiji, while the finger ring was worn on his ring finger of the right hand. Soon after this Devendrakeerthiji offered a pooja to the golden padhukas. Then he held the chain with Sphatika beads and the golden pinchi in his right hand and did his first Japa after being consecrated as the Bhattaraka of Hombuja. Meanwhile the priests chanted the holy hymns and offered pooja to the golden padhukas by means of Kalasha abhisheka and arati and concluded all the rituals/poojas related to Pattabhisheka.
After completing all the rituals Dr.Veerendra Heggadeji honoured Sri Devendrakeerthiji by offering him a shawl and he presented him a citation mentioning that hence forth he will be the Bhattaraka of Hombuja. Dr.Hombannavar also offered a similar citation to Devendrakeerthiji. After this Devendrakeerthiji gave his first discourse as the Bhattaraka and blessed all the devotees by sprinkling coloured rice and chanting the holy hymns.
Darshana of Deities – After the completion of Pattabhisheka rituals Deevendrakeerthiji had a darshan of the Parshwanath idol and came out of the temple. Devotees gathered in huge numbers around the temple stood up as a respect to Sri Deevendrakeerthiji, also this happed to be first darshana of Deevendrakeerthiji to the devotees after Pattabhisheka. Further, Deevenrakeerthiji had a darshan of Kshetrapala Yaksha and proceeded towards the Padmavathi temple to have a darshan of Goddess Padmavathi the chief deity of Hombuja. He offered his prayers and witnessed the pooja of Goddess Padmavathi. He then offered his first donations symbolically by inserting a few Indian currencies into the Hundi (box) at Padmavathi temple.
Simhasanarohana – Latter, he was taken to the Jain Mutt where the Simhasanarohana rituals were conducted. These rituals more or less were similar to the Pattabhisheka rituals. The only difference was that this event was witnessed by a much bigger audience than the Pattabhisheka.
The pallakki utsava that started at around 3.30 pm from the Jain Mutt was taken in all the mains roads of Hombuja. The procession cosisted of Tableaus, bands, musical troupes, elephant, women with kalasha and pallakkis.
Tableaus – There were two tableaus. One of these presented by Shimoga Jain Samaj contained the life size photographs of the previous two Bhattarakas. The Hombuja Jain Samaj presented another tableau depicting the story of Goddess Padmavathi and Jinadattaraya. Bands & Musical Troupes – Many musical troupes and musicians from different parts of Karnataka also participated in the event. They included both the traditional as well as the modern forms.
Women with Kalasha – Members of the Mahila Samaj carried kalashas on their head and added value to the procession.
Pallakkis – Three silver pallakki were carried in the procession. In one of the Pallakki was carried the Jinavani (Jain holy books/scriptures) while the other contained the silver Kalasha. In the third pallaki was seated Sri Deevendrakeerthiji. People from the houses on either sides of the procession path decorated the roads with rangoli. When the pallakki containing Deevendrakeerthiji arrived in front of the houses the householders offered coconut, fruits and money in a plate and requested Deevendrakeerthiji’s blessings. Deevendrakeerthiji offered his blessings by sprinkling the coloured rice and chanting the holy hymns.
The Dharmkiasabha attended by Sri Deevendrakeerthiji, Bhattarakas from all the Jain mutts in India, Dr.D.Veerendra Heggade and other dignitaries started off around 5.15 pm. The main focus of the event Sri Deevendrakeerthiji was seated in the middle flanked by two assistants and chouri bearers and a person holding the umbrella. He was flanked by the dignitaries and guests on either sides with the Bhattarakas on the right and the dignitaries on the left. The working presidents of the administrative body Sri Jayavarma Ballal and D.Surendrakumar read out a letter stating that the over all administration of the Jain Mutt will be handed over to Sri Deevendrakeerthiji. Post this all the keys were handed over to Sri Deevendrakeerthiji to symbolically mark the handing over of adminisrative responsibility to Sri Deevendrakeerthiji.
Sri Deevendrakeerthiji’s Address – In his address Sri Deevendrakeerthiji recalled the 1200 years history of the Jain mutt and felt that it is the duty of the current generation to preserve it and take it to new heights. He further spoke about the royal families that rules over Hombuja and their contribution towards the over all development of Sri Ksketra and propagation of Jainism. He recalled the contribution of the previous Bhattarakas of Hombuja and assured the Jain community that he will work on the similar lines towards the over all development of Sri Ksketra in particular and propagation of Jainism in general. He further assured his full cooperation from the Jain Mutt and Sri Kshetra Hombuja for all Jainism related activities. (Click here to download a pdf copy of Sri Deevendrakeerthiji’s discourse in Kannada)
He listed out a certain set of priorities that he wishes to undertake in the days to came. They are as below:
- To carry on the pooja and utsavas at Hombuja as per the ancient traditional methods.
- Development of Bhojanalaya for the devotees.
- Special arrangements for the Jain ascetics.
- Establishment of educational institutions based on the ancient gurukula system of education and modern methods.
- Accommodation facilities with modern amenities.
- Public welfare projects for the over all development of Sri Kshetra and Hombuja and places around. These include establishing hospitals, job training institutes, etc.
- Conducting seminars and conferences related to Jainism.
- Publication of Books.
- Establishing facilities for carrying out further studies and research in Sanskrit and Prakrit.
- Developing and improving the Jain heritage centres that fall under the Hombuja Jain Mutts administration. These include Kumdadri, Varanga and Hattiyangadi.
- Improving the existing Hostels at Shimoga and Sagar.
Devendrakeerthi Swamiji’s Sankapla to construct Bahubali Temple –
Deevendrakeerthiji also made a Sankalpa (vow) to construct a temple on the hillock behind the Jain Mutt and install the ancient Bahubali idol that is found on the hillock. He has promised himself to take this up as the top most priority in his list of planned projects.
Jain Mutts & Heggade Family’s Felicitation – All the Bhattaraka’s felicitated Sri Deevendrakeerthiji as a part of their respect to the Hombuja Bhattaraka seat and assured all kind of support to him. After this the Heggade family of Dharmasthala led by Dr.D.Veerendra Heggade felicitated Sri Deevendrakeerthiji.
Jain Samaj’s & Jain Association’s Felicitation – Members of different Jain Samaj’s and different Jain & non-Jain organisations from all over India felicitated Sri Deevendrakeerthiji and offered their respects to the Bhattaraka seat.
Deevendrakeerthiji’s Blessings to all the Devotees – This was the last event of the entire Pattabhisheka Mahotsava. After the dharmikasabha it was time for all the devotees present (irrespective of their cast, creed, sex, region, financial status, etc) at Hombuja to seek their blessings from His Holiness Swasti Sri Deevendrakeerthi Bhattaraka Swamiji. Swamiji was seated on a diaz setup in front of the Jain Mutt and all the devotees approached in a single line where in Sri Deevendrakeerthiji offered his blessings one after the other by giving a sriphala and sprinkling akshate (coloured rice) on their head.
With this lengthy note I sign off and wish His Holiness Swasti Sri Deevendrakeerthi Bhattaraka Swamiji all the very best in his endeavour of propagating Jainism and popularising Sri Kehetra Hombuja. I would also like to assure the Jain Samaj and Sri Deevendrakeerthi Swamiji all the support from the team at WWW.JAINHERITAGECENTRES.COM. I would like to thank Sri Deevendrakeerthi Swamiji and the administrative committee for granting me special permissions and recognising me and granting the media pass to cover the event without which it would not have been possible for us to present this event to our Jain friends and netizens on the internet. Our special thanks to Sri Ilkal Vijaykumar (former member of the legislative assembly- Government of Karnataka) for getting us the media permissions.
We bow down to Goddess Padmavathi, the chief deity of Hombuja for her blessings in our future endeavours.