Curated commentaries on the Jain cosmos
6 May, 2018
Inscriptions in Tamil Brahmi at Perumalmalai and a Jain idol carving near Samanarmalai, Tamil Nadu. These writings, idols and the caves are attributed to the Jain monks who lived in these areas more than 2000 years ago. Though most people don't know about it, Jains have had a huge impact on Tamil Nadu through culture and language.
4 May, 2018
We got published in the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) South Asia blog! The article below is an account of the Mahamasthakabhisheka of the Gomateshvara bahubali idol at Shravanabelagola that took place this year.
//At Sharavanabelagola, a giant monolith of a man standing in meditation is bathed in sacred substances once every 12 years. The statue is of Bahubali, one of the most popular characters in Jain mythology. Locally, this monolith is also known as the Gomateshvara. Coconut water, sugarcane juice, milk, turmeric, perfumes, medicinal herbs, sandalwood, vermillion, etc. are poured on the head of the idol from pots carried by devotees up a scaffolding set up behind the idol which is more than 57 feet high. These substances are typically poured from 1008 kalashas or pots on each day for about two weeks. This ceremony is known as the Mahamastakabhisheka, or the Great Head Anointment.//
29 March, 2018
Happy Mahavira Jayanti to all our readers! Around two and a half millennia ago, Mahavira was born in the Indian subcontinent. In the Jain tradition, he is considered the 24th and last tirthankara of our times. Read more: Eventually, Mahavira or 'the great hero', like all great Jain ascetics, stepped away from his ascribed place in society and became a monk. However, through his journeys, he was not in complete seclusion. He kept interacting with people and other beings, as he delved deeper and deeper into his spirit. Stories of these interactions are also told as some examples of ahinsa in practice. Over time, he completely overcame the inner enemies: krodha (anger), lobha (greed), mana (ego), and maya (deceit), leading to inner bliss, and, at the end of his life, to the final liberation of moksha. On Mahavira Jayanti, let us remind ourselves of his message of true ahinsa; in thought, speech, and action. Let us remind ourselves of what Mahavira represents: that spirit is the destination, and ahinsa is the way.
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