Jaina Voice

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Editor-in-Chief: Dr. H.A.Parshwanath

Kanakagiri - The only Siddakshetra in South India
Kanakagiri is an important Jain Heritgae Centre in the history of Jaina tradition. It is the only siddakshetra in South India and the only place in the history of the Jainism suggested for the Kalasarpadosha Parihara pooja. This article by Dr.H.A.Parshwanath & Nitin H.P. gives out the history of the place and its importance in the Jaina tradition.

Not much know till the recent past to the external world and the Jain masses is a sacrade Jain Heritage Centre in Karnataka called Kanakagiri. It is a hillock located in the Chamarajanagar (18 Kms from Chamarajanagar) district of Karnataka and situated at about 53 Kms away from Mysore. It bears a very ancient Jain history in the map of India in general and Karnataka in particular.

It is credited to be the only siddakshetra in south India and the only place in the Jain tradition that is recommended to be place for Kalasarpadosha parihara pooja. In the ensuing lines let us explore this place and its heritage.

It has a widely spread hillock with tides of rocks and bushes around with a temple a top the hillock.

Royal Heritage
The Ganga dynasty was founded under the gudiance of Munivarya Simhananda Acharya in 2nd century the Kings of this dynasty built temple on the top of the hill in the 5-6th century. The famous Ganga general Chavundaraya, Hoysalas, Vijayanagara kings also Mysore kings had been visitng this temple regularly and had donated many lands and villages to the temple.

The Hoysala King worshipped Bhagawan Parshwanatha before proceeding to war. As a result he had won the war against odds and thus described Sri Parshwanatha Swamy as Sri Vijaya Parshwanatha Swamy.

The Main Temple
The main temple situated atop the hill is encosed in a fort like enclosure and belongs to Bhagawan Sri Parshwanatha who constitutes the main deity of the temple in Kayotsarga. He is also described as Vijaya Parshwanatha. It has a Mukha mantapa, navaranga, sukhanasi and a Garbagriha.

The mukhamantapa has the paintings of the life of Acharya Pujya pada and Tirthankaras Samavasarana, Goddess Kushmandini and Goddess Padmavathi. To the right of the Mukha mantapa is the idol of Kahetrapala Brahma Yaksha in sitting position.

On moving further before we enter the navaranga we can find many metal Jain idols on either sides of the walled enclosure. On crossing this section we enter the navaranga. The navaranga is quite spacious and is the place for performing all kinds of religious rituals and poojas.

On crossing the navaranga we enter the sukhanasi. It has the idols of Dharanendra Yaksha and Padmavathi Yakshi being installed on a snake hood; to its right is found the idol of Kudure (horse) Brahma Yaksha and besides this is found the idol of Amra Kushmandini devi. To the left of the sukhanasi are found the idols of Goddess Jwalamalini and Goddess Padmavathi. The idols of Goddess Padmavathi and Goddess Kushmandini are installed in such a way that they are facing each other. This is very unique of its kind in the history of Jain tradition and any Jain temples in the world and is said to be very auspicious for the Kalasarpadosha parihara pooja. This will be dealt latter in this article.

On further proceeding from the sukhanasi is the Garbagriha. It has a 5 feet high black coloured idol of Lord Parshwanath in Kayotsarga.

To the right of this temple can be found the idol of Lord Parshwanath and Goddess Padmavathi. With in the fort enclosure is also found a small pond like structure called donne. The priests used to use the water from this pond for the pooja of Lord Parshwanath. Outside the fort enclosure are installed the foot impressions of all the twenty four Trithankaras inside small stupas and is spread all along the hillock and finals leads to the top most point on the hillock. A small pillar of around 7 feet has been installed at this point. It has the carvings of Jain Tirthankaras.

While we move around having a darshan of the foot impressions of the Tirthankaras we can find a mantapa dedicated to Acharya Pujya with his foot impressions engraved on it.

Apart from this we can also find a couple of caves on the hillock in which the Jain Munis used to do meditation.

Relief from Kalasarpa Dosha
Kanakagiri is the only place among the Jain centres providing relief to the ill effects of Rahu & Ketu as described in the Jaina heritage i.e. Kalasarpadosha. It is also mentioned in the Jaina classics. It is interesting to note


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that the idols of Sri Amra Kushmandini, Sri Nagadevate and Sri Padmavathi Goddesses are placed opposite to each other. These bring peace and tranquility amongst the devotees. The Jains and also non Jains visit the place seeking relief from Rahu Ketu dosha. Queen Deverammanni of Mysore royal family once suffered with Kalasarpadosha and found relief on worshipping the Goddesses here. Hence she bestowed the place with the idol of hood of snake bearing Dharanendra and Padmavathi figures. This idol of Dharanendra Yaksha and Padmavathi Yaksha beings installed in a snake hood is is very unique of its kind and cannot be found in any part of the world.     

Land of Samavasarana
Described as Hemanga Desha in the ancient works and to where Bhagawan Sri Mahavira visited the place in his sojourn or Sri Vihara in South India. The samavasarana is said to have been held here!

Kanakagiri: Siddakshetra
The inscriptions, engravings of footprints, samadhi mantapas and nishadi caves throw much light on the heritage of the place. These stand as an edifice to the antiquity of the place and also the gamut of Jaina saints who lived here. Furthermore these also reflect the extent and depth of religious importance in an impressive manner.

Many saints undertook deep penance and attained Kevala Jnana and salvation atop the hill. Hence it has been called as a Siddakshetra.

Supratishta Munivarya of Suryapura and Jnanachandra Munivarya preached here to the devotees and thus propagated the principles of Jaina religion. They were endowed with anantha jnana, anantha sukha and anantha veerya.

Pujyapadacharya was an unique personality among the Jaina ascetics and whose achievements were unbounded. His name is personified with Kanakagiri.

Atishayakshetra
Lord Parshwanatha was worshiped by Hoysala kings. Goddess Sri Padmavathidevi has blessed the place and has resulted in many miraculous events.

Acharya Pujyapada and Kanakagiri
It was the abode of Acharya Pujyapada as already cited above and who had a celestial power of contemplating with Sri Srimandaraswamy of Videhakshetra. He inspired Nagarjuna to install the sacred footprints of twenty four prophets and finally attained nirvana. Pujyapada has written Sarvartha Siddhi, Dashabakthi, Samadhi Shataka, Ishtopadesha and Jainendra Vyakarana. He was a great exponent in Ayurvedic Medicine and has remained immortal in this context. He lived in the 5th century and consecrated the place with sanctity.

Shanthimantra

sampuujakaanaam pratipaala kaanaam yatiindra saamaanya tapoodanaanaam |
deeshasya raashtrasya purasya raajaha karootushaantim bhagawan jinendra |

This message of peace of and tranquility was purported by Sri Pujyapada and is well sung daily by the Jaina Shravak and Shravakis. This great hymn aspires for the welfare of the world it emphasises self purification and prays for disintegration of the vices. It emphasises the compassion for life and aim of fulfilling the worth of human birth. Sri Pujyapada the great composer sanctified the place Sri Kshetra Kanakagiri by his greater achievements and fulfillments. He prayed for the welfare and prosperity of the citizen, the kings, the country and the mankind. This shloka emanated in this place spreading the torch of tranquility throughout the world.

Maleyuru
Maleyuru village is situated in Chamarajanagar district and is about 3 Kms away from Kanakagiri. However it bears a very close and inseparable relationship with Kanakagiri. It was once one of the important Jain centres in the world. It was well known for its sandalwood and rich forestry around it. It is said that princess Jevandara attained sainthood at the behest of Lord Mahavira on his visit to the place.

Jainism flourished well in this place for centuries and a big temple belonging to Sri Adinatha is found as a testimony in the heart of Maleyuru. The main principle of non violence is practiced immensely by the people living here.

Architect of Resurrection of Kanakagiri
Pujya Sri Chandrasagara Muni had chosen Kanakagiri for his penance and worship is the last century. He resurrected the place with 24 Jinakutas and also construed the steps to the hill. He awakened the people for charity and developed the place with modern facilities.

Jain Muth
The names of Jain saints namely Ajitakeerthi, Chandrasenacharya, Chandrakeerthi Muni, Vajra Nandi, Siddantha Deva, Vidyanandi Muni and Vadebasimha Muni are incarnated, as they regarded the place as abode of achievements and pursuance. The Jain Muth came to existence in the light of these Jain saints. Besides the names of Sri Maddamanandi Bhattarakha, Vadiraja Muni, Munichandradeva and Prabendu Prabhacharya are well nitted with the hostiry of the place.

His Holiness Swasti Sri Bhuvanakeerthi Bhattarakh Maharaj
His Holiness Swastisri Bhuvanakeerthi Bhattarakh Swamiji is the present pontiff heading Sri Kshetra Kanakagiri Peetha which is known  as the unique 'siddakshetra' of South India. He was born in Heruru village, Sagar taluk, Shimoga district in Karnataka. His original name was Vasupujya and born to the religious couple Sri Nemiraja Shetty and Smt Marudevamma. He possesses a great patronage for the religion and erudition of knowledge. He has studied immensely the path of Jaina religion. His sphere of knowledge in Sanskrit, Hindi and religious studies are of high order. He is an erudite scholar and a studied Sanskrit,  Prakrit and Hindi literature in Jainism [M.A. (Sanskrit), Mysore University; Acharya (Prakrit & Jain Agama), Varanasi]. He obtained the Shastri graduation in Sri Varni Digambar Jain Gurukula, Jabalpur, M.P., run under the guidance of Acharya Sri Vidyasagarji Maharaj. Further he also possesses vast knowledge in Astrology. He is an eloquent speaker in various languages. His sense of devotion, spirit preaching, depth of knowledge and veritable sacrifice are well known throughout the land. His lectures on various religious deliberations are much appreciated by the men of letters and the common folk alike. He is well known for various social welfare activities.

Simplicity is his nature and there by he has conquered the heart of the people. His aceademic activities blended with admirable religious schemes for propagation of the religion has drawn considerable attention of the people. He has evinced keen interest in developing the Sri Kshetra Kanakagiri in leaps and bounds and thus establishing the place as centre of Jaina pilgrimage, study and scholarship. He has undertaken many constructive measures in the Sri Kshetra to facilitate the abounding number of pilgrims visiting the centre. The Muth is always found in the forefront for the welfare of humanity. He has created awareness amongst the people regarding the glory of Jainism. The Muth is known for providing religious and social education in the Pujyapada Vidyapeetha installed by the Swamiji. He has traveled far and wide and acquired veritable knowledge of Jaina relics of the past. His message of Jina has pervaded the thoughts, moods and memories of the devotees and paved the way for leading a useful life. Sri Kshetra has found a remarkable improvement after the advent of Swamiji in the place. It is worth to note that Pujyapada Ayurveda Hospital, the brain child of Swamiji has helped the poor and needy. He is a great dreamer with visionary outlook. He has intended to establish a research centre of Ayurveda in memory of Acharya. Furthermore, he has decided to incorporate a botanical garden with medicinal plants and herbs in order to promote Ayurvedic Medical Science.

'Pujyapada Award' has been installed at Sri Kshetra to identify and encourage the people who have attained the stature in the field of Ayurvedic medicine and rendered yeomen service to the people. At present the Muth is running the educational institutions in Mysore and Chamarajanagar imparting education to the poor and downtrodden children. Home for the deserted children at Mysore is unique in its character as it is the only institution of that kind initiated by the Jain Community.

The Swamiji is a beacon limelight for the philanthropic upliftment of the people at large.

Accommodation Facilities - Good accommodation facilities are available at the dharmashala in the premises of the Jain Mutt. It is advisable to to make accommodation bookings well in advance.

How To Reach - Kanakagiri is at a distance of 18 Kms from the nearest district centre of Chamarajanagar and 53 Kms from Mysore. The nearest Railway station is at Chamarajanagar.

Driving Directions from Bangalore and Mysore - People travelling towards Kanakagiri from Bangalore will have to pass through Mysore. From Mysore one will have to travel towards Nanjanagud (25 Kms from Mysore) and move further towards the Chamarajanagar route and will have to reach Doddakavalande. One reaching Doddakavalande after travelling for a distance of around 1.5 Kms one can find a board to their right along with names of different places and their distances. It is advisable to take a right turn at this place.

Contacts - Sri Digambar Jain Mutt, Sri Kshetra Kanakagiri, Pin - 571128, Chamarajanagar District, Karnataka, India. Phone - 91 08226 296786.

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