An eternal garden-with each tree for a Tirthankara

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The relation between religion and nature cannot be more apparent, in this garden that has trees that represent each of the 24 Tirthankaras (religious leaders) of the Jain community.

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Mangalore (Karnataka), September 11, 2011: The relation between religion and nature cannot be more apparent, in this garden that has trees that represent each of the 24 Tirthankaras (religious leaders) of the Jain community.

Anantha Shanti Vana (garden of eternal peace) in Naravi, 65 km from Mangalore, has 24 trees planted in a particular order.

The garden is on the banks of Suvarna river and is 24km away from two Jain pilgrimage centres—Moodbidri and Karkala.

All the trees belong to different species and represent a Tirthankara. They have been planted in chronological order: the first tree represents the first Tirthankara Rishabhanatha (believed to have lived around the end of the Stone Age and beginning of the Agriculture Age).

The last tree represents the last Tirthankara, Vardhamadhana, also called Mahaveera, who attained Nirvana in 2635 BC.

The philosophy
Shishupal Jain, who is a knowledge bank on Jainism, told that the garden was set up as per the classical text of the Chavundaraya regime, which mentions the significance of each tree that represents a Tirthankara.

He says the ancient text states that the Tirthankaras attained knowledge after meditating under the trees, which are being grown in the garden now. As per the text, they attained Nirvana under the same trees.

Amrut Malla, a Jain scholar, says: “This is not a modern text that has assigned these trees to 24 Tirthankaras. It has a philosophy or rather a deep-rooted socio-religious relation with the trees and the Tirthankaras had the knowledge of nature through the trees.” She adds that these trees were not common and some of them were not even known to modern science.

M Mohan Alva, who shouldered the responsibility of finding these trees for the garden, says many of these trees have become rare. He says it is with great difficulty that he managed to secure these trees.

“If you see our ancient scripts, there are trees attached to every religious sects: The Ashtamutts of Udupi, which is a conglomeration of eight different monasteries, has eight different trees; there are seven different trees for each of the rishis in the Saptarshi Mandala; there are 27 trees each for a star constellation and the scripts identify 24 different trees to be planted in a Naga Bana,” he adds. – News Courtesy: DNA

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Post Author: JHC