First Mastakabhisheka

The 39 feet feat that was successfully installed on the peak of Rathnagiri, consecrated under the guidance of the great Jain Muni Vidyananda Maharaj. The unprecedented sort of accomplishment had to be celebrated to match the intensity of the entire process, and so it was. The first Mastakabhisheka for the Bahubali at Dharmasthala was conducted from 4th of February 1982. The ceremony of anointing the statue in sacred fluids every 12 years is just as scientifically important as it is religiously. The fluids not only represent the devout form of respect that Gods and humans render to the great Lord, but also sustain the external nature of the stone statue and keep it free from damage.

Before the Mastakabhisheka, it was required of Jain Munis to consecrate the statue with life; for until then it was only considered a stone statue and nothing more. Once it was consecrated, it would then be Lord Bahubali overlooking the world from atop the Rajatagiri. The consecration was held before the first Mastakabhisheka, with Vidyananda Maharaj and Vimalasagara Maharaj writing the statue’s eyes with sandalwood. The Munis were ferried up to the statue’s eye level with a cradle-like trolley, where they consecrated the statue in the presence of devotees who stood witness to something that hardly anyone would ever get to see anytime in the near future.

The Mastakabhisheka was expected to be a massive crowd puller, for which preparations began well in advance in order to easily accommodate any number of devotees who wished to be a part of the extravaganza. Facilities such as free accommodation, water, communication, transport, security and others were taken care of by the organizing committee, alongside aspects of entertainment such as cultural shows and exhibitions. A group of Jain Munis, including Vidyananda Maharaj presided over the entire event and elevated the level of spiritual importance of the ceremony to a new level altogether.

A number of religious activities that played the role of curtain raisers for the big event were lead by Dr. Heggade himself. People were allowed to obtain Kalashas in exchange of incentives and be a part of the Mastakabhisheka themselves. 1008 such Kalashas were followed by the holy fluids which included turmeric, sandalwood, sugarcane extract, flour, flowers, milk, tender coconut, and more. During the days the colossus was being anointed thus, it seemed as if all the roads in India led to Dharmasthala. The then Chief Minister of Karnataka, Gundurao was also a part of the ceremonies.

The biggest attraction, or say the most unique feature of the first Mastakabhisheka was Bahubali in royal attire. As a symbolic recreation of the heroic moment when Bahubali decided to renounce his worldly pleasures and seek salvation, the statue is clad in royal attire during the first Mastakabhisheka. This procedure is specific to the first Mastakabhisheka alone, and lucky are those who were granted the privilege to stand witness to this moment by time. No one who witnessed the same for the rest of the colossuses in Karnataka live anymore, and there can hardly be another opportunity for the generations of today to experience the same again. The statue was at the time clad in a royal attire which was later removed forever, representing the renunciation that Bahubali practiced.