Nov 17, 2007

Jainism in Kolhapur (II)

Shilahar Dynasty: By Prof. Yashwant Malaiya

One of the rulers of this dynasty was Gonka. An inscription at Teradalmentions that Gonka was healed from snakebite by a Jain monk and Gonkhad built a temple of Lord Neminath. Many Jain temples in that regionbuild in the next couple of century are called Gonka-Jinalya afterhim. During the reign of Bhoja I, a dynamic Acharya Maghanandi helpedestablish an institute at Rupanarayana-Basadi. Several of the kingsand nobles of the dynasty were disciples of Maghanandi. Maghanandi isoften called Siddhanta-chakravarti ie the great master of thescriptures. He is sometimes called "Kolapuriya" todistinguish him from many other Acharyas with the name Maghanandi.

Maghanandi belonged to a distinguised lineage of Acharayas of Deshiya-Gana Pustaka Gachchha. One of his predecessors of Gollachaya, who wasonce a king. The Bhattarakas of Shravenbelgola and Mudabidri belongto the same lineage [4].

Just like pairs Hemachandra Suri and king Kumarpal, NemichandraAcharya and Chamundaraya. Kolhapur has a famous Acharya-devotee pair.A legendary account of Maghanadi and Shilahara king Gandraaditya ofKolhapur occurs in "Jainacharya Parampara Mahima". It mentions 770Jain shrines being built by Gandaditya and 770 disciple monks ofMaghanadi. Many of the inscriptions in Kolhapur and nearby placesattest to this relationship. Gandaraditya had built atemple "Tribhuvan Tilak" for Lord Nemi at Arjurika, whereSomadeva composed "ShabdarNava-Chandrika" (guide to a lexicon). LikeAshoka Maurya, El Kharvel etc, he was supported all religions. In oneinscription he is called "sarva-darshan-chakshuha" i.e. viewer of allpoints of view. His general Nimbadeva was also a devoted Jain. AKolhapura inscription at the MahaLakshmi temple (it has 72 Jinascarved on the shikhar) mentions a Jain temple made by Nimbadeva.

His son Vijayaditya was a disciple of Manikyanandi, the successor ofAcharya Maghanandi. Several inscriptions mention donations byVijayaditya and his generals to Jain institutions.A brahmin Vasudeva,a dependant of a general Kamadeva of Vijayaditya, had built a templeto Lord Parshvanath [5].

Today:

The glory of Jainism in Kolhapur declined after the Shilaharas. StillKolhapur has a unique place in the Jain society. It is the only placein India today with not one but two functioning Bhattaraka seats,that of Lakshmisena Swami and of Jinasena Swami which has shiftedfrom Nandni to Kolhapura. The Lakshmisena Matha is an activepublisher of books and a periodical "Ratnatryaya". There is famous 9meter high idols in the matha temple. It is said that height of thegate of the Math was chosen to match the height of the gate of thelocal king, such was the significance the Bhattaraka seat. In 1871the maha-mastakabhisheka of Lord Gommateshvar at Shravanbelgola wasentirely organized by the then Lakshmisena of Kolhapura.

You can read a little about current Bhattaraka Lakshmisena in "TheAssembly of Listeners" by Carrithers and Humphry (CambridgeUniversity Press, 1991). Incidentally Prof. Sangave, the well known author of "Jaina Community: A Social Survey" is from Kolhapur [6].

Notes:

[4] See http://www.cs.colostate.edu/~malaiya/bhattaraka.html

[5] In this region, many Brahmins have been following Jainism sinceancienttimes. Even now there is a Jain Brahmin community there.

[6] Several famous Jain Acharyas of this century have been fromMaharashtra-Karnataka borger region, including Acharyas Shantisagar, Vidyanada andVidyasagar.

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