Dec 2, 2009

Researchers close to finding JainIsm’s mythical Ashtapad moutain

By Dilip Patel

Research teams formed by LD Institute of Indology and US-based Jain centre have identified 5 places in Himalayas, one of which could be the place where Tirthankar Adinath Rushabhdev attained nirvana

For several decades, the mystery location of Ashtapada mountain in the Himalayas — where Jainism’s first Tirthankar Adinath Rushabhdev is believed to have attained enlightenment and died thousands of years ago, has puzzled Jains. Now, researchers have slowly begun to solve this enigma.

Three research teams formed by LD Institute of Indology and US-based New York Jain Centre have identified five places in the Himalayas, mostly in the region close to Mount Kailash, that match description of Ashtapada mountain in Jain scriptures.

Tirthankar Rushabhdev, according to studies carried out by the teams, could have died after attaining liberation at any of the five places. The three teams comprised researchers, ISRO and PRL scientists, a Jain muni and historians. Some of their key members and other people who initiated and supervised the exploration shared their findings, including satellite and spot pictures, at a seminar on Sunday.

“Leading researchers and experts of the three teams and other people part of this of the crucial exploration were present at the seminar today (Sunday),” the director of LD Institute of Indology, J B Shah, told Mirror. “A presentation on key findings was shown at the seminar.”

Interestingly, the research teams not only studied Jain scriptures and analysed satellite images, but also visited parts of the Himalayas across the Indian border in China. The visits were made in 2006, 2007 and earlier this year. The teams clicked pictures and compared them with existing anecdotal evidence.

In all, they identified 10 probable places of Ashtapada mountain. Of these, they zeroed in on five, Dharma King Norsang; 13 Drengung Chorten; Nandi; a place known as Commonly-visited Ashtapad and Shiv Sthal.

“I was part of all the three teams that visited the Himalayas. We have gathered some significant evidence,” Dr P S Thakker, a scientist, said.

All research and exploration work was carried out under Ashtapad Research Foundation, a body formed by New York Jain Centre and LD Institute of Indology. The Jain centre bankrolled the exploration part of the research.

The centre has published 19 volumes spread over 8,522 pages on the religious significance and mystery of Ashtapada mountain. Tirthankar Rushabhdev was the first of 24 Jain tirthankars. The place near Mount Kailash where he attained nirvana remains a mystery, with many studies yielding different hypotheses.

1 comment:

Vishal Mehta said...

Could you please use "Nirvan" instead of "Died" in your blog? Thirthankar without any doubt attains moksh in the same birth.

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