Dharmasthala: A fourth at Ratnagiri of Sri Kshetra , first of which was held in 1982, has one constant – D Heggade, dharmadhikari of the Sri Kshetra.
With Hemavathi Heggade standing steadfast besides him, the couple with their dedicated workforce, well-wishers backed with support of the government and organisational acumen of the Kshetra meant that the anointment ritual was up and running.
Excitement of each of the previous three mahamastakabhisheka has been different, a relaxed Heggade told STOI. The first mahamastakabhisheka more than three-decades ago was exciting in that it was a maiden experience for all concerned. The second edition in 1994 was more of a repetition. Technology started to play a part in the third anointment rituals in 2007, which became more pronounced when time came for mahamastakabhisheka 2019, he said.
Basic objective of the anointment rituals is to bring forth the principles of non-violence, self-control and sacrifice, which was brought out in instead of the pancha kalyana rituals which are the norm for this event. “The focus in consultation with the senior Jain ascetics was shifted to Lord Bahubali and panchamaha vaibhava enactment from life of Aadinatha to salvation of helped us achieve precisely this,” he said.
The past three mahamastakabhisheka rituals have also helped push the Dharmasthala model in holding any religious events across the district, he said adding equal participation of all in the conduct of events irrespective of their caste or status is the cornerstone of this model. Setting up of committees, broad basing organisational responsibilities have become rule than norm and it is the same principle which is aiding the smooth conduct of the event, he said.
With the state government fully backing the Kshetra, Heggade said the overwhelming media coverage has helped make this ‘low-key’ event into a major religious event. Admitting that numbers are down, Heggade attributed it to mahamastakabhisheka at Shravanabelagola last year. “Most Jain devotees based in the North find it difficult to make time for almost back-to-back anointments and even academic calendar has played its part,” he surmised.