Divine Lessons

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No, this is not a miniature from my collection. Earlier this week, I celebrated a personal milestone, which I choose not to describe in detail. I found myself at Shravanbelgola, a Jain pilgrimage spot. Dedicated to Bahubali, the first Jain Tirthankara (spiritual leader or saint), the statue is the largest monolithic sculpture in India. Outside the temple there is this lovely scuplture. It depicts the story of Bahubali, and how he stood in penance for a year as creepers grew around his body. He attained enlightenment and you can now see many monks (Jains who’ve taken Diksha) learning from the first one to attain enlightenment. He was one of 24, but he was the one who taught the path to nirvana for 23 other tirthankars, who followed him.

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