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Pilgrimage to Shatrunjaya – A visit to Shatrunjaya

Pilgrimage to Shatrunjaya   A visit to Shatrunjaya
The Holiest Hill Shatrunjaya is before us with its peak beautified with thousands of Jain Temples. The ridges of the two hills, two thousand feet above sea level, are crowded with an incredible collection of temples and shrines having varied description and size. The highest part of the mountain top is occupied by Shri Adishwar Temple, a particularly ornate building dating from 1530 AD, situated on the site on which was, very much earlier temple dating from the time of Lord Adishwar, countless centuries ago.

Built in different centuries, these temples big and small richly carved into a breathtaking splendour, give us an impression of Temple city. With many repairs and resurrections these temples stand erect as a vigourous youngman on the precious throne of Shatrunjaya Hill. In the middle the temple of Adinath glows with its superb beauty. Here you find every white, red, yellow and pink marble smiling at you with fine art and carvings. Each and every stone is ready to speak to you its own history.

To reach on the summit and get the great good vision of Lord Adinath, let us start from the base of this Holy Hill.

Chetan ! Today we will go on a mental pilgrimage in the form of an open eye meditation of the Holy Hill Palitana.

Palitana is the holiest of all the holy places of pilgrimage. Thousands and thousands of pilgrims visit this place every day and mounting it step by step, catch the divine vision and glimpse of the supreme and superb Lord Adinath. It had one thousand and eight names in the ancient times, but nowadays just 108 names are available.

Every name bears a special meaning and an historical event.

Palitana-Nagarjuna named it in the memory of Acharya Padlipt Suri. Padliptpur is the real origin.

Siddhachal and Siddhagiri -The abode of Siddhas

Millions of millions souls have achieved salvation from each and every pebble and atom of this Holy Hill.

Shatrunjaya is so named because by paying homage to the Holy Hill, one overcomes one’s inner enemies viz anger, pride, greed, etc.

As it has been already said, countless souls have attained here salvation. Though on every pebble of the fifteen karma bhumis earths, different souls have gained salvation, yet why this particular hill has been so much praised ? Why have writers and scholars to this day have used their pen and ink describing its magnanimity?

Beyond 50 thousand yojanas, it is said that Lord Simandhar Swami, occasionally on days like Kartik Poonam, Chaitri Poonam etc., changes the subject of his running discourses and focuses on the magnanimity and greatness of Sri Shatrunjay Tirth, a beautiful Hill with the great Palitana city at the foot.

Pilgrimage to Shatrunjaya   A visit to Shatrunjaya
Palitana is a city swarming with Jain Temples and Dharam Shalas. A well known supreme centre of pilgrimage for the Jainas, Shatrunjaya, has a splendid charm and natural beauty which grips the head and heart of every man. Thousands and thousands of men and women coming from all over India and abroad, clad in different dresses and speaking various languages yet at heart ringing one simple language of devotion and that manifests its real beauty.

As skin bears different colours, some yellow as sunflower, some red as strawberry or apple and some black as berry yet the blood flowing in every vein underneath the skin is always red, similarly at every heart and at its every beat one and only one sense of devotion to Lord Adinath and Holy Shatrunjaya can be seen here.

How fortunate we are ! Just think. Listening to Lord Simandhar Swami’s praise of Holy Shatrunjaya, thousands of saints and laymen are of course eager to behold the holy sight of Holy Shatrunjaya with their bare eyes, yet alas, being far far away, they shed tears and try to catch a mental picture of it by performing ‘Bhavyatra’ Mental pilgrimage like us and hence by shedding karmas, purify their souls and many gain salvation by just trying to get a sweet clear image of Holy Shatrunjaya.

So, let us rejoice and give thanks to our fate for placing us at such a state and place from where we can easily visit Palitana, whenever we like.

Really ! How fortunate we are !

The name Siddhachal is wonderful for its good meaning i.e. abode of saints who have attained salvation.

1. Five Pandavas attained here Moksha with 20 crore saints.
2. Muni Ajitsen achieved salvation with 17 crore saints.
3. Somyash with 13 crore saints.
4. Dravid & Varikhill with 10 crore saints.
5. Shamb and Pradyuma with 8 1/2 crore saints.
6. Ram and Bharat with 3 crore munis.
7. Nami and Vinami with 2 crore munis.
8. Srisar Muni, Sagar Muni and Kadamb Gandhar each with one crore.
9. Narad with one lac munis.
10. Adityayasha with one lac munis.
11. King Vasudev’s 35 thousand queens.
12. Muni Damitari with 14 thousand munis.
13. Ten thousand munis of Ajitnath Bhagwan.
14. Thavaccha muni with one thousand munis.
15. Shuka Acharya with one thousand munis.
16. Shelak Acharya with five hundred munis.
17. Subhadra muni with seven hundred munis.
18. Pradyumna’s wife Vaidarbhi with 4400 Sadhvi-nuns.
…. and so on goes the endless list of saints and sadhvis who attained salvation-Moksha- the state of perfect purity.

What more, because it is Prayah Shaswat i. e. nearly eternal entity, on each of its stone, pebble, sand or even an atom, Anant-limitless souls have attained salvation and became Siddhas’. Therefore we call it, Siddhakshetra – Abode of the Siddhas.

Chetan ! After knowing that each and every pebble and place of this great glorious Shatrunjaya Hill is worth worshiping, how dare we place our foot on it ?

So it has been said that if one has power or such kind of stamina one should climb up by rolling upwards without even touching it with feet. But as it is not possible for each and every one to do so, let us due to respect and reverence, not wear sandals, slippers, boots or socks. And let us not burden our pockets with cigar, gutkha, panmasala, zarda, tobacco etc. Creating any kind of rubbish or nuisance on such a great holy hill is a pure sin.

Besides, any kind of edibles such as chocolate, biscuit, khakras also should not be carried up.

Either we should not bring these above mentioned things from the very beginning, or if by some mistake we have brought them, we should leave them in our room of Dharamshala or at least we should let them off in the safe of Agam Mandir etc. They can be easily regained after descending the holy hill.

Pilgrimage to Shatrunjaya   A visit to Shatrunjaya
Let me explain…

Before starting to climb, we should take heed of some of these good rules laid down by the Jain scriptures in the respect of this Holy Hill.

Remember this again and again, that this whole hill is holy, because on each and every pebble, part or portion, slab, stone or sand, millions of millions souls/saints have achieved salvation-moksha, the abode of eternal peace.

So to respect such holiness and preserve its purity, avoid all kind of pollutions. One should avoid eating, smoking, spitting or urinating. Carrying transistors or leather shoes should also be strictly avoided. To secure the whole benefit of your good pilgrimage, one shouldn’t even carry unholy thoughts. This too contaminates the purity of this Holy Hill.

Many people ignore these rules and eat curd on the Hill top. But they don’t know that thus they are committing an unpardonable sin. Wise man with a good amount of wit and wisdom should avoid such sin.

Now let us start our mental holy pilgrimage.

Chetan ! To this day pretending to have a little change or to gain a little fresh air, you visited and travelled as far as Kashmir, Ooty, Utakmand, Mount Abu, Matheran, Darjeeling, Simla, Mahabaleshwar etc. hill stations and by touring and travelling through the whole world you have gathered a lot of ‘Papkarma’s (sins) and blackened your soul.

Chetan ! you say hill stations are thrilling stations but really they drill and kill your good will and fully foul your soul.
Nowadays it has become a fashion. If pockets are full, men go abroad for picnics and honeymoon to Japan, Hong Kong, Paris, Hollywood etc. where people waste their money on taste and toast visiting hotels and motels, three stars and five stars.

And hence men bury themselves deep under the burden of karmas, which result into miseries and unhappiness in infinite births to come.

So we see, ignorance of such kind, even on Holy Pilgrim Centres people do not abandon their obsession for fashion and hence they come on humpty- dumptying with their miss’s pecked in modern dresses like jeans, punjabis, and baggies, eyes lost in sunglasses, a black leather bag clinging in one arm. Arm in arm they go to these Tirthas as if going to theatre. They forget that going to temple or pilgrimage is one holy act where we should obey all rules of good manners and abandon fashion love or show business.

Chetan ! Fortunate Jains and non-Jains come to this Thirthadhiraj and thus purify their soul abating the karmas.

Chetan ! Even omniscient Kevalgyanis can know its greatness but can’t express it fully. Therefore the saying goes ‘though in heart there is Kevalgyan, in mouth there are one thousand tongues, yet it is impossible to describe the glory and greatness of this holy hill’’.

Others are Tirthas where as this is Tirthadhiraj – King of Tirthas. This Tirtha is eternal, so it is, it was, and it will remain forever.

You might have heard these famous lines throwing light over its greatness and magnanimity.

Sinful men can’t have its holy sight.
‘Girivar Darsan Navi Karyo ye, Te Rahyo Garbha vas !’

It means,

”One who has not visited this holy Palitana is yet in his mother’s womb. He hasn’t even taken birth.”

Pashu Pankhi Je In Giri Aawe, Bhav Teeje Te Siddhaja Thave, Ajar Amar Pad Pave -

‘‘Let alone human beings, beasts and birds visiting this Tirth, will certainly attain salvation in three births. The third birth-reincarnation will be their last and they will attain eternal peace.’’

Remember these above mentioned lines and think that today I am virtuous enough to visit such a great tirth mentally. This mental pilgrimage is a kind of complete concentration. So we will call this experience ‘‘A peaceful Yoga and Meditation of Shatrunjaya.’’

Pilgrimage to Shatrunjaya   A visit to Shatrunjaya
Chetan ! Let me remind you again and again, on this holy Tirth while climbing let not your tongue roam about in any worldly things and let not your mind wander and beat about the bushes, just climb on and on and think of the Glorious Shatrunjaya and pay homage and reverence at the feet of numerous saints who achieved salvation on this mount.

Kevalgyani-omniscient Aiymutta Muni has proclaimed in Shatrunjaya Kalpa that one who does mental pilgrimage with one fast, gains the virtue of 30 fasts. If one observes Ayambil i.e. eating food void of ghee, milk, sweets etc. only once in the day, one gains the virtue of 15 fasts. If Ekasana-one time meal = five fasts, Parimudha, eating at about one o’clock.= 4 fasts, Porsi nearly at 10 ‘o’clock-3 fasts, Navkarsi eating after 48 minutes of sunrise=2 fast.

O Chetan! Hearing of such a great gain you should daily devout a little time to gain such a good spiritual net profit. Who would not rejoice in a business which has a lot of profit and no loss at all ?

Invest at least your 5 minutes daily and harvest a lot of profit of fasts. ‘Minimum effort and Maximum result’ – this economical theory comes to our use.

Chetan! Today I am taking you with me because I have worked hard to get every valuable bit of information about this holy Shatrunjaya. So I will show you each and every thing in detail.

Whenever you get the holy sight of Pagliyaji- marble foot prints of Lord Tirthankaras, you should fold your hands, bow your head and say ‘Namo Jinanam’ whereas when you see the marble foot prints of saints, you should say in the same way ‘Namo Siddhanam’.

This much is necessary for you to do. By saying these two words your sins will become nil, and you will feel virtuous.

Chetan! See we are approaching Jay Taleti.

The oldest Taleti was at Vad Nagar, but gradually the holy hill is becoming smaller and smaller, so the Taleti is changing its situation everytime. After Vadnagar, the Taleti was at Vallabhipur, where five hundred saints- Acharyas gathered under the guidance of Sri Devardhi Gani Kshama Shraman and conducted Vallabhi Vachana here, consulting each other and thinking that to this day we have preserved scriptures by heart but next generation will have a common disease of forgetfulness (we can see today that even a thing misplaced just a minute before upsets men of any post and any age). So for the benefit of next generation, 500 Acharyas took a prime decision and for the first time wrote scriptures on palm leaves. This incident i.e. of the beginning of the written scriptures took place 980 years after the Nirvan of Lord Mahaveera.

After Vallabhipur, the Taleti was at Palitana near Kankubai Dharamshala. Even now there are two foot prints in a Dehari- a small temple.

After that it became Jay Taleti where today all the pilgrims coming here bow with great reverence.

Here you see, on both sides of the newly constructed gate, there are standing statues of two elephants.
Why ?

To show that even the kings and the sovereigns who visited this holy place dismounted their elephants and climbed here on foot.

Paying homage and welcoming the pilgrims the elephants seem as if they were real.
Say ‘Nisihi’ meaning I abandon from now onwards till the end of my whole yatra, the mental, vocal or physical affairs concerning the worldly life. I will just think, act and talk of religion and the Lord.

Chetan! After saying ‘Nisihi’ we are climbing these stone steps. Taking each and every step, we are burning the bunch of karmas collected in due time of crores of previous transmigrations.

On climbing a little, we have come on a plain platform,from where we see the Taleti – the worshipable part of the holy basement.

“Hail Shatrunjay!
Hail Lord Adinath!”

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1 Comment

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  1. Brahm Parsh
    Dec 13, 2016 #

    Very nice article with lot of information of the sacred place.

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