Hassan: Bahubali icon of cultural integration, says President Ram Nath Kovind

Hassan: The 88th Mahamastakabhisheka Mahotsav  of the towering statue of Bahubali at Shravanabelagola began on Wednesday with President Ram Nath Kovind unveiling it and lighting a lamp at the well illuminated Chavundaraya Sabha Mantapa, the main podium of the event. The head anointing ceremony is set to begin on February 17 and conclude on 25.

In his address delivered in Hindi, Mr  Kovind called the statue of Bahubali an icon of cultural integration and recalled that as Governor of Bihar  he had visited  Vaishali and Pawapuri, places of Jain historical significance.  Stressing on the value of ahimsa (non-violence) , he said it must  be given utmost importance in society.

Earlier, Mr Kovind was received by Shravanabelagola Jain Mutt pontiff, Charukeerthy Bhattaraka Swami  and introduced to Jain tyagis seated on a platform on the way to the podium. The President and his wife, Savitha were blessed by Jain tyagi Vardhamanasagar Maharaj. 

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who was present on the occasion, said many sants, munis, and social reformers had strived hard to correct the defects of  society since time immemorial. And although Jainism too propagated peace and  non-violence nothing had changed as people continued to fight over caste and often turned violent.

"It is not only important to recall the sacrifices of Bahubali but to imbibe them," he added, saying the Mahamastakbahisheka Mahotsava-2018 gave everyone a message to lead a life of contentment.

Charukeerthy Bhattaraka Swami, Dharmadikari of Dharmasthala Veerendra Heggade and Hassan district in-charge MinisterA Manju also spoke. Janata Dal (S) supremo and Hassan Member of Parliament, H D Deve Gowda was  present on the occasion.   

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