Book Title: $JES 981 Ashtapad Tirth Booklet
Author(s): JAINA Education Committee
Publisher: JAINA Education Committee
Catalog link:

Page #1 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ Shri Ashtäpad Mahä-Tirth Temple TAPAS KHEER PARK KING BHARAT CHAKRAVART BIRTH CELEBRATION 3 Chovisi - 72 Tirthankars Ashta - Pratiharya 5 Shikhar Design (Model 10) AREESHA WAHAL Page #2 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ Shri Ashtapad Mahä-Tirth Kailash at A.M. Kailash at A.M. Shri Rishabhadev Mansarovar आज देव अरिहंत नम्, समरूं तारुं नाम, ज्यां ज्यां प्रतिमा जिन तणी, त्यां त्यां करुं प्रणाम. अष्टापद गिरि उपरे, जिन चठविसे जोय मणिमय मूरति माणशुं, भरते भरावी सोय. श्रावक कवि ऋषभदास : सत्तरमी सदी I bow down in reverence to Arihanta Bhagavän I repeatedly recite the name of Arihanta with great reverence. I bow down to his idol wherever it is installed, may it be on the Ashtapad Mountain where Chakravarti Bharat has installed beautiful gemstone idols of all the twenty-four Tirthankars Rushabhadas - 17th Century Page #3 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ Table of Content ܝܬ ܠܛܳ " .... " ܣ ܝ ܝ 14 ...... ........ Shri Ashtapad Mahä-Tirth.. 1.0 Introduction ....... 2.0 Details of Ashtapad Mahä-Tirth ........ 3.0 History & References from Scriptures ...... 4.0 Development of the Concept .... 5.0 Development of the Ashtapad Design: ....... 5.1 Religious Consideration: 5.2 Structural and Engineering Consideration: .... 5.3 Crystal & Gemstones ..... ........ 13 6.0 Model Making......... 6.1 Ashtapad Mountain ........ 6.2 Gokhalas (Niches)......... 6.3 Idols of 24 Tirthankars - Shri Chovisi. ..... 7.0 Carving of Related Stories.... ............ 8.0 Research.... 8.1 Compilation of Literature on Ashtapad... 8.2 Field Trip .... 8.3 Probable Site of Ashtapad. 9.0 Summary....... Appendix - I.. Stories Related to Ashtäpad Mahä-Tirth ........ 1.0 Shri Adinath or Rishabhadev Bhagawan ............. 2.0 Varsi Tap Pärnä of Rishabhadev Bhagawän. 3.0 Keval-Jnän & Nirväna of Rishabhadev Bhagawan .............. 4.0 King Bharat Chakravarti ....... 5.0 King Bharat and Areesha Mahal (Palace of Mirrors) 6.0 Shri Gautam Swami .. 7.0 Näg Kumar and King Sägar's Sons ................ 8.0 Ravan & Bali Muni. 9.0 Rani Veermati... 10.0 Shri Munisuvrat Swami. 11.0 Shri Padliptsuri............. Appendix - II.. .......... 27 Exhibitions and Seminars in Major Cities .......... ... .......27 Appendix – III. Shri Munisuvrat Swami Special Presentation.... Page #4 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ SHRI ASHTÄPAD MAHÄ-TIRTH 1.0 Introduction Ashtäpad is one of the greatest Tirth in Jainism which is regarded as lost. Members of the Jain community of Jain Center of America, NY took it upon themselves to rediscover and bring Ashtäpad to our time. The Jain scripture has singled out five central events (known as Pancha Kalyänak) that occur in a Tirthankar's lifetime as the most auspicious moments. The first event is the Tirthankar's decent into the mother's womb signified by the mother having the 14 auspicious dreams. The second is the actual birth of the Tirthankar celebrated with great splendor. The third is the renunciation of all the riches and wealth and start of the arduous and long ascetic life. After very deep contemplation and meditation, the Tirthankar attains omniscience (Keval-Jnän) - his fourth life-changing event. The last event is where the soul is finally free from all the karmic bonds and is liberated to attain Siddha status. Nirväna-bhoomi, or the places where the Tirthankars attained the ultimate goal of breaking away from the circle of life, has turned into key pilgrimage places (five Mahä Tirth) for the Jains today. All 24 Tirthankars have attained nirväna at the five places as explained in the following verse: अष्टापदे श्री आदि जिनवर, वीर पावापुरी वरुं, वासुपूज्य चंपानयर सिध्धा, नेम रैवत गिरि वरुं : सम्मेत शिखरे वीस जिनवर, मुक्ति पहुंच्या मुनिवरुं चउवीस जिनवर नित्य वंदु, सयल संघ सुखकरुं. Ädinäth Bhagawän attained Nirvana at Ashtäpad, Mahävir Swami at Päväpuri, Väsupujya Swami at Champäpuri and, Neminäth Bhagawän attained Nirvana at Girnar. The other 20 Tirthankars attained Nirvana at Samet Shikhar. I always bow down with reverence to all the twenty four Tirthankars, which brings eternal happiness to us. As per Jain scriptures, the first Tirthankar Bhagawän Shri Rishabhadev had attained nirväna on the Ashtäpad Mountain. Shri Ashtäpad Tirth is one of the major Tirths and it is located in a tranquil region of the Himalayas. Chakravarti King Bharat (son of Shri Rishabhadev) had built a palace with precious stones at this place as a memorial to commemorate the nirväna of Bhagawan Shri Rishabhadev. The name "Ashtapad" is derived from the fact that there are eight (Ashta) steps (Pad) leading to the palace. 4 Page #5 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ SHRI ASHTÄPAD MAHÄ-TIRTH The following legend associated with Ashtapad describes the absolute knowledge of the Tirthankars. Once after attaining absolute knowledge, Shri Rishabhadev Bhagawan was delivering a sermon while seated in Samavasaran. Out of curiosity, King Bharat asked if any human being living here would become a Tirthankar in the future. He replied affirmatively and said that his son Marichi will become the 24"" Tirthankar after many life cycles and will be known as Mahävir. He subsequently explained the upcoming Chovisi (24 Tirthankars). This is how King Bharat came to know the details about the present Chovisi. Nirvana Kalyanak Samavasaran King Bharat 2.0 Details of Ashtapad Mahä-Tirth Location Ashtäpad Mountain: Kailash- Himalayas. Present Status Not known – (JCANY is trying to locate) When Constructed Millions of years ago In Memory Of Bhagawän Rishabhadev (Nirvana Kalyanak) Constructed by King Bharat (Son of Shri Rishabhadev) Name of Palace Sinha Nishadhya Prasad Name of Architect Värddhaki Ratna Vidhikar Shri Charan Muni Material Gemstones Design Omni-directional / Four Sided Eight Steps Hence the name Ashtapad Synonyms Harädri, Rajatädri, Sfatikächal, Ratnamay Related Stories Appendix - 1 Page #6 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ SHRI ASHTÄPAD MAHÄ-TIRTH 3.0 History & References from Scriptures 1. The Ekadash Angädi Ägam, oldest text, mentions Ashtapad as Mahä-Tirth. 2. Ächäränga Niryukti, verse 332 was the first to mention Ashtapad Tirth. 3. Sutra Krutängasutra mentions that Rishabhadev gave discourse to his son, King Bharat, on Ashtäpad. 4. Uttaradhyayan Sutra Niryukti says that anyone (Charam Shariri) who can scale Ashtäpad Tirth will attain nirväna or Moksha (Chapter 10) and describes the Kailäsa as a Mountain of Gold and Silver. 5. Ävashyak Sutra Niryukti has the description of Ashtapad. 6. Kalpasutra mentions Nirvana Bhoomi of Rishabhadev at Ashtapad. 7. Nishith Churni Divine has a description about Nirväna of Rishabhadev Bhagawan on Ashtapad Mountain. Vividh Tirth Kalpa - Jinaprabha Suri wrote in Ashtapad Giri Kalpa, that Gautam Swami entered Sinha Nishadhya Prasäd from the South. 9. Acharya Dharma Ghosh Suriji's "Shri Ashtapad Mahä Tirth Kalp" describes this Tirth as Sinha Nishadhya Prasad which has four sides. 10. Gyan Prakash Deeparnave discusses the construction of Ashtapad in detail 11. Uttar Purän has the description of Jain Tirthankar Rishabhadev and that, his son, King Bharat, constructed a golden temple with 72 idols of all the three Chovisis (24 Tirthankars of Past, Present, and Future). 12. Bhagawan Mahävir once said during his sermon that any human being, who can scale this mountain and stay overnight there, will attain liberation in his life time. Shri Gautam Swami, 2600 years ago, scaled this Tirth with his special powers, stayed over night and worshiped there. 13. Gautam Swami wrote the first two verses of Jag Chintamani Sutra there (Probodh Tika Part 1). Shadävashyak Bälävabodha mentions that he performed Chaitya Vandan with the first two verses of Jag Chintamani Sutra. 14. Vasudevhindi in the 21st chapter says this mountain is related to Vaitadhya Mountain, it is 8 miles in height and Niyadi River is flowing at the foothills. in de Page #7 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ SHRI ASHTÄPAD MAHÄ-TIRTH 15. Jambu Dweep Prajnapti says Ashtapad Mountain is north of Koshal Desh. At the place of Adinath or Rishabhadev Nirvana, the heavenly god Indra erected 3 Stups. (Sutra 33) 16. As per the scriptures, Ashtapad is situated 12.5 yojan north of Ayodhya and on a clear morning, one can see and have Darshan from a tree top. 17. Siddhänam Buddhänam Siddhastav Sutra describes the sitting arrangement of idols as "Chattari Aattha Das Doy (Four, Eight, Ten, and Two) Vandiya Jeenvara Chouvisam”. 18. "Ashtapad Kalpa (old)", written by Shri Purvacharya describes in detail the importance of this place and all the events that took place there. 19. Hemchandrächärya in "Trishashti Shaläkä Purush Charitra" describes Ashtapad in detail. Chapter 10 says one who climbs the mountain with his spiritual powers (labhdhi) and stays there overnight can get liberated in the same life. 20. Dhaneshwar Suri writes in Shatrunjay Mähätmya, that King Bharat constructed a palace with the help of Värddhaki Ratna near the Nirvana Bhoomi (place) of Bhagawan Rishabhadev. 21. According to Abhidhän Chintamani, Mount Kailash has many names: Rajatädri, Ashtäad, Sfatikächal, Harädri, Himavat and Dhawalgiri. (ref 4-94) 22. Shahajänand Dhanji in his letters says that the 3 Chovisi idols (Total 72 idols of past present and future Tirthankars) are buried under the snow and that some Tirthankar idols are under the control of Buddhist monks. 23. As per the Jain scriptures, we have Avasarpini and Utsarpini era of the time cycle. Each era has 24 Tirthankars. Rishabhadev is the first of 24 Tirthankars of this present era. His life is mentioned in various scriptures and in the Vedas and Purän. He was the first king and first reformer who taught Art, Commerce and Agriculture (Ashi, Masi and Krishi). He was also the first saint. 24. As per the historians, ancient civilization is 10 to 12 thousand years old. According to M.I.T.- human civilization started at Tibet. The ancient history of western Tibet, Kashmir & Himachal Pradesh clearly confirms this view. 25. Around 1400 BC, there were semi Tibetan people called Jian mixed with Shang people. Jian may be a synonym of Jina (Tirthankar), which means conqueror. 26. Lord Munisuvrat Näth (Swami) did meditation and penance there. Page #8 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ SHRI ASHTÄPAD MAHÄ-TIRTH 27. According to one Mongolian monk, Shri Rishabhadev meditated and prayed on Ashtäpad which is mentioned in Kanjur & Tanjur books. 28. Potala Palace has some old books, written on palm leaves which describe Nirväna of Rishabhadev at Ashtäpad-Kailash. 29. Kangari Karchhak - Tibetan Kailash Purän mentions that Kailash is the center of the whole universe (awaiting English translation). 30. Gangkare Teashi - White Kailash - mentions that Jains lived here before Buddhist known as Gyal Phal Pa and Chear Pu Pa. Their first god's name is Khyu Chok - Lord Rushyanath. Mahavir is Phel Wa. According to this book, a lot of Jain principles match with theirs. 31. Dr. Lata Bothra is doing a lot of work on antiquities of Jainism, and her book on Ashtäpad has a lot of cross references on this subject. 32. The literature obtained from various sources describing Ashtäpad has been compiled into 13 volumes. These volumes have lot of information from scriptures and history and about the ongoing research work and related subjects. 4.0 Development of the Concept The Jain center of America in New York has constructed a new building for its temple and other religious activities. As a tribute to 24 Tirthankars, it is customary to make idols of 24 Tirthankars in a temple and place them around Gabhärä (Main place of worship in a temple). We wanted to install Shri Chovisi (24 idols of Tirthankaras) in the Bhamati area but due to lack of space this could not be installed. As the thought process was evolving and the Jain Center temple building blue prints were being finalized, we thought of making 24 idols out of the gemstones and house 8 Page #9 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ SHRI ASHTÄPAD MAHÄ-TIRTH them in "Ratna Mandir" (gemstone temple) around the Gabhärä wall on the 2nd Floor. This would need a much smaller space. At this stage a preliminary design of the Ratna Mandir was drawn. BUILDING DIRECTORY Temple Elevation Floor ASHTAPAD Bhojanshala Ayambilshala Kitchen Rest Rooms DINING HALL DADAWADI ADINATH TEMPLE MEDITATION HALL Shrimad Hall Pathshala Office Scholar's Room LIBRARY MAHAVIR TEMPLE Upashraya Navkar Mantra Chandan Room Shower Rooms LECTURE HALL PARKING Senior Center Coat Rooms Gift Shop Rest Rooms Parking RECEPTION MULTIPURPOSE HALL Youth Center Art Gallery Mini Theater Utilities CELLAR SHILA JCA Temple Building Information While the idea of the Ratna Mandir was taking shape, one happened to visit a temple in Jaipur (India) and saw an Ashtapad PAT, this was the turning point form the “Ratna Mandir" concept into “Ashtapad”. Jag GRICCI Jagot भगवान चन्द्र प्रभ Jago भगवान शीतलनाथ 2-Blue 2-Green 2-White 2-Red 16-Gold Shri Chovisi Preliminary research into Shri Ashtapad revealed that there was very little information available about this Tirth but this was one of the most important Tirths being the nirvana place of Bhagawan Shri Rishabhadev. Now our energies were focused on one thought: How to morph "Ratna Mandir” into "Shri Ashtapad" without losing the good work that was already done? This led us to research further into the facts about "Shri Page #10 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ Ashtäpad". We got some leads from scholars, who were generous in providing us with photocopies of a few articles from old Jain literature which allowed us to draw considerable knowledge about Shri Ashtäpad. These articles gave us detailed information about Shri Ashtäpad and also provided an impetus to our thought process about how to make a model of Ashtäpad Tirth. 18888888 SHRI ASHTÄPAD MAHÄ-TIRTH Shri Ashtäpad Tirth Pat Our research resulted into following visualization of the actual Ashtäpad: "Shri Ashtäpad Tirth is situated in the tranquil region of the snow covered mountains of Himalayas and is open to the skies. It is known by several names such as..... Ratnamay A palace made of gemstones and houses 24 idols of Tirthankars made of gemstones, Rajatädri Rajat Adri or Silver Mountain; because Ashtäpad Mountain is snow covered and looks like silver, and Sfatikächal - Sfatik Achal: meaning a mountain of crystal The above description helped us in defining the attributes of the model of Ashtäpad Tirth. To be able to replicate the real scenario, a mountain should be carved out of crystal stone (naturally available in transparent and translucent shades) that could provide the look and feel of the snowcovered mountain. Provide eight steps at the base and 24 niches (Gokhaläs) for Shri Chovisi in the center of the mountain that will fulfill the desire of "Ratna Mandir". The whole structure would be assembled to appear as a mountain. - Thus the idea of making a model of "Shri Ashtäpad" with "Ratna Mandir" Chovisi (24 Tirthankar idols) installed on the Ashtäpad Mountain was born. 10 Page #11 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ SHRI ASHTÄPAD MAHÄ-TIRTH 5.0 Development of the Ashtäpad Design: Once the concept of Ashtäpad was firm, the next step was to develop a design of the model on the drawing board. It was important to identify all the constraints upfront because it is almost impossible to go back to make changes to a sculptured or carved product. Moreover precious material and months of craftsmanship work would be wasted if any constraints forced the change or necessitated discarding a particular model or part of it. Accordingly, a top down approach was adopted. The process began with assessment of available space for housing the final model, aesthetics and religious requirements and the process was carried on with the required analysis to the material level. 5.1 Religious Consideration: Positioning of any religious object is determined by the religious guidelines laid out in the scriptures or as directed by the Ächäryas. The original design of Ashtäpad was four sided as per the picture given below, also called as Sarvatomukhi - Omni-directional. Space constraint forced us to make a unidirectional unit viewable only from the front. Now an architectural blueprint was developed to a scale based on the available space. Height and width of the mountain (Ht 13'.1" x W 14'.6” x D 5'.1") were determined according to the space available in the conservatory. The sitting arrangement of idols in multiple rows as shown in the photos was done as per the following verse (Shloka) from scripture; चत्तारि अट्ठदसदोयवंदिया जिणवराचउव्वीसं; परमट्ठ-निट्ठिअट्ठा सिध्धा सिध्धिं मम दिसंतु चत्तारि अट्ठ दश गाथाना जुदा जुदा अर्थो चार दक्षिण दिशामां, आठ पश्चिम दिशामां, दश उत्तर दिशामां, अने बे पूर्व दिशामां, एम अष्टापद उपर वंदन करायेला अने जेमणे परमार्थने (मोक्ष) संपूर्ण सिध्ध कर्यो छे तेवा चोवीसे तीर्थंकरो मने सिध्धि आपो. अथवा चार उपरनी मेखलामां, आठ वच्चेनी मेखलामां, दश नीचेनी मेखलामां, अने बे सौथी नीचेनी मेखलामां, ए प्रमाणे पण अष्टापद उपर वंदन थाय छे. -सिध्धाणं बुध्धाणं सूत्र 11 Page #12 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ torboot WINE BATH ASHTAPAD DARSHAN SHRI ASHTÄPAD MAHÄ-TIRTH Original Design This verse indicates that the four Tirthankars are sitting at upper level (numbers 3 to 6), eight at the middle level (numbers 7 to 14), ten at the lower level (numbers 15 to 24), and two at the lowest level (number 1 and 2). This way the idol positions were determined for a unidirectional unit in four horizontal rows, one above the other. Dimensions of the idols will vary as per available space in each row. JJJ LE ASHTAPAD MOUNTAIN SECTION AT AK 3000 As per Scripture Jaaaa aaaaaaaa alalalalalalaaaa Proposed Design 5.2 Structural and Engineering Consideration: Once a decision was made to use crystal for the making of the mountain, the weight of the material, which is about 10 tons became a structural challenge. Overriding constraint was the weight bearing capacity of the temple on the 4th floor. Permissible weight was not to exceed 12 tons. A steel frame weighing one and a half ton was designed in Jaipur to hold the whole structure. There are eight layers one above the other in the steel framing. As this is a mountain the slope was taken into consideration. The whole structure has 5.1' depth at the bottom but only 0.75' depth at the top. 12 AC Page #13 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ 5.3 Crystal & Gemstones The rough crystal stone weighing 30 tons was imported. After processing and carving the final weight of the mountain will be about 10 tons. This will be supported on a 1.5 ton steel frame. Various colored gemstones were imported from all over the world and used to carve idols of different sizes. Each idol is a single piece as acquired and as found in nature. All stones are certified by the Gemological Lab. There are no joints and each stone is carved as per religious rules and measurements. We have tried to use the best quality gemstones. These idols will form the part of the final unit. Some of the stone names are emerald, ruby, amethyst, kunzite, tourmaline, rose quartz, sodalite, and so on. SHRI ASHTÄPAD MAHÄ-TIRTH Rough Stones from which Idols are Carved Sodalite Tiger Eye 6.0 Model Making A series of progressive prototypes were developed to experiment with various materials, layouts, designs and dimensions. These prototypes also helped in visualizing the ultimate design of the model of Shri Ashtapad. The prototype number 5 is a 3-D model. The first two original prototypes were in 2-D model design, made of serpentine stone. In some models, gokhalas were carved independently. Now we are installing the idols in individual niches carved in the mountain itself. This has enhanced the appearance of the model. RHODOCHROSITE Rhodocrosite We made ten models and learned from experience, while working with crystal and gemstones and improving the design as well. It was a difficult and time consuming effort. Drawings and designs kept changing, but finally we formed a reasonable concept of the whole structure. 13 Page #14 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ SHRI ASHTÄPAD MAHÄ-TIRTH OCT 10 2002 Model 2 (2-Dimension) Full Size Marble Model 9 (3-Dimension) 6.1 Ashtapad Mountain The mountain is the main body and is made of crystal quartz. Various blocks of crystal (50+) each weighing 100 to 300 kilo, were assembled to provide a sloping pattern on the front and sides in order to replicate the appearance of a real mountain. Eight steps are constructed in the center leading to the first row of the Gokhala. 24 Gokhalas are sculpted in the mountain itself where the idols will be installed. This model is built to 1/5" scale compared to the final unit. The mountain is carved in eight layers of crystal blocks. First two layers are for steps, next four are for idols and last two layers are for Shikhar. A five Shikhar design has been added at the top to give the whole structure, the appearance of a temple. All Shikhars are carved as per the design in the scripture, and will be adorned with gold kalash. The Dhwajä (flag) will be at the top. 2 Rough Crystal Crystal Blocks In the model number 10 (front cover), one can see past and future Chovisi installed on the sides with five Shikhar design. 14 Page #15 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ Ashtäpad Mountain Dimension 13'.1" 9'.6" 14'.6" 5'.1" 2.5" 5' X 1'8" X 2'6" Height at Center Height on Sides Width Depth Depth from Glass Size of the Steps SHRI ASHTÄPAD MAHÄ-TIRTH Under the current plans, it is intended to create an effect of snow-capped mountain by appropriate measures. The wall at the back will be suitably decorated with faux painting to depict Mount Kailash area in open sky. 6.2 Gokhalas (Niches) There are 24 Gokhalas of varying sizes to house 24 idols. All gokhalas of each row are equal in size. Originally gokhalas were carved separately as an individual unit. But later on it was decided to carve it in the mountain itself, so that it becomes a part of the mountain. All the gokhalas have a base with two pillars in the front, a niche for idol, an arch, a chhajja, and a shikhar at the top. A design with regular carving was done in the beginning but later on a Ashta-Pratiharya design was added and hence all 24 Gokhalas will have a Ashta-Pratiharya design. Individual Yaksh Yakshini will be carved at the base next to the Singhasan. The Shikhar will be fully carved and will have a Kalash. Five-Shikhar Design Ashta-Pratiharya Carving 6.3 Idols of 24 Tirthankars - Shri Chovisi The 24 Idols are carved to represent the 24 Tirthankars. Each one has its own symbol at the base that identifies the idol to a viewer. All idols are carved out of gemstones. Due to limitations of the available gemstones, the color will not confirm to the original colors of each 15 Page #16 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ Tirthankar. Idols will be installed as per their position according to religious rules as discussed earlier. Sizes of idols vary according to the level where they are being installed based upon sitting arrangement the lowest two are the tallest 9"-11" in Ht (idols 1 and 2), then top 4 are 7"-9" in Ht (idols 3 to 6) then 8 are 5"-7" in Ht (idols 7 to 14) and finally 10 are 3"-5" in Ht (idols 15 to 24), are the smallest. This matches proportionately to the original height of each Tirthankar as per the scripture. Level Size Tot 10 1-Lowest Ex. Large 2 2-Lower Small 3-Middle Medium 4-Upper Large 8 4 SHRI ASHTÄPAD MAHÄ-TIRTH Gokhalä & Idol Dimensions: H In W Tirthank Idol In 22" 12" 24" 14" 18" 22" Amethyst Ht 5" W 4" D 2" Wt 2892 Cts Purple Shri... Brazil 15" 18" Amazonite Ht 11.25" W 9.1" D 4.5" Wt 31057 Cts Green Shri... Russia ars 1 to 2 15 to 24 7 to 14 3 to 6 S 2 10 8 4 H In 9"-11" 3"-5" 5"-7" 7"-9" 16 W In 9" 4" 6" N 7.5" Smoky Quartz Ht 7.3" W 5.75" D 2.9" Wt 8195 Cts Smokey Shri... Africa 5" 2" 3" 4" Blue Topaz Ht 4.4" W 3.5" D 3.4" Wt 8095 Cts Blue Shri... Brazil D In Page #17 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ SHRI ASHTÄPAD MAHÄ-TIRTH 7.0 Carving of Related Stories There are many legends associated with Shri Ashtäpad Tirth, out of which the following 24 have been depicted in individual carved units. Related stories are briefly narrated separately. Initially, the stories were carved in a two-dimensional design at the base, on the sides of the mountain, in the first two prototypes. As the concept matured, these carvings depicting various stories related to Shri Ashtäpad were developed into separate three-dimensional carved units. 1. Shri Rishabhadev Janma Kalyänak 2. Shri Rishabhadev Varsitap Pärnä (fast breaking ceremony) 3. Shri Rishabhadev Bhagawän in Samavasaran 4. Shri Rishabhadev - Nirväna Kalyänak. 5. King Bharat Chakravarti. 6. King Bharat at Rang Mandap* on Ashtäpad 7. King Bharat in Areesha Mahal (palace of mirrors) 8. King Sagar's sons and Näg Kumar. 9. Gautam Swami seeking permission from Bhagawän Mahävir to visit Ashtäpad. 10. Gautam Swami climbing Ashtäpad with the help of Sun-rays (Ätma Labhdhi).* 11. Gautam Swami - scripting of Jag-Chintamani Sutra.* 12. 5 Täpas on each of the first 3 steps, total 15 - representing 1503.* 13. Gautam Swami and Täpas - Kheer Parna. 14. Gautam Swami and Tiryank Jrumbhak Dev Updesh.* 15. Bali Muni and Ravan Viman.* 16. Ravan lifting Ashtäpad.* 17. Ravan and Mandodari devotion (Bhakti).* 18. Ravan and heavenly god Dharnendra Dev Dialogue.* 19. Rani Veermati (previous life of Damayanti) and 'Tilak' Story.* 20. Shri Munisuvrat Swami's Visit to Ashtäpad. 21. Shri Padlipta Suri's Visit to Ashtapad. 22. Sagar Dutta Visit (Shri Parshwanath in past life). 23. Sunrays with Laser Effect.* 24. Indra Viman and Angels with Garland.* *On the mountain and others are in the front of the mountain 17 Page #18 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ SHRI ASHTÄPAD MAHÄ-TIRTH 8.0 Research In recent history, no one has witnessed the actual Ashtapad Tirth as described in the scriptures. Pilgrims and visitors travel to the mountain where this Tirth is believed to be hidden somewhere. Many individuals and organizations are involved in research to unravel the mysteries of this legendry place. 8.1 Compilation of Literature on Ashtapad One has tried to put together the literature on Ashtapad from scriptures and other sources. This has been printed in the form of 13 Volumes I to XIII, containing over 6000 pages. This includes the historical perspective and details about antiquity of Jainism, Ashtapad Pujä, Stuti. Stavans. Geological aspects, Bon Po Religion, Gemstones, & all the research work that is being done. All the above material is available on DVD, including an index booklet. 8.2 Field Trip Jain Center of America, New York (JCA) is currently in the process of constructing a model of Ashtäpad. This Center is interested in locating Ashtapad Mahä Tirth and Ashtapad Mountain. A research trip was arranged by JCA to visit and research the central Himalayas from May 28 to June 21, 2006. The main objectives of this excursion were to: 1. Add depth and breadth to the research already conducted. 2. Find the location/existence of Ashtapad as described in Jain literature. 3. Prove the existence of Ashtapad geographically and archeologically. Ashtäpad Research Group 2006 18 Page #19 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ SHRI ASHTÄPAD MAHÄ-TIRTH Poster Picture Commercially Available TRENCH Mount Kailash Mount Ashtapad 8.3 Probable Site of Ashtapad The map shows the probable position of the Ashtapad Mountain up in the Himalayas. It is about 168 miles north of Badrinath. Kailash Mountain also known as KANG RIM POCHE, is 25 miles north of Mansarovar. Between Mansarovar (Padma Had) and Kailash, about 5-7 miles NE, is another mountain called Ashtapad. This mountain is 8 miles in height and is covered with white rocks and hence also known as Dhawalgiri. One can walk from “DARECHIN” after crossing about 15-20 mountain hills, and one will reach there in 4 to 6 hours. Buddhist pilgrims call this mountain "Kang Siche." About 40 km away there is another mountain peak called "Gurala Mandhata". Mandhata is a name derived from King Sagar's ancestors. Between Kailash and Gurala Mandhata, there is a lake called Rakshash Tal. Bharat Hansraj who took many pictures of Nandi Mountain, says that the pictures match the description of Ashtapad with the 8 steps and a sphinx. We are trying to work with the satellite pictures so that one can locate any buried structure. Latest report from Mr. P.S. Thakker is being studied. Ref Vol XI Chapter 80 Article B Pg 4973. The probable site of Ashtapad is located to the south east of Mt. Kailash (6638m), which is 5996 meter high. Mt Kailash is known as to Kang Rinpoche/ Gang Ti-se. It is 5km SE of Dira Phug: 5 km s/w of Dolma La. 7.5 km NW of Zutul Phug: 8 km NE of Gyandreg Monastery: 8.5 km N/E of Serlung Gompa. 9 km N/E of Darphochel Yam Dwar, or Moksha Dwar. It is 2.5 km to the east of 13 Drigung- Kagyu Chorten: 2 km to the east of Ser Dung Chuksum La, or 2.5km SW of Gangpo- Sanglam La. The site is easily approachable from Serdung Chuksum La or Gangpo Sanglam La. 19 Page #20 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ SHRI ASHTÄPAD MAHÄ-TIRTH 2rul Pla i nofBar kh a Probable Site for Ashtapad (1) Mount Kailash, (2) Bonari near Kailash, (3) Barkha plains, (4) Tarboche, (5) Nandi Parvat, (6) Mountain between Serlung Gompa and Gyandrag Monastry, (7) Gyandrag Monastry, (8) 13 Drigung Kagyu Chorten, (9) Probable site of Ashtäpad known as Gombo Phang or Trinetra or Mahakal, (10) The site was detected using satellite data by Mr P.S. Thakker and known as Dharma King Norsang. Satellite Picture of Kailash Area 20 Page #21 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ SHRI ASHTÄPAD MAHÄ-TIRTH 9.0 Summary We are trying to form an Ashtäpad Research International Foundation (ARIF) to coordinate the research work; it will be registered in India as well as overseas. All major cities in India will have a branch. ARIF will coordinate with Geological, Archeological, and other related departments of government of India and China. They will also approach National Geographic and Discovery Channel for help. A team of Geologists and Archeologists are involved. They are helping and guiding us as to how to proceed with further research. We are trying to get high resolution space satellite data of the area shown on the map. We will publicize the research work - This will create a lot of enthusiasm among the younger generations, professionals and researchers. This will also help to present our case to various governmental agencies. We will have exhibits & seminars to educate people and give them updated information. Finally a question arises as to what happened to Ashtapad in 2600 years, when Shri Gautam Swami had visited the place as per our scripture. That time 1503 Tapas were also trying to climb but could not. There has not been any major geological or historical change to our knowledge that may damage or cause it to disappear. This needs an explanation. 21 Page #22 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ SHRI ASHTÄPAD MAHÄ-TIRTH Appendix - 1 Stories Related to Ashtapad Mahä-Tirth There are many legends associated with Shri Ashtapad Tirth. Some of them are briefly narrated here. 1.0 Shri Adinath or Rishabhadev Bhagawan During the third Ärä (era), King Näbhiraj and Queen Marudevi ruled over the land of Bharat Kshetra. One night the Soul of Bhagawan Rishabhadev descended from heaven and entered the womb of Queen Marudevi. At that moment she had 14 auspicious dreams. In due time, the Queen gave birth to a son on the 8th day of second half of the month of Chaitra. Indra Dev carried the God to Mount Meru and celebrated the bathing ceremony. On the 12" day Indra named him Rishabha as Marudevi Mätä had Vrishabh (ox) as her first dream. Shri Rishabha became King after Näbhiraj. He ruled well and taught Asi, Masi and Krishi i.e. various arts, crafts, languages, commerce, agriculture, and self defense to the people & established a good society As life went by, he decided to renounce the world. He donated all his worldly possessions for 1 year (Varsi Däna) and at the end, after 2 days of fasting he took a solemn oath of renunciation from worldly matters. He plucked his hair, became a monk and bowed down to all liberated Souls. Janma Kalyänak Varsitap - Pärnä 2.0 Varsi Tap Pärnä of Rishabhadev Bhagawan As a monk Rishabhadev went for Gochari (food) from house to house continuously for about 13 months, but people were ignorant and did not offer any food instead they offered gold and other valuable items, which he could not accept. At last when Rishabhadev reached the city of Hastinapur in northern India, King Shreyans Kumär bowed down and offered him fresh sugarcane juice in Gochari. Rishabhadev consumed 108 pots of juice without spilling a single drop, as the king poured the offering in his palms. The entire universe resounded with words “Aho Page #23 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ SHRI ASHTÄPAD MAHÄ-TIRTH Dänam” meaning "best gift". This day is known as Akshaya Tritiya. Since then, the tradition of Varsi Tapa penance and its fast breaking ceremony "Pärnä” has been followed. 3.0 Keval-Jnän & Nirväna of Rishabhadev Bhagawan Bhagawan Rishabhadev traveled extensively for many years. All along he led an austere life, walking barefoot and engaging Himself in the meditation of self. After fasting for three consecutive days (Attham Tapa), while sitting under a banyan tree in deep meditation, he attained Keval-Jnän (absolute knowledge). Indra and other gods thronged there to celebrate the fourth Kalyanak (Keval-Jnän). They constructed a divine Assembly Hall known as Samavasaran for Rishabhadev's first sermon. When he learnt that his life is coming to an end, he went to Mt Ashtapad along with 10,000 monks for Santhärä (fasting unto death). After six days of fasting, Bhagawan attained Nirvana and became Siddha, a pure soul. 4.0 King Bharat Chakravarti Bharat was the eldest son of Ädinäth or Rishabhadev Bhagawan. After Adinäth Bhagawan's Dikshä Mahotsav, Bharat became the King. Upon hearing of Adinath Bhagawan's Nirvana, Bharat went to Ashtapad Mountain to pay his homage. Overwhelmed by grief, Bharat lit the funeral pyre. After the cremation, he decided to construct a Ratnamay (gemstone studded) palace in the memory of Adinath Bhagawan on Ashtäpad Mountain and installed idols of 24 Tirthankaras as per the description given by Shri Adinäth Bhagawän during his sermon. Bharat Chakravarti Areesha Mahal 5.0 King Bharat and Areesha Mahal (Palace of Mirrors) Once, King Bharat was looking in the mirror in his palace, after adoring himself completely with ornaments from head to toe. Accidentally one of the rings fell down from his finger. Now his bare finger made him wonder how he would look without ornaments on his body. He removed all his ornaments. Suddenly, he realized that his beauty was due to the ornaments and hence illusionary. He realized that true beauty does not 23 Page #24 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ SHRI ASHTÄPAD MAHÄ-TIRTH lie in material possessions but comes from within. He realized that "all these years I have been taking great care of my body and spending a great amount of time adorning it. I should rather renounce all worldly pleasures and desires and focus on what lies within." Thus by reaching the highest form of contemplation in his mind, he was able to break away from the bonds of Ghäti Karma and attained keval-Jnän at that moment. 6.0 Shri Gautam Swami When Bhagawan Mahävir established the Chaturvidha Sangha (a society consisting of Shri Sädhus (monks), Sädhvis (nuns), Shrävak, and Shrävikä (household people) at Päväpuri, Indrabhuti Gautam was the first disciple of Bhagawan Mahävir along with his 500 followers. Once Bhagawan Mahävir said in his sermon, "A person who scales Ashtapad and offers prayers to all 24 Tirthankars attains liberation (Moksha) in the same life". When Gautam Swami learned this, he decided to go to Ashtapad after seeking permission from Bhagawan Mahävir. When he arrived at the bottom of the Ashtapad Mountain, he saw 3 ascetics, with 500 disciples each trying to scale Mount Ashtapad. One group could climb only up to the 1st step, the other group climbed only up to the 2nd step and the third stopped at the 3rd step. None of them could climb further. With the help of spiritual power (Atma-Labhdhi), Gautam Swami scaled the Ashtapad Mountain by holding the sunrays as a rope. He offered his prayers to all the 24 Tirthankars and stayed there overnight. There he compiled the first two verses of Jagachintamani Sutra. That night a heavenly god named Vaishraman (Tiryank Jrumbhak dev, in one of the previous life of a great sage Vajra-swami) also came there to worship. He saw Gautam Swami who looked very handsome and healthy. He thought how can this monk do penance and still look this healthy. Gautam Swami read his mind and told the story of Pundarik and Kandarik and explained that an emaciated body is not the indication of penance. But to control the soul through meritorious meditation is real penance. This way he cleared the doubt of the heavenly god. Next morning when he came down, all 1503 Täpas were impressed by his achievement and wanted to be his disciples. Gautam Swami insisted that they should be Bhagawan Mahävir's disciples. However due to their earnest desire he initiated them. As all the Täpas were fasting for 3 days, Gautam Swami arranged for Kheer (rice cooked in milk) Pärnä. Even though the quantity of Kheer was not enough, due to his spiritual power he could feed Kheer to all of them by putting his thumb in the vessel. During Pärnä, 501 Täpas, now ascetics, became Kevali. On the 24 Page #25 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ way, Gautam Swami gave a description of Mahävir Swami, listening to which another 501 täpas became Kevali. Upon arrival, they saw Mahävir Swami in Samavasaran, and the remaining 501 täpas became Kevali. At that time, Gautam Swami asked all Täpas to sit along with other Sädhus. Then Bhagawän Mahävir said, "Gautam! You need to bow to these Kevalis." Now Gautam Swami realized that all the Täpas had become Kevali. Shri Mahävir Swämi SHRI ASHTÄPAD MAHÄ-TIRTH Gautam Swämi Täpas Kheer-Pärnä 7.0 Näg Kumar and King Sägar's Sons King Sagar had sixty thousand sons. Once they went to Ashtäpad and prayed to all the 24 Tirthankars. Impressed with the beauty of Ashtäpad temple and considering the precious material it was made of, they were concerned about the safety of the temple and were afraid that it may be destroyed in times to come. In order to protect the temple, they dug a big trench all around the mountain. While digging, they disturbed the King of serpents (Näg Kumar) and their homes. Näg Kumar Dev was very angry and met the princes in a fury. The Princes apologized to Näg Kumar and explained that they had dug the trench to protect the Ashtäpad temple. Näg Kumar pardoned them and went away. Meanwhile all the princes thought this trench would get filled up as time passes so they decided to fill it up with the holy water from the Ganges. This disturbed Näg Kumar Dev again, so he came out and with his fiery power, reduced all the 60,000 princes to ashes. Having learned of the sad demise of his 60,000 sons, King Sagar renounced the worldly life and became a monk under Bhagawän Ajitnäth, the 2nd Tirthankar. Näg Kumar Sagar's Sons 8.0 Ravan & Bali Muni Once king Rävan was flying over mount Ashtäpad and suddenly his Vimän (plane) came to a halt. This happened as he did not pay respect to a monk named Bali Muni, who was in meditation there. One is supposed to pay respect to a Monk in meditation. This made Rävan very angry and he decided to punish Bali Muni. Rävan uprooted the whole mountain with intent to throw it in the ocean along with Bali. Bali with his 25 Page #26 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ SHRI ASHTÄPAD MAHÄ-TIRTH special Knowledge (Avadhi-jnän) came to know of this and with the idea of protecting the temple; pressed the mountain with his toe. Because of the unbearable pressure Rävan started crying and begged for pardon. Subsequently Rävan went up the Ashtapad Mountain with his wife Mandodari to worship. Filled with joy she started dancing while Rävan played the Veena (musical instrument like guitar). Accidentally a wire from the Veena broke. Thinking this could be an interruption in her devotional dance; he pulled out a vein from his arm (with the help of Läghav Vidhyä) and replaced the broken wire of the Veena. This way he kept playing Veena. And then they performed pooja and offered prayers to all the idols. Thus Rävan attained Tirthankar Näm-karma and a place in the future Chovisi. There Rävan met with Dharnendra Dev, who was visiting the Ashtapad Tirth. He was very impressed with his devotion and his musical talent. He presented him with Amodh Vijaya Shakti. 9.0 Rani Veermati In one of the previous life of queen Damayanti, while traveling Mamman King and queen Veermati met a monk (Muniraj). The monk delivered a sermon about the uselessness of worldly affairs. Mamman King then apologized and bowed to Muniraj. He asked Muniraj, where was he going? Muniraj replied that he was going to visit Ashtapad Tirth and to worship there also. Since then Rani Veermati decided to visit Ashtapad Tirth and worship there. After long penance, Shäsan Devi (goddess) came to help with her Viman and took her to Ashtapad. She prayed to all 24 Tirthankaras and placed a gold Tilak studded with Gem Stones on the forehead of all the idols. Due to this, subsequently during the life of Rani Damayanti her forehead was glowing like Ruby Tilak which she had adorned on all the Tirthankaras in her previous life. 10.0 Shri Munisuvrat Swami The 20th Tirthankar Shri Munisuvrat-swami went to Ashtapad for meditation and penance during his life time with his disciples. As per literature he is the only Tirthankar after Adinath who went to Ashtäpad for meditation and penance. 11.0 Shri Padliptsuri Acharya Pädliptsuri who was staying on Shatrunjay, decided to move to Girnar. At that time, he went to Ashtäpad with the help of Äkäsh Gämi Vidhyä (spiritual powers to fly) to worship there. 26 Page #27 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ SHRI ASHTÄPAD MAHÄ-TIRTH Appendix - 11 Exhibitions and Seminars in Major Cities The Ashtapad Model and all 3 Chovisi (72 idols of Tirthankars) and other idols were exhibited to many major cities. This was done with the purpose of exhibiting so that many people can pay their respect to all the 3 Chovisis. This way one makes people aware of Ashtapad Tirth. The thirteen Volumes of Ashtapad Literature and many other items were also exhibited. Kailash Mansarovar research trip video was very well received. We have already exhibited it at Mumbai, New York, Surat, Antwerp, Palitana, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Delhi and Kolkatta. In July 2007, we will exhibit it at the Jaina Convention. Exhibition at Mumbai 2003 UNSADES Exhibition at Surat 2004 Excerpts from Gujarat Mitra ન્યુયોક લઈ જવા પૂર્વે સુરતમાં લવાયેલી રત્નો જડિત ર૪ તીર્થકરોની પ્રતિમાઓ 24 Idols Carved from Gemstones were brought to Surat before going to New York 27 Page #28 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ SHRI ASHTÄPAD MAHÄ-TIRTH Exhibition at Palitana 2005 Exhibition and Ashtäpad Puja at Ahmedabad 2005 Seminar at Ahmedabad 2005 A MERINO 28 Page #29 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ SHRI ASHTÄPAD MAHÄ-TIRTH Excerpts from Gujarat Samachar 2005 Research work needed to find the અષ્ટાપદ મહાતીર્થનું રહસ્ય details about the Ashtapad Tirth and to locate the same. ઉકેલવા વ્યાપક સંશોધનની જરૂર આદી તીર્થંકર રાષભદેવના King Bharat, son of Rishabdev, પુત્ર ચક્રવર્તી ભરત constructed the Ashtapad Tirth. અષ્ટાપદ સ્થાપ્યું હતું 72 Jeenalaya are buried under the snow તિબેટના બરફમાં ૭૨ જિનાલયો દટાયેલા હોવાનું મનાય છે પ્રાચીન in Tibet. Description of Old Sumeru સુમેરુ મંદિરો અષ્ટાપદ તીર્થના વર્ણન સાથે મેળ ધરાવે છે temple matches with Ashtapad Tirth description. Exhibition at Jaipur 2005 Exhibition, Lecture and DVD Presentation at Delhi-2006 29. Page #30 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ SHRI ASHTÄPAD MAHÄ-TIRTH Exhibit at Kolkatta 2006 Ashtapad at Jaipur Jaipur Jewelry Show Exhibition at Mumbai-JITO Conference and Excerpts from Mumbai Samachar 2007 ૪૨ દેશમાંથી એક લાખથી વધુ સંખ્યામાં હાજર જૈનોએ અભૂતપૂર્વ રસ દાખવ્યો જ જેનોના ચારેય ફિરકાને એક થવાની મુનિશ્રી - નયપદ્મસાગરની અપીલ बन पावालयन Over hundred thousand Jains from 42 Countries were present at JITO Conference. Muni Shri Naya Padma Sagar appealed for unity of all four traditions 30 Page #31 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ Appendix - III Shri Munisuvrat Swami Special Presentation Shri Munisuvrat Swami Idol 51" in height made from sodalite stone - one piece Parikar 102" in height from sodalite stone under carving process at present 31 Page #32 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ________________ Shri Ashtapad Maha-Tirth Ashtapad - Model 3 Ashtapad Research International Foundation (ARIF) ARIF ARIF 104-20 Queens Blvd., 104, Shri Gopalnagar, Apt 18-3 Forest Hills, N.Y. 11375 Gopalpura Byepass, USA P.O. Shyamnagar. Jaipur-302019, India Jain Center of America 43-11 Ithaca Street, Elmhurst, NY 11373-3451, USA Tel: (718) 478-9141 Fax: (718) 478-9144 Email: Web: