Friday, March 21, 2008

From Sultanganj To Deoghar

Baidyanath Dham is situated in the Santhal Pargana of Jharkhand. Kamana Linga of Lord Shiva is situated here. Every monsoon (in the month of Shravan) countless devotees undertake a rigorous 100 km pilgrimage on foot from Ajgaibinath (Sultanganj) to offer holy water to Baba Baidyanath. The pilgrimage is deemed complete with homage paid at Basukinath, almost 43 km from Deoghar.

The auspicious month-long Shravani Mela, as the pilgrimage is called, began Monday with worshippers walking all the way from Bihar's Sultanganj town, the only place where the Ganga flows northwards before turning east again.

Legend has it that Ravana was a great devotee of Lord Shiva. He urged Shiva to travel with him to his kingdom Lanka so that it would be easy for him to pray to him. Ravana travelled all the way from Lanka to Kailash to bring the Lord,' explained Parmeshwar Panda, who belongs to the family of temple head priests.

The Royal University of Vikramsila

The royal university of Vikramsila, 38 km from Bhagalpur ranks next to Nalanda and owes its origin to Dharmapala (770-810 A.D.), the devout Pala king who loved to call himself Paramasaugata (chief worshipper of the Buddha)and was a great patron of Mahayana Buddhism.

Dharmapala was impressed by two things which prompted him to establish Vikramsila university. Firstly, the rocky hillock anchored around the confluence of Kosi and Ganga at Vateshwarasthan was not only a scenic attraction but a popular tantric site as evident from the presence of a Kali temple (instead of Parvati’s) in front of Shiva temple, besides various other caves and rock cut sculptures dating back to the 6\7th century A.D. Secondly, the place was associated with pilgrimage due to Uttarbahini which drew large crowds during Varsavardhana.

Unlike Nalanda, sources of information on Vikramsila is confined to Tibetan texts and they make us believe that Dharmapala in his earlier birth was an accomplished acharya, Kampilya, who had attained siddhi or perfection in Mahayana mudra mysticism here and was determined to build a monastery one day. For More Info

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Vikramshila University

Remains of the ancient Vikramshila University have been excavated at village Antichak in the Bhagalpur district.

Excavation at this site were done in 1960-61 and have disclosed different periods of habitation. The natural structures exposed and the anfiquites discovered reiterate that the site was probably the remains of a large monestery. A number Buddha images of stone and terracottas have been discovered. Some inscribed seals and stupas have also been found.

King Dharampala who founded the University had generously endowed it with his minificent grants. The University building made provisions for the maintenance of 108 residential Professors and also for a number of non-residential Professors, pilgrims and other members of the staff. A big Vihara (monastery) was constructed in the university quarters and it was profected by strong wells. In the centre there was a big Buddhist temple, surrounded by 108 smaller temples

The affairs of the University were entrusted by king Dharampala to one very eminent and learned scholar who was also highly religious. The controlling authority which administrate the affairs of the Vikramshila University also looked after the Nalanda University.