HUA faculty Dr. D. K. Hari and Dr. Hema Hari share their profound experience at the inauguration of the 'Statue of Oneness - Ekatmata Ki Pratima' at Omkareshwar, on September 21, 2023, the history behind the significance of the place and more.
Dr.D.K.Hari & Dr.D.K.Hema Hari, Founders, Bharath Gyan & Faculty at HUA
Inauguration Of The Statue Of Oneness - Ekatmata Ki Pratima
There are 12 Lingam in Bharat which are revered as the 12 Jyotirlinga. These are called so, as they specifically denote the process of Creation of the Cosmos. They denote the emerging Cosmos as the infinite pillar of flame. The process of Creation was accompanied by the first primordial sound, which this civilization has revered as OM. Among the 12 Jyotirlingam, the Jyotirlingam at Omkareshwar as its name goes, denotes both this flame and the primordial sound OM.
This Jyotirlingam is nestled in Omkareshwar, in the valley between the flanks of the Vindhyas and the Satpura ranges, along the banks of the Narmada river. This place also gains significance as the place where Acharya Adi Shankara, who propagated Advaita was given Deeksha, initiation by His Guru, Acharya Govind Bhagavatpada.
Narmada river flowing between Vindhya and Satpura ranges
Acharya Shankara left His home in Kalady, Kerala at a tender age of 8, after coaxing His mother to permit Him to take up Sanyasa at that age. After that, in search of a Guru, He kept travelling northwards and eventually reached Amarkantak the source of the river Narmada, which is located in the Vindhya mountains. From there, he walked along the banks of the Narmada till He reached Omkareshwar.
There, on a small island hill called Mandhata Parvat, in the middle of the Narmada, He was drawn to a cave, where a saint was deep in meditation. The young, Bala Shankara saw that Narmada which was in spate then, was going to flood this cave. He held out His Kamandalam, pitcher into the river and calmed the waters of Narmada. Bala Shankara had prevented the cave from flooding.
The luminous saint meditating there was Acharya Govinda Bhagavatpada. Bala Sankara had found His Guru. Acharya Govinda Bhagavatpada sensing the hallowed nature of Bala Sankara, too had found the disciple He had been waiting for. He gave Deeksha to Bala Shankara and asked Him to spread Advaita throughout the land.
This incident is depicted on the wall of the cave and can be seen even today.
Author D.K.Hari at the cave where Acharya Shankar had met his Guru, Acharya Govinda Bhagavatpada at Omkareshwar. Panel above Guru Govinda Bhagavatpada’s murti depicts the scene where Bala Shankara had calmed the rising Narmada with His Kamandalu, pitcher in front of this cave.
Shankara then started on His own mission with His journey to Kasi, arriving there as a Guru Himself - Acharya Shankara Bhagavatpada. Acharya Shankara went on to write Bhashya, commentaries to explain the essence of the Advaita philosophy. He initiated disciples and traveled all over Bharatavarsha, establishing Mathas to propagate Advaita.
In a short lifespan of just 32 years, He had put Advaita on a strong foothold.
It was decided by the Madhya Pradesh Government to install a statue for Acharya Shankara on the Mandhata hill to commemorate the significant event wherein He had met His Guru. Care was taken to depict Acharya Shankara as a young boy, Bala Shankara, that He had been when He had set foot on this hill.
Bala Shankara is a 108 ft tall statue. Standing on a Lotus placed on a pedestal, the statue now towers over Omkareshwar at a height of 199 ft totally from the peak of the Mandhata hill. This statue is called the Statue of Oneness, Ekatmata ki Pratima.
This statue was inaugurated on 21st Sept 2023 after unprecedented floods in the Narmada.
It was a day when Omkareshwar was also characterized by a great gathering of sadhus and devotees as thousands of Sanyasis had arrived there to attend the inauguration. We, too, were fortunate to have been invited to witness this momentous event.
A great gathering of Sādhus and Sanyāsis at the event
started to rain. A dark cloud stood still, persistently over the hill and showered a good rain on all – not a heavy downpour nor a light drizzle. Just right enough to drench everyone with the spirit of oneness.
All were equal there that day under the Sun and Rain as there was no cover for anyone – guests, dancers, singers, priests, and dignitaries including the Murti of Acharya Shankar. For, a covering would have obstructed the view of Acharya Shankar. But neither the Rain nor the Sun seemed to bother anyone present there. Everyone was soaking in all the forms of showers - radiant rays of the morning Sun, followed by the cooling cascade of Rain, under the benign shower of Grace emanating from the Murti of Acharya Shankar.
Acharya Shankar, as a young boy, standing tall at a height of 199ft, strong as metal with clouds overhead and a hill underneath. A worker peering down from that height highlights the height in comparison.
It is indeed a matter of coincidence to note that
Narmada had flooded when Bala Shankara had arrived in person 2500 years ago.
Narmada flooded again when Bala Shankara came in the form of a Murti.
With this Murti, India now has 3 towering statues, with 2 of them along the Narmada itself.
Statue for Sardar Patel at Kevadia, along the Narmada in the state of Gujarat, called the Statue of Unity.
Statue for Saint Ramanuja who worked to propagate the Visishta Advaita philosophy. This statue at Muchintal near Bhagyanagar - Hyderabad is called the Statue of Equality.
Statue for Adi Shankara, the proponent of Advaita at Omkareshwar as the Statue of Oneness.
All 3 are standing tall with a common message - all are equal in the eyes of the Divine and bear the Divine within them.
The Statue of Oneness emphasizes it further, with the Advaita message of Acharya Shankar that, all are themselves the Divine too