So it was, that during his Yatra to Rameshwaram, when he halted in Bangalore, Brahmachariji decided to get the huge idol of Hanuman sculpted in Karnataka.
To think is to act… A group of devotees put their minds together and decided that the best place to get the idol made was in Karkala, in Udupi district.
Karkala is a beautiful, green place at the foothills of Western Ghats, next to the Arabian sea. The place is historically famous for its black granite rock bed, which has been the source of some great temple idols across time. The granite rock bed here is said to be a few hundred meters deep. The town, which dates back more than a thousand years, derives its name from “Kari Kallu” which means “Black Rock”, in the local languages.
Karkala situated about 35 kms. from Udupi, is the headquarters of the Karkala Taluk. About, 52 kms. north-east of Mangalore, is known primarily for the statue of Lord Bahubali (Gomateshwara). The 45-feet tall statue is estimated to weigh 80 tons. Besides its colossal size, the Karkala statue is rendered more striking by its situation on the top of a huge granite rock, 300 feet high, on the verge of a picturesque little lake. This image was erected by a Jain king in 1432, in memory of Bahubali (the first Tirthankara) who renounced the world at his most victorious moment.
Here is a picture of the Gomatheshwara idol. This is the second tallest statue of Gomatheshwara in Karnataka ( the tallest being the one at Shravanabelagola in Hassan district).
Karakala town is like a portal to other great religious centers such as Sringeri, Kolluru ( Mookambika), Udupi, Dharmasthala etc. During the times of Portuguese invasion of Goa and the inquisition of Hindus, a section of Gauda Saraswata Brahmanas fled from Goa and came to Karkala, where they were given refuge by the local Jaina King. They Saraswats built a temple for Lord Venkateshwara, which is called Padu-Tirupathi (Western Tirupathi), which is now one of the main attractions of Karkala. Right in front of this temple is a temple of Hanuman. Known as Veera Anjaneya temple, this has a unique idol of Hanuman – around 15 feet tall, standing in a warrior pose, one hand on hip, other raised up above the head (as if about slap his opponent), hair flying… It is said that this idol was discovered when the land in Anekere (where there is a lake) in Karkala was being dug…
They say that Tipu Sultan was an ardent devotee of this Lord, and gifted a silver necklace that the Lord wears till this day.
Here is a picture of Veera Anjaneya of Karkala
So, such is the place chosen by Brahmachariji for sourcing his Hanuman, the Kotwal of the country.
From available literature it is not clear if he had darshan of Veera Anjaneya at Karkala, but one would guess that he would have had Darshan, for he spent a lot of time in this small town. With Rama Nama Sankeertana traditionally chanted on special days in the temple, surely Brahamachariji would have been drawn here…
Coming to the year 1983….
After deciding to commence the project, Brahmachariji came with a group of devotees to Karkala. In Karakala, he stayed in Shukateendra Ashrama, a beautiful traditional Ashrama, where around 50-60 students studied traditional Vidya.
The next morning, Brahmachariji visited the quarry and inaugurated the project of sculpting the idol of Hanuman. Sri Radhamadhav Shenoy, the famous architect / sculptor, had agreed to the work of sculpting the idol of Hanuman. He came from a family-line of sthapathi-s (traditional Indian architect / sculptors), and his grandfather had been awarded a recognition by the President of India. He was so happy taking up this assignment of Brahmachariji that he waived all material c osts – (of the massive stone etc), and took only the fee for carving.
That evening Brahmachariji’s group put up a Bhagavata Charita Leela show in the Ashram. They performed Shiva Leela as well. These were based on the ”Bhagavati Katha” penned by Brahmachariji. Although the play was in Hindi, the local students and people, who were ignorant of the language, enjoyed the show thoroughly. For Bhakti is Bhava after all – and then again, it was being performed in the presence of a Siddha Purusha – Prabhudatta Brahmachari Ji.
Dvivedi ji writes that at night, when Brahmachariji was about to retire, he asked him – “Maharaj ji, where are we going to get the massive resources needed for this project?” To this question, he says, Brahmachariji laughed, and said – “Hanuman Ji will make take care of all his arrangements himself!”
Very soon, the news spread far and wide that Brahmachariji was getting a massive idol of Hanuman made for installing as the Kotwal of the Capital in a temple in New Delhi. So funds started coming in. But would funds alone do for such a project? Surely, without the nod of God, not a blade of grass moves – what then to talk of such a massive undertaking….
Maharaj Ji was perhaps in his eighties then. The project to sculpt the massive 40 feet idol would take a few years. Brahmachariji returned to his Ashram in North India. Every year, he would make a trip to Karkala to inspect the progress. Applying the dust from the feet of the idol on his head, he would pray to Hanuman, again and again, to please come to Delhi soon. He would chat with Hanuman in merriment. And so it went on… For five years… After which time, the sculpting was more or less done….
Now, coming to Basant Gaon, where the idol was planned to be installed. This was one of the three primary Ashrams of Brahmachariji (the main one being in Jhusi, Allahabad, and the other one in Brindavan). Up until the 1960-s or later, the area of Basant Gaon was open lands… A dry, arid, rocky sort of area – there was a village here – which was peopled largely by people of Jamadagni Gotra. It is said that the place where the current temple of Hanuman is situated, was originally a pond. The locals remember that in the 1940s there was a massive feud between some peoples in this area, resulting in the death of several people in this vicinity. Again in the early 70s, there was some local feud, which was, thankfully, not as deadly as the one in the 40-s. Suffice to say, that this area has seen strife. For whatever reason, Hanuman-ji decided to come to this place, and ever since then, the place has not only become one of peace – it is today, perhaps, one of the most expensive, prime areas, of New Delhi City…. Vasant Vihar…
Lets go back to year 1989….
The idol of Hanuman had been sculpted and was ready for transportation from Karkala…
The great Hanumat Yatra was to begin….
** To be continued **