Bharata, one of the hundred sons of first Tirthankara ruled the kingdom of Ayodhya, while Bahubali, the youngest of the sons, got Podanapur.
One day, when he was in the armoury, Bharata saw a rotating circular disc that seemed to point in a certain direction. When he spoke to the astrologers of the kingdom about his observation, they said, ‘This is an indication that you will rule the earth and become an emperor.’
In time,it seemed that the prediction was coming true, as Bharata expanded his kingdom with the aid of the disc.
One day, Bharata was returning to Ayodhya after one such war when suddenly the disc stopped rotating. Bharata knew that this was an indication of something important and sent inquiries to scholars and astrologers. Finally, he was told, ‘The disc has stopped because you also need ninety-nine brothers to submit to you. Only then can you proceed on your quest to be an emperor.’
So Bharata sent a royal letter to all his brothers, informing them that they must either submit to him or wage war to determine the winner. Ninety-eight of his brothers were displeased…Given their limited resources, the brothers decided to give him their share of the kingdom.
Bahubali, however, refused to submit and surrender his share of the kingdom.
Since he was a tall and strong warrior, he sent a message to Bharata: ‘Come, brother. Let’s fight – just the two of us. I don’t want either of our subjects to be innocent victims, so let’s keep this between us.’ Bharata agreed, and the two met on the battlefield…Bharata was equal to Bahubali in skill, but Bahubali used the advantage of his height to defeat Bharata… Bahubali knew that he would be crowned emperor but the rush of power faded away just as quickly as it had come. ‘The love for land and power has turned us into mortal enemies,’ he thought and gave away all that he had won to Bharata and left in the search for ultimate bliss.
He became a Digambar Jain monk and gave away all his clothes, money and ornaments. He stood bare naked for years in one spot… Finally, Bharata felt ashamed and went to visit his brother. When the brothers reunited, Bahubali became free of all attachments and attained supreme knowledge and moksha. Bharata built a beautiful statue of his brother.
One day, the statue was washed with milk and water, and Chamundaraya (the Jain prime minister of the Ganga dynasty) ordered drums of milk for the Abhisheka, anointment, of the statue. He was surprised to learn that despite drums of milk being poured on the statue, the milk would not flow past Bahubali’s hips…and the Abhisheka remained incomplete.
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