SHRAVANABELAGOLA: Perhaps the second biggest attraction after Gomateshwara during the ongoing Mahamastakabhisheka here is a Jain muni who sparingly makes appearance at the venue.Popular as Jungle Baba, he stands out, literally. Unlike other munis, he lives in forests and feels at home there.
Also called Chinmaya Sagar Maharaj, Jungle Baga arrived at Shravanabelagola a week ago and has been staying at Chandragiri, a hillock where Chandragupta Maurya attained Nirvana centuries ago. He comes out only once in a day - during evening hours.
His devotees from North India throng his current abode - a cave in the hillock - for his darshana.
The recluse leads an astonishingly disciplined life - wakes up at 4 am, stands on one leg for about three hours and does meditation continuously for 8-10 hours a day. He eats only once in a day.
Hailing from Jigula village in Athani taluk of Belagavi district, his spiritual journey began in 1988, when he received deeksha at the age of 25.Having travelled across the length and breadth of the country, Jungle Baba has loads of achievements to credit. He addressed national conferences of doctors, advocates, scholars and even the police. He changed the lives of thousands of people by helping them come out addictions, according to his devotees.
He is passionate about travelling, spreading the message of peace and the importance of spirituality. According to his devotees, he spent months together in the forests of Olipura and Borabas of Rajasthan, Hastinapura, Rishikesh, Bannerghatta, Nagarahole, Chamundi Hills, Bisale and Kanakumbi.
On his experience in forests, he says no animal has ever attacked him. “A person who follows the Jain principal of ‘live and let live’ can go anywhere at any time without fear” he says.