At the northern spur of the Ellora Cave ridge is the group of five caves, (Numbers 30 to 34) known as the Jain caves.Constructed between the ninth and eleventh centuries these excavations celebrate the Jain religion, that preceded Buddhism, was founded aroudn 600 BC.In cave number 32, known as India Sabha, (Assembly Hall of Indra) is found a statue of the legendary Mahavira, (d. 488BC) who was a contemporary of Buddha and was the twenty fourth of the “Tirthankaras” (great teachers) of Jainism.The huge cave extends 170 feet into the rock and is decorated with delicate ornamental carving of various deities of the Jain cosmology.Occupying the central shrine seated on a lion throne is a statue of the naked Mahavira.Similar in many respects to Buddhist sculptures, Jain figures of the Digambara sect differ in appearing naked, which is derived from Mahavira’s wandering as a naked mendicant advocating total renunciation.  Mahavira, like Buddha, taught compassion for all life and eventually acheived Nirvana.There is a passage connecting cave 32, a three tiered complex, to cave 34 in which are finely sculptured huge hollow pillars that were used by the Jains as drums because of their prohibition about killing animals for their skins.
In November of 1951, at the end of the new Life wanderings, Meher Baba visited the Jain caves and sat alone under the Mahavira’s statue perhaps paying tribute to the Jain dedication to the principle of total renunciation.Hence this might have been one of the ideal seclusion spots for Baba’s work during the New Life of “helplessness and absolute renunciation.”

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JAIN CAVES

ERUCH TELLS THE STORY (6:00)