Religion: Mahamastakabhisheka

On a lonely hill near the Indian village of Sravana Belgola, in the state of Mysore, stands a stone statue, 57 ft. high, of a stiffly poised man with a quiet, half-smiling face. The statue's name is Gomateswara, and he is a patron saint of India's Jain religion, an ancient offshoot of Hinduism. Half the population of India were once Jains, but their numbers have now shrunk to a bare 1,500,000. They dwindled possibly because of the ritual difficulties of their religion, which favors a strict asceticism and holds, among other tenets, that a believer must not harm any living thing,...

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