|Gomateshwara at Shravanabelagola|
ISKCON Bangalore: The Beginning is a historic fiction inspired by the greatest epic Mahabharata and it has nothing to do with the story of real Baahubali. Who is Baahubali?
Srimad Bhagavatam gives the list of kings who appeared in the dynasty of Swayambhuva Manu. Manu had two sons: Priyavrata and Uttanapada. Priyavrata married the daughter of Vishwakarma and begot ten sons. Three of them accepted the renounced order of life. Priyavrata divided the entire world into 7 islands and handed it over to his seven sons. The eldest son, Agnidhara, became the ruler of Jambudvipa. He married a celestial girl named Purvacitti and begot nine sons: Nabhi, Kimpurusha, Harivarsha, Ilavrta, Ramyaka, Hiranmaya, Kuru, Bhadrasva and Ketumala. He divided the Jambudvipa into nine tracts of land, called varshas, each named after his sons.
The son of Nabhi, Rishabadeva, became the ruler of Ajanabha. He had one hundred sons headed by Bharata (after whom the tract of land called Ajanabha was named as Bharatavarsha). Rishabhadeva thought his sons how to rule the world. The instructions given by Rishabhadeva are recorded in the fifth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam. You can read a synopsis of those instructions here.
Nine of his sons became mendicant preachers and their instructions are recorded in eleventh canto of Srimad Bhagavatam. You can read the synopsis of their instructions here.
It is said that Baahubali was one of the sons of Rishabhadeva. When Bharata became the king, he wanted to establish his sovereignty over the entire world. The entire world accepted his supremacy and whenever someone opposed, Maharaja Bharata conquered them. Thus he became the emperor of the entire world. All his brothers, except Baahubali, accepted his supremacy and surrendered to him. Baahubali challenged him for a fight. To avoid further bloodshed, the ministers decided that the two brothers engage in a duel and decide amongst themselves who the strongest is.
Baahubali was victorious in the wrestling match (and thus the name Baahubali meaning mighty armed) but he felt disgusted that he had to fight with his own brother to attain material possessions which are temporary. So he decided to give up everything to become a renunciant.
Note: The above story of Baahubali is not mentioned in Srimad Bhagavatam, but has its source in the scriptures of Jains.
In Karnataka there are 5 monolithic statues of Baahubali (also known as Gommateshwara) located in Shravanabelagola (57 feet), Karkala (42 feet), Dharmasthala (39 feet), Venur (35 feet) and Gommatagiri (20 feet). There are also temples in Kumbhoj (Maharashtra) and near Indore.
The story line adopted in the movie Baahubali: The Beginning has nothing to do with the historical Baahubali described in Jain literature. The movie is inspired by the Indian epics Ramayana and Mahabharata.