The greatest temple of shiva

•February 15, 2007 • Leave a Comment

We converged on this issue via a peculiar way –We were blessed after many years to enjoy the sUpa-kalA of ST. For our tongues, which are dead as that of the prince of shrI-lanka in the Indian pleasure house, it was a like water for a man in the desert (of course we were reminded of the same simile in the R^ivedic mantra RV10.4.1). In course of enjoying her superlative efforts, I was educating ST on the vagaries of Hindu history, when she brought to my attention a verse by the great Octavio Paz, the ex-ambassador of Mexico:

Down at the foot of the sublime sculptures,
Disfigured by the Mohammedans and the Portuguese,
The multitude has left its litter,
Tiffin for the crows and the curs.
I damn it to a thousand reincarnations,
Each on a muck-heap
While those others,
Can be carved, in living flesh, for aeons,
In the hell for defacers of statues.

-Sunday on Elephanta

ST: “One of the greatest works of art of ours but when was it made and who made it ?”

To me it was greatest temple of the terrible rudra. Unfortunately it lies vandalized by Christian terrorists filled with brains rotting from the Abrahamistic mental disease. Truly the words of the venerable Celsus comes to mind: ‘…Christians are like a synod of worms on a dunghill, croaking and squeaking, “For our sakes was the world created.”‘

In this regard an example of the stinking Christian intra-cranial decay is vividly illustrated by the comment of the Portuguese vandal Antonio Bocarro: “There is also a large and deep tank of water without which the heathens of the East never build their pagodas; because among their other abominations they believe that water purifies and cleanses them” [!]

To me the greatness of the temple of shrI-pUrI mainly lies in the fact that it is one of the few temples that is literally a purANa in rock. It helps us reconstruct the history of the pAshupatas, and predecessors of the kAlAmukha-s of later days. To me on seeing the glory of shiva on rock the words came to mind:

daMShTrA-karAlaM divi nR^ityamAnaM hutAsha-vaktraM jvalanArka-rUpaM |
sahasra-pAdAkShi-shirobhi yuktaM bhavantam-ekaM praNamAmi rudraM ||
namo.astu somAya sumadhyamAya namo.astu devAya hiraNyabAho |
namo.agni-chandrArka-vilochanAya namo.ambikAyAH pataye mR^iDAya ||

From the evidence of the copper coins of kR^iShNa-rAja that appear to have been used as a payment for the workers on the island of shrI-pUrI it seems the cave-temple of shiva was excavated during the reign of the early kalachuri-s a branch of the haihaya clan between 525 to 575 of CE. The chief sponsors seem to have been the kings kR^iShNa-rAja and sha~Nkara-gaNa. The main idol other than the garbhAgR^iha which houses the li~Nga is 3-headed maheshvara mUrti. This triadic representation is suggestive of the lAkulIsha pAshupatas because they clearly emphasize the triadic nature of rudra: the pAshupata sUtras state that rudra manifests as R^iShi, vipra and mahat. It also provides another triad as which rudra manifests: vAmadeva, jyeShTha and rudra. vAmadeva generates various kArya-s; jyeShTha is the supreme being or the sole existence; rudra is one who unites the universe with destruction. It is precisely this triad of the ancient para-vedic pAshupata sUtra-s that is represented by the splendid mahesha-mUrti in the central southern niche of shrI-pUri caves. The important point to note here is that even though the pAshupatas use the pentadic mantras of sadyojAta etc their shiva is essentially triadic. It is in the mantra-mArga that the pa~ncha-brahma is the centra theme, especially as outlined in the siddhAnta thought. This connection is further strengthened by the presence of an image of the holy lakulIsha, the founder of the of the pAshupata lineage, in the north-eastern-most niche of the temple. This shows that the early kalachuris were patrons of the lAkulIsha lineage of pAshupata-s rather than classical mantra mArga shaivas. It was only their late descendants after the 800s who made the shift to the mantra-mArga of the matta-mayUra branch of siddhAnta shaivas.

We have been able to piece together some of the history of the shrI-pUrI [Elephanta] Island that has some bearing on the spread of the pAshupata sect of the shaiva-s, their cultural contributions and the parallel rise of the mantra-mArga shaivas, especially the siddhAnta-shaivas.

The early kalachuri dynasty came to a dismal end in the first half of the 600s of CE after they faced a dual attack from the rising chAlukya-s and remnants of the old maurya-s that had established themselves in Konkans (their descendant chandra-rao more of Javali in the Konkans was killed by Shivaji to finally end the dynasty). The mauryan ruler in a naval campaign took over the island of shrI-pUrI from from the kalachuris during the reign of buddharAja, even as the chalukya general ma~Ngalesha invaded the northern realm of the kalachuri-s and conquered it. However, the maurya-s could not hold on to the island as the next chAlukya king, the mighty pulakeshi II defeated the maurya-s by griping them from both sides via a naval and land attack. The Aihole inscription poetically describes this [translation from Epigraphica Indica vol 6 modified by me based on the original]:
“In the Konkanas the impetuous waves of the forces lead by [pulakeshi] swiftly swept away the rising wavelets of pools- the mauryas. When radiant like the destroyer of tripura he besieged pUrI, the shrI of the western sea, with hundreds of ships in appearance like arrays of rutting elephants, the sky, dark-blue as a young blue-water lily and covered with rows of massive clouds, resembled the sea, and the sea was like the sky.”

Before the mid-750s of CE the mauryas appeared to have reappeared to control shrI-pUri and the surrounding Konkans perhaps as a nominal feudatory of the chAlukya-s and then some what independently. Around the mid-700s a large Moslem attacking fleet overwhelmed the maurya defenses of the island of shrI pUrI and occupied it, but the chalukya king of Gujarat, pulakeshirAja sent a naval expedition to destroy the Moslems. This is alluded to in an allegorical form in the late book of the shiva purANa termed the koTi-rudra saMhitA. Here a vaishya going to the island of shrI pUrI was captured by the rAkShasas and imprisoned with other worshipers of shiva. These rAkShasas are said to greatly harass the people and the vaishya invokes shiva who comes and gives him the pAshupatAstra. Using this he kills the rAkShasas. Then a king vIrasena the son of mahAsena is said to liberate the island after receiving weapons from shiva to kill the mlechChas in naval expedition.

The maurya-s appear to have held their ground in the island despite these historical tremors albeit as subordinates of more powerful rulers of the mainland. We have an inscription from 1069 CE that states that govinda-rAja the maurya ruler was a vassal of the yAdava ruler seunachandra II and probably administered the island for the yadava overlord. It may have also been held by them for the Kalyani chAlukya-s for a while there after. At some point after the conquest of Konkans by Mahmud Gavan and Adil Shah from the Vijayanagara rulers it seems to have been taken over by the Mohammedans who inflicted some damage to it. Subsequently it was taken from them by the Christian vandals who fired cannons on to the cave to demolish most sculptures. The early European visitors record that the icons were vividly painted and that there were several paintings in the caves like those at Ajantha. This suggest that it had survived in reasonable condition till then.

The dispersal of the kalachuri-s seem to have taken the pAshupata-s in two directions : 1) northwards to West-central India, where the kalchuri-s appear to have survived for while till the great kalachuri king kokalla revived them in the 800s of CE. Another northern branch also established a strong hold in saryUpAra in Gorakhpur. In course of their dispersal the pAshupata-s probably moved with them and found new patrons in western India in the form of the guhilot rAjputs- the prince bappa rAval (first half of the 700s of CE) was initially disciple of a lAkulIsha guru of the harita lineage. He subsequently became a disciple of the lineage of matsyendra and was initiated into the mantra-mArga. This dispersal along with that of the maurya-s to valabhi appears to have resulted in the spread of the pAshupatas throughout western India where they established many famous centers of pashupata learning like aNahilapAtaka in Gujarat. 2) A second branch of the kalachuri-s dispersed to the south where they were initially vassals of the Kalyani chAlukyas in Karnataka. They eventually overthrew the chAlukyas and became rulers themselves and allowed the grand revival of the lAkulIsha pAshupata sect in the form of the great kAlAmukhas. This revival was further supported by further influx of fleeing pAshupata-s from the north especially Kashmir and possibly aNahilapAtaka during the Islamic depredations. The kalachuri reign in the south was eventually overthrown due to a degraded shaiva movement in the form the vIrashaiva-s, whose rise was in part favored by the general shaiva fervor cultivated by the kAlAmukhas.

The mantramArga shaiva-s appear to have initially existed symbiotically with the pAshupata lineages as suggested by the subscription to a similar mythological base (tirumular’s mythology) and mUla mantra collection (pa~nchAkShari and pa~ncha-brahma) as well as association with shAkta temples (A pAshupata inscription from the gupta era, 374 CE, shows that the pAshupatAcharya lokodadhi established a shakti temple in madhya pradesh). However, the mantramArga-s developed their hallmark, the elaborate mantra-prayoga, which they extensively used to aid royal disciples in gaining power. This feature is also shared with the pAshupatAcharya-s who deployed royal atharva vedic rites and performed a similar role in Mewar. Examples of associations in the rise of major dynasties are:
pAshupata-s: guhadatta (guhilot) dynasty which gave rise to the shishodia clan with luminaries like the mahArANa-s Bappa Raval, kumbha, Sanga and Pratap. Even till recently the Chittor ruling family visited the shiva temple with the image of lakulIsha and worships it every Monday.
mantra-mArga
dakiShNa-srotas(bhairava tantras):A bhairavAchArya performed tantric rites in a shmashAna explicitly for the establishment of the dynasty of puShpabhUti that spawned the great king harshavardhana.
vAma-srotas (tumburu tantras): The brAhmaNa hiraNyadAman performed the rites as per the vAma-srotas for the rise of jayavarman-II the founder of the Angkor empire centered in Cambodia.
Urdhvasrotas (siddhAnta tantras): The various AchAryas of the Urdhvasrotas performed major rites for the kings of the shilahara, chola, rAShTrakUTa, chAlukya, paramAra and bhUpAla dynasties. Their rites have been implicated the rise of the paramAra-s and the revival of the kalachuri-s and their highly aggressive king gA~Ngeya deva. gA~Ngeyadeva’s Acharya of the Urdhvasrotas performed rites for him to liberate the temples of Kangra and retaliate against the Mohammedan attack on Varanasi by Ahmed Niyaltegin, the general of Mahmud Ghaznavi. When other Hindu kings were watching bewildered, gA~Ngeyadeva and his valiant son karNa single-handed attacked the Moslems in Kangra and drove them out.
pUrva-srotas (garuDa-tantras): prayoga-s performed by this were used by the malla rulers in Nepal in their ascent. These prayogas are comparable to those of pR^ithivi-nAryaNa of Nepal of a later era.

In cultural terms the spread of the pAshupata-s appears to have played an important role in the preservation of classical Hindu theater- the nATya of bharata and tANDya [These two appear to be depicted in the shrI-pUrI naTarAja panel]. Looking at the depictions in the shrI-pUrI caves we find the following : 1) lakulIsha 2) naTarAja, with umA, vinAyaka, skanda, 3) andhakAsura vadha, 4) rAvaNa shaking kailAsa, 5) the marriage of pArvatI and rudra, 6) sporting of sati and rudra on kailAsa, 7) ardhanArIshvara, 8) the taming of ga~NgA and 9) the mahesha-mUrtI. There is also a separate set of icons of the 8 mAtR^ikA-s with gaNapati and vIrabhadra flanking them. Other icons associated with shiva include indra, viShNu, brahmA, bhR^i~Ngin and nandin. These depictions are all indicative of the post-kAlidAsa period (rise of vinAyaka as major deity) and is consistent with the descriptions of the core “story sections” of the shiva purANa (excluding the late book like koTirudra saMhitA). It is likely that the core shiva purANa composed during the gupta period was comprised of the story sections corresponding to the rudra-saMhitA and the rudreshvara saMhitA-s of the modern shiva purANA, which were probably combined with ritual material on the pa~nchAkSharI, li~Nga-sthApana, bhasma-vidhi, rudrAkSha and deva-yajana. Based on the comparative analysis with other purANas, the mahAbhArata and and vedic brAhmaNas it is clear that there was an earlier body of shaiva tales that consisted of:
1) defeat of the brAhmaNa-s of dArukavana 2) origin of li~Nga 3) shiva’s marriage with sati and destruction of dakSha’s sacrifice 4) the marriage of shiva and pArvatI. 5) birth of kumAra 6) destruction of tripura 7) killing of andhaka 8) killing of gajAsura 9) Drinking of the hAlahala. There perhaps some additional material on jalandhara or sha~Nkhachuda also present with this set. This set was probably present during the shu~Nga times which was the template for kAlidasa’s work. It is not clear if they were a floating mass of stories distributed amongst various then current purANas or already collected into a saMhitA. In any case this body served as the base for the core shiva-purANa of gupta times during which vinAyaka was inserted after the ancient skanda tale.

Chatting with ST and more averaging experiments

•February 14, 2007 • Leave a Comment

We were hemmed in by the terrible fury of vAta and rudra which gave us an excuse to squander time as we used to do in our days of youth with ST who was similarly holed up in our regions for two days. ST had been much enamored by our earlier averaging experiments to generate the average Hindu strI amongst our contemporaries using SQIRLZ-MORPH. She had built a larger parallel set for the purpose that included herself and few of our common acquaintances, in addition to a large body of her acquaintances (totally n=30). There were about 8 people overlapping with the earlier set. All the 4 varNas of the Hindu society are represented here, though there appears to be a degree of bias in numbers towards the first varNa in the set. We did not resort to an average per varNa because the true kShatriya-s were particularly under-represented. But one point we noted was that the urban shUdra-s in our data were on average closer to the 3 dvija-s varNa-s than a composite of purely avarNa and tribal representatives we had earlier made (data not shown). This seems to fit the genetic observations that the major division in Indian population separates tribal groups from the caste groups. Both ST and I agreed that a large number of Indian women of the older generation compared to ours suffered from facial dysmorphia. This was so, even amongst brahmin women, especially from the Dravida country. We also seemed to agree that the persistence of dysmorphia in our generation amongst brahmin women occurred at higher frequency in those from the Dravida country. We speculated that this might have to do with the protein poor-diets of people from this region. But this alone I feel is not enough to account for the dysmorphia in all Dravida brahmin women. On this point ST and I seem to disagree. My own feeling is that beauty in Hindu women is distributed normally but with a much greater standard deviation than in the case of the mleChcha strI-s. Thus, in the beauty tail (as opposed to the ugly tail) of the curve the best-looking strI-s are amongst the Hindus, but in the mean area they might not fare as well. ST agreed but she and me differed in our theories to explain it. In course of our long chat spanning from lunch to dinner and beyond [similar to the one we had on our walk in the pleasant town of my old residence in the peaceful days of 2003] we covered many topics. To both our memories almost convergently came the day when we climbed to the kauNDinya caves and rested at ancient pillared temple on the way– for a while we were transported to that condition, which only exists in the consciousness and breaks up if it comes out in words! But then like a dropped stone breaking the surface of a pellucid pond ripples burst through the the pond of the chit breaking up all images. Then I took advantage of ST’s knowledge of the Dravida language to clarify certain points, the interest in which had been piqued by R’s earlier questioning. Then we parted as the bleak exteriors threatened to eat us up. ST quoted some sentence from Conan Doyle– I too recalled reading it but some how failed to register it.

To my mind came the following: “daNDin of yore had made a 10 kumAra-s for his charita. Even so the 3 kumArI-s had arisen. They stood on the three sides of the prism, and he stood in the middle. All the senses were inundated but none ever satisfied.”


Only brAhmaNa with correction for aspect ratio

Three enigmatic vedic tales

•February 11, 2007 • Leave a Comment

The yaj~na went away from the devas in the form of viShNu, and entered the earth. The devas searched him by digging with their hands. indra passed over him. viShNu asked: “who has passed over me?” [indra]: “I am he who smashes forts; who are you?”. [viShNu]: “I am the one who captures what is in a fort”. viShNu said: “You are the one who breaks forts. There is this boar, the stealer of beautiful things, that keeps the wealth of the asuras, which is to be won, beyond the seven hills. Hammer him, if you are the one who demolishes forts”. indra plucked out a bunch of darbha grass, shattered the seven hills, and killed the boar. He then said to [viShNu who was hiding under the ground]: “You are called he who captures what is within forts” so bring the wealth/boar. So viShNu in the form of the yaj~na brought the yaj~na for them; in that they won the wealth of the asuras which was to be won.

~*~*~

The asuras indeed at first owned the earth, the gods had so much as one seated on the ground can see. The gods asked the asuras: “May we also have a share in the earth?” [The demons said]: “How much shall we give you?” [The devas said]: “Give us as much as this hyaena can three times run round.” The demons agreed. indra taking the form of a hyaena thrice ran round on all sides the earth. So the devas won the earth.

~*~*~

The deva-s were defeated by the asuras. The asuras thought : “this world definitely belongs to us alone assuredly” They said: “Well then, let us divide this world between us; and having divided it, let us live on it”. They accordingly started dividing it with ox-hides from west to east. The devas then heard of this, and said: “The asuras are actually dividing this earth. Come, let us go to where the asuras are dividing it. For what would become of us, if we were to get no share in it?” Placing Vishnu, this very yaj~na, at their head, they went to the asuras. The devas asked: “Let us have share of this earth along with yourselves. Let a part of it be ours” The asuras replied grudgingly: “We will give you only as much as this viShNu lies upon, and no more” Now viShNu was a dwarf. The gods, however, were not put off by this, but said:” Indeed they have given us much, who gave us what is equal in size to the yaj~na”. Having then laid viShNu down eastwards, they enclosed him on the sides with the Chandas, saying on the south side: “With the gAyatrI metre I enclose you”; on the west side: ‘With the triShTubh metre I enclose you”; on the north side: “With the jagati I enclose you”.

Having thus enclosed him on all directions, and having placed agni on the east side, they went on sacrificing and performing rites with it. By this [yaj~na] they obtained this entire earth; and because they obtained by it this entire (earth). Thereupon viShNu became tired; but being enclosed on all sides by the Chandas, with agni on the east, there was no escape route. He then hid underground among the roots of plants. The devas wondered: “What has become of viShNu? What has become of the yaj~na?” They said: “On all sides he is enclosed by the Chandas, with agni to the east, there is no escaping: search for him in this very place.” By digging shallow they accordingly searched for him. They discovered him at a depth ofthree thumb-lengths below [the ground].

Pheromones of humans and other vertebrates

•February 10, 2007 • Leave a Comment
1) 2-methylbut-2-enal: The rabbit milk pheromone. Induced nipple search behavior of pups and directs them towards the nipples of the mother. Given that rabbits feed their young only once a day this behavior is critical for survival.
2) (methylthio)methanethiol: Mouse male pheromone. A molecule with a strong garlic-like odor that attracts females towards the male by inducing an investigative behavior.
3) androstadienone: Human male pheromone. A molecule with a mild musky odor causes physiological arousal in females by inducing increased heart beat, blood pressure and breathing rate, and feeling of improved mood.
4) 5a-androst-16-en-3-ol: The boar pheromone. Causes sows to raise their posterior and display a receptive posture.
5) petromyzonamine disulfate: the lamprey migratory pheromone. It is released by larval lamprey in streams and guides sexually mature parasitic adults to swim towards the spawning stream.
6) 6-hydroxy-6-methyl-3-heptanone: A mouse male pheromone. Accelerates puberty of pre-pubertal females.
7) (S)-2-sec-butyl-4.5-dihydrothiazole: Multi-faceted mouse male pheromone
8) (RR)-3.4-dehydroexo-brevicomin: Multi-faceted mouse male pheromone. This and the above compound induce aggression when smelt by other males. When smelt by pre-pubertal females they cause acceleration of puberty and when sensed by adult females induce and synchronize the estrus cycles.

I have always strongly believed in the existence of human pheromones, emitted by both males and females. Critics have felt that the degeneration of the vomeronasal organ and loss of the TRPC2 channel in humans might mean that there is no pheromonal signaling. However, I have always held that the regular olfactory mucosa is likely to be a sufficient interface for pheromone sensing. For a while it had been suspected that androstadienone, a testosterone derivative emitted by male via their skin is the primary male pheromone. A recent study by Wyart et al building on earlier work of Savic et al brings considerable support to this and suggests that it indeed induces behavioral changes in females. One important point they note is that the intensity of smell does not correlated with magnitude of action of the pheromone. So it appears to work in a sense “sub-consciously”- i.e. there is no connection with the odor experience. This seems to be an important point in support of it being a pheromone. Based on the experience of males including my own suggest I have long come to hold that females exude a pheromone that activates responses in males. From the study of Savic et al this appears to be estra-1,3,5(10),16-tetraen-3-ol (not pictured above). I suspect that while active olfaction is required to detect it, its actions occur again somewhat “subconsciously”.

The puzzling amnesia

•February 7, 2007 • Leave a Comment

A number of threads suddenly converged in this direction:
Sharada mentioned that some scholarly advaitins on a web-list saw similarity between Sufism and advaita! She said it is really interesting that these scholarly Hindus are so utterly lacking in historical sense. I could not agree more. Another thread arose over a discussion on the events in Gorakhpur. The parallel to the situation when the Dravidians emerged suddenly from the woodwork during the unfolding at Kanchipuram cannot be missed, but this time the Ghazis are the doers. Time and again we hear that the Hindus are the demons and that the Meccan fiends are innocent lambs taken to have their throats slit. How come the Hindus have been seized by such apasmara? Perhaps the failure to worship skanda for millenia I mused.

There was an article of some interest attempting to analyze Mohammedanism. It got many points correct which is surprising for a body from the American right. To give the authors credit, they do give some coverage to the assault on Hindus by Mohammedans, and even have a book titled:”Mohammed, Allah, and Hinduism … The Foundational Doctrine”. Most usefully they have a books titled “A simple Koran” and “The Political Traditions of Mohammed” which give a decent introduction to the Mohammedan doctrine for a Kaffir.

The Hadith of Bukhari 4.62.267 states that their Rasool said: “The king of Persia will be destroyed, and no one shall assume his throne. Caesar will certainly be destroyed and no Caesar will follow him; his coffers will be spent in Allah’s cause.”

There is some significance to these statements. They indeed turned out to be true- the Parsis are actually literally nearing extinction. They have few memories of how many of them died or who killed them. The Roman empire has lost Turkey and indeed coffers of the West, self-professed successors of the Caesar have funded Allah’s cause: 1) We faithfully coughed up our tax dollars to fund Clinton war in the Balkans to help Allahists to triumph over the Serbians. 2) The same tax dollars funded Moslems of the Terrorist State and Bangladesh to kill Hindus in the pretext of saving Afghanistan from communism. 3)The triumph of the Moslems in Afghanistan and Chechnya against the Russians and its karma-phala in the form of the events of 9/11 are all from the Caesar’s coffers. 4)The killing of the secular Saddam to bring an assortment of Islamists to power in Iraq is again funded by the very same pelf from the Caesar’s coffers. 5) The erection of an edifice of perdition, the dung-pile of Saudi Arabia, is all driven by the Caesar’s coffins. No doubt the Islamists feel so triumphant.

It is estimated that the Islamic Jihad has killed:
80 * 10^6 Hindus
60 * 10^6 Christians
10 * 10^6 Non-Indian bauddhas
50 * 10^6 Black Africans
Un-estimated Parsis, Manichaeist Uighurs and others. While these numbers need greater scrutiny, they are not implausible. Yet it is a mystery that the survivors of the greatest genocide in history exhibit such amnesia over its cause- Mohammedanism. So much so that they fund the Meccan fiends with their own coffers (as “prophesied” by Mohammad) to continue their unabated carnage. I am yet to see a full analysis of this profound amnesia.

The temporal sequence of texts and emergence of later Hindu deities

•February 4, 2007 • Leave a Comment

The idea here is not trace the history of Hindu deities to their proto-Indo-European past, but only to investigate their relative times of emergence and the chronology of the texts referring to them. Further, all Hindu texts including the vedic saMhitA-s are layered texts- that is they have material from different chronological strata. Yet well defined coherent chronological cores can be identified in them.

-In the vedic period one major transition, which might be termed the prajApati transition, is observed. The old vedic pantheon shared with the Iranians gained the first major addition in the form of the prajApati. There is no or hardly any mention of prajApati in any of the family maNDala-s. He appears first in the maNDala 10 in the hiraNyagarbha sUktaM. In the yajur veda he is again not prominent in the old core of the soma and fire-kindling rites. However, he is prominent in the canonized late shrauta ritual laid out in the YV and the associated gAnaM-s composed in the sAman collection. Thus, prajApati rises tremendously prominence through the canonization of the shrauta ritual and becomes very prominent in the brAhmaNa-s. In the brAhmaNa period we get the first hints of him challenging indra’s preeminent position.

-In the very late brAhmaNa period or late upaniShadic period we see hints of the rise of the two great gods of sectarian Hindu dharma – rudra and viShNu. This is observed in texts like the shvetAshvatara, maitrAyaNi brAhmaNa upaniShat, atharvashiras and nArAyaNa-valli.

-In the earliest post-vedic texts we see two new deities rise to prominence: kumAra and brahmA. Of these the four-headed brahmA is clearly a homolog of the vedic prajApati and shares numerous attributes with him. While there are some allusions to brahmA in the vedic hymns themselves, it is not immediately clear if in every context they imply brahmA as in the deity or the power of mantras brahman. In the atharva vedic tradition we find a mention of brahmA as “bhUtAnAm prathamaM”, in a late hymn used in shaunakIya kANDa homa. This supports the beginnings of prajApati as brahmA were in the late vedic world. He appears in the itihAsa-s in his full-blown form. The late vedic prajApati assumes forms like the fish and turtle which were later associated viShNu, but never associated with brahmA.

-kumAra appears in the late vedic texts: 1) nejameSha in the khila of the RV in connection to a rite performed in pumsavana. 2) skanda sanatkumAra the teacher of nArada in the chAndogya upaniShat. In both the earliest post-vedic texts rAmAyaNa and mahAbhArata is he is a prominent deity. The skanda-yaga of the atharva veda parishiShTha appears to be coeval with the rise of skanda in the itihAsas.

-Of the itihAsas the core of the rAmAyaNa appears clearly older (of course leaving out the uttara-kANDa). The former is mentioned by the bhArata not vice versa. Further, the prominence of indra is much greater in the rAmAyaNa, with him probably standing slightly ahead of brahmA in prominence. In the mahAbharata the decline of indra and the meteoric rise of viShNu and shiva has set in full scale.

-In both the itihAsa-s the trans-functional shakti as kAli or durga or the 8 mothers have a very limited presence or are non-existent. The first hints of this shakti in the classical form is seen in the harivaMsha as ekAnaMsha who is also vindhyavAsini. The trans-functional shakti-s precursors may be seen in the AsurI durgA of the atharvanic tradition (AsurI kalpa) and pratya~NgirA.

-The later layers of the mahAbhArata and the harivaMsha mark the beginnings of the rise of the proto-pA~ncharAtric pantheon of viShNu as kR^iShNa, balabhadra and associated manifestations of viShNu or avatAra-s. However, the full-blown dashAvatAra concept is not in place.

-The core bhAgavata purANa marks the emergence of rAmachandra as an avatAra of viShNu.

-The mArkaNDeya purANa marks the full-blow emergence of the trans-functional shakti and the 8 mothers (Though this might belong to the latest layer of the purANa).

-One of the biggest anchor points is the emergence of one of latest classical Hindu deities- the classical gaNesha. The texts containing the classical vinAyaka and those which do not thus mark a major chronological divide in the Hindu world. The itihAsa-s do not mention the classical gaNesha. vinAyaka-s of the 4-fold form emerge in the gR^ihya sUtra-s and the AV-parishiShTha, and allusion to these seizing vinAyaka-s are seen scattered in the mahAbhArata but they are distinct from the elephant-headed deity. The same seizing vinAyaka is mentioned in the mArkaNDeya purANa as a raudra-vighnarAT-perhaps marking the beginnings of his direct association with deva rudra. In the yAj~navalkya smArta prayoga-s the seizing vinAyaka-s are merged as one and is mentioned as being installed by rudra as a vighna-rAja. Here ambikA, the wife of rudra is also mentioned as his mother. This marks the first emergence of the prototype of the deity, though not mention of his elephant head is still made. But the classical gaNesha is clearly missing in the core bhAgavata purANa, mArkaNDeya purANa and harivaMsha. This suggests that the purANas as they survive today belong to two age categories- the older group that does not mention vinAyaka and the newer group where he is mentioned or is a prominent deity. kAlidAsa does not mention vinAyaka and hence appears to belong in age closer to the earlier group. In this period skanda was very prominent in northern India especially in centers like Mathura. Thus, it is quite clear that kAlidAsa did not live in the gupta (or worse paramAra court), but lived much earlier, prior to the common era. Thus, even the extant Hindu purANa-s represent a much longer tradition than commonly believed. Early iconography of classical vinAyaka shows him in the company of the 8 mothers, and this is first mentioned in the gobhila smR^iti. This suggests that that smR^iti is in the least coeval with these early images of gaNesha. The vinAyaka shAnti of the baudhAyana gR^ihya sheSha sUtra appears to belong to the period after the emergence of the classical gaNapati. The mAnava gR^ihya sUtra, arthashAstra, yAj~navAlkya smR^iti in contrast belong to an earlier period with with seizing vinAyaka graha-s.

TB 2.5.8.12

•February 2, 2007 • Leave a Comment

apaM bhumAnam upa naH sR^ijeha |
send down to earth, upon us the showers.
yaj~na pratitiShTha sumatau sushevA A tva |
You who are favorably established in this Sacrifice, the two well-disposed ones
vasUni purudhA vishantu |
entering many good forms repeatedly
dirgham Ayur yajamanaya kR^iNvan |
Make the life of the ritualist long.
adhAmR^itena jaritArama~ngdhi ||
Now annoint with nectar the reciter of praise
indraH shunAvad vitanoti sIram |
indra bearing the plow extends the furrow;
saMvatsarasya pratimaMam etat |
This is the year’s image.
arkasya jyotis-tad-id-Asa jyeShTham |
sun’s light is the best in this [world]
saMvatsaraGm shunavat sIram etat ||
This furrow of the plow is the year.
índrasya rAdhaH prayataM puru tmana |
Extend indra’s bounty multiple fold
tad arkarUpaM vimímAnam eti |
dvAdasAre pratitiShThatId vR^iShA ||
ashvAyanto gavyanto vAjayantaH |
havAmahe tvopaganta vA u |
AbhUShantas tvA sumatau navayam |
vayam indra tvA shunaGm huvema ||

 
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