Jx evades a mAraNa

•May 29, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Whenever we have executed that loop by instinct, thus far, some vighna has invariably come our way. This time again the mudgara-like blow of the trailokya-stambhinI caused us new trouble. But we received a signal to press on, undaunted. Jx who had been knocked out by the DAmarikA strike after being routed by the chIna-s, scraped the rock-bottom of his existence and fled further from bhAnu-kakSha to the township of indra-jAla. Here, the spirit of bhR^igu and a~Ngira ancestors faintly possessed him. He suddenly recovered and performed a purascharaNa of 8 months. It was around the culmination of this period that the 3rd hero had broken forth. At that point a 3-pointed mAraNa attack was deployed: one prong of it seized the amAtya but the muni deploying nidra-vArtAli countered its fatal effects, even as the amAtya got enough time to deploy the oShadhi prayoga. The other one headed towards to him who was dwelling in indra-jAla. With his purashcharaNa complete the anAhata chakra was filled with the presence of hamseshvara and hamseshvarI surrounded by the 54 deities of the vAyavya mayUkha-s. He was unable to grasp the full significance of this manifestation, but the spontaneous power of manifestation of the shikhin yugma became clear – that fiery manifestation of shiva-shivA in the circle surrounding the kaM bIja. They verily say only one who has received the pUrNa-dIkSha can truly withstand the force of the mistress of the kula path without being confused. Past midnight the brahmAstra-vidyA crashed onto him with 4 successive strikes, but the power his own protective mantra was unbelievable the prayoga which was so certain to effect mAraNa simply rebounded off him.

-*-*-*-

That which had left Jx now pursued us in the form of the khANDavan to compass our destruction. We had been expecting this any time. However, we evaded it after a skirmish that resembled in many ways our first encounter with the khANDavan-s.

The paschimaugha of the mAnavaugha of the kaumaras

•May 26, 2007 • Leave a Comment

We were told that there was the lost temple of the pashchimaugha. After the end of the gupta-s the pashchimaugha seems to have declined in public prominence over time in the north-west, but is known to have continued quietly until at least the 1500s of CE. This is not the early lineage moved towards the south-west which we alluded to earlier. The vaiShNava during his peregrinations identified this lost temple and supplied me evidence regarding the time till which it was active. The vaiShNava met a learned paNDita from the lATa country, Gopal Vyas, in the days of his youth. The paNDita had discovered an old Ashrama about 3 Km from the hamlet of Gudha named kharjUrikA in a dense forest track:

There he showed the vaiShNava the ruins of 5 temples and some settlements that once comprised an Ashrama. Most of the temples are in utter ruin and only three could be identified. One was that of ka~NkAlI, the other of a bhairava (with an image of gorAkSha-nAtha), and the third was the lost temple of the pashchimaugha of kumAra. In the kumAra temple the following inscription in nAgarI was noted by Pandit Vyas:
OM svAmI kArtikeya achaleshvara yogi prasAdat[…] sevaka [s]thiratattva yogI mUrti sthApite jAtatha[…] shubhaM bhavatu ||
This shristhiratattva yogin who installed this kumAra temple was probably the last of the great north-western adepts of the kaumAra pashchimaugha. The remnants of his Ashrama were seen by the vaiShNava in the vicinity of the above temple cluster. From another inscription of his from the vicinity of Bundi, we get a date as vikram saMvat 1561 (CE 1503?) suggesting he flourished around this period. This is consistent with the mention of the Rajput chief Rao Suraj Mal, who was around at least in the first half of the 1500s. This yogin was also an adept in the siddhAnta and bhairava tantras and gives his lineage thus: maheshvara-tattva->bhramara tattva->vichAra tattva->dharma tattva->sthiratattva. He also built at least two other temples, one to kapileshvara (rudra) and the other to kAla-bhairava with a pond with lotuses and a garden around it. He attained siddhi in the 6 rahasya kaumara mantras while performing japa in the forest of gargAraNya.

The repeated instinctive response

•May 18, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Many years ago, when we were still in the country founded by our ancestors, it was a very quiet evening, and the yoga kept things in proper condition. We really did not want to be there, instead wanting to indulge in mirth with the muni. Nevertheless, we went to malasthAna, a little beyond the southern bank of go-mUtraka. There in the desolate, musty and grimy corridors we stood along with ekanetra, shANDilya and vaishya-shreShTha, in a certain state of mind that we are unable to even recover in our dreams. I had tied my ashva to a tree near the sabha owned by the rich mUDhaka who boasted a lot to the amAtya. Unexpectedly, R rushed in on her turAshva bringing Sujata with her. We had an enjoyable chat for a little with me envying R’s position of freedom and dreading Sujata’s state of being under the yoke. Soon they all dispersed : R and ekanetra free, but the rest bound, and I was alone to put up with the mahAjana for 2 hours with a motley bunch of the samatibhindakas. At the end of it, as we left the mahajana and stumbled out it was a inky dark night with a forbidding quietness. We looked above and saw rohiNi glittering in the eye of the vR^iShabha. We saw our ashva remained unharmed at the tree protected from the kulu~ncha by the spell of bhairava that we had laid there. We thought we should proceed to observe the skies with the vaishya-shreShTha. We were passing by the wall flanking the middle of the 3 lanes leading out of malasthAna when were startled by the noise of someone closing in on us from behind on a fast ashva. With utter darkness, and not being able to see more than a couple of steps in front of us we feared it may be our dangerous shatru of the times K. The rider caught up with me and I was surprised to hear the familiar voice of ekanetra.
Heaving a sigh of relief I asked him: “Why ambush me here, I was almost dead from fear.”
ekanetra: “I knew you would avoid crossing the bridge over the gomutraka at night and would take this route. This was my best chance to intercept you, before you were lost in the crowd of dakShiNa vyAyAma shAlA”.

ekanetra and me obtained some fried spinach bhR^ijjikA-s of the poor brahmin cook and went to the spot where the large ashvattha tree stood. The only noise was that of a cricket patiently trying to impress a mate. ekanetra lit the kerosene lamp oil with which he navigated his ashva in the dark and placed it down on the rim of the chaitya vR^ikSha. He then pulled out a large sheet of paper printed using 123 or some such predecessor of MSExcel. On it were many boxes and numbers in the 1000’s He had placed a mark next to some of these numbers. I eagerly checked certain boxes and found them to be blank. In one box there was strange mark. I asked ekanetra about that one. He said it was just what it normally meant. I was intrigued and even a bit puzzled by the numbers and the marks. He said that was the reason he had wished to bring them to my notice so urgently. I gave up all thought of astronomical observation despite the clarity of the sky and went home immersed in the thought of the spreadsheet of ekanetra.

The next evening ekanetra and others gave me a shout to call me to our usual game of musala-kandUka. I was still in the grip of his spreadsheet and excused myself from the game. ekanetra feeling something might be wrong came back to see me and suggested a solution to the apparent problem of the spreadsheet. But after some thought I realized it was too simplistic to be true. I asked R about it and she reminded me of the magnitude of those numbers, which gave me a solution. She also said that like any other pashu we would repeatedly do the same thing due to instinct. Then we got talking excitedly about G-protein signaling and soon the worries of ekanetra’s sheet fell away.

*-*-*

During the kuriltai with our clansmen, certain issues were discussed and they were urging us for a great campaign on the then unfinished front. We launched a large-scale invasion but were frustrated by the khANDavans. Our clansmen scattered completely repulsed by the khANDavan’s. We were standing there, like droNa leaning on his bow brooding over the vyUha being broken by arjuna, sAtyakI and bhImasena on the afternoon of 14th day. Now cut off from our clansmen by the rAkShasi, we stood alone. We checked the number and suddenly realized the significance of the mark on the ekanetra’s sheet.

*-*-*

I called R and told her that the magnitude of the numbers was great indeed, but given enough time the wind can grind a mountain to dust. R again said instinct will guide your action on this matter and asked me not to have expectations beyond the trends projected on ekanetra’s sheet. We were now near a different vR^ikSha. We were waiting for a few hours. The mlechCha arrived. We treated the mlechCha well as an Arya does to a guest as enjoined in the shruti. The mlechCha displayed moderate intelligence but little inspiration. 3 rough-looking individuals, that included our friends and compatriots who had ridden out on many fierce campaigns, where arrows fell thick and hard, joined us. Looking at these warriors the mlechCha got greatly frightened. We told the mlechCha that men of the world fight real battles with rough bhrAtR^ivya-s. As in kurukShetra you kill or get killed.

*-*-*

We were executing the loops of instinct when suddenly matters became serious. The “flight of the crane” was seen again. The prayoga had been deployed on the 14th of this month. 14 days short of an year from the previous one. Against various prayoga-s the gods had led us to triumphs but this one was simply unstoppable. The sachiva, the amAtya’s brother all had been struck by this one.

The devAlaya at mAlinIthan

•May 14, 2007 • Leave a Comment

One of the remarkable forgotten devAlaya-s of the eastern fringes of pragjyotiSha is that of mAlinIthan in the modern state of Arunachal Pradesh. ekanetra and me were rummaging through some old grainy photos collected by his sachiva during his expedition to Arunachal Pradesh, when we were reminded of this remarkable shrine. There is no support for the medieval dates floated around by the archaeologists, and not much is known of its builders and patrons. Evidently, at some point it went out of the larger Hindu memory because it lies in utter ruins today.


uchChiShTa-gaNapati with madanAvatI

The main images of the shrine appear to be carved in granite while the smaller ones are in sandstone. A well-fashioned nandin suggests that the main shrine was perhaps a shivAlaya, but then it does not survive. The other granite images are of durgA, uchChiShTa-gaNapati with his shakti madanAvatI on his lap, kumAra with his peacock, deva savitA and indra mounted on airAvata. The vinAyaka is shown with several weapons (more like mahAgaNapati) but tickling the yoni of his shakti with his trunk like in case of uchChiShTa-gaNapati.

indra

The indra is of considerable interest in iconographic terms. His third eye on the fore seems horizontal as recommended in the shilpashAstra-s, he has a large yaj~nopavIta, and beside him are two ayudha puruSha-s of his vajra and a~NkuSha. There is additionally a second similar image of indra in the mAlinIthan site made of sandstone and in a greater state of ruin. An iconographically similar series of indra images have been found in the ruins of temples in Chatrakara (one of the finest indra images ever seen in India), Dibrugarh, Pandughat and Narakasura hill in Assam (the last site producing even a bronze utsava mUrtI of indra). The presence of several indra icons in the East is rather interesting, given his general rarity as a prominent deity in the temples of other parts of India. This suggests that there was a vigorous worship of indra even in the medieval period in this region of India, even after he had declined elsewhere. One point of great interest to investigate in this regard is whether there was an associated vedic tradition in these regions that is now lost and whether the defining feature of the Hindu nation, the indra-dhvaja festival was observed in these regions.

kAlikA in viparIta-rati with li~Nga

A sandstone icon of considerable interest in the mAlinIthan ruins is that of dakShiNa-kAlikA in viparIta-rati with a li~Nga. The only parallels of this form of dakShiNa-kAlikA are apparently seen in the pi~Ngaleshvara temple in Assam, Gauhati and the nearby temple on a hill a Sualkuchi. Thus, in conclusion mAlinIthan is an unusual temple combining a series of poorly studied features of seen in the eastern reaches of the country. The shAkta-tantra-s role, in particular kula tantra-s, influence is seen in the form some of the iconographic details including the kAlikA and the vinAyaka. While at the same time the persistent survival of indra and kumAra worship is a unique feature of this region that needs more detailed study.

shri bhadreshvara and the kings of champAvatI

•May 13, 2007 • Leave a Comment

The two li~Nga-s in the ruins of the garbhA-gR^iha of the bhadreshvara complex

The nandin and the bali pItha-s a another site on the bhadreshvara complex

The vidyeshvara-s on the massive walls of the bhadreshvara complex

We know little of the early history of the Hindu rulers of champAvatI (modern Vietnam) of the dynasty of shrI-mAravarman. But it is important to understand this to gain insight into the history of the mantra-mArga and pAshupata shaiva matas. mAravarman appears to have reigned in the 2nd century CE as suggested by his Sanskrit inscription. There is evidence that he led a naval attack on the chIna-s to seize the chIna-held province of Tonkin. His much later successor had a border dispute with the chIna-s over the Hoan Sonh mountains. When the negotiations with the chIna-s broke down the champApati invaded Nhut Nam and conquered it from the chIna-s. He was however wounded in this battle and died shortly there after. During his son’s reign the chIna-s of the Han organized a massive invasionary force by land and sea with several new weapons like fire spears and the like and attacked champAvatI. The Hindu ruler faced heavy losses and was forced to retreat from the fertile Nhut Nam province. His son was the great rAja shrI bhadravarman. He retaliated on large scale and inflicted a crushing defeat on the chIna-s. He forced them give up Nhut Nam and continued the invasion into the chIna-held lands to conquer Than Hoa from them.

bhadravarman reigned from 380CE to 413 CE and Sanskrit inscriptions from his reign show that he had learned the recitation of the vedic saMhitA-s and performed vedic rituals. He calls himself a devotee of rudra, and he celebrated the grace of rudra in securing his victory over the chIna-s by building the glorious temple for shiva termed shrI bhadreshvara. Now we know that somewhat later in the far east the main lineage of the mantra-mArga shaiva mata was that of the vAma-srotas of the Cambodian empire with its depiction of tumburu. But the question arises as to what were the affinities of the earlier shaiva-mata at champAvatI. An analysis of the ruins of the bhadreshvara temple at MySon, Vietnam suggest that siddhanta tantras of the Urdhva-srotas along with elements of the pAshupata shaiva were in operation. The key elements of the Urdhvasrotas or the pre-pentafurcation mantra-mArga include the worship of the vidyeshvaras and the li~Nga with a square yoni. Possible performance of the jayAbhisheka as described in the kUrma purANa is an indication of the pAshupata affinities, which was also coevally common in the gupta empire in India. One of the images of an 8-armed shiva in nR^itya are also highly reminiscent of similar depictions in the pAshupata temples in India. Thus, it is clear that multiple waves of mantra-mArga (+pAshupata) shaiva practice moved from India to the Indic civilizations of the East. In this sense the developments there paralleled those on the mainland where different dynasties were associated specifically with different branches of mantra-mArga or pAshupatas.

[It should be kept in mind that the original bhadreshvara complex was renovated repeatedly by the later rulers of champAvatI like rudravarman and shambhuvarman. But the complex today is in poor condition making it difficult to separate the different layers. Further, the Americans with their unsurprising Abrahamistic mindset destroyed a significant portion of the temples in this complex during their invasion of modern Vietnam]

The tusk of svapna-sa~NketA

•May 13, 2007 • Leave a Comment

After the third vIra had broken forth the vairi-s turned their attention towards the 4 other distant vIra-s. Two of them were protected by the spells of the taittirIyaka, the bull amongst the kuNDinas. The rAhu which seized us like a graha of kumAra or a vinAyaka seizing a victim will be described when we emerge on the other side of the grahaNa. There was a vague intelligence we received that the amAtya was the principal target. It was not as clear as the dreaded kR^ityA that we saw last year in the middle of our day like a shUrpanakha in the daNDaka– verily like a pill of venom coated in honey. But it was like the mAraNa that took us closest to vaivasvata, before we were literally hauled out of the raging waters by the yakShiNI nIlalohitamekhalA of indescribable beauty with the strength of 8000 elephants. We did not know when the amAtya would be struck or even if the amAtya was really the target.

The kavi among the bhArgava-s however was aided most remarkably by the highest prayoga of sUkarAnanA of the dreams. As a result he clearly saw the dreaded chaturashra yantra with sAdhya curled under the mAyA bIja in the middle, much like the vighna yantra of bhaNDAsura. With this clear intelligence available, he saw that the amAtya was the target. He then saw exactly what abhichAra had been deployed: the unexpected dinAstra and it was advancing rapidly. Before he could do anything the amAtya was struck. He almost simultaneous retaliated with the first counter-prayoga. But he saw this being repulsed by the dinAstra, though it gave enough time for the amAtya to hold on to life. Keeping his presence of mind he retaliated almost immediately with the combination of nabho-nilaya-bhairava and surA-devI and mahiShAruDha-vArAhI. This destroyed the mAraNa prayoga and saved the amAtya-s life. Then the oShadhi-s of atharvaNa-bhadrakAli were deployed to counter the lasting effects of the abhichAra. The bhargava was able to pull this off beyond all his expectations only because of the anugraha of the tusked one.

The yaudheya-kuShAna conflict

•May 12, 2007 • Leave a Comment

A yaudheya coin with kumAra and a yaudheya style image showing a li~nga, kumAra and revatI devI.

One of the murky aspects of Indian history is the overthrow of the Hinduized Iranian rulers, the Kushanas and the mahA-kShatrapa-s. We know that the mahA-kShatrapa-s appear to be descendants of the shAka haumavarga, and held sway mainly in the Western part of India. After a glorious rise under rudra-dAman these Iranians appear to have declined gradually and moved into oblivion, with their military power curbed by the andhras (shatavAhanas). The end of the kushAnas appears to have been more dramatic, especially in the mainland of Aryavarta. Given that these Iranians were thoroughly Hinduized it is not clear if a major nationalist response to them was initiated — i.e. similar to something against the Macedonians of Alexander or much later the movement of the later gupta-s against the hUNa rAjas. However, it is clear that the original kShatriya-s who were overrun by the Iranians were not going to take their subordinate status lying down and eventually organized the struggle that destroyed the kushAna rule.

There are claims in the tamil epic the shilap-padhikAraM that the chera king senguttavan defeated a certain kaniShka in Aryavarta. He is said to have made this kanaka and another ruler vijaya carry the image of pattini (kaNNaki-ammAl) to the drAviDa country. There is little clarity on what this meant. Altekar argued using numismatic evidence that it was the yaudheya republic that overthrew the kushAnas. Altekar correctly inferred that prior to the kuShAna period, the yaudheya republic’s territory encompassed a northern Rajasthan and Punjab/Haryana of modern times. One of their chief capitals was the great kaumAra center of rohitaka (Rohtak), their patron deity being kumAra. The mahAbharata states that the republic was founded by the son of yudhiShThira through devikA, a princess of the ANava kingdom of the shaibyas.

The yaudheya republic was overrun by the kushAnas under kanishka who annexed their territory to his empire. In 145 AD they made their first attempt at breaking the stranglehold by declaring independence in Northern Rajasthan. The kushAna-s took the aid of their co-ethnic rudra-dAman to crush the yaudheyas. He declares with much pride in the Junagad inscription that the yaudheya-s who were much respected for their valor by all the kShatriya-s were destroyed by his sena which moved northwards to smother their attempt at revolt. For about 30 years after this crushing defeat the yaudheya-s seemed finished. But they rose again defeating the kShatrapa-s in the south and then in a series of battles driving out the kushAna-s from the original yaudheya territory. After this point the kushAna-s lost the entire territory east of the shutudri (Sutlej) river to the yaudheyas, and subsequently crumbled and disintegrated eventually becoming vassals of the Sassanid rulers of Iran in the extreme west. After this victory of the yaudheyas, we notice their cities reviving again in places corresponding to modern Rohtak, Dehra Dun, Saharanpur, Delhi, Ludhiana and Kangra. The latter city was originally founded by the audumbarAyanas, who were destroyed completely by the kushAna-s. This glorious victory against and overthrow of one of the most powerful empires of the world of that era, one which had defeated the chIna-s and taken as hostage a prince and princess of the Han chIna-s, greatly increased the the prestige of the yaudheya republic. Their victorious advance of the yaudheya-s was attributed to the jaya-mantra of the brahmaNya deva — a point often mentioned in the legends of their coins below the image of a spear-wielding skanda (“yaudheyANam jaya mantra dharANAM”). A point of interest that Altekar noted regarding the yaudheya coins was that the script used was brAhmi and not Greek or even kharoShThi, as was typical of the kushAna-s who also had coins with kumAra images. This might indicate that yaudheya-s were explicitly flaunting their national spirit by repudiating the foreign and northwestern scripts.

The study of the coin inscriptions has also been noted that the yaudheya republic grew by amalgamation of other republic they incited into the overthrow of the kushAna-s. These were: 1) the enigmatic arjunAyana-s, who claimed descent from the pANDu hero and liberated the territory in the Agra-Jaipur zone. 2) kuNinda-s who liberated the area in the north-west between the shutudri and vipAshA (Beas). Some historians feel that the numbers ‘2’ or ‘3’ coming after the legend yaudheya-gaNasya jayaH indicated these associated republics that coalesced with the core yaudheya-s. Their rule was one of the golden periods of the kaumAra sect, with the development of much of the classical kaumAra mantra-shAstra.

 
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