The Candid Eye

January 19, 2010

Temple discovery reveals clues of Indonesia’s association with Hinduism

Filed under: Hinduism,Indian History,Temples — thecandideye @ 6:00 AM
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Archaeologists in Indonesia have uncovered a 1,000-year-old temple that could shed light on the country’s Hindu past.The intricately carved statues and reliefs are some of the best preserved in Indonesia, but the dig is being conducted under tight security to protect the site from well-organised relic thieves.

The temple was found on the grounds of Yogyakarta's Islamic University. (ABC News)

The temple was found on the grounds of Yogyakarta’s Islamic University as workers probed the ground to lay foundations for a new library, and they realised the earth beneath their feet was not stable.Digging soon revealed an extraordinary find: three metres underground were still-standing temple walls. Heavy rains then exposed the top of a statue of the god Ganesha in pristine condition.

A few weeks into the excavation, archaeologists are declaring the temple and its rare and beautiful statues an important discovery that could provide insights into Indonesia’s pre-Islamic culture.”This temple is a quite significant and very valuable because we have never found a temple as whole and intact as this one,” said archaeologist Dr Budhy Sancoyo, who is one of the researchers painstakingly cleaning up the temple.

“For example, looking at where the statues are placed in this temple, they are in their original positions, unlike the other temples.”This temple is important for understanding the culture of our ancestors.”A volcanic eruption is thought most likely to have covered the temple around the 10th century, about 100 years after it was built.

The eruption preserved its statues and reliefs in better condition than almost everything else discovered in Indonesia from that period, including the Borobodur and Prambanan temple complexes.But now that they are exposed, the temple’s contents need to be protected with 24-hour security.

Last November, thieves plundered the nearby Plaosan Temple.The heads of two rare Buddhist statues were stolen, to be traded by organised syndicates dealing in artefacts.Tri Wismabudhi from central Java’s culture and heritage agency says temple thieves are robbing Indonesians of a piece of their history.

“To us, archaeological sites like this are archaeological data, so if the data is missing or incomplete, that means the history of the nation is also missing,” he said.”People don’t understand that. That’s why they steal, because they don’t realise how important this is for us as a nation.”

At the Kimpulan temple on the campus of Yogyakarta’s Islamic University, the statue of Ganesha is being kept slightly buried to make it harder to steal.It could sell for up to $250,000 on the black market.The university wants to open the site to the public once the dig is complete.The library that was destined for the site will be redesigned to incorporate the Hindu temple.

Source: ABC News


April 17, 2009

The Facts of Khajuraho

Recently I was arguing  with one of my friends about M.F.Hussain getting Raja Ravi Varma award from the Kerala goverment.I told him by giving this award the Kerala communists are hurting the sentiments of Hindus and thus appeasing the other community people.It should be noted that Hussen drew only Hindu gods,goddesses  in the nude and not others.Why Bharat Mata alone?Why not Jesus,Mary,Mohammed?Perversion and Obscenity have become part of Artists’ lives nowadays.Art or Paintings which are targettted to offend/hurt some ones sentiments are to be banned.Here is a wonderful meaning of sculptures in our temples.

Many times we find that people often quote the Khajuraho Temples as an excuse to equate Hinduism and Hindu Deities with nudity and sex. What is actually Khajuraho, what does it contain and how many of the quoters have actually visited the Temples ? Here are the facts.

The name Khajuraho may be derived from khajura (date palm), which grows freely in the area and perhaps because there were two golden khajura trees on a carved gate here. The old name was Kharjuravahaka (scorpion bearer), the scorpion symbolizing poisonous lust. The temples were built under the late Chandela kings between 950 and 1050 AD in a truly inspired burst of creativity. With the fading of Chandela fortunes, the importance of Khajuraho waned but temple building continued until the 12th century at a much reduced pace. The Chandelas were followers of the Tantric cult which believes that gratification of earthly desires is a step towards attaining the ultimate liberation. Tantrism has been mostly misunderstood and the Philosophical part of Tantras like the Mahanirvana Tantra have been totally forgotten. This was one of the reasons why Tantrics perished. Nevertheless it remains a distinct path of Spiritual Practice though it has very few followers all over the world.

1. It must be emphasized that Khajuraho Temples, do not contain sexual themes inside the Temple premises or near the deity but only on external carvings. They portray that for seeing the deity, one must leave his sexual desires outside the Temple. They also depict that the inner deity of the Temple is pure like the soul (atman) which is unaffected by sexual desires and other gross tendencies, destiny etc, whereas the external curvature and carvings of the Temples depict the bodily changes that occur in us.

2. Only as many as 10% carvings contain sexual themes, not between any deities but between ordinary humans. The rest depict the common man’s life of those days. For example ladies applying makeup, musicians, potters, Farmers etc. All these are away from Temple deities. They give the message that one should always have God as the central point in one’s life even though one is engaged in worldly activities.

3. It is a misconception that since Khajuraho are Temples, they depict sex between deities!

4. In Khajuraho Temples, the idols of Shiva, Nandi, Goddess Durga, Incarnations of Vishnu etc are fully clothed.

5. All over India, in no Temples have idols of Deities been shown nude and in sexual positions !

6. Types of beauty in the Hindu religion – Union of man and woman

‘The basic Universal Divine Energy (Shakti) is a symbol of the union of man and woman and it is the main spiritual emotion in Hindu art depicted in the man-woman sculptures seen in Amravati, Khajuraho, Konark, etc.Here Divine Energy (Shakti) manifests  in the man-woman union, the basis of Vedic art and culture. Sculptures in the Ajanta caves are also a depiction of the man and woman, but sexual congress is prohibited in the sculptures’.  Bharatiya Sanskruti Kosh, pages 166-169

Source : HJS

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