On the next stage of evolution of the deity of Puri : Jagannatha as Narasimha

Continuing from my previous post:A likely template for how puruShottama was historically worshipped(when He was the four-armed nIlamAdhava) can be found inserted in the Purushottama Mahatmya of the nArada purANa. The rite mainly centres on the deity of the aShTAkShari(8-syllabled) mantra of nArAyaNa,along with shrI,puShTi(as a~Ngas),vyUhas and avatAras invoked mostly in the kavacha and nyAsa and the worshipper considering himself as one with nArAyaNa,and then AvAhana,madhuparka,AchamanIya and other upAchAras until the sending off the deity with various paurANika mantras.

 

Now to the main part of this article:This article will now describe the evidences available from ritual and from other textual sources as to why the wooden deity of jagannAtha was originally narasiMha.

Ritual evidence

  1. In the navakalevara ceremony:The main deity to which the whole ceremony and pratiShThA is done to is nR^isiMha with profuse usage of the mighty anustubh in both its parts:pratiShThA and vanayAga.The vanayAga also features homas etc with not just the anustubh,but with the very long pAtAla nR^siMha(is this that famed sahasrAkShari of nR^isiMha)?,one of the longest AgAmika mantras I have seen. The mantras and nyAsas that specify the deity as jagannAtha,baladeva and subhadrA are added later and at the very end:Indicating their later characteristic in the ritual
  2. The original chalanti pratimA of jagannAtha is that post which is known as sudarshana these days. And it still performs this function on certain special occasions. There are two features that support the nR^isiMha identification.
    1. General iconology: sudarshana figures in general,on their reverse,have nR^isiMha inscribed(a specimen is linked herewith). Hence nR^isiMha could easily(and with the ambiguity of a post as a chalanti pratimA) be reinterpreted as sudarshana
    2. In the Puri temple, the chalanti pratimA of sudarshana Himself is nR^isiMha(implying a continuity with the identification of the earlier deity as nR^isiMha and by extension,the original wooden deity of jagannAtha).

Textual evidence

  1.  The puruShottama mAhAtmya of the skanda purANa notes that when brahmA consecrated the images with the mantrarAja,the wooden deities vanished and in their place appeared the furious narasiMha. brahmA then advises indradyumna to worship Him with the narasiMha anustubh. indradyumna then has a vision of yoga-narasiMha with lakShmI on His lap on 32-petalled lotus,with the serpent anantasesha(saMkarShaNa) forming the umbrella with His hoods.
  2. Older Odia sources in manuscript form by the deula-karanas of the Puri temple(one called the rAjabhoga is being referred to here) also corraborate a ritual practice of balabhadra being worshipped with the vAsudeva mantra(although presumably with the shaiva shrIkaNThAdi nyAsa,I’m not sure about this aspect),jagannAtha with the narasiMha anushtubh mantrarAja,and subhadrA with the bhuvaneshvarI ekAkSharI(single syllabled mantra). So this was the most likely practice before the second half of the 15th century in some circles(and presumably the ones who did the pUjA rituals of the Puri temple,if not the general public by that era),that jagannAtha was considered as narasiMha. By the time Gajapati Purushottamadeva(2nd half of 15th century) authored the gopAlArchanAvidhi,this manual treats jagannAtha as kR^iShNa gopijanavallabha,and no more as nR^isiMha.

 

Skanda at Kumarakottam

Skanda at Kumarakottam is in the form of brahma-shAstrR^i/brahma-shAstA [the chastizer/punisher of brahmA], for being unable to explain praNava properly, and took his post here. A higher resolution image of the mUla mUrti is posted below.  Apart from His usual attributes He bears a kamaNDalu and mAlA as well.

IMG_20190915_100306

kraunchAraye namaH|gA~NgeyAya namaH|vachadbhUve namaH|

Nuances on the origin of tArA(entirely) in Tibet (in general)

1. Tibetan tradition states that tArA herself was introduced into Tibet from Nepalese sources(the daughter of aMshuvarman),who got a sandalwood image of the devI when she married the first great Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo
2. Bauddha tradition mentions just those two forms as introduced by nAgArjuna from bhoTadesha:ekajaTA and possibly vajratArA(from the sAdhanAmAlA)
3. The 6-7th century aShTA~NgasaMgraha mentions tArA and mercury(nAgArjuna gets associated with rasAyana siddhis too in that tradition),but no mention of nAgArjuna.
4. ekajaTA,who is iconographically very similar to mahAchInakrama-tArA(and often identical) got incorporated into Astika sAdhanAs through the means of the pheTkariNI/pheTkarIya tanta which was quoted by AgAmavAgIsha in his bR^ihat tantrasAra,which popularised this form of tArA over other forms.(and these were the forms associated with the story of vasiShTha going over to mahAchIna and recieving the mantra from nArAyaNa in the form of buddha)

shukrAchArya’s gadyam to shiva (from the shiva purANa)

… Which was composed when he was trapped in His body. He was released through mahAdeva’s shukra.

The text of the gadyam below:

oṁ namaste deveśāya surāsura namaskṛtāya bhūta bhavya mahādevāya harita piṅgala locanāya balāya buddhi rūpiṇe vaiyāghra vasanacchadāyāraṇeyāya trailokya prabhave īśvarāya harāya haritanetrāya yugāntakaraṇāyānalāya gaṇeśāya lokapālāya mahābhujāya mahāhastāya śūline mahādaṃṣṭriṇe kālāya maheśvarāya avyayāya kālarūpiṇe nīlagrīvāya mahodarāya gaṇādhyakṣāya sarvātmane sarvabhāvanāya sarvagāya mṛtyuhantre pariyātrasuvratāya brahmacāriṇe vedāntagāya tapontakāya paśupataye vyaṅgāya śūlapāṇaye vṛṣaketave haraye jaṭine śikhaṇḍine lakuṭine mahāyaśase bhuteśvarāya guhāvāsine vīṇāpaṇavatālavate amarāya darśanīyāya bālasūryanibhāya śmaśānavāsine bhagavate umāpataye arindamāya bhagasyākṣipātine pūṣṇordaśana nāśanāya krūrakartakāya pāśahastāya pralayakālāya ulkāmukhāyāgniketave munaye dīptāya viśāṃpataye unnayate janakāya caturthakāya loka sattamāya vāmadevāya vāgdākṣiṇyāya vāmato bhikṣave bhikṣurūpiṇe jaṭine svayaṃ jaṭilāya śakrahastapratistaṃbhakāya vasūnāṃstaṃbhāya kratave kratukarāya kālāya medhāvine madhukarāya calāya vānaspatyāya vājasaneti samāśramapūjitāya jagaddhātre jagadkartre puruṣāya śāśvatāya dhruvāya dharmādhyakṣāya trivartmane bhūtabhāvanāya trinetrāya bahu rūpāya sūryāyutasamaprabhāya devāya sarvatūryaninādine sarvabādhāvimocanāya bandhanāya sarvadhāriṇe dharṃmottamāya puṣpadantāyāpi bhāgāya mukhāya sarvaharāya hiraṇyaśravase dvāriṇe bhīmāya bhīmaparākramāya oṁ namo namaḥ

 

Credits to @pinakasena

Things I found interesting for various reasons in the shivapurANa in my casual study of it

vidyeshvarasaMhitA

  1. 13.54-55-j~nAna acquired through tapasyA was recommended in satyayuga,treta too tapasyA,sacrifice in the dvApara and mUrti-pUjA in kaliyuga
  2. 13.72-73 How to utilize one’s earned artha:Divide it into three parts,1/3rd for dharma(nitya,naimittika and kAmya karmas),1/3rd for vR^iddhi(increase wealth),1/3rd for bhoga(enjoy the wealth in pure/legitimate ways)
  3. 14.35 To ward off apamR^ityu,homa with gingelly seeds to rudra should be done on Saturdays
  4. 16.21 Propitiating vinAyaka is a way to have all of one’s wishes granted. Especially good days to begin His worship are Fridays,4th day of shuklapakSha of shrAvanamAsa+bhAdra+shatabhisha nakShatra in dhanurmAsa/worshipped continuously for 100 or 1000 days.
  5. 23:Glorification of shivanAma
  6. 24:Greatness of bhasma
  7. 25.43 A shivabhakta should refrain from meat,garlic,onion,red garlic,pork,liquors.
  8. 25.76 A 10-faced rudrAkSha is emblematic of janArdana(viShNu),and is worn by the mantra OM hrIM namaH

rudrasaMhitA

  1. 4.45 The name shiva blazing like a forest fire reduces mountains of heaps of great sins to ashes effortlessly
  2. 4.50-54 shiva’s names glorified
  3. 4.57 ekAntika bhakti to shiva and not any other else advised by nArAyaNa
  4. 6.20 IshvarashaktI—>pradhAna/prakR^iti/mAyA
  5. 21.8 She is 8 armed,face with splendour of 1000 moons,with 1000s of stars around Her face
  6. 6.33-38 Both shiva and viShNu have the ability to give mokSha
  7. 13th chapter:A shiva pUjA vidhi which has no restrictions as far as I could see(as none of the mantras are vaidika)
  8. 14.36:-Except champaka/ketaka,all other flowers can be used to worship mahAdeva.
  9. 29.48 The syllables ‘shi’ and ‘va’ said together even once casually dispel all sins.
  10. 33.11/12 mahAkAlI sets out with vIrabhadra to destroy dakSha’s yaj~na accompanied by 9 durgAs:kAlI,kAtyAyanI,IshAnI,chAmuNDA,muNDamAlinI,bhadrakAlI,bhadrA,tvaritA and vaiShNavI
  11. 33.31-32 The purANa notes that even those who depend on knowledge,eschewal of IshvarabhaktI is going to make them fall into naraka and remain there for hundreds of crores of kalpas. Those who solely depend on action are bound by its nooses,born in lives after lives and are finally scorched and tormented in hells.
  12. 36.66-Another instance of hariharAbheda
  13. 37.49:-vIrabhadra cuts off sarasvatI’s nose-tip
  14. 38.34:-An inteteresting dhyAna

shatarudrasaMhitA

  1. 9.15 ‘He who repeats mahAdeva’s names is freed from the bondage of the body he has acquired’
  2. 9.34 ‘Even after committing a great sin if a person remembers Hin who is the AdhAra and support of the worlds,his sins are quelled’
  3.  16:-The tale of the kenopanishad retold for suggesting shivaparatvam(as yakSheshvara)
  4. 17th chapter:-A late interpolation(it knows of a text tantrasAra+a non-shaiva appearance on a predominantly distinctly smArta shaiva text,featuring mahAvidyAs)

koTirudrasaMhitA

  1.  7th chapter:R^iShikA the chaste brahmin widow asks for two things:That She be forever devoted at rudra’s feet+to stay permanently at the spot of Her penance

9th chapter:How a woman attains good by uttering shivanAma unwittingly.

umAsaMhitA

  1. 20.47-54(Particularly 50,51 and 52nd shlokas of this adhyaya):Those who repeat the names of shiva need not be afraid of hell or yama. The two syllables of ‘shiva’ constitute the packet of food required for paralokagamana.It is the means of mokSha free from worries and the abode of all merits. It is only the nAma of shiva that subdues and quells the ocean of karmans.
  2. 42nd chapter contains a praise of shiva nAMa as well,and some other details.

kaliAsasaMhitA

  1. 11th chapter(shloka 22-37):vAmadeva’s stuti to skanda,beloved of gajavalli
  2. 13.62:shiva utters the praNava to those who die in kAshi and they get liberated
  3. 32nd chapter is a kinda a pAshupatayoga sort of chapter.It specifically calls its rite the nAmAShTakayoga(and explains the names involved).It’s also aware of the siddhAnta(mentions kAmikAgAma by name).
  4. Chapter 34-35:An account of the prince of shivabhaktas amongst the R^ishis upamanyu. upamanyu is the son of the sage vyAghrapAda. upamanyu at the end prays for devotion and always being near umAdhava.
  5.  Part 2 of the kailAsa saMhitA: Chapter 2,the kenopanishadic tale is repeated
  6.  Part 2:Chapter 11.27-37:Description of features of shivabhaktas
  7.  Part 2: Chapter 11.53-54 Speaking on the imporatance of concentrating the mind on mahAdeva by any means
  8.  Part 2: Chapter 12.37 A person who is steady in the japa of the pa~nchAkShara is released from sins whether he be a shudra,a person of a low birth,a fool or a learned man.
  9. Part 2:Chapter 13:Greatness of the pa~nchAkSharI
  10.  Part 2:Chapter 14.62-74 was what I noted as highly interesting.
  11.  Part 2:Chapter 25.63: O kR^iShNa,a low born,base or a fool if he resorts to shiva is worthy of being worshipped by devas and asuras.
  12.  Part 2:Chapter 43:A dhyAna of agnideva.Three feet,seven hands,4 horns,two heads,3 eyes per head,with matted hair,moon on crest,tawny as honey,with red garments,holding sruc,sruva,club,fan,vessel of ghee

Personal note:The most complete dhyAna of agni I have seen is this one

sapta hastaH chatuH shrR^i~NgaH sapta jihvo dvi shlrShakaH|
tripAt.h prasanna vadanaH sukhAsInaH shuchi smitaH||
svAhAM tu daxiNe pArshve devIM vAme svadhAM tathA |
bibhrat.h daxiNa hastaistu shaktimannaM sruchaM sruvaM ||
tAmaraM vyajanaM vAmaiH ghR A itapAtraM cha dhArayan.h|
meShArDho jaTAbaddho gauravarNo mahau jasaH ||
dhrUmra dhvajo lohitAxaH saptArchiH sarvakAmadaH ||
AtmAbhimukhamAsInaH evaM rUpo hutAshanaH II

 

-iti shivaM-

Rajya – a draft

Notwithstanding the opinions of the author on the divinity of Rāmacandra as an avatāra of Nārāyaṇa or his opinions on the status of the Bāla and Uttara Kāṇḍas(since I will stick to tradition here),this is still a good piece.

The Heterodoxian

The foremost selling points of democracy and universal suffrage are that it provides for stable, just governance, freedom of the populace, equal rights, equal power and thereby peaceful power transition, along with a platform to resolve differences through bipartisanship rather than through open conflict.

The US perhaps comes closest to India among all democracies in terms of population and diversity. They ended up being so polarized within a hundred years of its founding that it resulted in the nation splitting up and the two sides going to war with each other. Disagreement was resolved through conquest. Within a few decades of implementing universal suffrage and the loss of a common binding cause (the Cold War), the US again became severely polarized – the most it has been since the Civil War era according to Jonathan Haidt’s data. Worse, the two sides seem intent on demonizing the other side rather…

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The Lord of Arasavalli,a painting

The deity

…A painting in the maṇṭapa (of Sri Sūryanārāyaṇa)

The image in question: The deities in here are(spelt in Harvard-Kyoto conventions)

  • Sūryanārāyaṇa
  • Piṅgala,Daṇḍin(Citragupta,Yamarāja)
  • Mahāśvetā(between Sūryanārāyaṇa’s feet)
  • Uṣā and Pratyuṣā(the two archer Goddesses at the side,also called the Māricī-s)
  • Surya’s charioteer Aruṇa
  • The seven horses
  • Brahmā and Śiva at the sides (the central Aditya being implicitly identified with Viṣṇu)

More can be noted here for those interested in an introduction https://manasataramgini.wordpress.com/2015/08/12/a-note-on-the-pantheon-of-the-indian-saura-tradition/

A friend’s remarks on Sanskrit being taught at schools-its current state,with my remarks from personal experience at the end

School Sanskrit curriculum was not a shot of encouragement but an inoculation against ever being interested Sanskrit.

Vapid, uncool content. Completely unnatural language teaching methodology. Not even a viva voce requirement.

Leaves the student with zero skills, no feeling that this could have any juice in today’s world, and no interest and, if anything, disdain after getting away with an easy score.

Pseudo ‘Sanskrit’ subject was merely a way for the Nehruvian Ganga-Jamni tehzeeb walas to cheat the 3 language formula system – the same tehzeeb gang who opposed the proposal for Sanskrit as national link language and voted for Hindi. Most other Indians had to actually learn another Indian language (Hindi) as part of the 3 language formula, but these guys cheated and got away with a high scoring zero-skills cop out.

Those tehzeeb walas choose Urdu via Bollywood to give them cultural juice in today’s world.

From personal experience,having learned Sanskrit from classes VI to X(including both the classes),you basically get the level of a sloppy version of just only the vākya vyavahāra book of the first level(as taught by Sri Vempati Kutumba Shastri) and that itself will get you more than 90% in the Sanskrit CBSE exam of class X. And that too will get lost/eroded to nothing within a year of non practice. This is the state of Sanskrit teaching as I have seen and experienced it. If you want people to actually like and respect Sanskrit at schools,the methodology must change a lot.