Saraswathy in Angkowar geometry

The design of the Angkor temple is discussed in the article below.
What attracts me in the description is the positioning of Saraswathy in the middle.
This reminds me of some descriptions from our texts.
Brahma stands for creation and renewal of creation.
Everytime a fresh bout of creation starts after a deluge,
Saraswathy enters the picture.

There is a description to this effect in Thiru vilaiyadal puranam.
That Puranam chronicles the incidents of Shiva’s leelas in the Pandyan kingdom.
The Pandyan kingdom suffered a deluge (2nd deluge as per Tamil texts)
about 7000 years ago, at the end of which Alavaai or Kapatapuram
was established as the capital of the Pandyans.
This Kapatapuram was in existence
at the time of Ramayana as we find mention of it
in Shugreeva’s instruction on the route to the South when
the vanaras went about in search of Sita.

Fresh life was generated in Kapatapuram after the deluge.
The first thing the Pandyan kings did was to construct
a temple for Soma sundareshwar and Meenakshi
and to revive the Sangam assemblage of poets.
The Thiruvilaiyaadl puranam says that
Goddess Saraswathy was given the central place.
She as 48 aksharas of sanskrit was manifest as poets and
Shiva Himself was manifest as their head.

A legend is narrated here as to why Saraswathy was manifest there.
It says that once Lord Brahma was having happy times
with his 3 consorts in a pond.
These consorts are identified as Saraswathy, Savithri and Gayathri.
But Saraswathy did not join them as she arrived late.
By the time she arrived, Brahma had left the pond.
Saraswathy was outraged that without her Brahma had his time in the pond.
So she cursed Brahma that because he had left her out,
he would not be worshiped by people.
But Brahma reminded her that it was her fault in not arriving in time.
Saraswathy understood her mistake
and to repent for the curse she gave to Brahma,
she was born as 48 aksharas in human form in
Pandyan’s Kapatapura and helped in developing
Sangam literature.

The Tamil chauvinists who are harping on Dravidian image
as a counter to Aryan sanskrit must know that early Pandyans
were steeped on Sanskrit based Vedic culture only
and Saraswathy formed the centre of New world after the deluge.

I think it is because of the importance given to Saraswathy
soon after creation begins,
that Vaivasvatha Manu who landed safely in the river after the deluge.
called that river, as  Saraswathy and started the intellectual search
on the banks of the river.

The episode described in Thiru vilaiyadal puranam
also shows that Saraswathy was a latter born river.
There must have  been a time
when river Brahmaputhra was considered as Brahma
with 2 rivers joining it as
Savithri and Gayathri.
The River Saraswathy would not have born from the Himalayas at that time.
This perhaps is indicated by the
late arrival of Saraswathy.
By the time Saraswathy started flowing,
river Brahma became out of reach and receded far behind the Himalayas.
That perhaps is indicated by Sarasawathy’s curse
that Brahma would not be worshiped.

In the final analysis,
it is Saraswathy who had ruled the people.
She as Vaak devi had been the inevitable source of
thought and word power
and hence held in high esteem
as central to all activities.

– jayasree



TUESDAY, JULY 19, 2011

The kAlAtman maNDala at Angkor Wat « mAnasa-taraMgiNI

The kAlAtman maNDala at Angkor Wat « mAnasa-taraMgiNI

The kAlAtman maNDala at Angkor Wat

The basic geometry of the kAlAtmaka yantra

The inscription records of Angkor Wat by the French archaeologists
points to a rare tantric prayoga of the siddhAnta srotas,
whose performance appears to barely survive today
in the drAviDA country (perhaps until relatively recently in Nepal).
The inscription in question is from the period of the 1300s
apparently from the period of the reign of indrajayavarman.
The relevant statement from the inscription is:

“tasmin kuru mahad yAgaM yathoktaM
pArameshvare … kR^itvAn sa mahad yAgaM
kAla-yAgaM iti shrutaM |
sarasvatI yAga yutaM loka-pAla-samAvR^itaM ||”

It describes a great yAga which has been laid down
in the siddhAnta tantra known as the pArameshvara Agama.
This great yAga is known as kAla-yAgaM.
In its performance the mantra-vAdin is supposed
to include the yAgA of sarasvatI and surround it
by that of the loka-pAla-s.
So what is this rite being described by the Angkor Wat inscription?
An examination of the ritual prayoga-s of the
Chidambaram dIkShita-s reveals that it refers to the prayoga
of the exalted vyomavyApin mantra.
This mantra as per the kAmikAgama is used in the
final step of the dIkSha into the siddhAnta srotas
along with the mAtR^ikA mantra-s signifying
the circle of sarasvatI before it.
However, the ritual in question here is the one laid out
by the 9th paTala of the guhya section of the
archaic nishvAsa tantra.
It is also found in the now partially lost pArameshvara tantra,
confirming the statement in the Angkor inscription.
It is also alluded to in the svAyambhuva sUtra-s
as the form of mahAdeva as kAlAtmA
(the version edited by Pierre-Sylvain Filliozat
may not contain the original reading)
commented upon by the great AchArya sadyojyotis.
The nishvAsa guhya described the yAga
as the worship of shiva as “saMvatsara-sharIriNaH”
or with his body as the year.
The rite was connected with the construction
of the kAlAtman maNDala, which is being
implied implicitly by the word yAga in the Angkor inscription
(the yAga being the fire rite accompanying
the installation and worship of the maNDala).
The basic geometry of the mandalA has a dodecagonal plan
with 12 spokes leading to the outer rim with petals (circles).
On each of these 12 spokes and petals
30 akShara-s of the vyomavyApin mantra were laid out (=360).
The remaining 8 akShara of the vyomavyApin
were laid on the inner octagonal nave.
This was surrounded by a decagonal rim on which were laid,
5 per side, the 50 mAtR^ika-s composing
the akShara-svarUpa of sarasvatI (th
is is clearly mentioned in the pArameshvara).
Outside of it the 8 direction was a bhUpura with loka-pAla
stationed therein starting with indra.
The yAga of mahAdeva in the form of the kAlAtmA
(embodied in this maNDala) involved
the ritual to the central shiva with the vyomavyApin mantra
arranged as a manifestation of the year, to sarasvati
in the surrounding mAtR^ika chakra and
to the loka-pAla-s in their AvaraNa.

This construction of the maNDala is different from
the navanAbha maNDala also constructed
based on the vyovyApin mantra.
The latter is described by the great Kashmirian tantric bhaTTa
rAMakaNTha deshika (rAmakaNTha-II)
in his composition known as the vyomavyApin stava.
The medieval brAhmaNa vedaj~na (commenting on rAmakaNTha,
and following trilochana-shiva) from
TiruvATuturai in the Tamil country states
that this yantra was first promulgated by the
bhArgava R^iShi ruru (Hence, his collection form
the tantra of the Urdhva srotas known as raurava)
and the vyomavyApin mantra is supposed
to have emerged from the IshAna face of shiva.
The features of the navanAbha yantra are
derived based on the kalottara and mata~Ngaparameshavara texts.
This maNDala has a nonagonal symmetry with 40 akShara-s
in each of the 9 sectors and 8 arranged in a central nave.
The kAlAtman envisages shiva as encompassing time
and the navanAbha envisages the deva as encompassing space.

These conceptions of shiva express a continuity
with the vedic tradition where rudra is invoked
at the end of the piling of the altar in the agnichayana.
In the yajur vedic rite rudra is invoked as
encompassing space as the 4 cardinal directions
and the vertical axis and time in the form of the
5 saMvatsara-s of the vedic 5 year cycle.
Amongst these rudra is said to stand like
a fierce tiger. Likewise, the mention of the kAla maNDala
in the Cambodian inscription, which arranges
the vyomavyApin to correspond to the 12*30 day months
of the saMvatsara, reminds one of the astronomical
constants embedded in the main temple of Angkor Wat.
For example, the outline of the base-plan of the
upper elevation of the temple has 12 projections
and the sum of the lengths of the N-S and E-W axes
is 365.37 Cambodian cubits (described in Eleanor Mannikka’s work).
While, the main temple of Angkor Wat is one dedicated to viShNu,
the basic ideas of maNDala geometry inhere
to both siddhAnta and pA~ncharAtra temple constructions. After all the mantra and the yantra are the deity.

The Angkor Wat upper elevation


Tantric Hinduism in Khmer Culture
Tantric Hinduism in Khmer Culture by
Emma C. Bunker, Asian Department, Denver Museum (2003)

Solar numbers in Angkor Watby Subhash Kak (2008)

Space and cosmology in the Hindu temple by
Subhash Kak (Presented at Vaastu Kaushal:
International Symposium on Science and Technology
in Ancient Indian Monuments, New Delhi, November 16-17, 2002

Time, space and astonomy in Angkor Wat by Subhask Kak (2001)

In pursuit of sacred science, Parts I to V by Mark Long

I Architectural survey of Borobudur’s summit
II Architectural survey of rectangular survey levels
III Architectural survey of Borobodur’s
summit – astronomical considerations
IV Pathway of manifesttion:
An encounter with the ultimate reality
V The horse’s head, the Kalapurusha
and duration of a world age

In Pursuit of Sacred Science, Part I

In Pursuit of Sacred Science, Part II

In Pursuit of Sacred Science, Part III

In Pursuit of Sacred Science, Part IV

In Pursuit of Sacred Science, Part V


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