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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Panca Bali Krama (1)

On March 25th, the Balinese Hindus performed one of the greatest sacrificial ceremonies in Besakih, the Mother Temple for whole Bali. The ceremony occurs periodically every ten years, on the final Amavashya day of Saka years or can be incidentally if there is any catastrophe and severe natural disaster. This was one kind of very elaborate Bhutabali sacrifice for appeasing the forces of five gross natural elements, the Pancabhuta, the subtler five Tan Matras, and their presiding deities respectively. Hence, it was named Panca Balikrama. After ten Panca Bali were completed, came one Ekadasa Rudra Yajna. A more elaborate and complicated form of Bhutabali, performed on the same spot.
The personified negative imbalance and destructive energy of the primordial Bhutas considered as wrathful manifestation emanating from their presiding Devatas. By the highly complicated process of this ritual, the malignant forces of nature were tamed, controlled, and then merged to their respective Devatas. First they deal with the most powerful, inaccessible, Ugra feature of the Devas, worshipped in gruesome protocol of animal sacrifice and meat offering. Then, gradually converted to more peaceful features and finally worshipped in their Saumya forms, the benevolent ones, ready to give any benediction to the worshippers. The whole ceremony presided by three groups of the so called Vaishnavite, Buddhist, and Shaivite Brahmanic high priests and priestesses. Each sect, with their magical mantra and ritualistic specialities ordained exclusively to their disciplic successions only, controlled each steps of the grand ritual, deals with each powerful transformation of the malignant natural energies, and kept the successfully attained phase perfect in all respects.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Mystical Island of Bali (1)

Bali is a small island of over two thousand miles square of extravagantly fertile lands, once believed as part of greater Java, but according to legendary tale was separated by a line, drew by a powerful Brahmin on the sand of narrowest point between the two areas, which became flooded by sea-water, formed a narrow strait about 2 miles width. Thus he provided a secure protection of spiritual water demarcation for any bad influences, prophesied come from Java (and other parts of the world) in the far future. Other legend also told us about the installation of the revered abodes of the Lokapalas on the nine highest points of the island to protect Bali spiritually from all directions. They invoked the great Vedic guardian gods of nine cardinal points to dwell in Bali. The great mount (Gunung Agung), on which slope the Mother Temple of Balinese was built, believed as a part of Himalaya. It is the centre of the world, the abode of devatas, as Kailash or Meru in celestial realm. That is most sacred to the whole island. The halfway up the mountain is the one of most magnificent temple ever built, with its impressive carved stone gates, seven layers of ascending courtyard and hundreds towering sannidhis (shrines) thatched with sugar-palm fibre.

The Map of Bali
The Mother of all temple, with towering sannidhi of sugar-palm fibre roofs

To the Balinese, Bali is the entire world. Shaped spiritually to representing Vedic-Puranic cosmic Bhu-mandala, with Meru as its navel. While the Khmer in Cambodia manifest the same idea in Ankor-vat and the Javanese in Prambanan and Borobudur temples, the whole island of Bali was consecrated as three dimensional mandala itself. The humans, the Balinese, lived with total awareness to other living creatures, as well as other unseen natural forces and their controller or presiding deities. Thus, this small island doesn’t have only population of human beings, animals, and vegetation, but also countless members of spirit worlds. They were the malign spirits, ghosts, ancestors, minor deities of village, lake, river, etc. and great high ranked devatas of Hindu pantheon. Each of them relating to other in such unique way, keep in perfect harmony by various religious activities and ritualistic performance, maintained continuously by the Balinese Hindus.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Who is Lord Siva of Prambanan Temple? (2)

60. Sri Gopa-kumara said: Hearing this, I was overjoyed and I desired to attain some special mercy from the very heart of that Mahesvara.
61–2. Knowing this, Sri Siva gave an indication with his eyes to the exalted Nandisvara, who then gave me pure instructions by which I easily understood that Sri Siva is non different from and increases one’s prema for my own worshipful deity, Sri Madanagopala.
63. Then I cheerfully joined his associates, who all delighted me. Then Sri Nandisvara began describing Sri Siva extraordinary virtues, saying:
64. “In his one manifest form Sri Siva always resides in his own abode above this Muktiloka (the realm of impersonal liberation) where his exclusive, beloved devotees always receive his darsana.”
65. “Sri Siva always delights his devotees by exhibitions of dancing and singing in his devotion for Sri Bhagavån, from whom he is non-different.”
66. “Although he is Jagadishvara himself, as if he were a servant he lovingly worships the thousand-hooded Sri Sesha.”
By his mala, he chanted the divine name of Lord Rama, while meditating on his own Supersoul, Lord Sankarshana. He whipped out any unwanted things from the heart of all peoples who came to worship him by his camara and by the same he also rendered devotional service toward his beloved Lord Sankarshana. He bestowed fearlessness to everyone and he also a divine master who taught us the real knowledge, the path of pure devotion. This is our Lord Siva of Prambanan.
These verses were expressions of Vaishnava’s heart and these came from special mercy from the very heart of that Mahesvara Siva:
67. O bråhmana, although I was pleased to hear that Sivaloka was superior to all other worlds, still I felt some dissatisfaction in my heart.
68–9. Previously I could not discern the cause of my own despondency, but then, by the mercy of my gurudeva and the power of chanting my mantra, I quickly understood that I was suffering because I was not directly experiencing the glories and pastimes of the lotus feet of Sri Madanagopåla.
70. Then I told my mind that it is this same Sri Siva who assumes the special form of Sri Krishna and performs such wonderful, variegated pastimes.
71–2. Seeing that my mind was not satisfied with this, I said, “O mind, although with Sri Siva you cannot experience that kind of pastime’s sweetnesses, still, by his mercy, all of your long-cherished desires will soon be completely fulfilled.”
So Lord Siva of Prambanan was worshipable to everyone. The benevolent Raja and Rishis of Mataram, installed his worship in the main shrine of royal temple and distributed his mercy without discrimination to all the peoples. They know the real tattvas. They didn’t trap their selves in fanatic and erroneous mundane conceptions of so called Vaishnavas, Saivas, etc.

Who is Lord Siva of Prambanan Temple?(1)

When I read Yogisvara Ramayana, there are some words that interested me so much. This is from the scene of Mother Sita entering the pyre. Lord Siva came to that place and said, “Sang Rama-inujaran winarah ryyawak niran Devata| He Narayana He Raghuttama taman bhede kawaktat hidep| The revered Lord (Siva) told Sri Rama about His real identity as Supreme Divinity, as He said, Hail Narayana, Hail Raghuttama, Our two Selves were not different.” By this word taman-bhede (no difference) suddenly remembered me about my whole faith to Lord Siva, as we hold in Goudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya. And there’s no better person who can describe Lord Siva perfectly other than his dear most Srila Sanatana Gosvamipada. To have clearer image about Lord Siva of Prambanan, we should read these passages from Srila Sanatana Gosvami’s Brihad-bhagavatamrita 1.3 :

57. “He is the giver of both material pleasure and liberation, and he increases bhagavadbhakti.
He is worshipful to even the liberated souls and he is dear to the Vaishnavas.”
Our Lord Siva of Prambanan Temple was installed by the most benevolent king of Java, who named his kingdom as Mataram, the mother-land that filled by devotion to Lord Rama, and intended to become Ram-rajya. By his love to his subjects, the king invited Lord Siva to come to his kingdom and blessed his peoples with both material pleasure and liberation. By the grace of our Mula-guru Agasthiya, many liberated sages came to Nusantara, they established Vedic culture everywhere and Lord Siva is their worshipful spiritual master. He is the dearest one to Vaishnavas, because he increases their bhakti toward Bhagavan Sri Krishna. This great Lord Siva was worshipped in Java as their most revered master. The beloved personality of everyone, regardless his faith to any form of worship.
Here are more elaborations of the word taman-bhede in Yogisvara Ramayana:
58–9. “Being overpowered by the bhakti of his friend Kuvera, he has come from his own abode of Sivaloka, which is perfectly suitable for him and which is attained by those who perform bhakti knowing there to be no difference between Sri Siva and Sri Krishna, and accompanied by his beloved Sri parvati and his other principal associates, he is now going to adorn Kailasha Mountain with his presence.”

The Great Trinatha Temple of Central Java (2)

Hindu cosmology associated six of the eight Lokapalas with six of the "planets" of ancient Hindu astronomy: Kubera (Venus), Varuna (Mercury), Yama (Mars), Agni (Saturn), Issana (Moon) and Indra (Jupiter). In addition, the Lokapalas Nirriti and Vayu were assigned stations in the sky that corresponded with certain star signs of Hindu astronomy, called the nakshatras.
By coincidence, during the middle of the ninth century CE, the respective planetary bodies corresponding with six of the eight Hindu Lokapalas happened to rise in the same order in which they appear on the walls of the Shiva temple. This celestial event took place beginning on the evening of December 17th in 840 CE (See chart below), a date that also coincided with the Summer Solstice.
Jupiter (Indra), the Moon (Issana), Venus (Kubera), Mercury (Varuna), Mars (Yama), and Saturn (Agni) rose in succession in the early morning hours, followed by the rising Sun itself. In addition, the sun rose on December 18th in the Hindu asterism Sravana, which is assigned to Vishnu.
Jupiter (Indra) 8:58 PM December 17, 840
Moon (Issana) 10:07 PM December 17, 840
Venus (Kubera) 2:59 AM December 18, 840
Mercury (Varuna) 3:50 AM December 18, 840
Mars (Yama) 4:40 AM December 18, 840
Saturn (Agni) 5:09 AM December 18, 840
Sun 5:24 AM December 18, 840
Thus the temple followed the intricate vashtu injunctions, in perfect harmony with universe, as the temple itself was representing the whole cosmic manifestation.
The relief panels located on the outside-facing walls of the Brahma temple's central cella portray 27 groups of Brahmin saints, or rishis. Dr. F.D.K. Bosch determined that the figures in these panels correspond with a list from the Vishnu Purana which presents the holy men responsible for editing the Vedas over the course of a long-term time cycle called a Manvantara.
"In every third world age (Dvapara), Vishnu, in the person of Vyasa, in order to promote the good of mankind, divides the Vedas, which is properly but one, into many portions. Observing the limited perseverance, energy, and application of mortals, he makes the Veda four-fold, to adapt it to their capacities; and the bodily form which he assumes, in order to effect that classification, is known by the name of Veda-vyasa. Of the different Vyasas in the present Manvantara (4.32 Billion solar years), and the branches which they have taught, you shall have an account.
"Twenty-eight times have the Vedas been arranged by the great Rishis in the Vaivasvata Manvantara...and consequently eight and twenty Vyasas have passed away; by whom, in the respective periods, the Veda has been divided into four. The first... distribution was made by Svayambhu (Brahma) himself; in the second, the arranger of the Veda (Vyasa) was Prajapati....(and so on up to twenty-eight)."
Since the first and foremost editor of the Vedas was Brahma himself, followed by 27 Vyasa in succession, Dr. Bosch concluded that it was no coincidence that the Brahma temple at Prambanan bears the images of 27 groups of rishis on the walls of the Brahma temple's main cella.
What may also be relevant is that, according to certain ancient Hindu astronomy texts, the constellation of the Seven Rishis (Saptarishi) -- which is known as Ursa Major in the western world -- is said to rule for one hundred years over each of the sky's 27 asterisms in succession, taking 2,700 years to complete one complete revolution of the night sky. In this particular case, the Brahma temple presents a model of the revolution of space/time that may be compared even more favourably to the Lokapala model that is represented on the corresponding walls of the Shiva temple at Prambanan.
The Vishnu temple's central cella is decorated with the images of male deities that are flanked to either side by a female figure. Although these figures have not yet been conclusively identified, we might expect them to also have specific identifications that reflect space/time points according to the ancient Hindu scriptures. Perhaps they were various forms of Lord Vishnu and His two consorts, who ruled each month or masa in Vedic calendar.
So these magnificent Trinatha temples represented Three Manifestations of Supreme Lord. We have many evidences that the worship of Trinatha in Nusantara has a horizontal nature. That’s mean, They worshipped the Three Deities on the same level as three folds form of One Supreme Lord, that called by Vaishnavas as Sriman Narayana, as Paramasiva by Saivas, and as Adi Buddha by Buddhists.
One may be objected. If this is the mother temple of all Hindus, why Siva’s Shrine became the prominent one? Why they put Siva at the centre and in the largest temple structure? But if they were mainly Saivas, why most of literature works at that time mainly has Vaishnavite nature. The most authoritative statement came from Javanese Ramayana or what we called Yogisvara Ramayana. There we found conclusive words of the author as he said that his Ramayana was dedicated to the lotus feet of The Supreme Lord Sri Rama, master of the three worlds, and anyone who has read his work should be inspired to worship that very Lord Ramacandra. The Prambanan Temple is the masterpiece of architecture, while the Yogisvara Ramayana is the masterpiece of Javanese literature, of the same age. Even we find a description in Yogisvara Ramayana about one wonderful Siva temple in Lanka of striking similarity with Prambanan temple. The Yogisvara Ramayana, a so called literature of Javanese Vaishnavism has very deep connection with this seemingly Saivite-natured Prambanan temple. Why?

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