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Friday, June 19, 2009

The Glory of Vaishnavism in the Reign of Airlangga

Airlangga, as the legal heir of his father in law, persuaded by Narottama and other loyal nobilities as well as his people, then tried to occupy his throne and reclaimed the sovereign authority over all Javanese kingdoms. At the same time Srivijaya was attacked by the South Indian Chola king. Their main harbour in Malacca was fall under Chola’s power and even the centre of Srivijaya’s controlling royal order was subdued. Though after this attack Srivijaya never cease to exist, but she never got her full glory back. Srivijaya was no longer the sole sovereign power in South East Asia and her maritime forces dwindled. Thus Airlangga was attained all success to re-emerge the power of Javanese kingdoms.

The reign of Airlangga was a glorious time of Vaishnavism in Nusantara. For the first time after the great kings of Sanjayavansha, finally Java has another Maharaja or King of all kings. Airlangga unified the whole Java under his sovereign power and anointed by Barada Rishi, his own Acharya and other Brahmins of all sects as Sri Maharaja Raka i Halu Sri Lokesvara Dharmavansha Airlangga Anantavikramottungadevaraja. Airlangga himself was initiated into Vishnu-mantra and Vaishnava practices. The seal of his kingdom was Garuda, the throne and vehicle of Lord Vishnu. This Garuda-lanchana continued as the official seal of all kings after him, regardless their own personal beliefs. Until this very day, Garuda remain as the emblem of Republic of Indonesia.

Garuda, Official Emblem of The Republic of Indonesia

Airlangga didn’t have a crown-prince. The next legal Royal Heir, Sri Sangramavijayadevi, was a princess who declined to accept Queen-ship. She preferred a life of Vaishnavi ascetic. She went to one cave in the mountainous area of Kadiri (East Java, not the same named place in South India) called Selamanglen. There she lived as a Vaishnavi Vairagini, performed solitary bhajana (meditative worship) and attained the highest perfection. She was vanished with her divinized physical body at that very hermitage. Until now the Javanese called her Devi Kili Suci, “The Holy Princess who did penance”. Kili was a Javanese term for female hermit.

The cave or hermitage of the Crown-Princess. She was attaining perfection and disappeared at this place.

A temple now has been built by the local Hindus with government permission in the land nearby (considered as an archeologically important place), to honored the Holy Princess

Procession led by Javanese Hindu priests with the sound of their ghantas (ritual bells) in the consecration of the said temple

Without this crown-princess, Airlangga found himself in a dilemma. Now the next legal heirs were the two Yuvarajas, two princes. It was impossible to just give the throne to one of them. The two has the same right to be enthroned king. Once again, Barada was sent to Bali, for asked Airlangga’s younger brother Sri Marakata to come to Java and take the throne. But this proposal was refused both by Marakata himself and his revered Rajaguru, Rishi Kuturan, brother of Barada. Marakata has already considered himself as Lord Bharata, who took the throne of Bali only as his brother’s representative. As Bharata worship the sandals (padukas) of Lord Rama and put them on the throne, Marakata also did the same by worshiped a pairs of stone padukas as representation of his brother (now we can see this pairs of stone sandals in Durga’s shrine of Burwan Hill). If Marakata has to take the throne of Java, then Bali verily will be kingless. The only way for their youngest brother to occupy the Bali’s throne was only the death of his brother Marakata or if Marakata accept the ascetic life. Both solutions were impossible and if this proposal was accepted then will be a great chaos in Bali and the continuation of the Varmadevas’ rule will be put in endangered state.

After long deliberation, Airlangga then pain heartedly divided his Kingdom for the two crown-princes. Barada Rishi took the task by created a big river by his mystic power from the water sprouting from his pitcher as described by Prapancha. Thus the great kingdom became two, Jangala and Panjalu. After enthroned his two sons, Airlangga himself took the life of ascetic. He was ordained as a hermit by Barada and named Rishi Ghantayu. In the inscription he was designated as mPungku Pinaka Chatraning Bhuwana. mPungku was name for the highest priestly order in ancient Java. Chatra means parasol or umbrella, thus indicated his protection to the world (bhuwana). So he was named The Lord of Ascetics Patron Saint of The World. He also accomplished in his Vaishnava-sadhana and vanished with his divinized body.

Dhyana Vishnu Deity of Airlangga

His memorial Samadhi was located in Belahan, a holy tirtham (natural water spring). To respecting this great king, his descendant built a shrine of Lord Vishnu. Airlangga as a Dharmaraja (great king who ruled according to sacred universal law) was considered as Lord Vishnu’s own manifestation. It was said that the face of Lord Vishnu’s deity was depicted in similarity with Airlangga’s face. This Vishnu deity was indeed very rare. The Four Armed Lord depicted in dhyana-mudra, gesture of meditation, and His two upper hands hold sankha (conch) and chakra (disc) the common insignia of Lord Vishnu. He rides on “right facing” Garuda (same as the official symbol, emblem of Republic of Indonesia) with Sri and Bhu Devi in His sides. Fortunately, we still have this precious deity in not so bad condition, but the deities of Sri and Bhu were worse. Indeed, these Deities of The Lord's Consorts were very unique. The Sanctum itself was a pool or kundam and the sacred water sprouts from Bhu Devi's breast like a stream of milk. This water are also giving life to many villages and fields until this very day. The water was so pure, we could drink it directly from the Goddess' breast.

The sanctum of already damaged Vishnu Temple

Direct "breast-feeding" from the Goddess of Earth. (thanks for your pics)

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