Gatekeeper gods; Skanda in Buddhism

Nobumi Iyanaga n-iyanag at PPP.BEKKOAME.NE.JP
Tue Jul 20 10:33:23 UTC 1999

Dear Mr. Iyer,

Thank you very much for your reply.

At 3:15 PM -0700 7/19/99, Venkatraman Iyer wrote:
> Dear Ms. Iyanaga,
> As far as I know, no Skanda image or myth as door-keeper of Shiva.
> Doniger must have used it metaphorically. That's all.
> Atleast in Hindu caves or books; There are many Gupta
> images of Shiva where both Ganesha and Skanda are depicted
> on the sides - but they aren't door-keepers. Of course, Skanda is a
> guardian deity from the Mahayana phase of Sri Lanka, Eg., in the
> Tooth temple.

Ah, that is interesting.  What do you call "the Mahayana phase of Sri
Lanka"?  Is this some modern development, perhaps under Japanese
And is the "Tooth temple" a Buddhist temple where some relic of Buddha's
tooth is kept?

There is a famous Japanese medieval legend in which Ida-ten (a Sino-Japanese
Buddhist deity who is very probably a continuation of Skanda) is said to
have taken back a relic of Buddha's tooth which had been stolen by two just after the of the Buddha...

> Indeed, the seven mothers with Skanda and Ganesha are rare,
> whereas Ganesa and Shiva on the sides of the mothers are much more
> common. On Skanda's antiquity, please see the latest issue
> of J. Inst. Asian Studies (Chennai/Madras) where
> Iravatham Mahadevan has an article on Murukan in Indus culture.
> This was originally presented as a paper in the recent conference on
> Skanda-Murukan held at IAS in Dec. 1998.

Thank you very much for this valuable information.

Best regards,

Nobumi Iyanaga

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