Venkatraman Iyer venkatraman_iyer at HOTMAIL.COM
Sat Dec 16 11:03:02 UTC 2000

   The saivAgama rituals as practised in Tamil Nadu in the
first millennium played a key role in determining the
location of the Khmer royal temple. Often the center was
called as Mount Mahendra, which occurs often in Tamil
saivism also. Note that the ancient Saiva Adheenams
in Tamil Nadu (Dharmapuram, TiruvaavaDutuRai, Tiruppan2antAL)
go by the title, KailAsa paramparai. I think
Prof. Jean Filliozat wrote a paper about Kailasa-paramparai in
Cambodia and Saiva Adheenams of the South India.

Paul Wheatley, The Mount of the Immortals, A note on
Tamil cultural influence in fifth-century Indochina,
Oriens Extremus, v. 21, no. 1, 1974, p. 97-109.

    In 484 A.D., King KauNDinya Jayavarman of Funan sent an
    envoy to China, reported in Chinese chronicles. Wheatley's
    primary focus is to show that "Siva's mountain called
    as Mayentiram in Tamil is what is transcribed into
    Chinese and Cambodian. In his own words,

  "But it is still the Sanskrit name Mahendra that is associated
   with the god, and this is a form that cannot have been the
   original of the Chinese transcripion Mu^a-t^.am. Somewhat
   unexpectedly in the general context of the brahmanization of
   Southeast Asia as it had been customarily presented, it is in
   *Tamil* (not Sanskrit) "saivaite literature that the source
   of the Chinese transcription must be sought. The relevant
   texts have recently been assembled in convenient translation
   by Professor Filliozat ("New researches"), from whose versions
   the following citations are taken.

    The earliest extant Tamil reference to 'Siva as the King of
   Gods occurs in the 6th century TiruvirattaimaNimaalai of the woman
   saint Karaikkaalammaiyar, who unequivocally designates the god
   as "Lord of the Immortals" (amarar piraan). But the most numerous
   and most explicit passages ensconcing "Siva on Mount Mahendra are
   to be found in Tiruvaacakam, the 'Sacred Utterances' that
   constitute a veritable spiritual autobiography of the Tamil saint
   MaNikkavAcakar, perhaps the greatest of all exponents of the
   "saivasiddhaanta, who lived probably during the 9th century."


   "Phonology and context here combine to support the conjecture that
in MayEntiram, the Tamil form of the name of the abode of "Siva,
is to be discerned the origin of the Chinese Mu^a-t^.am" ...

   "The use of the Tamil form of a name in a deposition submitted to
the Chinese court in 484 A.D. is at first sight surprising in view
of the general function of Sanskrit in the early centuries of the
Christian era as the language of literary communication both within
the Indian subcontinent, and abroad, but it is not the only instance
of Tamil cultural influence in southern Indo-China during the
B'iu-n^.am period, nor is the earliest. In the style of an ancestor
of a ruler tributory to B'iu-n^.am who is mentioned on the famous
stele from Vo-ca.nh, Filliozat has discerned a tamil royal title
(BEFEO, 55, 1969, p.107-116). The ancestor in question appears on the
stele as "Sri Maara, which Filliozat has shown, in the context
established by the inscription, can only have been a Sanskrit
rendering of MaaRan, a frequent element in the titularies of the
Pandyan Kings of Madurai" ...

V. Iyer

Ven. Tantra wrote:

Among the Khmer, the cult of the Devaraja emerged
during the ninth-century reign of Jayavarman II. At
this time, the previously dominant Zakti religion —
based mainly on fecundity and the life-giving energy
of nature — was modified anew or replaced by a
politicized form of Zaivism founded on rites of the
Devaraja. This would seem to imply nothing less than a
king's personal deification by merging his soul with
the essence of Ziva's subtle being. [...]

> From this time, the rites of Devaraja and the
consecration of the king's royal linga became the
chief sources of royal legitimacy. Popular worship of
the royal linga also became supreme. Such sculpted
stone phallic representations of Ziva were placed
throughout the Khmer Empire. They were normally
installed at the summits of pyramidal temple-mountains
representing Mount Kailasa, the navel of the universe.
Ziva's association with The Sacred Mountain is
generally understood. But here we have Ziva in the
symbolic form of a linga placed in the central shrine
of a temple that is itself symbolic of the sacred
mountain. The compound effect can nothing but swell
the ramifications of the primordial concept. As the
Cosmic Pillar, or axis mundi, the royal temple that
enshrined the linga symbolized the sacred mountain
Kailasa, "the abode of the gods." In this way, the
linga also plotted the "essential center" or primal
locus of the Royal Dominion. [BTB, could this be the
meaning of "cakratiirtha"?]

Cambodian monarchs seem to have made tremendously
exacting calculations to determine the kingdom's
essential power-point. And there they erected the
royal temple. This mysterious "point-zero" furthermore
functioned as the fundamental reference point to which
all-subsequent centers were aligned. Thus, the linga
of the king became the primal locus of not only the
immediate geographic locale, but also by extension,
the entire universe. By erecting temple-mountains to
enshrine the royal linga, each succeeding king was
essentially constructing a personal quincunx or
"four-cornered force-field" in the form of a
religio-architectural mandala of universal alignment,
power and protection. But mandalas, we should note,
are more than just "microcosmic mirrors of the
universe." Mandalas are also "receptacles" of the
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