'Siva and Avalokitezvara, pANinian tradition and dakSiNAmurti

N. Ganesan naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Dec 24 11:42:52 EST 1998

For an early, far away representation of a teacher of grammar
see Barabudur (800 AD) representation of GaNDavyUha episode. Sudhana
is seated next to the teacher. Megha is the name of Sudhana's
teacher and he is seated in padmAsana under a bodhi tree.
The representation is very beautiful and big. Apsaras
are floating above them and dropping flowers and a garland
on Sudhana.(Figure 88, B. Forman, Borobudur, 1980, Prague)

Note that Sudhana meets the grammar teacher in the Tamil city,
(dramiDa paTTaNam in GaNDavyUha) called Vajrapura.
Vajrapura may refer to Kanchipuram. Since Kanchi is Mekhala
and vajra is diamond. Barabudur is a Vajrayana MaNDala
(cf. Lokesh Chandra). Vajrayana Buddhism was
taught by Vajrabodhi in Indonesia. Vajrabodhi went to
Java (and then China) from Malaya country in 7th century AD
aided by the Kanchipuram King.

Alternatively, Vajrapura, the DramiDapaTTaNam may refer to
KaveripaTTaNam at the mouth of Kaveri river. Buddhadatta
lived in KaveripaTTaNam wrote Pali texts, Vinayaviniccaya
and AbidammAvatAram. References on Vajrabodhi and Buddhadatta
from DramiDa country are appreciated.

N. Ganesan


The following verses from tirumantiram, the oldest Tantric work in Tamil
perhaps one of the oldest Tantric works, are very interesting from the
of view of Zaivite-Buddhist syncretism. It should be noted that these
occur in the "autobiographical" section. The verses are based on kazakam

Here the first students taught by nanti (ziva) are four nantis (four
i.e., can2kar, can2antan2ar, can2Atan2ar, canaRkumArar based on the
commentary) civayOka mAmun2i, and pataJcali (pataJjali) and viyAkramar
who worshipped in the hall, and tirumUlar himself. The form of ziva
to here is clearly dakSiNAmUrti who in earlier texts is associated not
pipal tree but banyan tree.

This opens the possibility that while the sacredness of banyan (ziva),
(buddhist) and saraca indica (jain) trees may be pre-Vedic in origin,
motif of a teacher sitting under a tree may very well have been buddhist
origin but adopted by zaivites or at least the term ziva bodhi suggests
the replacement of banyan with pipal could be due to buddhist influence.

Since the dakSiNAmUrti (ziva as a teacher) motif is a southern motif, I
suggest that the story regarding pANini must have originated in south
and travelled to northwest.

S. Palaniappan

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