Thursday, 27 August 2015

Buddha in Tanjore temple !

Tanjore temple Buddha!

Built by Rajaraja the great of medieval cholas, this 1000 years old temple is still standing and praising his name…Tanjore temple is historian’s paradise where you can get a visual treat of historical and architectural wonders …recently got a chance to visit the chola heartland and especially this architectural grandeur…this time got an interesting depiction just near the left side entrance of main temple… Its Buddha..yeah clearly the depiction shows its Buddha, excited and took some pics of the same, I saw two depictions of Buddha, first one is Buddha meditating under a tree ( possibly Bodhi), the next one is Buddha standing under the same tree while others praying… The depiction is Buddha, not a tirthankar because, tirthankars mostly accompanied by yaksha/yakshis and they won’t cover their bodies with clothes… Just searched about these depictions but no clear explanations available, these are some popular theories I got (the below things are various theories which may be historically incorrect too…) 1) Rajaraja is famous for his religious tolerance as he supported many religions (he grant permission for chudamani vihara in Nagapattinam needs to be consider) so no wonder that Rajaraja depicted this Buddha at the same time no tirthankars depiction in the temple which is answerless 2) This theory is quite interesting and can be possibly true. Because some puranas says this type of stories, you can notice that the entire stretch of the left side circumbulation is full of “Tripuranthaka” depictions and tripuranthaka episodes..the story goes like this three demons sought three forts, one of pure gold, another of silver, last of iron and each could fly as boon , they can be killed only if they aligned in a same point, as years passed they became a challenge to devas…But devas found that they can be killed only if they leave the rituals and worship of gods, so they sought the help of vishnu , vishnu took a form of maya buddha and led themout of that vedic faith, this reduced the power of demons later shiva ended the task …The Devas with the help of Visvakarma constructed the chariot of the earth, the Sun and the Moon became its wheels, the bow was the Mount Meru itself and Vasuki the Bow string. Vishnu himself became the arrow. Brahma became his charioteer and he led the Deva army along with Ganesha, Skanda and Mahishasuramardhini… This story is something new to all of us but this is reffered in different forms in different purans…so in connection with tripurathanka depictions this Buddha depiction also made…But some historians says that this puranic buddha is different from sakyamuni buddha… 3)one of the controversial theory is that tripuranthaka depiction itself denotes the supremacy of saivism over three elements of buddhism or three jewels of buddhism ( Buddha, Dharma and sangha) but this is pointless because the king himself patronized many buddha viharas and jain pallis The depiction of buddha in tanjore temple is one of the interesting facts that revolves around this mighty monument.......