Triveni Journal

1927 | 11,233,916 words

Triveni is a journal dedicated to ancient Indian culture, history, philosophy, art, spirituality, music and all sorts of literature. Triveni was founded at Madras in 1927 and since that time various authors have donated their creativity in the form of articles, covering many aspects of public life....

The Golden Age of Hindu-Javanese Art

By T. N. Ramachandran, M.A.

The Golden Age of Hindu-

Javanese Art

(Archeological Assistant, Madras Museum)


Amidst the confusion of their annals, it may, however, be noted that the Javanese people have introduced certain traditional beliefs that pass almost for history. First and foremost is the arrival in the island of Adi Saka, the founder of the Saka era, in 78–79 A. D. The next tradition relates to the colonisation of the island by a batch of Indian colonists from Gujarat. This tradition, according to Fergusson, would appear to rest on a surer foundation and consequently is quoted here briefly: -

"In the year 525 (A.D. 603 or 599), it being foretold to a king of Kuj'rat, or Gujarat, that his country would decay and go to ruin, he resolved to send his son to Java. He embarked

with about 5000 followers in six large and about 100 small vessels, and after a voyage of four months, reached an island they supposed to be Java; but finding themselves mistaken, re-embarked, and finally settled at Matarem, in the centre of the island they were seeking." "The prince now found that men alone were wanting to make a great and flourishing state; he accordingly applied to Gujarat for assistance, when his father, delighted at his success, sent him a reinforcement of 2000 people." "From this period Java was known and celebrated as a kingdom; an extensive commerce was carried on with Gujarat and other countries, and the bay of Matarem was filled with adventurers from all parts."

The trustworthiness of this tradition becomes apparent as this chronicle adds that while this Gujarat prince and two of his immediate successors were ruling "the country advanced in fame and prosperity. The city of Mendang Kamulan, since called Prambanan, increased in size and splendour: artists, particularly in stone and metals, arrived from distant countries, and temples, the ruins of which are still extant, were constructed both at this place and at Boro-Budur, in Kedu, during this period by artists invited from India."1

Further evidences bearing on our subject are: - (1) the visit of the Chinese pilgrim Fa Hien, already alluded to, in 414 A. D., to Java or Sumatra and his remark that the island knew not much of the law of the Buddha, heretics and Brahmans alone flourishing then in the island, (2) the information got from some Chinese records of the second century A. D., known as Heou han chou, to the effect that in about 132 A. D., there were Hindu establishments in Java and that one of the Hindu kings of Java of the name of. Tiao Pien (Deva Varman?) sent an embassy to China, (3) and lastly, the belief that Buddhism was probably introduced into Java in 423 A. D. by Gunavarman, a prince of Kashmir. Though Buddhism appears to have been introduced in the isle as early as 423 A. D., it should have received very little attention till much later, for we find that up to the eighth century it was Brahmanism that was having its sway over the isle.

Yet another tradition, though late, recorded by Raffles in his History of Java, relates to the mission of the children of a Javanese king, Deva Kasuma to Kling (Kalinga) in India in order that they might be educated in the Brahmanical religion. The importance of Kalinga as a cultural home can best be appreciated when we examine certain Chinese records of the T'ang dynasty which locate a kingdom of the name of Kalinga in Central Java. This name is explained as due to the belief that Kalinga in India was the region from which the Hindu colonists emigrated and settled in Central Java.2 It would appear that the name Kalinga is specially cherished even today and that "in Javanese parlance, Orang Keling, means a man from India proper."3 From the writings" of Mr. Gangoly and others on the subject we are given to understand that there were a number of emigrations from India, the largest streams of immigrants flowing from the eastern coast of India–from the banks of the Mahanadi and the Godavari–Orissa and Kalinga, from the Coromandel coast, and possibly later on from Bengal also. We have it on the authority of Dr. Burnell, an eminent epigraphist, that the character of the inscriptions found in Western Java appears, on comparison with the Vengi and Pallava inscriptions, to be ‘nearest to the last.’ His conclusion is amply borne out by the Dutch savants like Dr. Vogel who have described the Western Java script as "Pallava script." This characterisation has been accepted by Dr. Coomaraswamy who describes the Purnavarman records as "Sanskrit inscriptions in Pallava script, of the fourth or fifth century A. D."4

From what has been narrated above, it will be easy to conclude that the culture of Java was related to that of South India and that the source of Hindu civilization in Java "must be sought for in the North Tamil coast." As regards the nomenclature of Hinduism in Java it has to be observed that, though Vishnu was actually in worship from a very early time and also the cult of the combined form Harihara was very popular, though only perhaps during the later Hindu period, Saivism was the main, if not the chief faith of the isle. For nearly nine centuries (600-1479 A. D.) "foreign colonists had persevered in adorning the island with edifices almost unrivalled elsewhere of their class; but at the end of that time, as happened so often in India, their blood had become diluted, their race impure, their energy effete, and, as if at the touch of a magician's wand, they disappear. The inartistic native races resumed their sway, and art vanished from the land, never, probably again to reappear."5 While it is true that the native Malay-Polynesian or Indonesian races of Java, that form the bulk of the population, have left few monuments, with perhaps the exception of a few "so-called Polynesian antiquities" and a few dolmens, they cannot be cried down as "inartistic" for the little that they show us today acquires great importance "as representing the Javanese element in Indo-Javanese art, a factor of increasing importance after the classical period, and, in Bali, the dominating factor."6 It shall be our pleasant task now to pursue the history of Indian culture in Java for about nine centuries (603-1479 A.D.). The treatment of the subject shall, as far as possible, be chronological, within a geographical classification as West Java, Central Java and East Java.



Though the settlement of Western Java by the Indian immigrants must date from the beginning of the Christian era, actual vestiges of West Javanese art are not older than the fifth century A.D. The rock inscriptions in Pallava script of the fourth or fifth century A.D., already alluded to, are the earliest and in fact the only known records of Western Java. These records, as already examined, make mention of the old Hindu kingdom of Taruma, whose king was Purnavarman. It would appear that Hindu rule in West Java, which has unfortunately left few traces, did not persist much later than the sixth century. We owe to Mr. Gangoly the information that the Tamil poem Manimekhalai speaks of two kings Bhumichandra and Punyaraja who reigned at a place called Nagapura, which according to him was "probably a capital of West Java." 7

Excepting these stray references and the few Sanskrit inscriptions, no other earlier records of Hindu kings are traceable in West Java. Such sculptures or images as were discovered here clearly belong to a very late period posterior to the art of East Java. The later phase of East Javanese art represents the native art of Java which does not however appear in the earlier periods represented by the "Indian" art of Central Java and the "Indianesque" art of the early period of East Java. These sculptures and images, by dint of their superficial resemblance to the style of East Java, give room to the conclusion that "Western Javanese work is more spontaneous and forceful than the Eastern, and naturally has nothing of its complicated refinement." 8

Probably the early monuments of Java illustrating early native Javanese art, i.e., before the advent of Indian culture in the isle, were built of perishable materials? such as wood. The same was the case with the early monuments in India proper as proved by the Mandagapattu inscription of the Pallava king Mahendravarman I (600 A.D.). Their perishable nature made the artists of India think of means by which the monuments could be made to live for ages. Cave temples and other rock and stone monuments were constructed. Details of carving and architecture that were probably found in those early wooden models were carried out into rocks and stones, though the process was indeed laborious.

Hindu rule in West Java did not persist later than the sixth century A.D. and Western Java became independent and was under native rule for a long time, even in the time of the kings of Majapahit (1294-1478 A.D.) with Pajajaram, about 40 miles east of Batavia, as its capital. According to Fergusson, Pajajaram was the capital of a kingdom in West Java which extended over the whole of the western or "Sunda part of the island." The Sundas find no favour with him, for he dismisses them indignantly as, "not a building race." Pajajaram was slow to accept Islam in the 15th century and the same reasons should have hindered her acceptance of Hinduism earlier. The mountainous regions in West Java such as the Priangan were sparsely populated and consequently the Hindu culture in West Java was not only confined to a small area but also remained far behind that "which reared the superb temples of Central Java." The indignation of Fergusson is also shared by Scheltema who, on noting that West Java has nothing grand to show, burst out thus: "While Central Java attained to the loftiest and noblest in art, West Java vegetated until improved communication, stimulated by war and trade, brought about a dissemination of more eastern artistic notions, discernible in raised levels and terraces as those of Gunoong Jati, which remind one faintly of the Boro Budoor. . . . Even then Polynesian clumsiness was not shaken off."9 The brilliance of Central Java however consoles the writer who winds up his condemnation of the Pajajaram culture as follows: - "The story of the development of architecture and sculpture in the island from the immaturity identified with Pajajaran to the luxurious grandeur of the temples of Prambanan, the Mendoot and the Boro Budoor, hides a riddle no less strange than that of the bursting forth of Arabic poetry, full-blown in all its subtleness of thought, exuberance of imagination, perfection of language."10



"Javanese art is the art of an oasis of civilisation which is situated in a sea of tropical aborigins. In the beginning it is Indian colonial art on Javanese soil and at the end it is Malaic-Javanese popular art on the sediment which Indian art left in Java."11 This Indian colonial art has been happily characterised as the "classical Javanese art." It is indeed by this name that the whole art of Central Java is referred by writers on the subject like Karl With. According to Mr. Gangoly, this appellation means nothing more than "Indian art, transplanted on Javanese soil." It would therefore be far from the truth to characterise the art of Central Java as "Indianesque," as some writers have done, for it is peculiarly free from any contact with Indonesian types and remains unadulterated or Indian, "in conception, formula and execution." As a regular Indo-Javanese form comes into existence not before the thirteenth century, it may be easily conceded that the Indian art on the Javanese soil could not be called "Indo-Javanese." It was just Indian art in a new environment and under the spell of a divine and fresh inspiration. We shall now pursue the development of this art in Central Java.

As a result of a stream or streams of immigration from South India, either long- continued or renewed periodically, evidences of Indian culture, extensive and sumptuous, unlike those of West Java, are found in Central Java dating from probably the latter half of the sixth century. These evidences are epigraphical and for the most part monumental and architectural. They prove that Javanese cults were of Indian origin and that the Brahmanism of the Javanese courts was throughout "predominantly though not exclusively Saiva" while popular belief was based on animism, much as it is today. It is interesting to note however that about this time Hinayana Buddhism was unknown to Java, there being no traces of this faith in the isle. And Mahayana Buddhism as a ‘separate and integral cult’ makes its first appearance in the isle during the period of the Sailendra rule in Central Java (732-860 A. D.) and savours of a Tantrik character, tending to become increasingly so till a stage is reached later on, when it becomes inseparably combined with Saivism, as is proved by the canonization of one of the East Javanese kings, Kertanagara (1268-1292 A.D.) as Siva-Buddha.

We shall now examine the epigraphical evidences of Indian culture in Central Java. The oldest dated inscription, in good Sanskrit, comes from Changal, South Kedu and is dated Saka 654 (A. D. 732). Though this has been noticed briefly in the earlier pages of this paper, I advert to it here in detail because of its importance to the student of Javanese art. It is in the form of a verse and reads as: -

Asid dvipavaram Yavakhyam atula(m)dhanyadi-bijadhikam
sampannam kanakakarais tadamarai(h –dinoparjitam
Srimat Kunjarakunja-desa-nihita-vamsaditiva dhrtam
sthanam divyatamam sivaya jagatah Sambhostu yatradbhutam

"There was the best of islands, Yava (Java) by name, wide, rich in grains, paddy, seeds and the like, filled with gold mines, and by the immortal daily–where (is found) a supremely divine and wonderful abode (temple) of Sambhu (Siva) taken or transferred as it were from the family or clan (vamsa) that lived in the prosperous country (desa) called Kunjarakunja, for the prosperity of the world."

The rest of the inscription not quoted here (as its meaning has been made clear by several writers on the subject) relates to a king of the name of Sanjaya who probably belonged to a clan, whose original home was Kunjarakunja, from where he migrated to Java and built a temple for Sambhu there on the model of a Siva temple in his own land, viz., Kunjarakunja. From the fact that the said temple is spoken of as having been transferred from its original home for the good of the world, we are given to learn the loftiness of the missionary quest of King Sanjaya. Not being content with almost the limited worship of Siva in the country of his birth, he carried the faith across the seas so that the God of a small country, viz., Kunjarakunja, might become the God of the World, who could shower His bounties on His worshippers all over the world. Siva has gone to Java with all His Indian synonyms too as will be clear from the reference made to Him in this inscription as "Sambu" (i.e., from whom good or prosperity (sam) accrues).

The name Sanjaya reminds us of the names of some of the Indian rulers that ruled in Southern Kalinga, like Jayanta, Arjuna, etc. The latter belonged to what is called the Matsya-vamsa that ruled in Southern Kalinga, in the country round the present Madgole District in the thirteenth century A. D.12 Sanjaya being also a name like Jayanta given to Arjuna we cannot help making a conjecture–just a conjecture it is, for the Matsya-vamsa people that we talk of belong to the 12th and the 13th centuries A.D.–that the Sanjaya of Changal should have gone from Southern Kalinga. This receives strength from the Javanese traditions speaking of several immigrations to Java from Kalinga. Can it be that our Sanjaya was an earlier representative of the Matsya or any other allied family that held sway in Southern Kalinga? If we admit he was, then we have to locate "Kunjarakunja-desa" in Southern Kalinga on the strength of the Javanese traditions, speaking of immigrations from the eastern coast of South India, "from the banks of the Mahanadi and the Godavari–Orissa and Kalinga, from the Coromandel Coast. . . ." The "Vengi" character of some of the West Javanese inscriptions, already discussed, and the general shape of some of the early Javanese monuments such as those of the Dieng plateau (to which we shall come presently), which recall the Chalukyan type such as is illustrated in the temple at Buchhanapalli13 and other Chalukyan temples in the Nizam's territory give room to the possibility that our "Kunjarakunja-desa" can also be located elsewhere, say the Ceded Districts. It should have been a sacred place of Hindu pilgrimage, this Siva temple in the "Kunjarakunja-desa," as otherwise it could not have been taken as the model and the repository of spiritual inspiration for the other temple built in Java. About this time we can think of two famous shrines in this part of the country celebrated for Siva worship, Srisailam and the Virupaksha temple at Vijayanagara, which later on in the 13th century A. D. bacame the seat of the illustrious Vijayanagara monarchs. Dr. Venkataramanayya, an authority on Vijayanagara history, tells me that the Virupaksha shrine dates from a very early time and that nothing would stand in our way of looking upon it as the model.

Mr. O. C. Gangoly has gone into this question very carefully and has successfully demonstrated that "Kunjarakunja" is identical with Kunjara-kona, the Sanskrit translation of the more modern Kanarese "Ane-gondi," the earlier capital of the Vijayanagara monarchs. Though we had already conjectured this, we were lacking sufficient proof to demonstrate it. The necessary proof has been ably supplied by Mr. Gongoly, by which we should look for the Kunjarakunja-desa not actually in Southern Kalinga but in the country to the south of Kalinga, and in it to that tract watered by the river Tungabhadra, the tributary of the Krishna, which later on attracted the mighty Vijayanagara power.

Some writers however suggest that Kunjarakunja might be an equivalent to Kunjaradari which is the Sanskrit for the Tamil Anamalai. The result of their argument is that there being an Anamalai in the Pandya country, it is also possible to locate our Kunjarakunja in the Pandya land. We cannot admit this as it goes against the Javanese traditions regarding the immigrations from Kalinga and other architectural evidences which we shall examine presently. Also Anamalai is far removed from Kalinga while the case is different with Anegondi.

While on the track of sage Agastya, Mr. Gangoly comes upon this Kunjara-kona or Anegondi which he describes as one of the haunts of the sage who had erected there probably a Siva temple which should have served as the model for the other across the seas. From the evidence culled from Harivamsa, he proves that the auspicious home of this sage was situated on the Kunjara hill on the banks of the river Tungabhadra.14 As thus Agastya is so much mingled up with this migration to Java and is also spoken of as a "culture hero" and as we do find in Java a definite Agastya worship and cult under the name of "Siva-Guru," "Bhattarakaguru" or "Bhatara Guru" we cannot but take to the fascinating study of the activities of this dwarfish sage who has been aptly described as "the Aryanizer of the Dravida Desa," "the titanic Architect–the Great Builder of a Greater India beyond the seas."

While the Changal inscription suggests the name of Agastya in the indirect manner we have seen above, another inscription from Central Java associates Agastya with the building of a temple for Siva in Java. Thus this is an advance on the earlier inscription which only attempts to associate the first Hindu temple of Java (the sthana of Sambhu) with the family of Agastya. The inscription is in beautiful Sanskrit verse, in the Arya metre and runs as follows: -

Vihite Kalasaja-namna
Bhadralokahvaye vibudhagehe
Tasyatha putra-poutrah
Bhavantu labdheshtapada jivah

"The ‘pitcher-born’ (Agastya), having made a divine house i. e., a shrine which goes by the name of Bhadraloka (probably after the god enshrined who is called here 'He of good appearance or beauty’), may his sons and grandsons (i.e., descendants) and other souls achieve their hearts' desires or realise their ambitions."

We have in the above an indication that there were some descendants of the sage Agastya who had formed a colony in Java. And connecting the evidence of the Changal inscription with this we come to the conclusion that here is colonisation from the shores of South India under the inspiration of Agastya (we do not know whether it was also under the immediate direction of the sage himself) by his descendants. And King Sanjaya was in all probability of the Agastya gotra, which is probably identical with the Agastya Gotra mentioned among the 49 Brahmana Gotras in the Asvalayana Grihyasutra.

This sage is not only regarded as the arch-coloniser but also as the guiding genius of Javanese culture. He receives worship in the isle under the name of Bhatara-Guru or Siva-Guru, "and as a divine being, enjoys precedence over the gods, Brahma, Vishnu and Siva." Numerous images have been discovered of this sage from all parts of the isle bearing testimony to a well-developed cult for the worship of this sage under the glorious appellation of "Siva-Guru."

He has become the founder of several families, the builder of temples and lastly an "icon of worship, the subject of a cult." His images appear to have been worshipped first in sandalwood and next in stone. This would account for the dearth of the remains of early monuments in the isle, for the earlier ones should have been of perishable materials like wood. We have it from the Dutch archeologists that Agastya is known today in Java in the Polynesian dialect as "Valaing" which stands for the asterism Canopus in the Southern Sea, a point of interest that we have dealt with already. His name is often found in the declarations and oath formulae, of Java and Bali, and people here swear by Agastya, either by his Sanskrit name or by his local Polynesian name. It may be of interest to note that in an Old Kavi inscription he hailed as the "Great sage of harichandana (yellow sandalwood)." The term harichandana opens the question of the iconographical features of this wonderful sage, whose earlier images were evidently made of this yellow sandalwood. Luckily an inscription from Dinaya, in the Maleng district of Eastern Java supplies us with the needed information. It is dated Saka 682 (760 A. D.) and runs as follows: -

Purvaih krtam tu suradarumayim samikshya
kirtipriyah talagata-pratimam manasvi
Ajnapya silpinam aram sah dirghadarsi
krishnadbhutopalamayim nrpatih chakara
Rajnya Agastya-Sakabde nayana-vasu-rase
margasirshe cha mase
Ardrartthe Sukravare pratipadi-divase
paksha-sandhau dhruve-
Ritvigbhih vedavidbhih yativara-sahitaih
karmajnaih Kumbhalagne sudrdhamatimata
sthapitah Kumbhayonih

"The learned and glory-loving king, on seeing the image made of devadaru (deodar) by the ancestors fallen on the earth (probably the image had tumbled down owing to its worn-out and effete condition consequent on its being made of perishable material like wood) gave orders to the best of sculptors and made (caused to be made by these sculptors), the seer that he was (i. e., he considered how best he could make the image so that it can live for ages without being affected by the ravages of time), an image of beautiful black stone."

"In the Agastya-Saka year arrived at by the chronogram, nayana (2), vasu (8), rasa (6), i.e., 682 (by reversing it as is the custom in South India)=A. D. 760, in the month of Margasirsha–on Friday, the first day of the new half moon at the union of the dark light moon, in Kumbhalagna, by this king who was extremely clever or intelligent was installed (an image of) the "Pitcher-born" (Agastya) with the help of priests learned in the Vedas, ascetics and sculptors or artists who knew their job very well."

In the dating of this inscription we are happy to find that the reckoning is done as in South India. The chronogram, nayana-vasu-rasa, reminds us of the thousands of similar chronograms by which almost all South Indian inscriptions are dated. The order of reversal also is the same. And it appears that the sage is also associated with the starting of the Saka era in Java or at any rate is responsible for the introduction of this era, as otherwise the reckoning will not tally with the same of South India in the wonderful manner in which it does.

The king who made this wonderful black stone image of Agastya is called Gajayana. A gratefu1 posterity has given him a niche in the temple of fame, for, whom does he remind us of in the glorious history of South India?–the matta-vilasa, the vichitra-chitta, the chaitya-kari, indeed the wonderful Mahendravarman I, the crest-jewel of the Pallava dynasty. Does he not recall the exploits in art of the latter, though not about the same time, perhaps after a lapse of 150 years? Surely we should allow this period for the wonderful exploits of the illustrious Mahendra to cross the seas, especially as the news agencies of those days moved very slowly for lack of the present-day superior scientific equipment like radio, wireless, etc. Was not architecture in South India prior to Mahendravarman mainly wooden or, to speak correctly, of perishable material? The answer is given by the Mandagapattu inscription in which the royal artist bursts out as follows: -

Etad anishtakam, adrumam, aloham
asudham vichitrachittena
Nirmapitam nrpena Brahme-

"By the king who was called (for his trouble) "the curious-minded" was caused to be built a god's house for Brahma, Isvara (Siva) and Vishnu, a construction which knew no brick, no wood, no metal and no mortar."

Does not the expression, talagatapratimam samikshya i. e., "seeing the image that had fallen down" in the Dinaya inscription suggest a royal pity, the shocking pity that indeed an artist and artist alone can feel on seeing a work of art perishing? Does not the king do the same as Mahendra did under the circumstances? The compassion of Mahendra on seeing several works of art enshrined in those early temples and monuments of South India perishing, because of the perishable nature of the material with which they were built, is voiced in the expression Etad anishtakam, adrumam, aloham, asudham. If a single work of art was down at the feet of the Dinaya king crying for redemption and perpetuation of art, there were a thousand monuments enshrining things of beauty, actually in ruins, Art peeping out of the debris that had prepared for her a premature grave and appealing pitifully to the king of the land, the "patron of art" that scriptures proclaim him to be. Whom will not her tears move? Even as the Dinaya king, Gajayana, summoned the best among the artists of the land and had the image of Agastya made of wonderful black stone which could endure for ages, for which act he deserved the encomium, dirghadarsi, i.e., the seer that could visualise the future, or in short that could vouchsafe long life or permanence for the work of art on hand, so also the Pallava ruler summoned the best architects and designed the permanent rock-architecture that one sees in South India today at Mahabalipuram, Dalavanur, Kanchipuram, etc. The earlier specimens of architecture and art have vanished into thin air, while his immortal achievement, viz., the cave-temples, defy grim time and stand even as Kalidasa puts it: - nirvata-nishkampam iva pradipam, i. e., "like a flame that flickereth not in windless space."

How were the works of these two royal votaries of art received by their subjects? That of the Dinaya king was appreciated as is proved by the expression dirghadarsi which indicates that his subjects realised the wealth of his ideas and suggestions. On the other hand, that of the Pallava ruler was probably derided as it might have gone against the then-existing conventions and customs. Far from calling him "the father of Dravidian architecture," they called him mad, his work a lunatic's prank (matta-vilasa). In short they greeted him as vichitra-chitta, or "he of curious ideas or idiosyncracies." Deride him as they liked, denounce him to their hearts’

content as they might, the royal votary of art chided them not, for even as they were calling him names he was dreaming the life of an eternal artist. Even as the "arch-beggar" (Bhikshatana) took the abuse leveled against him by the sages of the forests as ornaments and garlands, so also Mahendra made a garland of the names by which his subjects called him, and prompted, by the, artistic instinct in him immortalized them by engraving them, so that they can also stand time, on the very works of art that were much maligned. Even as he had expected and even as the immortal poet Bhavabhuti had prophesied in his Malatimadhava, "Utpatsyate mama tu kopi samanadharma, Kalohyayam niravadhir vipula cha prithvi", his noble attempt came to be appreciated in the time of his son Narasimhavarman I (630 A. D.) as is evident from the latter's immortal works at Mahabalipuram that have gone down in history as the "seven pagodas," which are in fact only the elaboration and the enrichment of his father's "mad" projects.

The term krishnadbhutopala, i.e., "the wonderful black stone," in the Dinaya inscription requires elucidation. The black stone is wonderful not because of its inherent virtue but because of the plastic hand of art in the shape of the carving of Agastya on it.

To revert to the story of Agastya, he can be distinguished by the matted locks (Jatamakuta) a beard, a corpulent waist, the pitcher (kamandalu) and the rosary (akshamala) in the hands. He is just shown in Java in the same way as we find him in South India, in places like Vedaranyam, Chidambaram, Narayanavanam, Tanjore and Nallur. As a proverbial devotee of Siva, he got identified with Siva, attaining thereby sarupya or "same-form" with him as is evident in the "Siva-guru" conception, which only means that he is the guru of Saivism inasmuch as he is the preacher of that cult. "Bhattaraka or Bhatara guru" would mean the good or revered guru. His devotion to Siva has earned for him the latter's trident also which is shown in some of his images in Java. It is a mistake to identify the images of Agastya with Siva simply because of the name Siva-guru as some writers have done, for we know of no form of Siva corpulent, bearded and fat in the stomach. Such a representation is iconographically an error. As many as 40 images (both in stone and in metal) of this sage have been reported as found in Java, most of them being now housed in the Leiden and Batavian Museums. These have been ably studied by Mr. Gangoly in his Rupam (1926), even later decadent examples receiving attention at his hands just because they prove the popularity of the Agastya cult. Among the disciples of Agastya, sage Trinabindu, whose Tamil name, is Tolkappiyar, the author of the Tamil grammar Tolkappiyam, receives special treatment. One of his sculptures with his name inscribed on it in Nagari characters now adorns the Batavia Museum.

Of all the images of Agastya we have singled out one, easily the best (frontispiece), for reproduction here because it crystallizes in a flash the whole genius and crust of Brahmanic culture. It is indeed a chef-d’oevre of Indo-Javanese sculpture and is now housed in the Batavia Museum, having been found in Chandi Banon, South Kedu. It has been assigned to the ninth or tenth century A.D., as it strictly belongs to the classic period of Indo-Javanese sculpture. Its dignity, equanimity, simplicity, its introspective placidity and fidelity to the formula of the icon mark it out as almost rivaling "the sweet serenity and the profundity of the series of Buddha images of Borobuddur."

The limit to Agastya's exploits in South India is marked by Vedaranyam, the extreme south-eastern coastal point of the Coromandel. This name should have gone over to Java and inspired the inanimate there. In all probability we owe the name Prambanam (Central Java) to this inspiration; Prambanam is probably Brahma-vanam. Vanam is a Sanskrit synonym for aranyam, and Brahma is identified with the Vedas and as such is a synonym for the latter. Is it not therefore fascinating, the study of this dwarfish sage, an intrepid Aryan adventurer, braving the seas, conquering by his superior yogic powers the sea-gods and drinking off the waters of the seas, thereby earning for himself the title "pita-sagara"? And do we not run mad with joy to learn that a "Kumbha-yoni" a pigmy born in a pitcher, achieved the antithesis of the "Drinker of the Ocean" (pita-sagara)?

1 Raffles, History of Java, vol. ii, p. 87.

2 (Scheltema, Monumental Java, p. 35).

3 O. C. Gangoly, The Art of Java, p. 3.

4 Coomaraswamy, History of Indian and Indonesian Art, p. 200.

5 Fergusson, History of Indian and Eastern Architecture, vol. ii, pp. 421–2.

6 Coomaraswamy, History of Indian and Indonesian Art, p. 200.

7 O. C. Gangoly, The Art of Java, P. 4.

8 Karl With, Java, p. 119.

9 Scheltema, Monumental Java, pp. 36-36.

10 Ibid, p. 37.

113 Karl With, Java, p. 120.

12 E. I, Vol. v, p. 107.

13 Fergusson, History of Indian and Eastern Architecture, vol. i, fig. 254.

14 Rupam, 1926, p. 7.

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