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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Hindu Thought outside Bharata

Banteay Srei Temple Angkor : Banteay Srei is a Khmer temple dedicated to the ancient Hindu God Shiva which was constructed in the 10th century and consecrated about 962. Following the destruction of Angkor by the Siamese armies this Temple was left to be covered in forest until it was rediscovered in 1914. We now know the history of the monuments from the original stone stela which was discovered in 1936.
It is located 25 kilometers north east of Angkor Thom. It is the fourth most interesting set of monuments after Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and the Bayon and Preah Khan. The trip by road vehicle also offers a good view of Cambodian countryside.
The name ''Banteay Srei in Khmer means '' Citadel of Women ''. Originally it was called a Shiva Temple ''Great Lord of the Threefold World''. The name, Citadel of Women, today has no significance save it may refer to the numerous bas relief carvings of Devatas throughout the monuments.
Shiva seated on the summit of Mount Kailasa, his abode. His consort Uma sits on his lap and clings anxiously to his torso. Other beings are also present on the slopes of the mountain, arranged in a strict hierarchy of three tiers from top to bottom. In the top tier sit bearded wise men and ascetics, in the middle tier mythological figures with the heads of animals and the bodies of humans, and in the bottom tier large animals, including a number of lions. In the middle of the scene stands the ten-headed demon king Ravana. He is shaking the mountain in its very foundations as the animals flee from his presence and as the wise men and mythological beings discuss the situation or pray. According to the legend, Shiva stopped Ravana from shaking the mountain by using his toe to press down on the mountain and to trap Ravana underneath for 1000 years.

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