Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Buddha’s image at spot 17 and some aerial pictures

The image of Buddha procured from the spot number 17 as mentioned in the translations of Xuanzang’s travelogue (as mentioned in the post 'conclusions based on conjecture maps') is a huge black stone statue carved intricately during the Pala period.
It is currently exhibited at Venuwan in Rajgir right at what used to be the main entrance. Venuwan is currently under going renovations and the main entrance has been moved of to an adjacent side road. But the gravitating statue is still as captivating and it’s an inspiring image to witness something that has traveled so for so many centuries.
The particular pose is termed ‘Bhumisparsa mudra’ (or the earth touching pose). The left hand lies on the lap with palm upward and the right arm is over the right knee, with the palm turned inward, fingers extended downward touching the lotus throne or the earth to call the earth as his witness for defying Mara and achieving enlightenment.

Mara is usually described as a demon who continuously tried to distract Siddhartha since the day he started on the path of enlightment and when he finds Siddhartha under the Boddhi tree in a meditative state very close to achieving enlightment, he makes one last effort to interupt him and deter him from his path. As a philosophical alternate, Mara can be viewed as the demon that exists in all human being, a metaphor for the skepticism, confusion and temptations that keep us from reaching our spiritual potential.



magahdes said...

One observation about the date of the Buddha sculpture shown in the post.
I am a bit confused , as conventional wisdom suggests that Pala Kings ruled Magadh - Bengal during eigth to 12 century AD.
Hwen Tsang visited India - Magadh Nalanda - somewhere in the middle of seventh century.
if the black stone statue shown in the post is the same which the great traveller saw at the Nalanda Mahavihar ,during his visit , then it can hardly be called Pala period statue. The rule of the Pala Kings was then still 100 yrs away.
It is goes without saying that the Magadh style of sculptures which blossomed to its glory during the Pala period may have its genesis in the sculptural genius of Magadh - artistic traditions of Maurayan and Gupta period.
Please elaborate on the above observation.
Kaushal Kishore

Shalini Nigam said...

Kishore ji, according to my undersatnding the image was found at the spot that Xuanzang had mentioned as #17/18, (http://nalanda-insatiableinoffering.blogspot.com/2009/09/conclusions-based-on-conjecture-maps.html), 6th conclusion but there is no mention of Xuanzang actually witnessing the image... though I'm not an expert and would love to learn more about it. Thank you for your comment

Deepak Anand said...

dear sir,
the buddha image is Pala period but as per the xuanzang travelogue the spot is related to event related to buddha. it is obvious that at different times different things must have existed at the place. as in temple number three we have the earliest structure as a brick platform just 5ft X 5ft in dimension. same way there must have different sructures at different time and later on in 10th century or later this buddha image would have been placed to mark the important place.