Old Sanskrit Inscriptions in Mosques and on Coins

Vima Khadpises gold coin with Sanskrit inscription

(Second part of Sanskrit inscriptions in strange places. Please read the first part)

Sanskrit inscriptions older than Rudradaman (150 AD) are found on coins. A notable gold dinar coin of Vima Khadpises shows Lord Shiva with a Sanskrit inscription. It is written in Kharoshti script along with Greek script. The legend on the coin is: Maharajasa Rajadirajasa Sarvaloka Isvarasa Mahesvarasa Vima Kathphisasa Tratara. It is dated 112 AD. Vima Khadpises had issued coins with Shiva on bull (Rishaba) vahana as well.

In the mosque

Bhoja is a famous name in Sanskrit literature. There were several Bhojas and they were all great Sanskrit scholars. One such Bhoja lived during the times of Kalidasa in first century BC. But now we are looking at a Bhoja who ruled from Dhar in Madhya Pradesh. He built a temple for goddess Saraswathi. It was destroyed during Muslim invasion. The mosque had several parts of destructed temple. Fortunately one structure was left intact and that was the Sanskrit vyakarana (grammar) written as Chitra Kavi. It shows grammar in wheel shaped diagrams or pictures. This Bhoja ruled between 1010 AD and 1060 AD. He was a master of many arts and authored at least thirty books in Sanskrit ranging from astronomy to economics. One of the idols he installed is in British museum in London. But the vyakarana chakra (grammar slokas written in circular diagrams) is in the mosque itself. Now the archaeological survey has arranged for Hindus and Muslims worship on different days.

S E Asia

Most of the South East Asian Sanskrit inscriptions are written in Pallava Grantha script. We may surmise that the South Indian sculptors who travelled from the east coast must have inscribed them. It also shows South Indians were great Sanskrit scholars. South India had produced famous Sanskrit scholars like Adi Shankara,Patanjali,Nilakanta Dikshitar and they in turn wrote a lot of books until last century. In our own times Kanchi Shankaracharya’s Sanskrit composition for world peace was sung by MS Subbalakshmi in the United Nations which reverberated throughout the world.

Sanskrit can’t die as long as India and Hinduism survive. All our personal names and place names and Gods names are in Sanskrit. Even the motto of Government of India is in Sanskrit : Sathyameva Jayate-Truth alone triumphs from the Mundakopanishad. Not only the temple archanas (gods names) but also all the religious literature are in Sanskrit.

The most famous Mantra of the Hindus Gayatri (Rig Veda) has been recited by millions of Hindus for thousands of years without any break. The ancient seers (Rishis) started reciting this from 1500 BC according to Western “scholars”. But Hindus believe them s eternal sounds in the sky like radio waves. If you are at the same wavelength you can catch them like radio frequencies. So no one can call Sanskrit a dead language like Latin. Latin is used by Pope and his circle only. But Sanskrit names are used by millions of laymen. Indians can’t survive without Sanskrit. For instance if someone orders tomorrow that no Sanskrit word should be used for twenty four hours, Indians can’t function for twenty four hours. It is like ordering the entire country to stop using electricity for 24 hours. In short unlike Latin, Sanskrit has mixed with our life which no force in the world can separate for generations to come.

Anyone reading this piece, stop reading and think for a minute- think about your grandparents names, think about your friends’ names and think about your towns names and last but not the least your language. Everywhere you will find Sanskrit. This is true for all the South East Asians as well.

This divine language and its magical spell (mantra) will help India to survive for eons. When all the five big powers have gone India will survive because of it’s motto alone: Satyameva Jayate !

Ancient Sanskrit Inscriptions in Strange Places

 

Mulavarman’s inscription in Jakarta Museum

 

Old Sanskrit inscriptions are found around the world in strange places! Sanskrit is the only language in the world to have inscriptions around the world covering a vast geographical area and covering a long historical period. Rig Veda is dated around 1500 BC. This book is in Vedic Sanskrit like Sangam Tamil literature is in ancient Tamil. There are hundreds of Sanskrit inscriptions in Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Burma, China, Russia, Indonesia and Malaysia. The inscriptions are in different scripts. In India we have Rudradaman’s inscription (150 AD) in Nagari script.

The inscriptions are not only in big cities but also in dark, thick tropical forests of Borneo and a Christian church in Malaysia as well. Mulavarman, a fourth century king did a Yagna and installed seven Yupa posts to commemorate it in Borneo island of Indonesia. It was discovered in an area covered by very thick forests. Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Iran and other Muslim countries have some written documents in the form of letters, manuals or inscriptions where in Sanskrit names or words figure prominently. Rama’s father was Dasaratha is a well known fact. But before him there were three or four Dasarathas and one of them ruled part of Syria ! He gave his daughters in marriage to an Egyptian pharaoh and wrote many letters to him!

According to many scholars, Mahabharata war was fought on Indian soil in and around 1500 BC (Hindus believe it was before 3102 BC) .At the same time there was a Dasaratha (Spelt Thusratta) ruling Syria/Turkey area which are Muslim countries now. That kingdom was called Mittanni (Mitra is one of the names of Surya). We have the Mittanni kings name in Sanskrit. It shows that Sanskrit language existed from the eastern corner of India to Egypt in Africa 3500 years ago. Dasaratha’s letters are very interesting to read. His daughters name are in Sanskrit and they were married to Egyptian King Amenothep (may be Amana Devan ).

We have even recovered a Horse Training Manual written in 1350 BC with Sanskrit words! For thousands of years horses and elephants were trained using only Sanskrit words. Sangam Tamil book Mullaipaatu mentions that elephants were trained by using Sanskrit words in Tamilnadu (Mullaipattau lines 32-36)

The horse manual written by Kikkuli ( Aswa Sena) runs to 1080 lines on clay tablets. Though it is written in Hittite language the numerals Aika,Tera,Pancha, Satta, Nava vartaana (1,3,5,7,9 intervals) and words for colours are in Sanskrit.

Vedic Gods in Muslim country!

We have the Vedic Gods name in an agreement in Bogazkoy in Turkey . This agreement was written by Hittite King Suppililiuma  and Mittannian king Matiwaza (may be Mathi vachanan). The amazing thing about the agreement is the Vedic gods names Indra, Mitra, Varuna,  Nasatyas (Aswins ) all are in the same order as in Rig Veda. Not even the order was changed. It shows that Vedas were used from the plains of Ganges to the land of Syria and Turkey at the same time- 1380 BC!  In Vietnam (Champa in olden days) the Pandyan King’s name Sri Maran is found on an inscription. Sri Maran is a Sanskrit word for Thirumaran (We have one Muda Thiru Maran in Sangam Tamil literature). Please find more details in my article The Pandya King who ruled Vietnam.

In Karatepe ( In Turkey) we have found a long inscription which ended like Indian inscriptions. It is dated 850 BC. Those who deliver Indian religious discourses very often use a phrase, “so long as the sun and moon shines, this will survive——-“. Karatepe inscription finished with these lines which showed Indian influence.

13. Now, if a king among kings, or a prince among princes,
14. or any man who is a man of renown, gives
15. orders for the name of Azitiwada to be effaced from the statue
16. of this god, and puts up his own name, or more than that, if he
covets
17. this city and says, I will make
18. another statue and put my own name on it, and the
19. statue of the god which Azitiwada made, (that of)
20. Baal KRNTRYÅ , which is at the king’s entrance in(to)
25. ……….[Only may the name]
26. of Azitiwada last for ever like the name
27. of the sun and the moon!

Thusratta’s letter to Egyptian king in Cuneiform script

(The Egyptian King who installed only one God was called Aknaten (Eka Nathan= One God)! The Egyptian river Blue Nile was named after the Sanskrit colour Nila=blue! The word Syria is nothing but Surya (sun). Hurrian is also Suryan (sun). Iran is nothing but Aryan).

In Nepal Kings of Lichavi dynasty had issued more than 85 Sanskrit inscriptions between 463 AD to 770 AD. There were more than 3000 slokas in the inscriptions. In Rudradaman inscription we have beautiful slokas. It shows that people around the world, whether it is Cambodia or Indonesia or Nepal knew bombastic, stylish and ornamental Sanskrit language. All these inscriptions maintain high standards. Art Historian Sri C Sivaramamurti has shown how the greatest playwright Kalidasa had influenced these inscriptions from 2nd century AD.

Tamil inscriptions were also found in South East Asia. But whatever the language, if it is Indian language, it can’t be written without a Sanskrit word.

All the Asokan and all the Tamil inscriptions have Sanskrit words. Prakrit is the spoken form of Sanskrit. In Sanskrit dramas women and clowns speak in Prakrit. Kings, ministers and high ranking officials speak in Sanskrit. Dharma in Sanskrit will be Dhamma in Pali. I have already written that there is no ancient Tamil work without a Sanskrit word.

Sanskrit in Church!

Catholic pilgrims in Malaysia go on a pilgrimage to Bukit Mertajam in Penang. They send petitions and thanks giving at the church of St Anne on 26th July every year. Inside the church complex is the Cherok Tok Kun Inscription in Sanskrit. Unfortunately only a French historian copied it and published it in French. So we did not have the full text.

So called scholars of western countries were partial when they dealt with Sanskrit. They invented new theories like Indo European, Indo Iranian, Indo Aryan ,Ancient, Middle, Later and confused the people. They did not use it for Hebrew, Greek or Tamil. Old Testament or Old Hebrew literature, Iliad and Odyssey, Sangam Tamil Literature were all written in the ancient or archaic forms of the respective languages. No Tamil could understand Sangam literature without commentaries. The spellings for the same Tamil names are different in Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry and Mauritius even today. Dhamayanthy and Subramaniam are written with four different spellings by four different Tamil communities!! But they don’t call themselves different people. But if it is Sanskrit, there will be 100 theories about it!

B. B Lal (Former Director General of Archaeological Survey of India) has shown that Indians migrated to West Asia and established Kingdoms like Mittanni 3500 years ago. Baudayana Srautasutra (18.44) mentions it.  In the same way Agastya  and Kaundinya led another group of Indians to South East Asia to establish Hindu kingdoms (Please read my article Did Agastya Drink ocean? And How old is Indian Civilization? )

Baudhāyana Śrautasūtra (18.44) Reference:

Pra-n.a-yauh. pravavra-ja tasyaite Kuru–Pan~cha-la-h. Ka-śi- -Videha- ity etad A-yavam pravrājam. Pratyan. Ama-vasus tasyaite Ga-ndha-rayas Parśvo Ara-t.t.a– ity etad A-ma-vasavam

Tamil Reference:

தேம் படு கவுள சிறு கண் யானை
ஓங்கு நிலைக் கரும்பொடு, கதிர் மிடைந்து யாத்த,

வயல் விளை, இன் குளகு உண்ணாது, நுதல் துடைத்து,
அயில் நுனை மருப்பின் தம் கையிடைக் கொண்டென,
கவை முட் கருவியின், வடமொழி பயிற்றி – முல்லைப்பாட்டு (35- 36).

*********************

 

Aladdin’s Magic Lamp and Tamil Saints

Aesop’s Fables, The Thousand One Nights, Decameron Tales, The Canterbury Tales and many more folk tales of Europe have adapted Indian stories. Many of the characters themselves were alien to Europe. For example when Aesop used an Asian animal or bird we knew for sure it was not from Europe.

 

The art of storytelling has developed to the highest standards in India. In the Forest of Naimisaranya , saints used to gather and listen to stories. Sometimes such sessions lasted for twelve years. Though most of the stories are mythological in nature we come across all the fables, anecdotes and supernatural elements. Putting one story within another is story is also typical Indian. We see all these traits in the above European and Middle Eastern books. They have adapted many stories from the stories of Vikramaditya, Pancha Tantra, Katha Sarit Sagara, Dasa Kumara Charitra and Maha Bharata. Many Western and Eastern scholars have already identified such areas. But not many people knew that they have even copied from the miracle stories of Tamil Saints Sambandhar, Appar and Sundarar. Aladdin and the wonderful lamp is part of The Thousand One nights. But it was added by a European author to the Arabic version of 1001 nights just two hundred years ago. He attributed it to a Syrian in the Middle East.Aladdin’s genie performed several miracles for him.

 

Most of the Hindus know the Yaksha Prasna story of Mahabharata. Yakshas are super natural spirits who occupy the lakes, trees, junctions of the roads and hills. They are supposed to have supernatural powers. In Tamil literature we come across Bhutham, a benevolent natural spirit, in the Pandya inscriptions, Thevaram Hymns, Silappadikaram and other minor Tamil works. The Bhutams or the spirits or the supernatural beings have done marvellous tasks.

 

Sinnamanur Copper Plates of Pandya King narrated how a Pandya king used the service of Bhutams to repair the tanks and lakes. Irayanar Kalaviyal commentary also gave this story.

Saivite saint Tiru Gnana Sambhandhar was going from one town to another town to worship god in different temples. When he went to Thiruvaduthurai, his father Siva Patha Hruthayar asked him for some financial help to do a yagna (fire ceremony). Then Sambhandhar started singing a hymn.  Immediately a Bhutam appeared before him and left 1000 gold coins in front of the shrine. Sambhandhar sent the treasure to his father.

 

Another great Tamil great saint Appar was reconverted to Hinduism from Jainism. He prayed for Hindu religious symbols to appear on his body. It is customary to have those symbols marked on the body like tattoos during initiation ceremony. Immediately a Bhutam appeared before him and marked the holy Saiva symbols Tri Sul/Trident and the Bull emblems on his shoulders.

One may wonder who the Bhutams were. Were they some Shiva devotees dressed like short and ugly dwarfs? Or were they some supernatural beings that appeared like bolt from the blue?

 

The next episode will show that that they were NOT ordinary human beings disguised as Bhutams.

Sundarar, the last of the three Thevaram saints, was receiving paddy and pulses on a regular basis from one of his devotees who was a rich land lord. Because of a big drought the crops failed. So the land lord was very much worried. One day he went to bed skipping his dinner. Lord Shiva appeared in his dream and told him that he had given him paddy for Sundarar. When the landlord woke up, he saw a mountain heap of paddy. When he sent a word to Sundarar about this miracle, Sundarar thought how he was going to carry all the paddy to his home town Tiruvarur which was miles away from the Landlord’s town. Shiva sent his Battalion of Bhutas ( Bhuta Ganam) to shift them to Sundarar’s  place overnight. Since all these things were beyond human comprehension, they wrote everything for future generations.

 

Sundarar was very good friend of the King of Chera (modern Kerala)  country. When he visited the Chera country, the king gave him enormous gifts. But he lost all those to robbers who were none other than Shiva Bhuta Ganas. When Sundarar prayed to god and sang about it, he got all the robbed goods back.

 

Silappadikara Sadukka Bhutam

Silappadikaram is a moving Tamil epic. It has a reference to Bhutas in the City Squares. They used to ask questions like the Oracles of Delphi. One of the Bhutas in the city of Pumpuhar ate bad people who were liars, traitors, prostitutes or people who have illicit intimacy. In another place the epic refers to a person beaten to death by the Bhuta because of his lies. The four Bhutas in charge of four castes vacated the city before Kannaki burnt Madurai.

So we can safely conclude that the above episodes lay seeds for all the ghost or spirit stories in the European literature.

 

TAMIL REFERENCES:

ஓதமீள வேலெறிந்து பேராயிரம் கிரது செய்தும்

பூத கணம் பணியாண்டும் புவனதலப் பொதுனீக்கியும்

யானை யாயிர மையமிட்டும் அபரிமித அதிசயங்கள் செய்து

–சின்னமனூர் சிறிய செப்பேடு

வசையில் மாக் கயல் புலிசிலை வடவரை நெற்

றியில் வரைந்தும்

தடம் பூதம் பணிகொண்டு தடாகங்கள் பல திருத்தியும்

அரும்பசி நோய் நாடகற்றி அம்பொற்சித் ரமுயரியும்

—-சின்னமனூர் பெரிய செப்பேடு

 

தவம் மறைந்து ஒழுகும் தன்மை இலாளர்

அவம் மறைந்து ஒழுகும் அலவற் பெண்டிர்

அறைபோகு அமைச்சர், பிறர்மனை நயப்போர்

பொய்க்கரியாளர், புறங்கூற்றாளர், என்

கைக் கொள் பாசத்துக் கைப்படுவோர்

எனக் காதம் நான்கும் கடுங்குரல் எழுப்பிப்

பூதம் புடைத்து உண்ணும் பூத சதுக்கமும்

–சிலப்பதிகாரம் (இந்திர விழா எடுத்த காதை)

 

*****************

காரைக்கால் அம்மையாருடன் 60 வினாடி பேட்டி

உங்கள் பாடல்களில் பக்திச் சுவையும் தமிழ் சுவையும் நனி சொட்டச் சொட்ட இருக்கிறது. தமிழ் பெண்கள் அப்போது மொழிப் பயிற்சி பெற்றார்களோ?

பிறந்து மொழி பயின்ற பின் எல்லாம் காதல்

சிறந்து நின் சேவடியே சேர்ந்தேன்:- நிறந் திகழும்

மைஞ்ஞான்ற கண்டத்து வானோர் பெருமானே !

எஞ்ஞான்று தீர்ப்பது இடர்?

நீங்கள் தினமும் இறைவனிடம் வேண்டுவது?

இறவாத இன்ப அன்பு வேண்டிப்பின் வேண்டுகின்றார்

பிறவாமை வேண்டும் மீண்டும் பிறப்புண்டேல் உன்னை என்றும்

மறவாமை வேண்டும் இன்னும் வேண்டு நான் மகிழ்ந்து பாடி

அறவா நீ ஆடும் போதுன் அடியின் கீழ் இருக்க என்றார்

ஒரே பாட்டில் சங்கர நாராயணனையும் அர்த்த நாரீஸ்வரரையும் பாடி “அரியும் சிவனும் ஒன்னு அறியாதவன் வாயில் மண்ணு” என்று காட்டிவிட்டீர்களே!

ஒருபால் உலகளந்த மால் அவனாம்; மற்றை

ஒருபால் உமையவளாம் என்றால்- இருபாலும்

நின்னுருவமாக நிறந்தெரிய மாட்டோமால்

நின்னுருவோ மின்னுருவோ நேர்ந்து.

சுவையான மாம்பழத்தைப் படைக்கப் போய், கணவரால் பக்திப் பெண்மணி என்று பயந்து கைவிடப்பட்டு, பேய் உருவை விரும்பிப் பெற்று, சிவபிரானால் “ வரும் இவர் நம்மைப் பேணும் அம்மை, காண்” என்று பார்வதிக்கு அறிமுகப்படுத்தப் பட்டீரே. உமது திரு ஆலங்காட்டில் காலால் நடக்ககூட சம்பந்தர் தயங்கினாரே உமது அன்பு பயன் கருதாப் பேரன்பு அல்லவோ!

இடர் களையாரேனும் எமக்கு இரங்காரேனும்

படரும் நெறி பணியாரேனும்—சுடர் உருவில்

என்பறாக் கோலத் தெரியாடுமமெம்மனார்க்கு

அன்பறாது என் நெஞ்சு அவர்க்கு.

கீதையில் கண்ணன் “பிரம்மார்ப்பணம் பிரம்மஹவிர் ப்ரம்மஹ்னௌ ப்ரம்மனாஹுதம்” என்ற ஸ்லோகத்தில் அர்ப்பணம் பிரம்மம், அர்ப்பிக்கப்படும் பொருளும் பிரம்மம் என்பது போல நீங்களும்…….

அறிவானும் தானே; அறிவிப்பான் தானே,

அறிவாய் அறிகிறான் தானே;- அறிகின்ற

மெய்ப்பொருளும் தானே; விரிசுடர் பார் ஆகாயம்

அப்பொருளும் தானே அவன்.

உங்களுக்கு இசைப் பயிற்சியும் உண்டோ? 7 பண்களும் 11 இசைக் கருவிகளும்

உங்கள் சொற்களில் நடம் புரிகின்றனவே!

துத்தம் கைக் கிள்ளை விளரி தாரம்

உழை இளி ஓசை பண்  கெழும பாடிச்

சச்சரி கொக்கரை தக்கையோடு

தகுணிதம் துந்துபி தாளம் வீணை

மத்தளம் கரடிகை வன் கை மென் தோல்

தமருகம் குடமுழா மொந்தை வாசித்(து)

அத்தனை விரவினோடாடும் எங்கள்

அப்பன் இடம் திருவாலங்காடே

பிறவிப் பெருங் கடல் நீந்துவார் நீந்தார் இறைவன் அடி சேராதார் என்று வள்ளுவன் கூறுகிறான். நீங்கள் அதை எதிரொலிப்பது போல உள்ளதே!

வினைக் கடலை ஆக்குவிக்கும் மீளாப் பிறவிக்

கனைக் கடலை நீந்தினோம் காண்.

நீங்கள் ஆண்டாளுக்கு முந்தியவர். எற்றைக்கும் ஏழேழ் பிறவிக்கும் உந்தன்னோடு உற்றோமே யாவோம் என்று அவர் பாடியது உம்மைப் பார்த்துத் தானோ!

அவர்க்கே எழுபிறப்பும் ஆளாவோம்; என்றும்

அவர்க்கே நாம் அன்பாவது அல்லாமல்- பவர்ச் சடை மேல்

பாதுகாப்போழ் சூடும் அவர்க்கல்லால் மற்றொருவர்க்கு

ஆகாப்போம்; எஞ்ஞான்றும் ஆள்.

வணிகர் குலத்தில் புனிதவதியாக அவதரித்து, பேய் என்று உங்களையே அழைத்துக் கொண்டீர்கள்.ஆனால் இறைவனோ உம்மை அன்பாக அம்மையே என்று அழைக்க அழியாப் புகழ் பெற்றுவிட்டீர்கள். சொற் சிலம்பம் ஆடும் பக்தர்களை வேத வாத ரதா: என்று கண்ணன் பரிகசிக்கிறாரே?

நூலறிவு பேசி நுழைவிலாதார் திரிக !

நீலமணிமிடற்றோன் நீர்மையே-மேலுவந்தது;

எக்கோலத்து எவ்வுருவாய் எத்தவங்கள் செய்வாருக்கும்

அக்கோலத்து அவ்வுருவே ஆம்.

நீங்களும் அதையே சொல்கிறீர்கள். திருவாலங்காட்டு மூத்த திருப்பதிகம், அற்புதத் திருவந்தாதி, திரு இரட்டை மணிமாலை முதலிய பாடல்கள் பாடினீர்கள். இதைப் படிப்பதால் என்ன பயன்?

உரையினால் இம்மாலை அந்தாதி வெண்பாக்

கரைவினால் காரைக்கால் பேய் சொல்-பரவுவார்

ஆராத அன்பினோடு அண்ணலைச் சென்றேத்துவார்

பேராத காதல் பிறந்து.

தமிழர்களுக்கு என்று ஒரு கின்னஸ் சாதனை நூல் இருந்தால் 1.மண்டல முறையில் அந்தாதி பாடியது, 2.பதிகம் பாடியது, 3.கட்டளைக் கலித் துறையில் பாடல் பாடியது, 4.கயிலை மலைக்கு தலையால் நடந்து சென்றது,5. பதிகத்தில் கடைக்காப்பு வைப்பது, 6.பதிகத்தில் இயற்றியவரின் பெயரைக் கூறி முத்திரை வைப்பது 7.முதலில் இரட்டை மணி மாலை பாடியது 8. பேய் பற்றி விரிவாக வருணித்தது 9.கம்போடியாவில் சிலை உடைய தமிழ் பெண் ஆகிய ஒன்பது தலைப்புகளில் உங்கள் பெயரைப் பதிவு செய்துவிடுவார்கள்! நன்றி அம்மையாரே!

 

Hindu Goddess’ march to Denmark !

Picture shows Gundestrup cauldron with Gajalakshmi

(This is the fifth part in my thesis to prove that Kalidasa lived before Sangam Tamil period. Kalidasa’s date was around 1st century BC. Tamil poets have used a lot from his 1000+ similes in various places. For some of these we may find a common source. But a lot of similes and idioms and phrases show beyond any shadow of doubt that they knew Kalidasa’s works and they deliberately used them in Sangam Tamil poems. Art Historian Sri C Sivaramamurti and others used different methods to arrive at the same date of first century BC. Sivaramamurti showed how Junagadh Rudradaman inscription of second century AD had echoed Kalidasa’s poems)

Lakshmi is praised by various Tamil and Sanskrit poets from Vedic days. They used the words THIRU (Tamil) and SRI (in Sanskrit) to mean wealth as well as Goddess Laksmi. Goddess Lakshmi is in charge of wealth. There are innumerable references to the goddess in Tamil and Sanskrit works. But the interesting form of Lakshmi  is GAJA LAKSHMI(Gaja in Sanskrit means elephant). Goddess Lakshmi seated on a lotus flower and two elephants on either side pouring water on her is known as Gaja Lakshmi. This particular aspect of Lakshmi is considered very auspicious. In India, particularly in Chettinadu of Tamil Nadu, palatial houses have Teak doors with the wooden figures of Gajalakshmi till this day.

Gajalakshmi’s figures have travelled from the Himalayas to the southern most part of Sri Lanka. It is in the form of old coins, lamps, wooden figures, idols and stone sculptures. It has travelled from India to Denmark !! We have Gajalakshmi figure carved in to Gundestrup silver Cauldron. Now it is in Copenhagen. When they dug up a marshy area in Jutland , Denmark in 1891 they recovered a big silver vessel which is dated to second century BC. A very interesting fact about this vessel is that there is a god surrounded by animals like we see in the Indus valley seal (For more details please read my article Vishnu in Indus Valley Seal)

The earliest reference to Gajalakshmi is in Sri Suktam of the Vedas:

“Laksmir –divyair-gajendrair-manigana-kasithai: snabitha hemakumbhair nithyam sa pathma hastha”

(Holding a lotus in hand she is bathed by water from the gem studded golden pot by the celestial elephants)

Later Valmiki, Kalidasa and Sangam Tamil poets described the goddess in detail. We get lot of materials with the figure in coins, sculptures, idols etc. from second century BC onwards .The Bharhut sculptures show a beautiful Gajalakshmi which is in Kolkatta museum at present.  Ellora, Mahabalipuram cave temples also have got these sculptures.

Gajalakshmi coins are in plenty belonging to different dynasties of different periods. The oldest coin was issued by an Indo Greek king Azilises of North West India in first century BC. Later kings of Kosambi and Mathura Bijaasata Mitra and Visaka Deva respectively issued coins with Gajlakshmi. In Sri Lanka we find Gajalakshmi on the coins of 1st century AD. The coins were recovered from Anuradhapuram,Kantharodai , Manthottam in Sri Lanka and Karur of Tamil Nadu..

Buddhists and Jains “worshipped”

Not only Hindus but also the Jains and Buddhists respected or probably worshipped Gajalakshmi. The Buddhist kings of Sri Lanka issued such coins. Bharhut sculpture of Gakjalakshmi is another proof for it. Jain Tirthankar Mahavir’s mother Trishala had a dream of 14 auspicious signs before the birth of Mahavir. The fourth dream was of Gajalakshmi.

Michael Michener read a paper at a seminar in British Museum, London where he listed all the old kings who issued coins of Gajalakshmi. The list includes coins of Indo Greek king Azilesas, Mathura King Raju vula , Andhra King Shrive Satakarni(1st century) ,Jayanagar (8th century AD) and Nayak Kings of Tamil Nadu.

In the 2000 year old Sangam literature, we have references in the books:

Nedunal vaatai .88-89 and Kalitokai 44-8.

Madurai Kanchi of Mankudi Maruthan 353

Kapilar being a Brahmin well versed in Sanskrit used lot of Kalidasa’s similes and expressions. In Kalitokai, Kurinji Kali 44-8 he described Gajalakshmi.

Another Brahimn poet Nakkirar, who would have read all Kalidasa in Sanskrit used a lot of Kalidasa’s works on Muruga (Lord Skanda) in his Tirumurukatruppatai and Lakshmi in Nedunalvatai.

“Have massive door posts daubed with ghee and white mustard

And held by a stout lintel named after Uttara star,

Where on are carved the figures of Goddess Lakshmi,

With the elephants holding water lilies on either side

And fitted with double doors, iron clamped….. (Nedu88-89)

(Nachinarkiniyar interpreted these lines as Gajalakshmi. English translation is based on his commentary. Arthasastra also advised kings to install such figures in the fort doors)

In Sivaka Sinthamani (2595), we see the same picture.

In Kalidasa we have references to Gajalakshmi in the books:

Raghuvamsa 12-93: Kalidasa was describing the battle between Rama and Ravana with beautiful similes in every sloka/couplet. The commentators struggled to comment on this sloka because they did not know what he was using as simile. They guessed that a wooden plank with wheels was used when two elephants clashed in the battle field. But anyone who reads it can easily see he used Jayalakshmi (goddess of victory) in between two elephants to mean Galjalakshmi .

In Meghadutam 79, Kalidasa described the lotus and conch (Sangha Nidhi and Padhma Nidhi) pictures drawn on the doors. They are considered two of the nine treasures of Kubera. Saivite saint Appar also mentioned these treasures of Kubera in his Thevaram hymns.

Arthasastram of Kautilya (second century BC) listed several gods and goddesses to be installed in the forts and Gajalakshmi was one of them

Tamil References:

குறிஞ்சிக் கலி

வரிநுதல் எழில் வேழம் பூநீர் மேல் சொரிதரப்,

புரிநெகிழ் தாமரை மலரங்கண் வீறு எய்தித்,

திரு நயந்து இருந்தன்ன தேங்கமழ் விறல் வெற்ப! (கலி.44-8-5/7)

மதுரைக் காஞ்சி

விண் உற ஓங்கிய பல் படைப் புரிசை

தொல் வலி நிலை இய அணங்குடை நெடி நிலை(352-353)

நெடுநல்வாடை

ஐயவி அப்பிய நெய் அணி நெடு நிலை

வென்று எழு கொடியொடு வேழம் சென்று புக

குன்று குயின்றன்ன ஓங்கு நிலை வாயில்

திருநிலை பெற்ற தீது தீர் சிறப்பின் (86-89)

அப்பர் தேவாரம்

சங்க நிதி பதும நிதி இரண்டும் தந்து

தரணியொடு வானாளத் தருவரேனும்

மங்குவார் அவர் செல்வம் மதிப்போம் அல்லோம்

மாதேவர்க்கு ஏகாந்தர் அல்லார் ஆகில் (அப்பர் 6-346)

References

  1. The Gundestrup Cauldron by Timothy Tailor-Scientific American, March 1992
  2. Ancient coins of India by A. Cunningham (pages 74,86,92 and 100)
  3. Foreign influence on Ancient Sri Lankan Coinage by Jayasinghe-1997
  4. Lakshmi bathed by elephants on ancient Indian coins by Michael Michener-seminar in British Museum-2-12-2000