STORY OF GOLDEN BOWL IN LALITA VISTARA AND BOROBUDUR (Post No.6882)

WRITTEN BY LONDON SWAMINATHAN

swami_48@yahoo.com

 Date: 15 AUGUST 2019  


British Summer Time uploaded in London –  16-15

Post No. 6882

 Pictures are taken from various sources.  ((posted by swamiindology.blogspot.com AND tamilandvedas.com))

An interesting story of golden bowl given to Buddha has been described in 1800 year old Sanskrit book called Lalita Vistara and  1000 year old sculptures of Borobudur in Indonesia.

Sujata was the daughter of the village headman of Uruvilva. After a long fast of Buddha, se gave him milk rice in a golden bowl. But before eating it he went to the river of Nagas known as Nairanjana to refresh himself. After his bath he wanted to sit down on the banks of the river. Naga daughter who inhabits the river brought him a jewelled throne.  Seated on the throne Buddha took his milk rice. After having the food he threw the golden bowl into the river.

Sagara, the Naga King,    seized it at once and waned to carry it to his abode. At the same time Indra assuming the shape of Garuda (eagle) and holding his Vajra weapon in his beak tried to rob the priceless treasure from the Naga chief. When Indra realised, he was too powerful for him to beat, he took his original fomr and begged for the bowl. When Indra received it, he took it to the Heaven and instituted an annual ‘Festival of the Bowl’. The author of Lalita Vistara says it is still celebrated.

(Today we don’t know anything about it. So it may be one of the lost festivals of ancient India)

It was so popular till Borobudur period and in panels 85 to 89 of Lalita Vistara sculptures we see them even today. The popular story went up to Indonesia. 120 panels describe the anecdotes in Buddha’s life as detailed in Lalita Vistara.

Following are the details found in the sculptures of five panels:

Buddha in his previous Bodhisatva form, receives the golden bowl from Sujata in his right hand.

Four divine personages kneel before him. Celestial Rishis shower on him divine flowers and ornaments.

Then a Naga maid offers him the jewelled throne. Another three Naga females kneel before Buddha

Buddha seated cross legged on the throne took the food.

Another panel shows buddha’s empty right hand . Then a hooded Naga receive the bowl and then give it to Indra. Another peculiar figure with the head dress in the shape of an elephant trunk is found near the royal personage. Scholars think that it is Airavata in the shape of a human being.

Airavata is the elephant Vahana of Indra.

Such a detailed and popular story has disappeared from India with its Bowl festival!

(The elephant headed dress is found in North West India and Pallava History as well)

Xxx subham xxx

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