Ganesa Beyond The Indian Frontiers

Introduction of Ganesa Beyond The Indian Frontiers
Introduction of Religio-Cultural Emissaries From India

Introduction of Ganesa Beyond The Indian Frontiers


It is indeed surprising that Hinduism should have penetrated as far as Borneo in the 5th century or even earlier. This is evident from an epigraphical record discovered at Kotei which records certain Hindu rites performed by Brahmins. Furthermore, a cave at Kombeng contained several Brahmanical and Buddhist images among which a majority were of the Saiva pantheon. Of these, a fine stone statue of Ganesa shows him sitting with the usual attributes in his four hands.3o It is a loose image and appears to have been brought with others from some other temple which was facing destruction at the hands of hostile barbarians. It seems that the idol is taken to be contemporaneous with the Kotei epigraphs of 5th century and is thus supposed to be one of the oldest statues of Ganesa known so far. This dating however, is not supported by stylistic evidence. Furthermore, it should be borne in mind that the statue originally belonged to some temple on the banks of river Mahakan whence it was brought and deposited in the cave. On stylistic grounds it can be assigned to 8th century.

Another statue of Ganesa from Borneo shows the deity seated with fan-shaped ears and almost straight trunk which appear to be the characteristic of Borneo statues of Ganesa.31 Another important feature that is common to both is that the crown looks more like the jata- mukuta. In tJ1e present case it looks as if the hair is combed into a round bun (dhammilla) on the top of the head and is adorned by a tiara. The attributes in his hands are not clear. A very interesting feature of this statue is the urna mark, or the protruberance between the eye- brows, an important mark of greatness. The urna is usually to be seen in the statue of Buddha in India and its presence in Hindu images is, probably, due to the ignorance of the artist who was perhaps used to fashion Buddha images. It may be recalled that another marku§lJ1§a-has been noticed in the images of Ganesa in Champa.