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


To the east of Funan and Cambodia was situated the kingdom of Champa, which is now occupied by the central and southern Annam. The very name Champa is thoroughly Indian and it is clear from the monuments, statuary and inscriptions found in that ancient country that the early civilization flourishing there was due to strong influence from India. Contact with India started from about the early centuries of the Christian era and the Influence of the Amaravati school is visible on its early artistic creations. As in Cambodia, in Champa too the principal Hindu cult was that of Siva. In fact, Saivism was held in such a high esteem by the Cham dynasty, that it claimed direct descent from Siva. The most important centre of Saivism was in the Quangdam where, between 4th to 7th century innumerable sancturies were erected at Mi-so'n alone. Alongwith Siva, Ganesa naturally found his way into Champa.

There is epigraphical evidence to show that temples were erected and dedicated to Ganesa. One such sanctury was at Po Nagar. From the cultural evidence it appears that Ganesa was quite popular during 7th-8th centuries A.D. A most impressive statue of Ganesa was discovered at Mi-so'n where a Saiva shrine was found.22 It depicts a standing Ganesa wearing a dhoti. like lower garment (Sampot), very similar to the Indian ardhoruka, reaching knees. It is held in' position on waist by what looks like a cord (kati-sutra).Originally four armed, two of its back arms are now missing. In the lower left hand is a bowl of sweets which he is eating with his trunk. He wears sparse jewellery and there is no crown on his head, but the naga-yajnopavita is seen. The statue is dated to about 8th century, As compared to the Khmer representations of Ganesa, this image appears rather bulky. It is characterised by rather coarse plastic treatment. Another seated image was also found at Mi-so'n,23 Yet most interesting is the Gal)eS3 image in the Saigon Museum. It is unfortunately in 3 mutilated condition. It shows the god seated, and with two hands, Curiously enough it has three deep set eyes. He also has a small prabMvalaya at the back. According to Boisselier, it is the only representation of its kind in the whole of South-east Asia,24

In some of the Cham statues of Ganesa we notice usnisa, the protruberence on the head, which'is supposed to be a symbol of great men (maha-purusa-laksana). This, in fact, is a characteristic of the Buddha images and it is not, therefore, unlikely that the Buddhist iconography influenced the Hindu image. This becomes all the more possible in view of the fact that both the religions flourished in Champa side by side.