Kannada, Kannadiga, Kannadigaru, Karnataka,

Kannadigarella ondaagi Kannadavannu ulisona, kalisona and belesona

A Glimpse of Karnataka-The Temple of Mukt®¿vara at Cau·ad¡napura

A Glimpse of Karnataka-The Temple of Mukt®¿vara at Cau·ad¡napura


The present State of Karn¡¶aka is situated between longitudes 74 degrees and 12 minutes East; 78 degrees and 30 minutes East and latitudes 11 degrees and 30 minutes North and 18 degrees and 45 minutes North. Its area is 1,91,791 sq. KMS.Its population is 4,48,06,408, according to the Census of 1991.

Different forms and spellings of the name:




Physically Karn¡¶aka is divided in five main regions:

a) The Kanara Coastal Belt, a strip of very fertile land, 30 kms wide at the most, along the West coast.

b) The Sahyadri or Western Ghat, a picturesque chain of hills, culminating at 1925 m. with the Baba Budan peak, often covered with monsoonal type of forest.

c) The Eastern Ranges, a transitional belt between the hills and the plateau; which combines the advantages of the rainy western hills and the drier eastern plains.

d) The Southern Plateau, bordered on the south by the hilly transitional belt between the plateau and the plains of Tamiln¡du, dominated by red soils and an agriculture based on rice, ragi and coconut.

e) The Northern Plateau, north to a line from Chikmagalur to Chitradurga, characterised by large tracts of rich black soils and the cultivation of jowar, wheat, cotton and oil seeds.

The same chain of hills makes the climatic division of Karn¡¶aka: to the west the hot monsoonal regime with some 5ms of rain per year; to the east the more temperate climate with a gradually declining quantum of rainfall, from the 2 ms of the Eastern Ranges to the 50 cms of the dry northern plateau.

Tu´gabhadr¡ River at Haralahalli near Cau·ad¡napura.

The Sahyadri chain is a north-south water-divide between the numerous westward rivers going to the Arabian Sea and the large eastward rivers.

Westward rivers: Mandavi, Kalinadi, Gangavali (or Bedti), Sharavati (with Gersoppa Falls), Haladi, Svarna, Netravati.

Eastward: Krishna and tributaries: Don and Bhima on its northern bank, Ghataprabha, Malaprabha,Tungabhadra on the southern. Tungabhadra is itself the result of the junction of Tunga and Bhadra and has important tributaries: Kumudvati and Varada on its northern bank, Hagari on the southern.

The geological map of Karn¡¶aka displays remarkable parallel belts of the Dharwar system which characterizes the south Deccan. The most prominent are the Dharwar-Shimoga, the Gadag-Chitradurga and the Kolar schist belt. They provide a schist of fine texture which has been the choice stone of medieval architects. The same Dharwar system includes also a wealth of ore deposits, such as the iron and manganese of Sandur, the gold of Kolar etc. A long belt of granite from Bellary to the south has provided a good material of construction in the southern part of the state.

Temple of K®dar®¿vara at Balligave.

Sogayisi baÆda m¡marane

ta½televa½½iye p£ta j¡ji saÆ

pageye kukilva k°gileye p¡·uva

tuÆbiye nallaro½mogaÆ

nagemogado½ pa½aÆcaleya

k£·uva nallare n°½po·¡va be

¶¶uga½o½am¡va naÆdana

vanaÆga½o½aÆ banav¡si d®¿ado½

C¡gada bh°gadakkarada g®yada


½g¡ram¡da m¡nisare

m¡nisarantar¡gi pu¶¶al®

n¡giyum®n° t¢rdupude t¢rido·aÆ

maRiduÆbiy¡gi m®¸

k°giley¡gi pu¶¶uvudu

nandanado½ banav¡si d®¿ado½

TeÆka¸ag¡½i s°Ækido·aÆo½nu·i

g®½do·aÆiÆpan¡½da g®

yaÆ kivivokko·am birida

malligega¸·o·am¡da keÆ dalam

paÆge·ego¸·o·am madhumah°tsava

m¡do·am®naneÆ ben¡

ra´kusavi¶¶o·aÆ nenevudenna

manam banav¡sid®¿amam

“In Banav¡sid®¿a beautiful mango groves pleasing to the eyes, young betel leaves, j¡ti jasmins, campaka flowers, singing cuckoos, buzzing bumble-bees, lovers meeting their beloved with smiling faces are to be seen everywhere in hillocks and pleasure gardens.

O, they are men, those who are abodes of renouncement; enjoyments, affections, chants, discourses; if born, one should be born like those men there, if not, like a cuckoo or even a small buzzing bee in Banav¡sid®¿a.

When the southern breeze passes gently by my side, when the sweet sounding speeches fall on my ears, when fully blossomed jasmins are at sight, when spring festivities are celebrated, even if there is a goad point on my neck, I will not cease to think of Banav¡sid®¿a.”

Temple of Nagar®¿vara at Balligave.

Banadase* n¡·o½elli na·en°rppa·am

alliye ramyavarppa nan l

danavanamalli r¡jisuva hegge

Reyalliye ¿°bhevetta kab

bina posad°Æ¶amalliye vir¡jipa

p£go½avalli k°ki½a

svanada vi½¡savalli be½igeyu½a

dh¡nyam samriddha saÆ-ku½am ll

‘In Banav¡sin¡·u wherever one walks or looks, there are delightful gardens, shining big water tanks, new sugarcane orchards, tanks with flowers (lilies), there resounds the sweet singing of cuckoos, all harvests of grains and vegetables are rich there.”

ll kaÆ ll Ë n¡·a kaÆpa¸aÆ

vasaudh¡n¡r¢tilakadante raÆjisi!

sukhasant¡nado½esevudu siriyi

t¡nagga½av¡giresedu n£RuÆb¡·am ll

“N£RuÆb¡·a was a kaÆpa¸a in that n¡·u (Banav¡sin¡·u) which was like a tilak shining on the forehead of the lady earth, resplendent with children and wealth in plenty.” (Rattihalli inscription no. 1)

From the Rattihalli inscription no. 2. (lines 11 to 14)

“A multitude of bees sucking the sap revolved around newly blown lotuses in beautiful tanks, groups of silvan ladies, wives of silvans tuned their sweet voices to the humming of intoxicated bees, and the charm of their body was equal to that of Tam¡la groves, in that Banav¡side¿a.”

“Besides, mango groves with their young sprouts, bouquets of flowers, heaps of fruits, give excessive joy to multitudes of cuckoos, throngs of bees, hosts of parrots causing great joy to the heart; the juice emerging out of ripe fruits, running in streams, satisfies the desire of rice fields in that viÀaya.”

“Thus, with stately grace, the goddess LakÀm¢ of Banav¡si was shining with the elegance of N£Rumb¡·a, her crest jewel.”

Coconut trees surround fully the mango groves with their waters, mango trees surround banana groves with their sweet juices, banana trees surround fully grown sugar-cane fields looking like rows of fruit carriages, fully grown sugarcanes irrigate rice-fields with their well ripe juice, who knows to describe the plentifulness of Guttavo½al?”



Major dynasties who ruled Karn¡¶aka upto 16th century:Maurya Asoka 3rd cent.B.C.

S¡tavahana, 171 B.C.-174 A.D.

Kadamba of Banav¡si, 350-540

Ga´ga of Talak¡·, 350-1050

C¡lukya of B¡d¡mi, 500-757

R¡À¶rak£¶a of Malkhed, 752-973

C¡lukya of Kaly¡¸a, 973-1189

Kalac£ri of Kaly¡¸a, 1142-1184

Y¡dava of Devagiri, 850-1334

Hoysala of Ha½eb¢d and B®l£r, 1022-1342

Sangama of Vijayanagar, 1344-1485

S¡luva of Vijayanagar, 1486-1505

Tuluva of Vijayanagar, 1491-1576

KadaÆba kings. (350-540 A.D.).

C¡lukyas of B¡d¡mi: (c.500-757 A.D.)

R¡À¶rak£¶a. (c.752 A.D.- 973 A.D.).

K¡v®riyiÆdam¡ g°

d¡varivarmirdda n¡·ad¡ kanna·ado½

bh¡visida janapadam


AdaRo½agam kisuvoßal¡

vidita mah¡kopa¸a nagarad¡ purigerey¡


dada na·uva¸a n¡·e n¡·e kanna·ada tiru½

PadanaRidu nu·iyalum nu·i

dudanaRid¡rayalum¡rpar¡ n¡·avargga½

cadurar nijadim kuRit°

dadeyum k¡vyapray°ga pari¸ata matiga½ ll

C¡lukyas of Kaly¡¸a (973 A.D.- 1189 A.D.)

n¡s¢d asti bhaviÀyati kÀititale

k¡ly¡¸akalpaÆ puram

no d¤À¶aÅ ¿ruta eva v¡

kÀitipatiÅ ¿r¢vikram¡rkopamaÅ l

“On the surface of the earth there has not been, there is not and there will not be a town equal to Kaly¡¸a. None has seen nor heard of a king like Vikram¡rka.”

Kalac£ris (c.1142 A.D. -1184. A.D).

Sevu¸as or Y¡davas of D®vagiri (c. 850 A.D. to 1334 A.D.).

Hoysala of Halebid and Belur (1022 A.D. – 1342 A.D.).



Siva in-the form of lakut¢¿a, at Galagnath.


The history of K¡½¡mukhas in Karn¡¶aka goes back to the eighth century when the C¡lukyas of B¡d¡mi were the overlords of the region spread between God¡vari in the north and K¡v®ri in the South. In an article by Dr. G.S. Dikshit there is a reference to an inscription from Pa¶¶adakal dated 755 A.D. which mentions an Ëc¡rya named Jµ¡na¿iva who had come to that place from Mrigathanik¡h¡raviÀaya on the north bank of the Ganges and who was honoured by the C¡lukya queen Trailokya Mah¡devi. Further the professor writes: “Since Jµ¡na¿iva is a name common to K¡l¡mukhas, he might be one of the first amongst the K¡l¡mukhas, or followers of the L¡kula¿aiva cult, to come to Karn¡¶aka.” The modest beginning of K¡l¡mukha-P¡¿upata movement during the rule of the C¡lukyas of B¡d¡mi continued to be active in the times of the R¡À¶rak£¶as. But, the time was not favourable enough for their activities probably due to the presence of Jains and Buddhists in the kingdom. But in subsequent centuries K¡l¡mukhas, and P¡¿upatas flourished immensely. Their golden days commenced with the advent of Kaly¡¸a C¡lukyas to power, especially with the accession of Vikram¡ditya VI to the throne in 1075 A.D.
According to informations recorded in inscriptions, we may safely say that L¡kula¿¡ivas came to Karn¡¶aka from the four corners of India, Ka¿m¢r, K®d¡r, Bengal, Maley¡½a and R¡m®¿varam. Those who came from K¡¿m¢r settled down in the region of B¢j¡pura; those from K®d¡r made Banav¡side¿a in modern áimoga district as their headquarters. Once established in Karn¡¶aka these áaivites modified the mode of their worship, rituals, customs and manners to fit themselves in the local contexts of the kingdom. In Karn¡¶aka they showed their affiliation to ár¢¿aila irrespective of their original place. It is yet unknown from when and why ár¢¿aila gained importance. May be due to the reason that it is one of the five jyotirli´ga centres of India. In its earlier stages ár¢¿aila was under the control of K¡p¡likas. Taking into consideration the facts recorded in an inscription, we can say that, probably, by mid-eleventh century it came under the domination of K¡l¡mukhas, and P¡¿upatas, Since then, the place has not ceased to increase in importance. K¡l¡mukha and P¡¿upata saints and their schools known as ma¶ha appear quite frequently in inscriptions. The subjects that were taught in these schools (ma¶has) became part of contents of epigraphs.

Of the two main branches in L¡kula¿aiva school, K¡l¡mukha and P¡¿upata, the former belonged to áaktipariÀe and the latter to SiÆhapariÀe. Possibly, K¡l¡mukhas, attached more importance to the áakti or the goddess, P¡¿upatas to the lion (siÆha) Her vehicle. Whether it is áaktipariÀe or SiÆhapariÀe they aligned themselves on the school at ár¢¿aila which they called Parvat¡vali.

In áaktipariÀe there were many branches notably M£varak°¸e at Ba½½ig¡ve, Ki¶¶ag¡vesantati at Ra¶¶iha½½i and another called Be½½esantati.

According to Pamp¡m¡h¡tmya the derivation of the name K¡l¡mukha is as follows: Kal¡mukha means that in which the kal¡s are well-established. That which has relation with only kal¡mukha is accepted as kal¡mukha. Those who practice that, are taught as being kal¡mukha. Niv¼tti, pratiÀh¡, vidy¡, ¿¡nti, ¿¡ntyat¢t¡. All these are kal¡s in the present [doctrine].

A v¢ra¿aiva devotee worshipping the linga in his hand. South wall of the ra´gama¸·apa.

Basava, the founder of the future V¢ra¿aiva movement, has been the finance minister of the Kalac£ri King Bijjala. The believers of Lakul¢¿a áaiva, K¡l¡mukha and P¡¿upata schools had become powerful. Building temples and making grants for temple services was their motto, the primordial means they proposed to attain liberation. But, those who did not have enough wealth to participate in these activities, nor to contribute in any way, were unhappy and worried. Moreover, all revenues of villages and fields were going to the temples. The king’s treasure ceased to increase. In order to save the people and the kingdom, Basava found a very simple way.

He awakened the sense of duty in people’s mind and heart and campaigned with the motto k¡yakave kail¡sa “Work is Worship”. Do your duty and the god will come to you. If the duties are accomplished with devotion that is enough to please the Almighty. To make his thoughts go directly deep in the hearts of common people, Basava used the literary genre of vacana “saying”. In simple words he propagated his ideas. In no time he met with unprecedented success. Many joined hands with him to give an impetus to his principle “work is worship”.

In one of his Vacanas he says :

u½½avaru ¿iv¡layava m¡·uvaru, n¡n®nu

m¡·ali ba·avanayy¡ enna k¡l® kaÆbha,

d®hav® d®gula enna ¿irave honnaka½asavayy¡,

sth¡varakka½ivuƶu jaÆgamakka½ivilla

k®½¡ k£·alasaÆgamad®v¡

“Those who are wealthy can construct temples but I am a poor one. My body is the temple, my feet are the pillars and my head is the pinnacle; Lo ! god K£·alasa´gama, listen, a Li´ga installed in a temple is perishable but not the devotion of a mendicant ja´gama”.)

This kind of diffusing ideas through vacanas became very popular. Every follower of Basava began to compose vacanas and set them to music and sing or recite them. Another principle that Basava adopted was to worship an image of áiva of one’s own choice, that is to choose the name of any image of áiva installed in a temple, be seated at home, take an effigy of a small Li´ga, place it in the palm of one’s left hand, offer all the services like bath, sandal paste, flowers, bell, incense etc. and with concentration on that Li´ga mentally make áiva present in the form of Li´ga one is wishing to pray. This is actually a principle found in Ëgama texts. But, in Ëgamas the worship of áiva in temples is emphasised, whereas Basava proposed to do it at home. According to him going to the temples is not necessary. In case one cannot find time to express one’s devotion to god at home, carrying a small image of Li´ga on one’s body is sufficient. As devotees began to wear a Li´ga on their body, in subsequent centuries, they were called Li´gins and later Li´g¡yats. Now this is one of the most powerful communities in Karn¡¶aka. Some modern historians think that the preachings of Basava curbed temple construction activities. But, this is a baseless attack. In fact, his teachings came as bliss in disguise and became instrumental in the development of temple architecture and embellishment.

Basava also tried to suppress the age old thorn of Hindu society, i.e. the caste system. But this revolutionary idea led to the assassination of King Bijja½a. Basava had to run away from the capital. The whole system ended in chaos. It could only be revived in the fifteenth century when the vacanas were codified and classified under the different categories of the âa¶sthala m¡rga “the six-stage way” and brought out under one general title á£nyasamp¡dane. Thus vacana literature became a genre par excellence.

Before the detailed description of áaiva worship, which is its main subject, a standard áaiv¡gama, the Ajitatantra, begins with an exposition of the theological concept of áiva as supreme principle called brahman, using a typical upaniÀadic vocabulary:”Only that one who is áiva, superior to all, stable, supreme soul, great lord, whose form is existence, consciousness and felicity, who is free from existent and non-existent manifestations, who is all-pervading, only him is named by the sages with the word brahman. “In the ¿aiva tradition áiva is known as free from beginning, middle and end, free by nature from the stain entity, powerful, omniscient, perfect, non limited by directions of space, times etc., beyond the range of speech and mind, without parts, without action, all-pervading, always all-experiencing.”

After introducing the concept of God, the Ajitatantra introduces the concept of worship. It emphasizes the difference between the worship of a yogin through only mental processes, fixation of the mind on God etc., and the activities of other men of lesser mental capacity. Only the former experiences the supreme áiva. The latter is not qualified to enter into relation with him. The concept of the supreme is the concept adapted to the concept of mental practice of yoga.

“The worship of this áiva can be the inner worship of yogin-s only. Men who take pleasure in the practice of yoga, whose mind is purified by the eight components of yoga, restraints etc., worship him in the middle of the lotus of their heart, no others. The action of worshipping him is superior. Without his worship, with any other [rite] there is no benefit for embodied souls.”

There is another, concurrent, concept of God adapted to the concept of worship in the form of rites comprising not only mental attitudes, but also speech activities and bodily gestures. Both types of worship are not conflicting but complementary. Tantra deals chiefly with ritualistic worship, Yoga chiefly with mental actions and psychological states.

30b-32. The undertaking of the inner worship falls upon someone sometimes; the undertaking of the outer worship falls upon those who have a little knowledge. Being aware of that, this lord of gods, áiva, who stands inside everything, who extends his grace to all and gives to creatures experience and liberation, this áiva became Sad¡¿iva whose body is the five brahma[-mantra-s] manifestly.

33-34a. From him arose Ì¿vara, the origin of all the gods, free from decline. From [Ì¿vara] I was born and from me you, the teacher of the universe, arose. From you, in the lotus of your navel, sprung forth Aja, the grandfather of the world.

34b-35. The consciousness who inhabits áiva should be celebrated as M¡y¡. Others [call her] “Root principle [of matter]”. She also stands in a relation of material cause and effect in five bodies. Hear her establishments.

36-38a. From her [is born] the deity Manonman¢ resting in Sad¡¿iva. From [Manonman¢] is born Gaur¢ resting in Mahe¿vara. From [Gaur¢] is born Um¡ who is mine; she should be Bhavapriy¡. From [Um¡] is born Padm¡ resting on you, ViÀ¸u. And from [Padm¡] is born V¡¸¢ resting upon Brahman.

The concept of kal¡ is important in all schools of áaivism and plays a special role in the religion of k¡l¡mukhas. It is closely related to the concepts of áakti and bindu. There are two aspects of áakti. On one side, it is the spiritual essence of God, the power of universal knowledge and action called d¤k-kriy¡-áakti or cit “consciousness”. On the other side it is the prak¤ti or material cause of all that is not cit. In áaiva philosophy the latter has two forms, pure and impure called bindu and m¡y¡. M¡y¡ is the well-known concept of the matrix of the world, psychic and material, of common experience. It produces all the constituents of human body, senses and mind etc. It provides a matter for the bound soul, which transmigrates in worldly lives.

Bindu is a purer form of m¡y¡. It provides matter for the higher souls in the hierarchy, who are close to liberation, such as Vidye¿vara-s delegates of the supreme áiva in his functions of creation etc., Mantra-s instruments of his grace etc. Bindu is divided in five parts kal¡ which form a scale and are from the lowest to the topmost: niv¤tti, pratiÀh¡, vidy¡, ¿¡nti, ¿¡ntyat¢t¡. They are related to ¿akti-s or powers of áiva having definite functions. The concept of these functions, as defined by M¤gendr¡gama in the chapter on adhvan in its Vidy¡p¡da illustrates well the hierarchy and the names of the kal¡-s in relation to the attainment of liberation:

“Those powers by which [áiva ] does the opening of the light of [consciousness of] the soul, are the Lords of worlds called niv¤tti, etc.”

Two important points appear here. The worlds which are transformations of m¡y¡ and bindu are grouped under five heads, which are the kal¡-s, niv¤tti, etc. Each group is ruled by a Lord who is a ¿akti of áiva. These five ¿akti-s have a common character, which is to contribute to the awakening of the powers of knowledge and action of the souls, and thus to contribute to the attainment of their goal.

Their respective functions are as follows:

“The [¿akti] by which [áiva ] checks the creation of elements and living species, is the checking power; the place where it occurs is called check [point] (niv¤tti), and the Lord [áiva considered] in this place is called possessor of niv¤tti.

The [¿akti of áiva] by which the fall of the checked soul [in lower births] is suppressed is the pratiÀ¶h¡ [stabilising power]; its location [is called stabilisation pratiÀ¶h¡)] and the Lord over it is possessor of pratiÀ¶h¡.

The [¿akti] by which [áiva] gives the soul a knowledge the contents of which do not come from verbal testimony or inference [i.e. direct experience], is the vidy¡ [power giving direct experience]; its location [is called place of direct experience vidy¡]) and the Lord over it is Lord of vidy¡.

The [¿akti] by which Hara achieves the pacification of all the sufferings of the soul is the ¿¡nti [pacifier]; its location is called place of pacification ¿¡nti) and the lord who accomplishes it is possessor of ¿¡nti.”

This passage of M¤gendr¡gama deals with only the above-mentioned four kal¡s. There is a fifth one called ¿¡ntyat¢t¡ beyond ¿¡nti. It is easily identifiable as the supreme áakti of áiva. And the M¤gendr¡gama itself in its Kriy¡p¡da qualifies it as bindu – antasaÆ¿ray¡ (VII, 82) “having a residence at the top of bindu”.

Linga called Spar¿a-linga, temple of Galagesvara at Galagnath.

Li´ga is first a philosophical concept defined thus by Ajitatantra:

puruÀasya tu yac cihnaÆ

puruÀavyaktik¡ra¸am l

sad¡¿ivasya talli´gaÆ

áivali´gam iti sm¼tam ll

“That which is a sign of the soul, i. e. a cause of manifestation of the soul, such a sign for Sad¡¿iva is traditionally known as áivali´ga.”

It is remarkable that the word Li´ga is explained here in its common meaning of sign or cause of manifestation. It is something from which one can, not only infer the existence of the soul and Sad¡¿iva, but also perceive it directly. It is an object which makes another entity manifest. It is also remarkable that the expression áivali´ga “Li´ga of áiva” is explained as referring to Sad¡¿iva. The worship of the Li´ga is the worship of Sad¡¿iva, i. e. the form of áiva manifested under the form of five mantra-s addressed to five faces of the god. Even if the faces are not represented on the Li´ga, the worshipper pictures them in his mind and addresses his actions to them.

Linga and Nandin, temple of Som®¿vara at Haralhalli.

The Li´ga is also a mythological concept, well-known in Pur¡¸as and áaiv¡gamas. The account of Ajitatantra is as follows. It involves three hierarchised manifestations of the supreme áiva: Sad¡¿iva who is the Li´ga, Ì¿vara and Rudra. ViÀ¸u and Brahman are also manifestations of the Supreme and of still lower rank. The narration is done by Rudra to ViÀ¸u.

k£¶astha¿ ca mah¡devaÅ

sarvak¡ra¸ak¡ra¸am ll

tvad¡der yo mam¡dis tu

tasy¡py ¡diÅ sad¡¿ivaÅ l

“2b-3a. Sad¡¿iva, the unchangeable, great god, cause of all the causes, is the origin of that entity who is the origin of me, origin of you.”

“3b-5. Both of you, N¡r¡ya¸a and Brahman, even though you are omniscient and omnipresent, were unable to perceive me, your mind being afflicted by delusion. Full of delusion and infatuation about the superiority in strength of one upon the other, each one claiming “there is none superior to me”, out of jealousy in each towards the other, both of you, desirous of killing yourselves mutually, furious, were going for your destruction”.

“6-7. Then, seeing such a delusion in both of you, lords of gods, áiva, the origin of all the gods, embodied in ¿abda-brahman, in order to enlighten you, bore the form of a fire-column, creating wonder, and he, the supreme Lord, stood between [you both]”.

“8-10. You, best among gods, went to the greatest astonishment. Wondering: “what is this?”, ready to examine it, with the desire to see its extremities, you went towards the top and the bottom of that form of the Li´ga, with the respective bodies of a haÆsa and a boar. Both of you, lords of all the worlds, came back, without fulfilling your purpose. Bowing down and praising the lord of gods, you stood on his sides.”

“11-13. Then, seeing your devotion, áiva, the lord of all the gods, despatched there Ì¿vara, as giver of knowledge to you. And this lord of gods, this peace-maker [said] to you: “you do not know the lord of gods, cause of all, imperishable, Sad¡¿iva, the great god, leader of the gods. I, Rudra, and you two, all of us are born from his grace.”

“14-15. This [column] is the sign of him. I, Rudra, and you, let us make a similar [Li´ga] with different materials, as we desire, and let us always worship the Lord of gods. Worshipped on the head of the Li´ga, the omniscient will always give knowledge, to calm down delusion.”

“16-17a. Seeing our procedure of worship, the fourteen-fold world will worship the Li´ga, and it will bestow the highest fruit.” Having spoken thus, Ì¿vara suddenly disappeared with the Li´ga.”

The deity is conceived as an abstract entity, which has numerous external manifestations. There are several degrees of manifestation of the supreme. The idea of manifestation is expressed in Sanskrit by the root aµju “to become manifest” and the preverb vi which indicates the idea of separation. The supreme áiva is a-vyakta “non-manifested”. It differentiates itself in a new entity called vyakta-a-vyakta “manifested and non-manifested”, then in a third one called vyakta “manifested” fully. By “manifested” is understood the quality of being accessible to the senses. Manifestation is achieved by the Supreme God himself through parts (kal¡) of its power (¿akti) in its aspect of pure material cause (bindu). Therefore the supreme is also called niÀkala “without [manifesting] part [of power]”. The second entity is sakala-niÀkala, the third sakala. Each entity has a name: the supreme is áiva, the second Sad¡¿iva, the third Mah®¿a. áiva is one, the other two have subdivisions: Sad¡¿iva five, Mah®¿a twenty-five. This is clearly stated in áaiv¡gamas such as V¡tula¿uddha:

“The essence of áiva is well-kown as niÀkala, o Mah¡s®na. In this [scripture] Sad¡¿iva is told to be niÀkala and sakala. One should know Mah®¿a as sakala. Thus there are three aspects. One should know áiva as one. Sad¡¿iva should be of five aspects. Mah®¿a, o Mah¡sena, has twenty-five divisions.”

The supreme áiva is not the subject of any representation in the temple, because of its unmanifested nature. It is dealt with in rituals only through a mantra, called m£la-mantra “the root-mantra”.

Sad¡¿iva appears in the temple in the form of the li´ga, which can be told to be manifested, since it is a visible object, and also non-manifested, since it is a purely geometrical shape, not revealing any particular aspect of the manifest God. The aspect which remains non-manifested in the Li´ga is properly called Sad¡¿iva or S¡d¡khya. There are five S¡d¡khyas or five heads which remain in the imagination of the worshipper. In rituals the visible Li´ga is not the real object of worship. It is a support on which the worshipper superimposes the five heads by means of mental representation (dhy¡na). The heads are not manifested. They remain in the mind of the worshipper. They are introduced in the rituals through mantras called brahma-mantras. This concept is very important, for it is the very basis of the religious activity, which integrates mental representations in pure ritualistic actions. It answers perfectly to the religious need of integration of mental and material actions.

“He (áiva) should be sakala and niÀkala for the purpose of meditation and worship; o Mah¡sena, this form is well-known as S¡d¡khya.”

The third áaiva entity, Mah®¿a, is the fully manifested form, with characteristic features and actions, detailed descriptions of which are given in mythological accounts of Ëgamas and Pur¡¸as. In general the diverse myths about áiva depict him with the attributes of a king, with a benevolent attitude to submissive and loving subjects or with violent actions against enemies. áiva is the Lord of the universe, chastising powerfully the evil forces and giving grace to devotees. He has a palace on a mountain, Kail¡sa, and a court of other submissive gods, celestial beings, saints, sages, yogins, etc.

“One should know Mah®¿a as sakala, conducting creation, maintenance and destruction [of the world]. This bodily form should be diverse through twenty-five varieties.”

The temple of Mukt®¿vara at Cau·ad¡napura, west facade.

The elaborate theological concept of the supreme god manifesting himself in several grades is well reflected in the architectural concept which comprises a general volume sheltering the Li´ga and numerous secondary structures dedicated to the outward manifestations. The former is the garbhag¤ha, the secluded cella, innermost centre of the monument. The latter have the form of the main temple in reduced size and are superimposed on its external face.

The monument as a whole, with its tower in pyramidal form can be taken as the representation of the Kail¡sa mountain. The interior and central cella sheltering the Li´ga is the private residence of the god-king in his palace. The court of that king is provided with architectural spaces, which are the miniature images of temples arranged outside on the walls. The relation of manifested-cum-non-manifested with the fully manifested is transcribed in the architecture by the disposition which gives a secluded and hidden shelter to the Li´ga, and outward, fully exposed places to the manifested images.

The reduced representations of temples are frequently treated as decorative architectural motifs by historians of art. But they can also be understood as being something more than a decoration. They have a close connection with the main structure, and must have a theological dedication, as well as the main structure. The dedication of some of them to the external manifestations of the deity is shown through images of several m£rtis placed on their prominent face or even inside them in the case of niches.


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July 1, 2007 - Posted by | KARWAR taluk, Temples of Karnataka

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