Terms

The Great Lord

The Great Lord There is a Tamil tradition that Skanda came to be called Svaminatha, the ‘great Lord’, because He expounded to Siva the significance of the Pranava. It will be of interest to compare this image of Svaminatha, represented in Swamimalai as an elderly sage with a beard and two arms, with the peculiar iconographic Javanese concept of Bhattaraguru, sometimes called Sivaguru, identified by some scholars as Agastya. Could it be that this concept combines the Murugan and Agastya cults which are two distinct Tamil contributions to Javanese art and religion? Such a synthesis is not unknown in Java, e.g. the Siva-Buddha and Siva-Surya combinations. The Javanese Bhadaraguru is represented either as two-armed or as four-armed, and the emblems and mudras of cither form are suggestive of sonic forms of Skanda in the Tamil country, e.g. the rosary, water jar, and trident. This suggestion was made by Sri K. R. Srinivasan of the Archaeological Survey of India, who recently visited Java; it deserves further investigation. http://www.murugan.org/research/venkataraman.htm
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