WHERE BUDDHA BECAME BISHNU

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa is known as Utkal because of her superb contribution to the world of arts. Its inhabitants’inherent ability to create wonderful items of art stems from the abundant beauty Mother Nature has so kindly given to her.

In the past, she had suffered many invasions till finally subjugated by the British.The invaders had never unleashed their adventures for the shake of adventure but because she was very highly rich in her art and culture, in her social customs, in her minerals,in her flora and fauna and other natural resources, they were eager to occupy it.in interest of their respective livelihood.

But when subjugation finally ended with the British Raj breathing its last, she felled in to the trap of mismanagement by the representatives of her own people, the constitution of India having come to the rescue of the usurpers Her natural resources were looted by unscrupulous traders with the help of official functionaries. Her human resources were reduced to an inoperative state. This has resulted in the sad situation where the government of the day has been working hard to deny starvation deaths that so frequently occur. The busiest land of the past has become to day the land of unemployment.and resultant penury.

The present administrators of the State are of such mindset that it would be a daydream to expect any remedy to the ills her citizenry has been subjected to. A remedy lies in a new wave of activities which, if the world community can be persuaded to participate, may start. This may start around the heritage that has been buried under heaps of negligence.

Keeping this in view, we at orissamatters.com are offering descriptive hints on places of tourist interest which have remained mostly unexplored as yet. We shall be responding to browsers’ requests in respect of how to visit them and where to stay.

Bhimakhand
When stone-age implements were discovered from Sana Karjang Jungle, Angul came to be recognised as a place of ancient civilisation. The ancient civilisation of Orissa was Sankya civilisation from which Buddha had developed the tenets of his philosophy.His philosophy being basically pro-matriarchal and anti-Brahminical, Buddhism became the most acceptable code of society in Orissa dominated as it was by matriarchal tribes. Buddha was regarded as the greatest son of this soil and in course of time became equated with the supreme deity of the tribals, now known to the world as Shree Jagannath.Before the matriarchal tribals’ wooden

Deity which was conceived as the symbol of female factor became Purusottama (the highest male) under patriarchal influence, the proponents of patriarchal system-the Brahmins and their collaborator Kshatriyas-had unleashed many a attacks on the Buddhists in whom the tribals were seeing their philosophers and guides. Having failed to counter the tenets of Buddhism logically, they were engaged in distorting facts and disfiguring Buddhist images These images were being propagated as Brahminical deities under the safe umbrage of the patriarchal rulers. The village of Bhimakand under the Kaniha police station of Talche in the district of Angul had witnessed such an event when the image of Buddha was declared to be the image of Vishnu.

The name of the village itself reminds one of what had happened. The word ‘Bimakhand’ literally means “”a fearsome event”. There must have been a fearsome attack on the habitation of the Buddhists and their settlement destroyed before rechristening the image of Buddha as Vishnu.

Let us see the image.
About a mile away from the river Brahmani, at Bhimakand, stands a massive sand rock, on the northern side of which the image has been carved in situ, in a sleeping posture. Measuring about 1265Cm.in length, the image has the distinction of being the largest sleeping image in India.It is so deliberately made that only its left side hands are visible resembling the leftist movement of Indian philosophy activated by the VajraYana school of Buddhism.In one hand there is a Chakra and in the other a big bud of lotus, both known mystic symbols of Bouddha Tantra.Scolars place the time of carving of the image in 8th or 9th century A.D..This being the period of tantric activism, it can be safely deduced that the image was sculptured to propagate the primacy of earth which the VajraYana school of Buddhism was advocating. Discovery of an image of Buddha in meditating posture from the Paschimeswar temple of nearby Talcher indicates the influence of Buddhism in the area. That, tantra was in active practice in the area is proved by the fact that Talcher itself was the citadel of Hingula, one of the noted Shakties of Orissa.Hingula is worshiped as the presiding deity of a nearby village called Gopalprasad in an idol form, but the most notable aspect of her worship is the worship of her ‘energy-form’. This form is not available in any particular place.

Extending over an area of about four square miles around the village, over the coal fields, as and when on the day preceding the fullmoon day of Chaitra (March-April) a jet of gas issuing from the underneath coal deposits attracts attention of the designated priest, that is taken to be the ‘energy form’ of the Devi and on being ignited by the priest, She arrives to receive worship. Needless to say that energy being the main tenet of tantra, the whole belt of land honouring the energy form of the Goddess was a laboratory of Vajrayan.Very few people know that not very far from this place, noted practitioner of Vajrayani tantra-Dombipa had established her centre of preaching. The area within her influence was known as Domgarh.The principal seat of her school was named after her main follower Hadipa which later came to be known as Handapa.One Pratap Dev of Bonai captured this area after a very long period and the dominion he established is presently known as Athmallik.Whatever it be, the fact remains, the belt of land was a place of tantric practices revolving around the philosophy of the Vajrayan school of Buddhism.Vajrayan had equated woman with earth, both being the basic factor of procreation.

The image of Buddha sleeping on the earth was purposefully carved out to show the basic importance of earth.Another aspect of Buddha’s life might also have influenced the plan of the scluptuor.Answering to Magadha king’s query as to wherefrom had He come, Buddha had indicated that his birth place lies near the whitish hill in India’s middle portion.This version of Buddha has been used by original researcher Chakradhar Mohapatra in his endeavour to prove that Buddha was born not in Kapilavastu of Nepal, but at Kapileswara near Bhubaneswar of Orissa.Buddha being the son of the soil of Orissa, and being the greatest of philosophers the common man to relay upon,his followers in the Talcher region might have thought of carving out his image in a resting posture on the body of a massive whitish rock.

But, this image has now come to be known as an image of Vishnu.As in most parts of Orissa Buddha and Bouddha images have been grossly violated by forces of Brahminism and their names have been changed to names of Brahminic deities, so also the sleeping Buddha of Bhimakand has become a sleeping Vishnu.

Whoever visits this image is free to frame any impression on its origin. But let him see for himself the largest lying image of an Indian character that has influenced infinitely the entity of this nation.

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  1. After a long time I saw the article of Subhas Patnaik. I wish to give warmwishes to him and to his family on the occasion of Dasara and Depavali. Goodwishes to Saswat too.

    I at at Hyderabad since last 4 years. Now heading the News Team of ETV Oriya.

    I will be happy if my message can reach him. Thank you.

    -Nilambar Rath
    Dy. News Coordinator
    ETV News Oriya
    Ramoji Film City
    Hyderabad-501512.

    09391041944 (m)

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