Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Naga Kanya

This means daughter of the snake, and was originally a Hindu figure later adopted by the Buddhist to represent the guardians of treasures, especially concealed teachings.  Nagarjuna, of the second century, is said to have received the important prajnaparamita sutra text from the underworld nagas or snake deities.  This text became a fundamental doctrine of the new Mahayana Buddhist movement, and was published in book form in China in 868 A.D., the earliest printed book in the world.  Jack Kerouac, who tried to be a Buddhist when he wasn't drunk, especially like the Diamond Sutra, which is an exposition of these teachings. 

The first two above are fairly traditional representations of Naga Kanya, and are usually products of Nepalese artisans.  The third figure with both hands raised seems a little unorthodox, although still holding what appears to be a conch shell, which is fairly traditional.  The sumptuousness and vitality of it do not need description. 
A painting of Naga Kunya, less common than statue representations.
A different take on the figure, without the coiling up of the body beneath the torso.
A real colorful artifact.  All of the figures have wings, which gives them something in common with their mortal enemies, the garudas.  Normal nagas did not have wings.
The garudas are said to have enormous wingspans and were always hunting nagas.  The nagas took to swollowing stones, making them too heavy for the garudas to carry, so they gave up until they found out the secret and then started grabbing the nagas by the tail, forcing them to vomit out the stone, and off the garuda went with his dinner clutched in his claws.  Later according to one sutra, the Buddha made peace between the garudas and nagas.


1 comment:

sean99tan said...

Does any one know the mantra of Naga Kanya?? in sanskrit? where can I get the statute with two hand get 2 conch...?
thanks who's can help Please

Sean