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  1. #1

    Cultural changes from history upto present times-

    How Sivalinga Sculptures have changed through history:

    I have noticed that Sivalinga sculptures were made somewhat differently in our long past (atleast in the northern region of India). It was customary then to sculpt a deity figure on the lingam itself. In our present times, this practice of sculpting a deity figure on the lingam has been replaced by drawing 3 lines on the lingam and a dot or nothing at all. This practice of sculpting a deity face on the lingam continued for a long time i.e., from Kushana say upto 7th century or so (as per my observation so far). However, the present day Sivalingams are not made with a deity face on it.

    The first photo below is of the Kushana period (approx. 2300 year old, Mathura region) sculpture of Sivalinga showing deity image on one of its sides.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	one faced sivalinga mathura.jpg 
Views:	209 
Size:	89.5 KB 
ID:	16889

    The second photo is that of Gupta period (approx. 1800 year old) Sivalingam sculpture showing a group of 5 lingams (one in the centre and 4 around it) with faces sculpted on them.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	5 faced sivalinga mathura.jpg 
Views:	243 
Size:	92.6 KB 
ID:	16890

    The 3rd one is an undated sivalinga excavated in village Kiloi (dist. Rohtak, Haryana) showing deity face on the lingam.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	kiloi.jpg 
Views:	212 
Size:	98.5 KB 
ID:	16891

    The 4th one is a contemporary styled sivalingam (with no sculpted image on it).

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	contemporary sivalingam.jpg 
Views:	223 
Size:	18.1 KB 
ID:	16892
    Attention seekers and attention getters are two different class of people.

  2. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to urmiladuhan For This Useful Post:

    Bahadursaroha (October 30th, 2013), rkumar (October 23rd, 2013), vdhillon (October 24th, 2013)

  3. #2
    Many of us know that the river Ganga is revered in Hinuism and thus have been given a deity status. So far I have not come across a temple dedicated exclusively to goddess Ganga. Goddess Ganga is shown associated with Shiva as we frequently see in images the river Ganga emerging out of the jatas (hair bun) of Shiva. In history, the goddess Ganga in sculpture form is shown in Shiva temples where she along with goddess Yamuna adorn the entrance door pillars of the temple. Ganga is shown in a female form, carrying a pot of water standing on a crocodile (her vehicle). The depiction of Ganga in sculpture form has gone little change over time as evident from the photos of sculptures of Ganga, one from Gupta period (approx. 5th century C.E i.e., 1800 years ago) and another from modern times (housed in Mathura museum). I was surprised to see modern time sculptures in museum! There are slight changes in dress code i.e., modern Ganga wearing a stitched blouse as opposed to a cloth band during Gupta times, the modern Ganga is wearing a bindi but not so in the Gupta period sculpture. Both sculptures are shown with crocodile.

    Photos of both period Ganga for your visual pleasure

    1800 year old Ganga (sculpture housed in National Museum, New Delhi):
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	ganga national museum.jpg 
Views:	18 
Size:	95.5 KB 
ID:	16909


    Modern period Ganga (sculpture housed in Mathura Museum):
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	ganga mathura.jpg 
Views:	15 
Size:	108.5 KB 
ID:	16910
    Attention seekers and attention getters are two different class of people.

  4. The Following User Says Thank You to urmiladuhan For This Useful Post:

    vdhillon (October 24th, 2013)

  5. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by urmiladuhan View Post
    Many of us know that the river Ganga is revered in Hinuism and thus have been given a deity status. So far I have not come across a temple dedicated exclusively to goddess Ganga. Goddess Ganga is shown associated with Shiva as we frequently see in images the river Ganga emerging out of the jatas (hair bun) of Shiva. In history, the goddess Ganga in sculpture form is shown in Shiva temples where she along with goddess Yamuna adorn the entrance door pillars of the temple. Ganga is shown in a female form, carrying a pot of water standing on a crocodile (her vehicle). The depiction of Ganga in sculpture form has gone little change over time as evident from the photos of sculptures of Ganga, one from Gupta period (approx. 5th century C.E i.e., 1800 years ago) and another from modern times (housed in Mathura museum). I was surprised to see modern time sculptures in museum! There are slight changes in dress code i.e., modern Ganga wearing a stitched blouse as opposed to a cloth band during Gupta times, the modern Ganga is wearing a bindi but not so in the Gupta period sculpture. Both sculptures are shown with crocodile.

    Photos of both period Ganga for your visual pleasure

    1800 year old Ganga (sculpture housed in National Museum, New Delhi):
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	ganga national museum.jpg 
Views:	18 
Size:	95.5 KB 
ID:	16909


    Modern period Ganga (sculpture housed in Mathura Museum):
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	ganga mathura.jpg 
Views:	15 
Size:	108.5 KB 
ID:	16910
    Hair style of 1800 years old Ganga is so elegant.

    RK^2
    There are many paths leading to God, politics is certainly not one of them...

  6. #4
    That is so true! Thanks for bringing it to my attention . I like her smile too

    Quote Originally Posted by rkumar View Post
    Hair style of 1800 years old Ganga is so elegant.

    RK^2
    Attention seekers and attention getters are two different class of people.

  7. #5
    ..........
    Last edited by urmiladuhan; October 24th, 2013 at 07:08 PM. Reason: Double posting.
    Attention seekers and attention getters are two different class of people.

  8. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by urmiladuhan View Post
    Many of us know that the river Ganga is revered in Hinuism and thus have been given a deity status. So far I have not come across a temple dedicated exclusively to goddess Ganga. Goddess Ganga is shown associated with Shiva as we frequently see in images the river Ganga emerging out of the jatas (hair bun) of Shiva. In history, the goddess Ganga in sculpture form is shown in Shiva temples where she along with goddess Yamuna adorn the entrance door pillars of the temple. Ganga is shown in a female form, carrying a pot of water standing on a crocodile (her vehicle). The depiction of Ganga in sculpture form has gone little change over time as evident from the photos of sculptures of Ganga, one from Gupta period (approx. 5th century C.E i.e., 1800 years ago) and another from modern times (housed in Mathura museum). I was surprised to see modern time sculptures in museum! There are slight changes in dress code i.e., modern Ganga wearing a stitched blouse as opposed to a cloth band during Gupta times, the modern Ganga is wearing a bindi but not so in the Gupta period sculpture. Both sculptures are shown with crocodile.

    Photos of both period Ganga for your visual pleasure

    1800 year old Ganga (sculpture housed in National Museum, New Delhi):
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	ganga national museum.jpg 
Views:	18 
Size:	95.5 KB 
ID:	16909


    Modern period Ganga (sculpture housed in Mathura Museum):
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	ganga mathura.jpg 
Views:	15 
Size:	108.5 KB 
ID:	16910
    Closer look at two Gangas shows how the simple Ganga of Mahabharat to whom Maharaja Shantanu fell in love, has been elevated to the level of a Goddess over the years.

    RK^2
    There are many paths leading to God, politics is certainly not one of them...

  9. The Following User Says Thank You to rkumar For This Useful Post:

    urmiladuhan (October 25th, 2013)

  10. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by rkumar View Post
    Closer look at two Gangas shows how the simple Ganga of Mahabharat to whom Maharaja Shantanu fell in love, has been elevated to the level of a Goddess over the years.

    RK^2
    Is not Ganga associated with Shiva? Hence the concept of Ganga must be as old as the concept of Shiva, I think. Does it not seem so? Does it not seem probable then that Ganga too was revered being associated with Shiva? The scriptures you mention were written down during the Gupta period (approx. 1800 years ago). Shiva and bull worship in India looks to be as old as Harappa times (approx. 5000 years ago). (Evidence: Harappa seals showing 3 faced human in yoga position and various seals with bull images on it).
    Attention seekers and attention getters are two different class of people.

  11. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by urmiladuhan View Post
    Is not Ganga associated with Shiva? Hence the concept of Ganga must be as old as the concept of Shiva, I think. Does it not seem so? Does it not seem probable then that Ganga too was revered being associated with Shiva? The scriptures you mention were written down during the Gupta period (approx. 1800 years ago). Shiva and bull worship in India looks to be as old as Harappa times (approx. 5000 years ago). (Evidence: Harappa seals showing 3 faced human in yoga position and various seals with bull images on it).
    Since girls' names are usually after rivers' names, Ganga of Mahabharat might be some real life woman by the name Ganga and not the river Ganga as people often get confused. Ganga is a common name used for girls even today.

    RK^2
    There are many paths leading to God, politics is certainly not one of them...

  12. The Following User Says Thank You to rkumar For This Useful Post:

    urmiladuhan (October 27th, 2013)

  13. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by rkumar View Post
    Since girls' names are usually after rivers' names, Ganga of Mahabharat might be some real life woman by the name Ganga and not the river Ganga as people often get confused. Ganga is a common name used for girls even today.

    RK^2
    It seems very likely that some of the people and incidences mentioned in Hindu scriptures may have existed. But the mythology part, if taken word for word, does not seem to fit the physical laws of nature.
    Attention seekers and attention getters are two different class of people.

  14. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by rkumar View Post
    Since girls' names are usually after rivers' names, Ganga of Mahabharat might be some real life woman by the name Ganga and not the river Ganga as people often get confused. Ganga is a common name used for girls even today.

    RK^2
    It seems very likely that some of the people and incidences mentioned in Hindu scriptures may have existed. But the mythology part, if taken word for word, does not seem to fit the physical laws of nature.
    Attention seekers and attention getters are two different class of people.

  15. #11
    ..........
    Last edited by urmiladuhan; October 27th, 2013 at 07:10 PM. Reason: Double posting.
    Attention seekers and attention getters are two different class of people.

  16. #12
    Wonder what brought the change? I'm novice in this domain. A far-fetched fluke UNEDUCATED guess ... could it be the change of the material e.g. is it harder to crave on the black granite as opposed to the red sandstone? etc. Wonderful post @Urmila. Thanks for the quality contribution.
    Quote Originally Posted by urmiladuhan View Post
    How Sivalinga Sculptures have changed through history:I have noticed that Sivalinga sculptures were made somewhat differently in our long past (atleast in the northern region of India). It was customary then to sculpt a deity figure on the lingam itself. In our present times, this practice of sculpting a deity figure on the lingam has been replaced by drawing 3 lines on the lingam and a dot or nothing at all. This practice of sculpting a deity face on the lingam continued for a long time i.e., from Kushana say upto 7th century or so (as per my observation so far). However, the present day Sivalingams are not made with a deity face on it. The first photo below is of the Kushana period (approx. 2300 year old, Mathura region) sculpture of Sivalinga showing deity image on one of its sides.Click image for larger version. 

Name:	one faced sivalinga mathura.jpg 
Views:	209 
Size:	89.5 KB 
ID:	16889The second photo is that of Gupta period (approx. 1800 year old) Sivalingam sculpture showing a group of 5 lingams (one in the centre and 4 around it) with faces sculpted on them.Click image for larger version. 

Name:	5 faced sivalinga mathura.jpg 
Views:	243 
Size:	92.6 KB 
ID:	16890The 3rd one is an undated sivalinga excavated in village Kiloi (dist. Rohtak, Haryana) showing deity face on the lingam.Click image for larger version. 

Name:	kiloi.jpg 
Views:	212 
Size:	98.5 KB 
ID:	16891The 4th one is a contemporary styled sivalingam (with no sculpted image on it).Click image for larger version. 

Name:	contemporary sivalingam.jpg 
Views:	223 
Size:	18.1 KB 
ID:	16892

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    rkumar (October 27th, 2013)

  18. #13
    You ask, What could have brought the change, the change from more decorated to a much simpler lingam? Perhaps, over the years, the lingam worship became more popular with the common people (as opposed to the elite) and to suit their pockets, the lingam became simpler in design.

    In contrast to anthromorphic figures (like Vishnu, shiva etc), which are designed as per accepted iconographic rules (laid down during the Gupta period ), the lingam design does not seem to come under the iconographic ambit as it is not anthropomorphic, I think.


    All contrasting views on my ideas are very welcome

    Quote Originally Posted by vdhillon View Post
    Wonder what brought the change? I'm novice in this domain. A far-fetched fluke UNEDUCATED guess ... could it be the change of the material e.g. is it harder to crave on the black granite as opposed to the red sandstone? etc. Wonderful post @Urmila. Thanks for the quality contribution.
    Attention seekers and attention getters are two different class of people.

  19. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by urmiladuhan View Post
    You ask, What could have brought the change, the change from more decorated to a much simpler lingam? Perhaps, over the years, the lingam worship became more popular with the common people (as opposed to the elite) and to suit their pockets, the lingam became simpler in design.

    In contrast to anthromorphic figures (like Vishnu, shiva etc), which are designed as per accepted iconographic rules (laid down during the Gupta period ), the lingam design does not seem to come under the iconographic ambit as it is not anthropomorphic, I think.


    All contrasting views on my ideas are very welcome
    I have a slightly different take on this. A lingam with a figure on it, puts more emphasis on the figure than lingam. It creates a confusion whether one is worshiping the lingam or and deity in his entirety . Also there is loss of concentration when one is worshiping such Lingams. May be this dilemma was resolved by removing the figures from Lingam.

    RK^2
    There are many paths leading to God, politics is certainly not one of them...

  20. The Following User Says Thank You to rkumar For This Useful Post:

    urmiladuhan (October 31st, 2013)

  21. #15
    ..........
    Last edited by urmiladuhan; October 27th, 2013 at 11:03 PM. Reason: Automatic double posting i.e., not done by the author.
    Attention seekers and attention getters are two different class of people.

  22. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by vdhillon View Post
    Wonder what brought the change? I'm novice in this domain. A far-fetched fluke UNEDUCATED guess ... could it be the change of the material e.g. is it harder to crave on the black granite as opposed to the red sandstone? etc. Wonderful post @Urmila. Thanks for the quality contribution.
    For one, technology is getting compact in the digital age and so is the Lingam. Number two, life is getting busier and the the sculptures must be facing paucity of time; third and last but not the least, the cost effectiveness. The smaller and simpler the ligam, the lessor would be the cost.There doesn't seem to be any other reason according to my wild guess.

  23. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to singhvp For This Useful Post:

    urmiladuhan (October 31st, 2013), vdhillon (November 3rd, 2013)

  24. #17
    The photograph below is of a relief (red sandstone sculpture) from 1st C.E (approx. 2200 years old) of the mythological story of lord Krishna's birth. I would like to emphasise that the Hindu scriptures were formally written down during the Gupta period (approx. 1800 years ago). However it does not mean that the Hindu belief system surrounding the birth of lord krishna got created during the Gupta period! But the idea/mythological belief system was present in the psyche of Indians much before when the scriptures were written down. How old is the belief system? That only archaeological evidence would be able to tell us, I think. This stone relief (in photo form) of Krishna shown below is much older than the time period assigned to the formal creation of the Hindu scriptures i.e., Gupta period. It is an evidence for the fact that the Hindu belief system is much older than the hindu scriptures.
    here is the photo for your visual pleasure! (Photo taken at State Museum, Mathura)
    (krishna's father is shown carrying the baby in a basket over his head while crossing Yamuna. The Naga god is shown in the other corner, helping krishna's father cross yamuna. the stone relief beautifully captures yamuna waves swirling around!

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	krishna 1 a.d.jpg 
Views:	7 
Size:	95.7 KB 
ID:	16940
    Last edited by urmiladuhan; October 31st, 2013 at 09:46 PM. Reason: formatting etc
    Attention seekers and attention getters are two different class of people.

  25. The Following User Says Thank You to urmiladuhan For This Useful Post:

    vdhillon (November 3rd, 2013)

  26. #18
    The following is the photo of Chappal (slipper) design from 2nd century A.D, from India. A boddhisatva (a person who is in the process of attaining what Buddha attained, but is not quite there yet) is shown seated in this sculpture, wearing these chappals. It is interesting to observe that the slipper design in India has not changed much in over 2000 years! Indeed a time tested design!

    Photo for your visual pleasure
    p.s: the sculpture is now housed in Mathura Museum.


    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	chappal design.jpg 
Views:	8 
Size:	100.2 KB 
ID:	16944
    Attention seekers and attention getters are two different class of people.

  27. #19
    One of the major problem with Hindu tradition (even Jat history) is oral tradition is not much valued as an evidence in the scientific inquiry as it is hard to date and validate.

    Quote Originally Posted by urmiladuhan View Post
    The photograph below is of a relief (red sandstone sculpture) from 1st C.E (approx. 2200 years old) of the mythological story of lord Krishna's birth. I would like to emphasise that the Hindu scriptures were formally written down during the Gupta period (approx. 1800 years ago). However it does not mean that the Hindu belief system surrounding the birth of lord krishna got created during the Gupta period! But the idea/mythological belief system was present in the psyche of Indians much before when the scriptures were written down. How old is the belief system? That only archaeological evidence would be able to tell us, I think. This stone relief (in photo form) of Krishna shown below is much older than the time period assigned to the formal creation of the Hindu scriptures i.e., Gupta period. It is an evidence for the fact that the Hindu belief system is much older than the hindu scriptures.
    here is the photo for your visual pleasure! (Photo taken at State Museum, Mathura)
    (krishna's father is shown carrying the baby in a basket over his head while crossing Yamuna. The Naga god is shown in the other corner, helping krishna's father cross yamuna. the stone relief beautifully captures yamuna waves swirling around!

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	krishna 1 a.d.jpg 
Views:	7 
Size:	95.7 KB 
ID:	16940

  28. The Following User Says Thank You to vdhillon For This Useful Post:

    urmiladuhan (November 4th, 2013)

  29. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by vdhillon View Post
    One of the major problem with Hindu tradition (even Jat history) is oral tradition is not much valued as an evidence in the scientific inquiry as it is hard to date and validate.
    The assertion that oral traditions are the verifiable evidence of a particular real life historical incident, becomes strong in the face of mass following of the traditions (such as belief in Ramayana incidences etc).

    On the flip side, one can argue that the mass followers need not know why they are doing what they are doing as group psychological pressure ( also known as society) may be the driving force for the mass following.
    Attention seekers and attention getters are two different class of people.

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