Sunday, July 19, 2009

Historical Documents of Sankhu:


The original statue of the goddess Bajrayogini is the red-faced, and its replica, which is specially for processing the Jatra (Chairot Festival) at Sankhu, is the yellow faced. They are called by local people of Sankhu in their own language (Newari) as Hyaunkhwa maju (Red faced mother goddess) and Mhasukhwa maju (Yellow faced mother goddess) respectively. They are also called "Gubhadyo". The jungle where the goddess stays is called "Gubhagun" and for going there it is called that "Gubhalay Wanegu". Also the priest "Bajracharya" is called "Gubhaju". The word "Gubha" is nothing more than fast speech form of Gun Baha. Baha is the Newari term for Bahal or Bihar (monastery). Hence Gun Baha is also called Gun Bihar. For the term "Gun", there is more than one view. In Newari language the term "Gun" has two different meanings. One is forest and second is number 'Nine". So there are different views for term "Gunbihar". Some tells it as "Forest monastery" because it lies in the middle of the forest. Others tell it as ninth monastery and also as area having nine monasteries. At past, according to the legend Manishail Mahawadan, there were nine monasteries, nine ponds and nine caves. Therefore, many people assume that from the word "Gun" or nine; it was begun to be called Gunbaha or Gunbihar. Gunbihar is also taken as ninth baha among nine bahas, whether eight bahas are within the Sankhu town. On the Ph.D. Thesis of Bal Gopal Shrestha, it has been questioned that whether the word "Gun" is derived from Sanskrit word "Guna" or not. He has criticized it. He has explained that looking back into the tradition of giving Sanskrit names to Buddhist monasteries such speculation can not be completely denied. Bert Van Den Hoek strongly argued about the possibilities of Gun word being derived from "Guna". As far as written documents prove Gunbaha was already clearly mentioned as "Gun Bihar" but not as "Guna Bihar" during the Lichchhavi time, when the writing of inscriptions in standard Sanskrit was a tradition. At the same time, Gunbaha received a Sanskrit name "Padmagiri Dharma Dhatu mahavihara" that makes it more unlikely if it was called Guna Bihara.
He has further explained that Bajrayogini sanctuary is a great pilgrimage site for both Hindu and Buddhist people. In the introduction to his History of Nepal, Daniel Wright loosely speaks of the Hinduization of Bajrayogini. The sanctuary draws pilgrims from all over Nepal and beyond (e.g. from India, Tibet and Japan).
Nowadays, "Gun Bihar" is called Bajrayogini by those not living in Sankhu, specifically to the red-faced and yellow-faced mothers who are called "Hyaunkhwa-maju" and "Mhasukhwa-maju" respectively by the people of Sankhu. Tamangs (an ethnic group of people) also refer to the goddess (es) as the red-faced and Yellow-faced mothers but in their own Tamang language.

Source from:
Mr. Harigopal Shrestha's Thesis,

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