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The Temple of Mukt®¿vara at Cau·ad¡napura

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Preface

A temple dedicated to a great Hindu God is the product, not only of a technical knowledge of building, but also of metaphysical and theological concepts, of artistic and literary culture and of characteristic religious practices and attitudes. We possess a revealing literary documentation on all these aspects. That which may be useful for the study of the temple fo Muktesvara at Caudadanapura is naturally circumscribed in works of Saivite inspiration, as it is a monument dedicated to Siva, erected by individuals inspired by the ideals of this religion and belonging to communities who characterise themselves by the pursuit of these ideals. It belongs to a period of transition in the history of Saivism in Karnataka, i.e., the 12th and 13th century when the predominant Pasupata and Kalamukha movements were gradually integrated in what was to become the Virasaiva faith inspired by Basava. The prevalent Saiva literature of that time, in that region, is the Saivasiddhanta school of Tantras and of course the first period of Virasaiva literature, which appears itself as deeply rooted in the tantric and puranic lore.

The Saivasiddhanta Tantras are claimed as scriptural authority by the Saiva communities of that time in Karnataka. The Vatulasuddhagama, a version of the last text in the consecrated list of twenty eight Agamas has always been held in high reverence in this group. There are also Sanskrit Virasaiva compendia of Saiva concepts, tenets and practices, such as the Saivaratnakara of Jyotirnatha (c.1100), the Viramahesvaracarasamgraha of Nilakantha Naganatha (c.1300), the Kriyasara of Nilakantha Sivacarya (c.140). They contain a host of quotations from the same Saivasiddhanta Agamas and from Puranas. References to vedic scriptures come only in the latest of these works.

These diverse communities, their organized religious institutions, their pontiffs and heads, are known to us through allusions in inscriptions found in the precincts of the temples. These inscriptions contain also references to agamic sources, sometimes direct quotations. They express many facts of the religion, ideas about the deities, about the abodes offered to them on earth in the form of temples. The inscriptions and their Tantric background are, indeed the best source for the correct understanding of a Hindu temple.

The present study is based on the direct observation of the monument and remains on the site, on inquiry with all those who are today concerned with the life of temple, descendants of the founder, villages, etc., on the examination of the inscriptions and on research in the literary sources. It aims at collecting and correlating informations of different sources. The section on history places the monument in its historical setting. The full text of the inscriptions is given and a translation is proposed. That appeared as an attempt to be done. These inscriptions provide the most authentic material about the temple. They are also refined literary pieces. And it appears necessary to correlate this poetic art with the plastic art of architecture and sculpture. Both, the inscribed chart and the monument, are objects of beauty, products of a same culture. The unity of this culture is based on philosophical and religious concepts, the origin of which we have searched in Sanskrit Tantric, Puranic and Virasaiva literature. The section on architecture includes an attempt to correlate the philosophical concepts of God and the world with the proper architectural forms and spaces. A brief description of particular features has been given, only to indicate the general structure of the monument. Features of style have not been studies as such. Any study of a temple style implies comparison of as many samples and items as possible. At the present stage it cannot be conducted satisfactorily, because the high number of later Calukyan temples has not yet been systematically surveyed and very little material is easily accessible. In spite of the pioneering work done by Cousens and others the survey is still at its initial stage. The section of iconography is also shortened by the same reason.

The sections on history, epigraphy and iconography are authored by Vasundhara Filliozat. The architecture has been dealt with by Pierre-Sylvain Filliozat.

The period of construction of the temple of Muktesvara has been the thirteenth century, when a saintly figure, Sivadeva, inspired the religious life by his faith and his actions. His memory has been preserved in the inscriptions. The temple is still a testimony to the grandeur of the religion and art he inspired. His memory is also kept alive by a family in which are traditionally selected the heads of the local Virasaiva Matha and which claims Sivadeva himself as its most famous member. We had the good fortune to get our first acquaintance of this temple and of Sivadeva, through Sri Sadashiva Wodeyar, former Vice-Chancellor of Karnataka University, Dharwar, who not only gave us hospitality, informations, but also demonstrated to us the profound feeling that this holy place and monument raise in the heart of the Virasaivas. He invited us to work on the site in his family home, where his father, Sivadeva Wodeyar lived in retirement, like saint of yore. They both helped us in many ways, with friendly services as well as with informations. We regret very much that Shri Sivadeva is no more in this world to see this book, which he wished so much to help. Like his predecessor Saint Sivadeva, our Ajja also left this world to enter that of Siva as a nonagenaire. We evoke his memory with reverence and nostalgy. We extend our most hearty thanks to Sri Sadashiva Wodeyar and to all those in his entourage who helped us and sympathised with our work. We have a special debt of gratitude to Professor K.Krishnamurthy who has explained us difficult poetical passages of inscriptions and thanks to whom our translations was greatly improved. Our special thanks are due to my guru, Dr.G.S.Dikshit, for his timely advices and suggestions. We have a thought for allthose whom we consulted like Drs. M.M.Kalburgi, Raghunath Bhatt, Katti from Karnatak University, Dharwar, and who gave us willingly precious informations. Also we will not fail to remember the participation of Mr.Basavaraj and Mr.Hiremath, two students of architecture and our daughters Miss Manonmani and Bhamati at the initial stage of this work. We will not forget to evoke the precious advice given by Prof.K.R.Hayagreevachar and his better half Vanamala Achar; both, being professors of English, went through the first draft of this text and gave us some valuable hints to improve our style of English. We also express heart felt gratitude to The Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi, for accepting to make our work available to the work of scholars and indologists.

We lack in words to express our heartfelt gratidude to Dr.(Mrs.) Kapila Vatsyayan, Academic Director of IGNCA, New Delhi, for accepting to publish this work. We thank also Mr.M.C.Joshi, Ex-Director General ASI now Member Secretary of IGNCA for his valuable suggestions and finally Dr.Lalit Gujral of IGNCA for making our work available to the world of scholars and indologists in a short time.

Vasundhara & Pierre-Sylvain FILLIOZAT.

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