The Making of a Cakravatin Empire
Project: The Making of a Cakravatin Empire
Author: Lem Chuck Moth
Started date: March/01/2005
Last updated: June/30/2017
All right reserved.
Since this paper is still drafted, the readers would be advised to ignore any context errors. The content is not final and subjected to be reviewed.
Tracing through remnants of ancient civilization, evidences show that many parts of the world had been once a center of the human cultural center. It is the place where cultural development was taking hold and revolutionized itself across the world (Nagadvipa: The Meru Culture: The Spreading of the Meru Culture). Since its start-up, the epicenter of the Meru culture evolved itself around the mount Himalayas and its traces could be detected along its path. Formed by consorting kingdoms in an association that promotes common interests, the epicenter was also known as the Middle Kingdom of the Cakraravatin Empire. For instances, China and India were retaining their legacies as Middle-Kingdoms because they were once the center of a Cakravatin Empire. The first Middle Kingdom to be located in Southeast Asia, as known in history of mankind, was obviously Angkor. In the ancient past, there was indication that the legendary Xiang Sean of the Chinese texts was also formed as a Cakravatin Empire that started at Yunnan and spread over the whole of Indochina and the southern part of the Chinese continent. However the geographical locality placed its late Middle Kingdom at Jinnan, more in the Chinese continent than in Southeast Asia. Evidences show that Angkor owed many of its legacies to the Hiong-Wang kingdom as well as to other previous Cakravatin Empires of the world. Being the last of its kind, Angkor inherited many aspects of its predecessors and following the Cakravatin tradition of reproducing itself, Angkor was built on a blueprint of past legacies very much preserved through out the Meru development. Through inheritance, many aspects of its infrastructure could be linked to its predecessors of ancient or recent past. Due to its recent existence, Angkor left fairly amount of historical data behind that allows us to compile a comprehensive understanding of its civilization. The knowledge allows us to trace back to other ancient great civilizations known to be in connection with the Meru Culture. Adding to its rich heritage, Angkor was moreover formed after the emergence of Buddhism that played important part in its foundation.
Documenting the Angkorean Empire
Starting from the formation of Nokor Khmer at Prey Nokor, stone inscriptions were by far the main records, left fairly intact from bad weather and human's destruction. Many were erected, but only a few were dedicated to provide historical records during the formation of Angkor. The inscription of Baksei-Cham-Krong was carved on the piers of the tower at Baksei-Cham-Krong that gives its reference name (JA t. XIII serie X: L'inscription de Baksei Chamkron, George Coedes). It gives the genealogy of the famous Angkorean dynasty, Originated from king Kaundinya and the daughter of Soma to king Rajendravarman who was probably the sponsor of the inscription. On the other hand, the inscription of Sdok-Kak-Thom is more valuable in providing historical data concerning the Angkorean court and its tradition and culture (ISKT, pp. 248-277). Besides providing a continuous chronology of the Angkorean monarchs since the formation of Angkor, it provides information on how the court was conducted. Other inscriptions were more or less important in providing additional information, but none provide a complete picture of the Angkorean court from it formation like the two inscriptions already mentioned. From deliberate studies, scholars were able to draw out important events that became the backbone of modern history of Angkor. Besides inscriptions, many information of Angkor could also be found in Chinese records. This is due to the fact that Angkor, as a Cakravatin Empire, had close relationship with China. With the help of Chinese records, a comprehensive history of Angkor came out to light. However, missing critical information is to be expected as both Khmer inscriptions and Chinese texts were meant to be only court's records and for most of the time were not written as historical data. To connect these events together, scholars had to develop theirs own theories to patch-up the holes. Without having to go through local sources, mistakes were made due to misconceptions. The availability of these historical records was moreover contributing to the shortfall as not many versions were left. Even though there were evidence of records on light material that might contain more detail historical information to be existed, none of these records survived until today (The Sri Vijaya Connection: The Angkorean Empire under the Mahidhara court: The origin of Suryavarman I). So far only oral versions were left to be collected and compiled by monks and were deposited in Buddhists temples. Still, these chronicles were not much credible to western scholars because they contain oddities that could not be apprehended by western standard.
THE DEVA DYNASTY
According to the Khmer Tradition, the Devavamsa was the dynastic title of Prah Thong or Kaundinya and his nagi queen Prabhavati (Nokor Khmer: The Khmerization of Kambuja: The Birth of the Khmer Empire). Of their common ancestry, both were actually descended from king Ururoja through a long lineage of the primordial king Samantha. Nevertheless, we know that Kaundinya's latest ancestral connection was from the court of Vakataka Samvata of Deccan. After it was absorbed as part of the Gupta 's court by Samudragupta, the two royal houses merged. The title Praphavati of his Nagi Queen was on the other hand a legacy of the Gupta's court. The Khmer tradition commemorated them as the real ancestors of the Khmer kings who presided on the throne of Angkor during many centuries to come. Outlining the Devaraja dynasty as started in the Khmer legend of Angkor, the inscription of Baksei-Cham-Krong describes the succession of the Angkorean monarchs who were derived from the two legendary couple.
The Reign of King Jayavarman II (802-869 AD)
The first of the Angkorean lineage was Jayavarman II. No inscriptions so far were found to be erected by him and as expected all the information about him were of second hand and provided by later inscriptions. Even though his direct ancestors were not explicitly known, we know from the inscription of Pre-Rup that he was a descendant of Puskarasa from the lineage of Kaundinya and the nagi princess. In the inscription of Sdok-Kak-Thom , his commemoration tells us of his complex background.
criKamvubhabhrdinavamsalalaamagopta govrdhana dlhrtikaro(IBC: Text Stanza XX: p. 490)
It was a complex lineage from the old Sun (Dina) lineage of Sri Kambu and belonged to the Cholagopta Dynasty that derived itself from the Nanda of Varahana and dlhrtik (Vakattaka ?). This genealogy could be verified as the same one of his ancestor, Jayavarman I who himself was a direct descendant of the legendary couple, Kaundinya and the Nagi princess. Through intermarriage, the Deva Kings of Southeast Asia were not of pure blood from king Samanta any more, but through the Maurya and later the Gupta court became of mix blood with the Sakan kings of Daydesa. After the reign of Kaundinya Jayavarman, the Khmer Empire was under the attack by the Cham aristocracy. Led by the Chenla Kings, the attacks broke down the Khmer court and we know pretty much nothing about the fate of the immediate descendants of Kaundinya and the Nagi Princess. Evidences show that they were picked-up by the Sri Vijaya and later the Sailendra royal houses to be the head of a new Khmer consortium in the fight against the Cham aristocracy. Only after winning over them that Jayavarman II's existence was brought to light when he became the first Khmer monarch to start the Angkorean Empire.
Vrah pada paramesvara mok amvi java pi krun ni anau nagara indrapura (ISKT: Stanza 6: Transcrption: p. 255)
The mentioning of Java in the passage is misleading, as it is though to be the same as the island of today's Java (Note: Indrapura vs Java). Our finding is that Java was at the time referring to Dong-Duang of Prey Nokor where evidences show that the Sailendra court had established themselves after driven out from northern Java. During the time that the Javanese court set itself up as the sole ruler of the Javanese Empire, the Khmer empire was already been formed (Xiang-Mai: The Cradle of the Angkorean Empire: Indrapura as the Birth Place of the Khmer Empire). During their early settlement, they might refer Dong-Duang as Java in the memory of their original home country at northern Java. Apparently, the continuing pressure by the Javanese court forced Indravarman to move his court to Prey Nokor and reestablished Indrapura at Dong-Duang where Jayavarman II was raised. To avoid further harassment form Java, Jayavarman II moved the Khmer court to Amarendrapura that was located at the northern shore of the great lake.
Prah bat Devavamsa then continued to reign peacefully. The sea was retreating, the land was forming bigger and bigger and more populated. (RNPK:Ketomala)
The passage conveys that Cambodia of the past was submerged, but due to the tectonic elevation, the sea was retreating and dried lands were being formed to become the seat of the new Khmer empire (Nokor Khmer: The Khmerization of Kamboja: The work of the naga king). Jayavarman II took the opportunity to establish his capital on Mahendraparvata that scholars identified as the mount Kulen of the province of Siem Reap today. Evidences however show that he spent most of his reign at Lavo where dried lands were already available for him to build Haripangjaya and Lampang communities as subsidiaries for Lavo. After he died, Paramamesvara was assigned as his posthumous name, connecting him to the last Pallava kings who were referred by the same title. Nevertheless, we know that the god-king Paramesvara was an ancient legacy that had been long associated with the pre-Angkorean line of kings since the fall of the Khmer empire (Dvaravati: The Last of the Fallen Funan's Court: The Rise of the Sri Vijaya). Also found in inscriptions of Dong-Duang(BEFEO II: Notes d'epigraphy de Champa: Steles de Dong-Duang: pp. 83-119, M.L. Finot), Paramamesvara that had a long legacy from King Samanta himself, became actually the progenitor of a new line of kings of Indrapura that was connected with the very first Cakravatin establishment of Prey Nokor, before it was moved to the Angkorean site.
The Cult of Devaraja
The Sivaite cult of Devaraja composes of a series of rituals designed to elevate a Siva linga to the spiritual status of a divinity. After the ceremony, the
linga received the title as "Kamrateng jagat ta raja" and was named after the Hindu divinity that it represented. The Linga became the image of the God King or divine protector of the reigning king who received the same name ending with the word "varman", meaning protégé. After the ceremony, the crowned king became a protégé of the God King (jakataraja) and proceeded to fulfill his obligation as a Cakravatin Monarch. His earned merit and prestige was used to enable him in becoming another god king after his death and received a posthumous name. According to the concept of Devaraja, the posthumous name was conceived to allow Brahmans to invoke his spirit, when needed. As a divinity in Hindu folklore, the Devaraja kings may reincarnate among the line of their descendants. Strict conformity of the Hindu tradition allows us with certainty to trace back the ancestors of a Deva king from the identity of his jakataraja. For instance, Jayavarman II was the protégé of the Kamrateng jagat ta raja Jayasvara, the God king of Victory that became one of the important god-kings of Angkor. The inscription of Sdok-Kak-Thom provided a complete list of them who were crowned by the Angkorean priests of direct descendant of Jayavarman II's chaplain, the Brahman Sivakaivalia. Besides listing all the Devaraja kings, the inscription provides other valuable information about how the cult of Devaraja was acquired and performed during the coronation of Jayavarman II (Notes: The Translation of stanzas 16-17).
Man vrahmana jmah hiranyadama prajna sidhividya mok amvi janapada. Pi vrah pad paramesvara anjen thve vidhi leha len kampi kamvujadesa neh ayat ta Java ley. Len ac ti kamraten phdei krom mvay guh ta ja cakravati. Vrahmana noh thve vidhi toy vrah vinasikka pratistha kamraten ja gat raja brahmana noh parryan vrah vinasikha cum ( ISKT: Text: stanzas 16-19: p. 156)
It is clear that Jayavarman II did not invent the cult himself and neither that he was the first devaraja king. To instate the cult at his court, he had to invite an Indian priest hiranyadama from abroad (Janapada) to perform and teach the local priest Silvakaivalia to carry on the tradition. The ceremony was performed first to elevate the kingdom of kambuja to be not a dependence of Java any more and to elevate the reigning Angkorean king (Jayavarman II) to be a cakravatin monarch. The rituals included the proclamation of the god-king (jakata raja) and other rituals such as nayottara, sammoha, sivacheda and syanmanvatta mukha. They were later delegated to Sivakaivalya who completed the cult of devaraja for Jayavarman II. This Sivaite tradition apparently started at the Vakataka's royal court of Deccan that was known as a Samvata in the past and was carried on later to Magadha by the Gupta Court. On the other hand, the "Varman" legacy that dated back to the very first kings of the Funan Empire owed its origin to the legacy of Varadhana (Hiong-Wang) kingdom. Of Sivaite background, the cult created misconception among scholars that all Angkorean monarchs were actually devoted to Sivaism. It is important to set the matter straight before we are going further into the Angkorean development that furthermore complicated the situational conflicts due to religious believes. Reinstated to the Angkorean court by necessity, the cult of Devaraja had nothing to do with the king's personal belief. It was Buddhism that started the Khmer kingdom at Prey-Nokor and Angkor was actually the first Cakravatin Empire with Buddhism as the core of its culture. Even-though, the Cakravatin's establishment was based on Hindu's cult and was carried on by Sivaite rituals, evidences show that most of Angkorean Devaraja kings, if not all, were Buddhist. As a matter of fact, Angkor was formed by the consortium of the Sailendra and the Sri Vijaya courts and that Buddhism, Sivaism as well as Vishnuism were among their strong devotion. The next Devaraja kings, Yasovarman I and Rajendravarman, in particular, were well known to be Buddhists. Erected inscriptions dedicated to Buddhism, found under their rules, prove that Hinduism was complementing the Theravada Buddhism from the start-up of the Angkorean Empire. Under Mahayana Buddhism, the Sivaite concept of divinity was completely assimilated into the core of Buddhism. In the Angkorean tradition, the concept of Devaraja had been extended to the Buddhist discipline as well. This compatibility explains the tight alliance between the Sailendra and the Sri Vijaya during the early formation of Angkor.
The Angkorean Court
One important feature in the foundation of the Angkorean Empire often ignored in recent compiled history of Angkor is the court. As the king took all the lime light and the credit by representing the empire, his court was actually the head of the organization who were responsible to carry on the state affair. Evidences show consistently that eminent Angkorean monarchs were well trained and guided through out their career by members of high scholarship merit. The policy had proved itself crucial in the past formation of Angkor and, as we shall see, would be rigorously maintained during the lifetime of the Angkorean Empire. The inscription of Sdok-Kak-Thom conveys that before moving his court to the Angkorean site, Jayavarman II had reigned in many localities that were part of the Khmer empire. Because it was supposed to be a family's commitment, his chaplain's whole family was also relocated any time that the court moved. The king's first task was to accommodate the establishment of his court's family members in communities that they could serve him as conveniently as possible (ISKT: Traduction: pp. 263-264). At Indrapura (Prey Nokor) where he grew up, Sivakaivalya was his guru (teacher) and purohita (chaplain). The next passage indicates that the reigning king of Bhavapura (Lavo) gave Sivakaivalya the land (at Indrapura) to settle his family at Bhadrayogi.
The king (reigning the city) of Bhavapura gave him the lands in the territory of Indrapura where the village Bhadrayogi was founded. (ISKT: Traduction: p.263)
Apparently, Jayavarman II was raised there and trained by the priest Sivakaivalya who was sent from Lavo to be his guru and Chaplain. The reigning king of Bhavapura of the passage was his predecessor who took care of his youth. Unfortunately, the passage does not specify his identity to give us better view of the next development of the Angkorean empire. Nevertheless, it shows of his suzerainty over Indrapura of Prey Nokor, conveying that Lavo was at the time the center of the new Khmer consortium. Jayavarman II apparently founded and became king at Hariharalaya where he founded the country of Kuti (Kutipura) for his guru and family members to settle in.
S. M. went to reign at Nagara Hariharalaya, and Sivakaivalya serided also at that Nagara. . .
S. M. founded Nagara Amarendrapura where Sivakaivalya fixed himself and continued to serve the king. He requested the king a piece of land and founded the district (Srok) of Bhavalaya.(ISKT: Traduction: p.264)
He also founded another country called Amarendrapura where he settled the family of his guru at Bhavalaya that was likely located at the site of Sdok-Kak-Thom (Sisaphon of today) at the time.
It was then that Jayavarman II ordered the cult of deveraraja to be performed on top of the mount Mahendraparvata (Phnom Kulen), rendering him as a true cakravatin monarch of Angkor. After the inauguration, the king ordered the Cult to be handed over to his guru, the Brahman Sivakaivalia and his family to carry on along the line of the Angkorean kings. Through dedication, his descendants became the cult bearers and were responsible to sustain the Devaraja cult to crown the Deva kings through most of Angkorean lifetime. Along with this high honored task, they were also assigned other duties of no less importance, one of which is titled as royal Guru. Their duty included the formal training of the future king, and once he was crowned they became his personal adviser or chaplain. Often enough, they were married into the royal family and exerted a great deal of influence in the state decision making. After its formation, however, Angkor also opened itself to include the Chenla's membership and became in a true sense a Cakravatin Empire. Consistent with the fact that the Hindu culture was broadly based on the spectrum of seven energies, a Cakravatin establishment had to embrace all spectrum of religious believe that owed its creation to the Meru Culture (Civilization: The development of the Sumerian Culture: The Sky Gods and the spectrum of energies). Another God King, the Tribhuvanesvara, that was connected with Vishnuism had also been adopted along the Angkorean line of Kings of Cholan background. As an entity of the Meru universe, Angkor was going to have its own cycles of prosperity and decline. During all its turbulence times, evidences show that the Khmer court stayed to safeguard Angkor by accommodating kings of different dynasty and of religious background. As much as the kings themselves, the Angkorean court was weathering all internal crises to secure the success story of the Angkorean Empire. From that perspective, the Angkorean court was well deserved to receive the recognition of carrying on the Angkorean legacy from its early foundation to its final destruction.
THE MON's HERITAGE
In writing the history of Southeast Asia, scholars found out about the strong heritage of the MOn culture in both the Siam country and Burma (Notes: The Mon Heritage). Still they failed to materialize these heritage as actually due to the Mon existence as a country. As we had argued, the Mon people were actually of the same Kamara (Kun Lun in Chinese) stock as the Khmer people and evidence moreover show that their development were closely connected with that of the Khmer. Their new history started when the water Chenla king wrested the Annam Valley from the Khmer king Kaundinya Jayavarman to be conditioned as a Vishnuite based Ramana country. Nevertheless, the fall of the Chenla consortium allowed the Ramana country to be back under the Khmer consortium of the Sri Vijaya. Our study shall prove that this country actually was formed and stood side by side with the Angkorean empire.
The Reign of King Jayavarman III (869-877 AD)
Continuing the legacy of the Devavamsa, Jayavarman II brought the center of the Khmer empire to Angkorean side of today where he built the kingdom of Hariharalaya. It is important to note that at the time, Cambodia was no longer a bay as the sea was retreating due to the tectonic elevation. According to the Khmer legend, it became more populated.
Prah bat Devavamsa then continued to reign peacefully. The sea was retreating, the land was forming bigger and bigger and more populated. (RPNK: Prah Ketomala)
Nevertheless, evidences show that the site was still wet for Jayavarman II to start on any major development. As we shall see, the foundation of Yasodhara that became the start-up of Angkor's infrastructure had to wait until the reign of Yasovarman (889-900). At the mean time, people started to move in and settled mostly on dried lands of the high grounds. Another country that was founded nearby and was named Amarendrapura was in high probably founded the same way. The scholastic community of the Chief priest Sivakaivalya apparently settled first at the mount Kangwa before it moved to the actual side of Sdok-Kak-Thom (). As its name implied, Skok-Kak-Thom was meant to be a big depot of water's tall grass implicating that the place was actually submerged. The inscription of Skok-Kak-Thom also hinted later about the foundation of Amoghapura that scholars identified as the Battambang province of today. At the mean time, evidences show that Jayavarman II would rule Lavo after marrying a princess of its royal palace. A Sanskrit inscription, found at mount Prah Vihear, indicates that his consort named Prana had actually received the title of Kmvujalaskmi (IMPV: Translation: A Stanza 3-5: p. 10). It was actually the same title as the consort of Bahavavarman I that was actually a connection linking her to the Anuruddha's court of Lavo. To recall back, Lavo was actually ruled by the Khmer court of Jayavarman Kaundinya and the queen Prabhavati before it was conquered by the Water Chenla king. Perhaps to undo the mistake that the latter had done on the Khmer court, Anuruddha tried to restore the Devavamsa lineage by raising Jayavarman II as a legitimate heir to the Lavo court. After marrying him with the princess Kamvujalaksmi, Anurudha apparently crown his protégé as the king of Lavo. This proposition is checked out through the Mon tradition of conveying the title of cakravati as the king of Lavo that was actually a reminiscence of Jayavarman II proclaiming himself as a cakravatin monarch of Angkor. The inscription also mentioned about land concessions to the family members of his consort, the queen Kambujalaksmi. A piece of land located approximately around Lampang, was mentioned in the inscription to be awarded to her family.
The boundaries of this territory are Cetanapuraka to the east, Mushikasthala to the south, Lampan to the west, Lampan to the south. (JSS: Sanskrit Inscriptions of Campa and Cambodia: p. 13, by Abel Bergaine)
As we shall see, Lampang was one of the two cities that were founded by the queen Camadevivamsa who was the daughter-in-law of king cakravatin of Lavo. At the mean time, the inscription commemorates the birth of their son named Sri Dharmavaradhana who later was crowned under the same coronation name of Jayavarman III. The inscription of Sdok-Kak-Thom comments on his succession of his father at Hariharalaya. His Chaplain was the Sten-An-Suksmavidu a nephew of Sivakaivalya. In addition to his reign, the inscription comments on his strong commitment with his science and religion and had no interest with women. It explains why he left no heir for the Angkorean throne and after his reign the next kingship was delegated to the son of his maternal uncle, named Indravarman. From there, we shall identify him to be the ex-husband of the queen Camadevi who went-out to found Haripanjgaya. His short reign and the lack of other inscription commemorating his exploit as a king at Angkor leads us to believe that most of his career was done during his father's reign as vice-king and ruled over Ramana Nagara. His posthumous name was Vishnuloka, a Vishnuite god-king that tied him to the Mon than to the Khmer lineage. Through his mother side, his descendants if they existed were going to be members of the Aburuddha royal house who later founded the Mon country of Ramanadesa (The Ramana Desa: The Mon Countries: The Mons of Haripanjaya).
The Founding of Haripangjaya
We had argued that Theravada Buddhism had been brought to Southeast Asia by the Kaundinya court of Prey-Nokor. After the attack by Chenla, Buddhist practices suffered a serious setback that lasted until the fall of the Chenla Empire. The founding of Angkor by the surviving court of Kaundinya and the Nagi Princess nevertheless brought back the Buddhist legacy into the mainland of Indochina. The revival was however more visible in the Menam Valley after the Chenla King Bhavavarman had reinstated Buddhism into the Mon communities of Dvaravati. At the time that Angkor founded the military commanding post of Lavo, Sri Dharmarja already became a cultural center for Theravada Budhhism to spread along the Menam valley. Continuing this tradition, a new development was under way in making the Northern Siam country becoming more and more a part of the Angkorean Buddhist Empire. The chronicle of Lapun (Annales du Siam: Chronicle de Lapun, Camille Notton) accounts a northern Buddhist community founded by Buddhist monks requested a leadership from Lavo court. The King of Lavo sent his adopted daughter, Camdevivamsa, with a large retinue of its people to form a new country named Haripanjgaya. As its named implied, Haripangjaya (Hari-Pang-Jaya) was meant to be the country of the Vishnuite (Hari) side of the family (vamsa) of the Jaya dynasty. Likewise, we know that the queen Chamadevivamsa (Cham-Devi-vamsa) was herself of Cham background and was also a Vishnuite devotee. The chronicle identifies the current ruler of Lavo as Cakravati, a title associated with the Cakravatin monarch of Angkor who was no other than Jayavarman II. His adopted daughter Camdevi who was also his daughter-in-law, was at the time three months pregnant. Her husband who was no other than Jayavarman III was at the time ruling over Ramana Nagara (Ramandesa ?). Arriving at the site of Haripanjgaya, the Queen laid plan for her new city.
She (Nang Camdevi) delegated the northeastern part of Muang Haripanjgaya to be the residence for the people coming from Muang Lavo, the western part for the people coming from Miggasangara, the southern part for the people coming from Ramanigama. She dedicated the center for the descendants of the people born in the Samnok Sedaya who were native from the footprint of elephants, rhinoceros and bison.
The passage indicates that beside the indigenous tribes born from the footprints of elephants, rhinoceros and bison, immigrants from the southern cities including Lavo, Ramanigama and Miggasangara joined in to form the original population of the new city. Beside Lavo where the new Haripanjgaya's court originated from, Ramanigama was obviously the same as Ramana Nagara where her husband was residing. On the other hand, Miggasangara was a synonym of Lawasangharatha and was referring to Xiang-Mai that was also part of Aninditapura. It is a typical example of how a city of a Cakravatin Empire was formed by consolidating the control of local people with new migrants from surrounding cities or states. As we had argued, the Middle Kingdom of the Khmer Cakravatin Empire that is Angkor proper was also formed the same way. Chronology allows us to approximate the formation to the two cities almost at the time, which was in the nineteenth century. It was at the high of Angkorean's expansion under the reign of King Jayavarman II himself. The sending of the queen Camadevi, at her three months pregnancy, to Haripanjgaya was clearly a hash decision from the part of the Cakravatin Monarch. On the other hand, her husband was sent to rule over Ramana Nagara. The chronicle explain this decision of which queen Camadevi accepted without objection to be the outcome of a family's disruption due to a certain condition of her husband.
While he was named vice-king to rule over Rama Nagara, he left his duty to enter into religion and that Nang Camadevi was in the wake of divorcing him.
It reminds us about the specific condition of Jayavaman III's strong commitment to his science and religion as mentioned in the inscription of Sdok-Kak-Thom and most importantly to his lack of interest of women. The chronicle went-on to portray the queen Camadevi as a strong leader, capable to carry-on her assignment during her late pregnancy, even-though harassed by a nearby ruler of the Lua people name Vilanga. Continuing the tradition of Lavo, she succeeded to establish Haripanjgaya as the spreading ground of Theravada Buddhism.
The Founding of Lampang
According to the Lapun's chronicle, it would not take long after its construction for Haripangjaya to become a major city of the northern Siam country.
Haripangjaya was then very prosperous. There were five hundreds towns with their rest houses, parks and ponds with lotus, making the places very comfortable to stay. There were many villages all around. The devotion of the people was such that two thousands grand monasteries were built to serve as shelter for religious figures from Lavo who accompanied Nang Chamadevi. These five hundreds venerable distributed disciples and pupils to receive donation from the people and practiced religious deeds in these monasteries. We counted five hundreds of these venerable but their disciples were countless. (Annales du Siam: Chronicle de Lapun, Camille Notton)
The queen Camdevi gave birth to a set of twin brothers whom she made kings of Haripangjaya and Lampang even before they reached adulthood.
After seven days of reigning, Nang Chamdevi gave birth to twin brothers. She was pregnant since Lavo. She gave the name of Mahantayassa to the elder and Indavara to the younger, because they both were of the same beauty.
The older of the twins, Mahantayassa succeeded the queen Chamaradevi and reigned over Haripanjgaya while he was only seven years old. Not long afterward, the cadet Indavara also made himself known that he wanted also become sovereign like his brother. It was then decided to found another kingdom for him. With the help of an elder named Subrahma, the next city was built and it was named Lampang. The twins continued on the work of their mother and both Haripanjgaya and Lampung became the extension of Lavo to spread the Theravada Buddhism at the northern part of the Menam Valley.
Lampang was also known as Khelang or Khelyang, meaning the kingdom of mount Khale. The Jinakalamali moreover refers the name Khelang as an attribute to a hunter named Khelanga of the mount Luddapabbatta (Hunter's hill) because he was instrumental in helping the elder Subrahma to built the city. At the mean time, there is evidence that Jayavarman II was also actively involved with this northern development. A Sanskrit inscription, found at mount Prah Vihear (JSS, Sanskrit Inscriptions of Campa and Cambodia, by Abel Bergaine), makes a reference to Lampang, during its foundation, as not a totally an isolated area.
By the king's decree they have obtained the land of Maharatharuna, called Vana, along with Sacivalingam, which was previously unoccupied and where there is a linga of Civa. The boundaries of this territory are Cetanapuraka to the east, Mushikasthala to the south, Lampang to the west, Lampang to the north.
The king mentioned in the passage was Jayavarman II who found the Cakravatin Empire at the Angkorean site. The inscription indicates that Jayavarman II had granted a substantial amount of land to his family members in the vicinity of Lampang. It supports our assumption that Jayavarman II himself was the Cakravati monarch mentioned in the Lampang chronicle and that the establishment of his family members at vicinity of Lampang was actually a part of Haripuangjaya's foundation. From the finding, we conclude that Haripangjya became since a Buddhist Cultural Center, formed to support the control of Angkor over the Northern Siam Countries. It is said that the queen Camdevi stayed six months at the new city and then she said good bye to her younger son and returned to Haripanjgaya where she spent her last days.
Seven days barely passed after she arrived, she fell sick and her existence ended despite all the medical treatment administered to her.
We had seen that both Haripanjgaya and Lampang were founded after Lavo's legacy and once established, they kept theirs close relationship with their sister state Lavo and through it were well connected with Angkor. After a few generations however, the descendants of the queen Camadevi were no longer the sole rulers of Haripangjaya. Like many other parts of Southeast Asia, Lavo and Angkor included, Haripanjgaya underwent dynastic changes. It was an event closely connected to the political development of Angkor under the rising of the Cholan interference that led the dynastic crises. At the end of the tenth century, Haripangjaya declared war with its sister state Lavo and the break-up, as we shall see, resulted in the creation of Ramandesa as an independent state from Angkor (The Ramana Desa: The Mon Countries: The Mons of Haripanjaya).
THE KETOMALA DYNASTY
Due to the lack of information, we know little of Jayavarman II's ancestry. However, we know that he was connected through Puskaraksa to Jayavarman Kaundinya and the Nagi Princess and that he was still refereed in Khmer tradition as belonging to the Devavamsa. His son Jayavarman III did not actually continued his father's attempt to preserve this sacred dynasty. Raised by his mother, the queen Kambujalaksmi who was from the Chresta house of Lavo and spent most of his early career with the Mon court of Anuruddha. To make the matter worst, he left no heir to succeed him on the throne of Angkor. The Khmer tradition ended the lineage of the Devavamsa with the introduction of a new Ketomala dynasty that was this time took its originality from the god-king Lord Indra.
The Legend of Prah Ketomala
In all the glory of the Khmer tradition, Prah Ketomala was the first king to build Angkor's temple entirely in stone. Following his predecessor Devavamsa, he resumed the kingship of Angkor and found the new dried land at the northern shore of the Great Lake perfectly suitable to build the Middle Kingdom of the Khmer Cakravatin Empire. According to Khmer tradition, his birth was divine and connected to the court of Lord Indra. When conceived, the queen mother saw in her dream that Lord Indra instilled her pregnancy.
The queen was pregnant and one night in her dream she saw the god Indra touching her belly and gave her a crystal raying with 5 bright colors. She told her husband to consult the court astrologer. It was predicting that she would deliver a mighty son with the glory over his enemies in all direction. After the end of the pregnancy she had delivered a baby. He was named Prah Ketomala. (RNPK: Ketomala)
Politically, it meant to be a consortium between the Khmer dynasty of Devavamsa with the Kushan court of Lord Indra. In the next account, Indra soon interfered in the new Cakravatin Empire. After revealing himself as the God Father of the new heir of Angkor, Lord Indra wished to bring Prah Ketomala to visit his celestial ream of heaven.
At the age of 6 years old, the God Indra commissioned one of his angels Matalidevaput to inform Prah bat Devavamsa that Prah Ketomala is also his son for he is an incarnation of a son (Devaput) of his own. He then invited Prah Ketomala to take the celestial chariot and brought him to the realm of heaven. After 7 days, God Indra commissioned Matalidevaput to bring Prah Ketomala back home.
Still in his youth, Prah Ketomala was going to receive the best experience of his life. In order to bring fame and glory to the kingdom of Kamboja, Indra also planned to build a stone temple for his adopted son. Indra then organized a tour of his celestial palace so Prah Ketomala could see and choose which of the buildings he wished to have it built in his kingdom. After the tour, Lord Indra asked his adopted son for his choice. Deeply humble, Prah Ketomala pointed to the smallest of them all that was the shelter of the divine bull Prah Ko. On the way back, God Indra caused a celestial architect named Vasyakamma (Visnukarman in other oral tradition) to be born in the Khmer court.
He (Lord Indra) sent along an angel of his, Vasyakamma Devaput, to be born as a human architect and built a small temple for Prah Ketomala. After the death of Prah bat Devavamsa, Vasyakamma Devaput built another big temple of stone decorated with walls and moats as a tribute to the new monarch. He had Purohita to keep track of either bad or good events and save until today.
To build the temple, Visnukarman used materials available in the kingdom and made sure that the knowledge had passed on to the Angkorean court. That was how the Khmer Tradition remembered about the building of the first stone temple, and coincidentally enough it was named Ba-ko (the Master Cow). Needless to say, it was the starting of a series of stone temple's construction at Angkorean site. As a new lineage drawn from the Devaraja Dynasty, the Ketomala kings were remembered in Khmer tradition as the great builders of the Angkorean stone temples that included later the famous temple of Angkor-Wat. His existence as a king of Cambodia could not be proved through concrete evidence as no one of Angkor's inscriptions mentioned his name that was widely known in oral tradition. As a legendary figure, he was conceived symbolically by Khmer scholars to represent a new dynasty that played a specific role in the next history of Angkor. Common to all legendary figures, he was not expected to be a living person, but a lineage of kings who received special protection from Lord Indra. From the list of Khmer monarchs, we know that Indravarman II was the first of the lineage following his father Prithivindravarman. As we had seen, Prithivindravarman came from Malayu to rule over Champapura and created a new lineage of Ketomala kings of Prey Nokor (Xiang-Mai: The Cradle of the Angkorean Empire: Indrapura as the Birth Place of the Khmer Empire). Through the inscription of Dong-Duang (BEFEO IV:Notes d'Epigraphy: Premier Stele de Dong-Duang, M.L. Finot). We know that he had a posthumous name of Rudraloka that connected him to the legacy of Rudravarman. In his genealogy, his son Indravarman also traced his lineage back to the king Rudravarman of Prey Nokor whom the Chenla kings ousted from the Kambojan throne. After taking refuge at Yunnan, he formed a lineage that was remembered in the Northern Siam and Lao tradition as Khun Borom and Khun Inh of Nan-Tchao (Xiang-Mai: The Tai Mythology: Khun Borom of Nan-Tchao).
The Legend of Visnukarman and the Construction of Stone Temple
Following the Lao tradition of Khun Inh (a nickname for Indra) coming back to build Ayudhya and other cities of Prey Nokor, we had argued that the Sailendra kings actually restarted the Khmer empire at Pry Nokor. Remembered in the Khmer tradition as the Ketomala king, these protegees of Lord Indra started carrying major construction project at the Angkorean site. Following the Khmer legent of Vishnukarman, the Sankrit inscription of Prasat-Cha-Chuk recalls one of Indravarman II's purohita named Visnubhatta who also served successively under the next king Yasovarman and Harsavarman.
Gotrena Kasyapas tesam anucanah purohitah asit sriparvvate dese jato yas siddhimurttivat visnubhatta iti khyatam abhikhyam lokapavanim dadhareva tripathagam yo visnupadalaksitam. (BEFO 57: La Stele du Prasat Cha Chuk K. 1034, Claude Jacques)
The passage mentions his origin from Sri Parvate Desa or Nokor Phnom that is, as we have argued, a Khmer reference to the Shan country. His name along with his reputation as the famous Angkorean scholar at the time, lead us to believe that he was no other than the legendary Visnukarman who was credited to be the very first architect of the Angkorean temples. The first to be built was the temple of Ba-ko (or Prah Ko) and as its name implied was built to shelter the linga representing the divine cow Sivananda. As we had identified that Bhadrasvara was the first god king consecrated in the name of Kaundinya or Sivanandana, the temple of Prah Ko was basically built to represent the god-king Bhadrasvara. The temple had a specific Khmer architecture of a mountain temple, an inheritance of the ancient Nokor Phnom legacy. It was built as a stone tower with multiple stepped stone roofs, mounted on top of a pyramid base representing the mount Meru. In correlation to the Khmer tradition, we had argued that Kaundinya was actually the legendary Prah Thong who started the Khmer Kingdom at Prey-Nokor. The temple of Ba-ko was by all means built to commemorate Kaundinya as the progenator of the Khmer Kingdom. The next temple to be built is Phnom Bakheng and as its name implies, was also a mountain temple.
After the death of Prah-bat Devavamsa, Vasyakamma Devaput built another big temple of stone decorated with walls and moats as a tribute to the new monarch.
Dedicated in 907 to the reign of Yashovarman I, the temple was built in the exact center of Yashodharapura, the capital of the Angkorean Empire. With the base constructed as a platform elevated through five stories of pyramid bases, the temple has its architecture resembles that of the Borobudur temple that was built by the Sailendra court in Java. The contrast is that the Borobudur temple's top three stories are of circular pattern, a tradition of the naga culture while the Ba-kheng temple's all five levels are of square or rectangular pattern that was the reminiscence of the modern Angkorean architecture. The five shrines on the summit are arranged in equinox, replicating the five peaks of the mythical Mount Meru. Representing the Cakravatin establishment of the Khmer Empire, the center represents Yasodhara as a Middle Kingdom of Angkor and the four cardinal towers that represented its four cardinal states. As well as the Khmer tradition credited Kaundinya to be the founder of the Khmer kingdom that turned into an empire though his Devavamsa lineage, it also credited the construction of stone temples that characterized the age of the Angkorean Cakravatin Empire to the Ketomala kings. The Khmer tradition completed the legend of Prah Ketomala kings by incorporating his legacy in the new official name of the new Khmer Empire.
He had Purohita to keep track of either bad or good events and save until today. He then crowned Prah Ketomala in the palace of the Great Nokor Wat. (RPNK: Prah Ketomala)
The passage indicates that under the Ketomala kings, the court kept a good record that lasted until modern days. Nevertheless, light material records keeping were apparently destroyed through wars and destruction and only stone inscriptions survived through many generations to come.
The Sailendra Kings
During the reconstruction of the Khmer empire at Prey Nokor, we had seen that Jayavarman II was residing under the tutelage of the Sailendra court (Xiang-Mai: The Indra's Consortium: The Pala and the Rise of Mahayana Buddhism). As we had argued, the Sailendra was a new Buddhist consortium under the suzerainty of Lord Indra. In its latest development, evidences show that it included in its membership the scattered Gupta court of Maghadha and the Ko-Lo-Feng court of Nan-Tchao. The next Angkorean monarchs of the Ketomala dynasty were actually descended from the outed King Rudraverman of Prey Nokor.
The Reign of King Indravarman II (877-889 AD)
Indravarman II was member of the Sailendra kings who rebuilt the Khmer Kingdom of Prey-Nokor after driving both the Cham and Chenla courts out to Java. After the death of Jayavarman III, he was the next closest of kin to qualify for the throne of Angkor. His capital was Hariharalaya where he received the title of Devararaja from the chaplain Vamasiva, a grand son of Sivakaivalya. In the Khmer tradition, Indra sent one of his Devaput to be born in the court of King Devavamsa; Indravarman was the Indra's devaput to take on the vacant Angkorean throne. His achievement in construction works earned him the recognition by scholars as the first master builder of Angkorean period. He began by constructing massive irrigation systems including the great Indratataka dam and was later known as the builder of Prah ko and Bakong temples. On the wrong premise that he was not in the same lineage with the king Indravarman I of Champapura, scholars number him as Indravarman I of the Angkorean kings. For the sake of clarity, we shall number him Indravarman II to be a descendant of the Champa king Indravarman I who himself was the actual founder of the Khmer Cakravatin Empire at Prey-Nokor. In the first inscription of Dong-Duang(BEFEO t.4: Notes D'epigraphie: Premiere stele de Dong-Duang: P. 84-99, By M. L. Finot), he was referred as "maharaja adhiraja" that was a title of a cakaravatin monarch. In the genealogy section he list his ancestry back to king Uroja who was quoted to be a direct descendant of the god-king Paramesvara.
Paramecsara santanaj jata Urojo dharapati
He also list the kings that ruled over Champapura to start with Sri Mate Sri Man Dharmaraja whom we had identified as the Funan king Fan Shis Man of the Chinese text (Kamboja Desa: The Funan Court: The Reign of King Fan Man and the Consolidation of Funan). Others were Sri Bhadravarman whom we had identified as Prah Thong in the Khmer legend and his son King Rudravarman who was the usurper of the Khmer throne from the Khmer rightful heir Gunavarman (Nokor Khmer: The Three Dynasties, The Sri Vijaya). At his death in 889, he received the posthumous name of Isvaraloka.
The Reign of King Yasovarman (889-900 AD)
He was the son of King Indravarman II with the queen Indradevi. The Sten-An Vamasiva, also named as the Sten-An Sivasrama was his guru and Chaplain. The inscription of Sdok-Kak-Thom mentions that before he was crown at Angkor, he received the title of Yasovaradhana. The inscription of Tep-Pranam mentions that he was a Buddhist Ksattra of the soma line
Ksattra vamca Nabha c candro(ITP: Text A; Atanza XIX: p.208)
belonging to Anuruddha lineage of the jaya kings
Abhranta cakren aniruddhari cadaj jaya). (ITP:Text B; Stanza XLVI: p.210)
The introduction confirms the legacy of Anuruddha's family member ascending the throne of Angkor under the dynastic branch of the Ketomala dynasty in close connection to the Devavamsa of the last king Jayavarman. His reign was blessed by the promises of a vast territory, through the inheritance of his double ancestry to cover.
Yac criyasovarmapadam dadhanah asuksmakamrata payodhacina campadidecad dharner adhicah. (IBC: Stanza XXVII: Text: p. 491)
As Asuksma Kamratha could be identified as the Irrawadi Valley, the passage indicates that Yasovarman's kingdom included Burma, the South China Sea and Champadesa (Notes: The Extension of Yasodhara). The claim reminds us of the Water Chenla King Bhavavarman I's dominion as stated in the Vishnupurana (Dvaravati: The Exploit of Water Chenla: The Purana's Account of King Bhavya). It shows that Under Yasovarman, the Angkorean Empire extended itself virtually over all Southeast Asia. In one of his inscriptions, the construction of the new capital Yasodharapura was justified to serve as the Middle court of the Cakravatin Empire. This was probably the necessity to control the expanded kingdom that earned him the title of the supreme master of the land (History of Indonesia: B. R. Chatterji, p.70).
He who defended Kambupuri (the capital of Kambuja), Ayodhya, Vibhishana, with Sumatra as his friend, and with Sita as it ornament, like the descendant of Raghu.
To accommodate his ambitious construction's project, he moved his capital from Hariharalaya to a new place bearing his name, Yasodharapura. Among his first buildings, the Lolei temple was built on top of an island at the middle of the great dam built by his father. On the wall of the temples at the right of the front door, there are four inscriptions, one for each tower, commemorating him as an monarch at 890 AD (JA Apr-June 1883: Inscriptions en vieux Khmer: Inscriptions de bakou et de Loley, Aymonier). At the tower of the north he was introduced as a Cakravatin Monarch (sri Sasaukacandrashta-cakapatarajya). It was also under his reign that a construction started on mount Prah Vihear to shelter the God King Sikharisvara and on Phnom Sandak to shelter the God King Bhadresvara. According to many inscriptions found at mount Prah Vihear, we know that Sikharisvara was the incarnation of the God King Bhadresvara who himself was first time consecrated at Mi-Son to deify Kaundinya. Yashovarman's posthumous name was Paramsivaloka.
THE CONCEPT OF A CAKRAVATIN EMPIRE
The concept of a Cakravatin Empire was based on unifying kingdoms into a confederation that sustain the state affair of each member conforming to a common cause. Its formation consists of a Middle Kingdom and at least four cardinal states to start the empire. Once it started, dependencies were added to be part of the empire through consortium. Even though the Middle Kingdom (and its cardinal states) played important rule in providing religious guidance, other member states retained their own autonomous courts and conducted theirs state-affair independently from the center. The following criteria were seen presented in the Angkorean establishment for us to believe that they were actually forming the core concept of a true cakravatin empire.
Of States and Leadership
As stated in the Khmer Tradition, Angkor was still retaining its official name as Kambujadesa.
The country prospered peacefully had its name changed to "Krong Kamboja Thibti Sri Sodhara bavara Indapath Kururajja Vararajadhani Puriram Uttam Mahadhan". Other countries called it Nokor Khmer. (RPNK: Prah Ketomala).
Nevertheless, Angkor was known to other countries also as Nokor Khmer (Chenla in Chinese). Another important clue was that prosperity was achieved through peaceful mean, which was actually Angkor's primary goal as a cakravatin empire.
A Shared Heritage
It is interesting to note that the word "Yasodhara" or "Sodhara" followed immediately the word "Kamboja" in the name of the Angkorean kingdom. The Kambojan legacy in the formation of Angkor is obvious through inheritance from the Funan Empire (Nokor Khmer: The Khmerization of Kambuja: The Birth of the Khmer Empire). Indrapath, as we might recall it, was an ancient city of Northern India where the legendary Prah Tong originated (Notes: The Legend of Indapath Nagara). This renewal of the Indra's connection was obviously done through the Pala Dynasty of West Bengal. Unlike the two borrowed names, Kamboja and Indrapath, Yasodhara or Sodhara retains its legacy from the Kamara or naga culture of the Hiong-Wang era. It is in a true sense the original identity of Nokor Khmer. The early rulers of Prey Nokor of the Uroja lineage was mentioned as Dharapati which indicated that Dhara was at the time a capital of Prey Nokor (Champapura: The Formation of Champapura: The uprising of Lin-Yi). After freeing themselves from the Hans, the native Uroja kings of Prey-Nokor had to deal with the Cham kings who were, as we have argued, relative of the Han Dynasty (206BC-220). The name also includes "Vararajadhani Puriram Uttam Mahadhan", a reminiscence to the past legacy of the Varadhana or the brave kingdom, known in Chinese text as Hiong-Wang. It is quite common that many Khmer kings bore their title of "Varadhana" before it was changed to "Varman" during their coronation as a cakravatin monarch of Angkor. This ancient Kamara of the Nokor Phnom's legacies could also be detected during the emergence of the Pala and later the Sailendra dynasty. According to the Khmer Tradition, Vasyakamman Devaput then started building the city of Yasodhara of the Amarindrapura.
A shared History
For long, western scholars had been bothered by the similarity of events recorded in Burmese, Khmer and Siam chronicles after the formation of the Angkorean Empire. It appears that the historical facts recorded in these chronicles were copied from one to another and for most of the cases were relating to the same specific events. Dismayed, they downgraded all local records as having no historical values because of their lack of originality. To fit into their western format, selective parts were vaguely mentioned, and often enough were misinterpreted. The Khmer chronicles in particular, being sketchy in a story telling style, were among the firsts to be rejected. On the other sides, the Burmese and Siamese chronicles did no fare better. Being compiled by Buddhist monks for general audience, the historical events often linked to Buddhist concepts making their appearance more like religious manuscripts than chronicles. To make the matter worst, mythology was included as part of the Hindu heritage. In contrast to stone inscriptions, they were written on light material and were subject to change hand from one scribe to another. Despite the effort to preserve the originality, corrections from personal views during each copy were made and deterioration was unavoidable. The dating system, for instance, was the most neglected since it was not that critical to the general public as much as to historians. Another problem is the presentation of many historical figures as an essence of the same fictional character. It is quite common that a lineage of many kings is presented as only one person with the same surname. As we had seen, Prah Tong of the Khmer chronicle was actually a lineage of kings descended from the very first Kaundinya exiled from the Gupta court (Indianization: The Aryavarta's connection). In contrast to the Chinese records, these local chronicles clearly fall below western standard, but nonetheless are no less truthful. To their similarity, the reality was that under the Cakravatin umbrella, the mainland of Indochina was set to share the same history. As a result, it is not surprising that the historical event of the Cakravatin monarch was often quoted as part of the Cardinal court's historical record. A typical example is found in the record of the queen Camadevi in regard to the formation of Haripangjaya. In the chronicle of Lapung, she was mentioned as the daughter-in-law of the Cakravati king of Lavo. In Pali, the word "Chakravati" mean the Cakravatin monarch and the title is reserved for the ruler of the Middle Kingdom only. As Lavo was part of Angkor, the title refers him as the Cakravatin monarch of Angkor who was at the time, Jayavarman II. From that finding, we conclude that she was the consort of Jayavarman III.
The Middle Kingdom
Under the Cakravatin umbrella, kingdoms were united under the same supreme ruler called rajadhiraja or king of kings. Under the protection of a god-king, the cakravatin monarch ruled supreme at the Middle Kingdom. Decentralization however limited his role over member-states' affairs that were administered by their own autonomous courts. Mutual-trust between the cakravatin monarch and his subordinate court was crucial in sustaining the cakravatin infrastructure. Transparency and fairness were to be expected from the central court of the Middle Kingdom. Also important were the composition of its court' s membership and the prestige through its past and current achievements.
The Dynastic Connection
One well-known policy of sustaining order and cooperation in the Cakravatin Empire involves intermarriage. Once a ruler accepted his subordinate status, he often sent his daughter to the higher court as token of gratification. As a result, the Cakravatin Monarch could have as many secondary queens as the number of the cardinal states. The reverse policy was also common. At his own discretion, the Cakravatin ruler might also choose to marry his daughter to a potential monarch of subordinate state. A typical example was the marriage of the daughter of naga king, the Funan ruler, to the Khmer King Prah Thong. The consequence was immediate. Even though derived from different origins, these rulers were involved in intermarriage so much so that they were all blood related. This policy worked well in time that circumstances allow them to unify and was an efficient diplomacy to secure peace and alliance. However, it was also a source of conflicts in the time of crises. According to matrimonial tradition, a heir of one kingdom could claim himself to be the heir of the others through mother side. Fights erupted and created all sort of political skirmishes if smooth transition was not achieved. The Angkorean throne that represented the middle power of the Cakravatin Empire was particularly vulnerable. To minimize the risk, the Angkorean office of rite had come up with elaborate rule of identifying the heir to the Angkorean throne. Even so, the Angkorean court would still have to resolve dynastic conflict that was sprung from other courts. We shall see that two lines were becoming strong players in the future of the Angkorean politic, due specifically to their assimilation with the two contemporary power houses of Southeast Asia, the Sri Vijaya and the Chola courts. It is thus not surprising that records of the conflicts between the two houses were not inscribed in Angkor's inscriptions, but instead were spreading in local records of its surrounding states. During the next dynastic crisis as recorded in the Mon tradition, the Angkorean court would face a drastic transformation, even-though still retaining the legacy of the Cakravatin Empire (The Chola Dynasty: The Dynastic Crisis: The conflict between Java and Sri Vijaya).
After stone temples were discovered at the Angkorean sites, scholars argued about the rational behind their practicality. It is obvious that these stone temples were not suitable as living shelters, let alone for other practical use. The answer is provided in many inscriptions. They were built to shelter the lingas, symbol of the mystical power granted by the Hindu god Siva in the commemoration of a new Devaraja or God King who will protect the king and his kingdom. For instance, the temple Bako was built to shelter the god king Bhadrasvara, the linga of the very first Kaundinya or Prah Ko. Inscriptions also reveal another rational about the responsibility of Devaraja kings to leave their mark during their reign. After the coronation, they sprung immediately into actions by building reservoirs (barays) and dams, constructing temples or religious shelters, and crushing rebels to safeguard their Cakravatin Empire. Built mostly from the booty collected during the war and from tributes of their vassal states stone temples were built in honor for the contemporary god-king or for his predecessors.
They recorded their victories, achievement and historical events that were some times depicted as base-relief on the wall of the temples. Thank to them, modern scholars could trace back Khmer history that would otherwise perished along with the Angkorean Empire. They were historical books that lasted through wars and bad weather while their contemporary history records in light material all perished. Clearly, these stone temples were built to serve one primary purpose that is to sustain the prestige of the Cakravatin Empire. They represented the universe centered at mount Meru where the god king ruled over his cardinal states. The Angkorean court used the stone temples as commodities to propagate the Cakravatin culture. For scholars, they were open books on religious theologies and most of all on history in the making where they could walk through and not just to learn but to live in it. For the mass people, they were their cultural center where they get their sense of purposes and belonging, duty and achievement, and most of all their common identity. Khmer Tradition and inscriptions mentioned that vassal states sent their yuvaraja or heirs and perhaps also the children of the elite classes for training at the Angkorean site. As the prestige grew, the temples also grew in size and obviously in cost. For long, scholars had argued that the cost could be one of the major contributors to the fall of the Angkorean Empire in the next millennium to come.
The Role of Cardinal States
Until recently, Angkor was believed to be formed on the ground of the native Khmer people of Cambodia today. We had argued instead that as the Middle Kingdom of a Cakaravatin Empire, Angkor owed its existence to all its cardinal states. As a matter of fact, Cambodia of today was a bay and that before the formation of Nokor Khmer at Prey-Nokor in the late fourth Century, the Angkorean site was still inhabitable (Prey Nokor: The Cradle of Nokor Khmer: The Great Lake). To start, Angkor received the Khmer legacy from Varadhana of Prey-Nokor and the Kambojan and Cham legacies from Lavo and the Siam country. Beside giving Angkor its basic foundation we hall see that all cardinal states continued to provide Angkor with substantial mean necessary for its survival.
Prey Nokor as the Early Middle Kingdom
Retaining the legacy of the ancient Hiong-Wang Kingdom, Prey-Nokor was actually the preceptor of the Khmer Empire. It was here that Kaundinya or Yang-Mah built the Khmer kingdom after chasing out the Cham king from Champapura and freed Prey-Nokor from Chinese control. It was here also that the first Southeast Asian Cakravatin Empire was built on the ground of the broken down of the original Khmer Kambojan Empire (Known in Chinese texts as Funan). After recovering from the control of the Chenla powerhouse, we know through Chinese sources, that Prey Nokor was the first to be reformed as Huang-Wang (Xiang-Mai: The Cradle of the Angkorean Empire: The startup of the Southeast Asian Cakravatin Empire). It was actually a Cakravatin in the making, formed by the fallen Kaundinya court of Prey-Nokor. Conforming to the Laos tradition of Khun Lo (or Lo Dharni), inscriptions commemorated Prithivindravarman as the first king to be crowned as a cakravatin monarch. It was actually a comeback of the displaced court of Pry Nokor, after regrouping themselves at Central Java under the new identity of the Sailendra. The Javanese attacks however would make the new empire prone to foreign incursion and forced Jayavarman II to move his Middle Kingdom inland to the Angkorean site of today. Out of the harassment from the Javanese attacks, Angkor thrived to become the next powerhouse of Southeast Asia. At the mean time, Champapura along with Prey-Nokor became its first cardinal state. In the new development, Cambhupura ceased its existence while Champapura transformed itself as a major maritime port of Angkor. Due to its locality, Champapura became a strategic location of the sea trade that competed directly with the Chinese port of Tonkin. Due to its importance, Champapura was split from Prey-Nokor and in connection with Luang-Prah-Bang and Nokor Rajasima of the Khorat plateau, formed the Northeastern (Isan) cardinal state of Angkor. At the south where seated the ancient site of Vyadhapura, new emerged land provided the Khmer Kingdom of Prey-Nokor with fertile land for its agriculturist development. However the success of the sea trade was too lucrative for the Angkorean court to ignore. With the help of the Sri Vijaya, Prey-Nokor became another major port of the Khmer Empire. Through the Mekong River, sea trade was extended in land into the heart of Angkor itself. Through collaboration of both the Sri Vijaya and later the Chola ruling houses, Angkor became the wealthiest kingdom of eastern Asia to rival China itself. Even after the Mongol incursion, Angkor still retained its reputation as a wealthy Kingdom that was normally attributed to the legendary Kingdom of Ta-Tsin. Because of this wealth, Angkor was able to start on ambitious projects that have never been done before in Southeast Asia. Great temples, such as the temple of Angkor Wat, were then built to glorify the Khmer Cakravatin Empire.
Lavo as Angkor's Military and Commercial Centers
As part of Sri Dharmaraja, Lavo had been an important part of Kambujadesa and later of the Khmer Empire. After the fall of Funan, Lavo became even more important during the next foundation of the Angkorean Empire, Very much like its other cardinal states. Along side with Xiang-Mai and Haripangjaya, Lavo had very deep tradition in connection to the Soma line of the Sri Vijayan court (Notes: The Kamboj Legacy of the Sri Vijaya). Known as Anindityapura in Khmer inscriptions, Lavo had deep past connection with Dvaravati of the Menam Valley. Starting from the conquest of Chenla, Lavo became the traditional house of the line of kings descended from Bhavavarman and received the name of Bhavapura. In contrast to its antiquity as a city of the naga kingdom of Dvaravati, Lavo became now the city of the humankind or Nararatha. The transition reflects the Khmer legacy in regard to the internal organization of Angkor that included the Ketomala or the Sailendra powerhouse. While Angkor was its capital where state decision making was made, Lavo served as its military command center. Being more populous than its Middle Kingdom and other cardinal states as well, Lavo was Angkor's main source for people resource. In consistency with the strategic defense system of the Khmer Cakravatin Empire that was started at Prey Nokor, Lavo became the recruiting ground of the Khmer army during wartime. From then on, the title of Narapati was found in Khmer inscriptions and scholars agreed that it was the Angkorean title designated specially for Lavo's rulers who hold the position of the Angkorean Obraja (army general) or vice-king. Because of this high importance, they were often picked from eminent members of the the Angkorean court and many became eventually the Angkorean monarch during their next promotion. As a military commanding post of Angkor, Lavo was also controlling all northern Siam countries under Angkor's cakravatin affair of dependent states. This close relationship explains why the northern Siam Tradition mentioned that during the formation of Haripanjgaya the King of Lavo was the King Cakravati who was no other than Jayavarman II. Reigning as a Chakravatin monarch at Angkor, Jayavarman II was seen actively developing the Angkorean site as well as the northern Siam country. On the same premise, it is not a coincidence that Jayavarman II's posthumous name was Paramesvara, a Sanskrit reference to the same ancestral Khun Borom of Northern Siam tradition.
THE CULTURAL CENTER OF A CAKRAVATIN EMPIRE
It is undeniable that the Khmer Empire was formed from the Meru's legacy that gave the Angkorean Empire its Sivaite tradition. As we had seen, the Cult of Devaraja was entirely based on Sivaite rituals. As expected, the reference to Sivaism in Angkorean inscriptions was from the start, outnumbered those of Visnuism and Buddhism. From that fact alone, scholars made mistake of claiming that Angkorean monarchs were sivaite. As we had seen, the Angkorean court was accommodating a full spectrum of seven energies. On top of the existing trinity of the Hindu Culture, the latest occurrence of Buddhism provided Angkor with more cultural strength that constituted a stable ground for the Cakravatin Empire.
The Theravada Buddhism
Soon after the arrival of Kaundinya, evidences show that Buddhist practice reached its zenith in Southeast Asia while at the same time was fading from its birthplace in Gangetic India. Archeology unearthed Buddha Images of Gupta style in many locations that proved to be where the Kaundinya's family settled. Buddha Images founded at Pong-Tuk were undoubtedly the first images to be imported from Amravati during the settlement of the first Kaundinya at Pan Pan (Lavo). Other images founded at the Mekong Delta and at Dong-Duang coincided with the events of Kaundinya or Yang Mah ruling over Prey Nokor and Champapura. These archeology findings provide concrete evidence that the exiled Prah Thong brought with him the Theravada Buddhism and after forming the Khmer Kingdom, introduced it into the mainland Indochina. The same way that Buddhism was taught at Magadha, presence of other Indic elements was also noticed among vestiges unearthed during the same period. Under Hindu influence, the practice of Tantric Theravada Buddhism included many aspects of Hindu legacies that could deviate Buddhism from the true teaching of Buddha Gautama. The sensuality in depiction that was commonly found at ancient Buddhist temples of the Khorat plateau reflects the widespread Tantric practice that was inherited from Magadha. According to Culavamsa, Buddhist texts were then written in Sanskrit or Simhalese language (The Culavamsa: Chap 37: History of Buddhaghosa (215-48): P 22-26, translated by Wilheim Geiger). They were checked and claimed to be faultless, even though Tantrum and other Hindu legacies were proved to be a big part of them. With all the unwanted influences, the Hinayana essence however did still lack of lusting and could not shine through on its own under the Sanskrit Language. At the same time, the Khmer tradition confirms about the presence of high-ranking Buddhist monks soon after the arrival of Prah Thong to join in his court (RPNK: Preah Thong).
Samanathera (monks) and samanatheri (nuns), buripajaka and buripajika were there ever since.
The new immigrants saw the need of a new language to replace Sanskrit in the attempt to break off the Theravata Buddhism from Paganism. The Khmer Tradition claims that the Khemera language was then invented by the new Buddhist community under the directive of Prah Thong to replace Sanskrit on all Buddhist texts.
As time passed, he (Prah Thong) commissioned his scholars to translate Sanskrit texts into Khemara language. He mandated not to use the original languages in favor of the new language (that was) sounding like some Magadha language, some Sanskrit and some Cham language.)
Undeniably the new khemera (Pali) language included many features of the Magadhan Language, but was nevertheless not intended for the Magadhan people who, as we shall see, would soon lose interest in Buddhism. Beside the effort of Buddhaghosa, the initiation of the Pali canon of Theravada Buddhism received limited success in Gangetic India. On the other side, Chinese texts mentioned about Buddhist manuscripts, written in Kun-Lun language and scripture were widely used in Southeast Asia and were brought to China to be translated into Chinese language by Khmer monks.
The Khmer Language
Before the Funan era, the Kamara (Mon-Khmer) language was naturally predominant among the Autroasiatic societies of Buddhist religion. Other indigenous languages were left to the choice of their communities along with their own beliefs and cultures. In the leadership stratum, evidences show that administrators ranging from village' s headmen to the court of the Queen Ye-Lieou were of Kamara stock. After the formation of Funan, the situation changed as Sakan aristocrats were making their way to intrude in the politic of Southeast Asia. To present themselves in the court of China (of the Tchou Dynasty), the Funan's embassy needed multiple interpreters indicating that they spoke different languages (Kamboja-Desa: The Funan Culture: The Societies). Beside the Kambujas who (probably) spoke the Pakrit Symhalese languge, we know that the Cham aristocrats spoke Cham language as proved by the early stone inscriptions left by king Bhadravarman at Prey Nokor. During the Khmerization, evidences show that Kaundinya Jayavarman's court invented the Pali Language to use as a common language in the Buddhist institution replacing the Sanskrit Language. On the same token, we had the reason to believe that the Khmer Language was also restructured to accommodate the court, but unlike the Pali language that included many imported feature the Khmer language was a legacy of the local Hoabinhian Culture (Prehistory: The Hoabinhian Culture: The Cultural Factor). From now on, they were no longer in need of multiple interpreters to communicate between themselves and to present themselves to the Chinese court. What the Chinese court mentioned in their records as the Khun-Lun Language were actually two separate languages were used in the Khun-Lun courts of Southeast Asia. They were the Pali language that was primary used in the Buddhist institution and the Khmer Language that was used in the Khmer court as a common language between the power elite. Judging from theirs own inscriptions left behind, the Chenla court who were fighting against the Khmer establishment of Funan for the benefit of the Cham legacy, were actually the first to use the Khmer language in conjunction to the Sanskrit language (). Nevertheless, evidences show that the Khmer language and scripture were kept mostly for the administration of the Khmer court and by all means was not enforced on the general population. It explains the existence of many other indigenous dialects side by side with the Khmer Language in Cambodia until the modern time. Outside of Angkor, the spreading of the Khmer Language was even more restricted and was concentrated only in the Khmer administrative centers. Used only by the family members of the Khmer elite, its existence among the Mon-Khmer communities could only be checked out by stone inscriptions found in many places at the Menam Valley and the Khorat Plateau. At the same time, evidences show that local people were left with their own heritage and identity, but would receive their common education through state religion. Due to the lack of public institutions, languages as well as cultures were spreading at best through religions. Endorsed by the Buddhist societies of Ceylon, the Pali language became the primary language of the Theravada Buddhism. Under its influence, the Kamara language of the original Mon-Khmer family underwent transformation into the Mon Language. The divergence does not obviously bother the Khmer Court since Theravada Buddhism and the Pali Language were part of their legacy. Under the Cakaravatin Umbrella, languages as many other aspect of cultures were left to the believers and theirs past inheritance. This loose cultural enforcement was actually the main criteria of preserving native heritage and identity that resulted in less friction to make the Khmer Cakravatin establishment transparent to subordinate states. However, it also made the alliance vulnerable to foreign interference. We shall see that after the Mongol incursion, the Khmer establishment was disintegrated completely into separate nations. Under the Cinicization, new nations were formed based on specific set of local and imported cultures. To strengthen their nationality, each nation invaded its weaker neighbors and enforced its culture upon them for the sake of homogeneity (The break down of the Cakravatin Empire: The Break down of the Angkorean Empire: The impact of demographic changes and the effect of Cinicization).
- ISSA: The Indianized States of Southeast Asia, by G. Coedes
- RPNK: The Royal Pangsavadra of Nokor Khmer, by M. Tranet
- LAPUN: Annales du Siam: Chronicle de Lapun, Camille Notton
- ISKT: The Cambodge II: Les Provinces Siamoises: Le Temples de Skok-Kak-Thom : Stele de Sdok-Kak-Thom , by E. Aymonier
- IBC: JA: Inscriptions du Cambodge: L'Inscription de Baksei Camkron, by G. Coedes
- ITP: JA: Inscriptions du Cambodge: L'Inscription de Tep-Pranam, by G. Coedes
- JINA: Jinakalamali (The epochs of the conqueror), by Ratanapanna Thera,
802-869: reign of Jayavarman II; Foundation of Haripangjaya and Lampang; 869-877: reign of Jayavarman III; 877-889: Reign of Indravarman II; 889-900: reign of Yasovarman.
- The Lineage of the Angkorean Kings
In stanza XVI, the inscription of Baksei Cam Krong introduced the next Angkorean kings as lined from King Rudravaman, but were derived from the legendary couple of Prah Thong (Kaundinya) and the Nagi princess (the daughter of Soma Prabhavah Indra).
Cri Rudravavaramma Nrptipramukkha tatac cri Kaundinya soma duhit prabhavah ksitindrah
(IBC: stanza XVI:Text pp. 497)
With Sri Rudravarman as head of the line, drawing their origin from Sri Kaundinya and the daughter of Soma Prabhavah Indra Ksattra, came the kings (of Angkor)
It is interesting to note that the nagi princess was introduced as the daughter of the king Prabhavah Ksitindrah. It explains why she is mentioned in other inscritions as Kolaprabhavati.
- Indrapura vs Java
Of its original translation, the passage is translated as
S.M. came from Java to reign and settled at the Kingdom of Indrapura. (ISKT: Le Temples de Skok-Kak-Thom : p. 263)
Aymonier noted in his translation that Java could be a localty of Malaysia as well as Java itself that misled some scholars to believe that Indrapura was once a city of Java. From there they postulated that Jayavarman II has been raided when he was with the Sailendra and he was kept at Java as a prisoner. Our own translation is as followed:
The king Paramesvara came from Java, from the city that is located in the kingdom of Indrapura. . It is indicating that Java was not meant as the island of Java, but a city of Indrapura kingdom of Prey Nokor.
The Pali word "Kuti" means temporary dwelling. It is used mostly as a temple's building to shelter monks or religious party for temporary stay at the temple. As contrary to permanent residence, it could also be a reference to a camp built with permanent shelter. In a specific sense, it could be built as a permanent shelter but is intended for temporary stay only. Perhaps because of their transitional aspect that many ancient localities were often referred as kuti.
- The Mon Heritage
The existence of the Mon heritage had been brought to light by the works of G.Coedes on the Mon heritage of Dvaravati and of R.G.Luce on the Mon heritage of Burma.
- The Extension of Yasodhara
In the original translation, the Sanskrit word "dadhana" or "didhana" is mistranslated as bordered (IBC: Stanza XXVII: Translation: p. 499) while it should be translated as included or contained instead. The mistake was perhaps intentional due to the misconception that Burma and Champa were not part of the Angkorean Empire,
- The Legend of Indapath Nagara
During the Lokantara Kappa, a plague decimated the population and drove it to disperse in the whole world. A son of Praya Patariputa, descendant of the race Maha Samantaraja, with his spouse, broke the wall of his domain and took refuge in the forest. When the plague stopped, they did no go back to their city, because it was too far. Later they conceived a son and named him Kuruvamsa because he was very good looking. At the age of three years old, his father died and at the age of seven years old his mother also died. He managed to survive in the forest until the age of twelve years old and became so strong that he can build his shelter out of stone. Upon hearing about his strength, Praya Pothisan, want to make him king of his kingdom. He later took as his consort a member of Khattiya family, named Indapathana, who like him did not know that she was belonged to the Khattiya family. The kingdom Pothisan was then known after her as Indapatha nagara.
- The Kamboj Legacy of the Sri Vijaya
It is important to note that the Sri Vijayan court was still holding strong the Kambojan tradition of the West. As legend stated, the original Si Vijayan court was formed from the coupling of the lion of the western Kambojan stock with the Naga house of Vanga. Their presence was later strengthened by the Ashoka's family members during the high of Buddhist expansion. Nonetheless, the western lion legacy was fading and for most of their existence they presented themselves as member of the Mahavamsa family of the Water Naga court. It was because of their Kamboj legacies that they were known in Khmer tradition as KambojNaga.