Author: Lem Chuck Moth
Started date: August/01/2005
Last updated: July/01/2012
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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.
The existence of Dvaravati was confirmed by a coin bearing "Lord of Dvaravati" found at Nakhon Pathon (Nokor Patham) south of Lopbori. Unlike other cities where the site could be located, Dvaravati was no where to be identified. In the record of Hiuan-tsang, a Buddhist monk who made a pilgrimage trip through the region at the fifth century, scholars found a reference to a locality named To-lo-po-ti (DICI: To the end of VIII Century: P.222-224). From its location, mentioned to be located at the east of Sriksetra and at the west of Icanapura, scholars were readily taking it as a proof of Dvaravati's existence. It was assumed by modern scholars to be centered around Lopbori where the coin was founded. Later indications suggest that its actual site was instead located on a small island of the Praya River that was becoming the city of Sri Ayuthya. During the emerging of the Siam Country in the fourteenth century, the legacy sprung back in the Ayudhyan court. The city bore its official name as the "Dvaravati Sri Ajudya" until present day. Etymologically, Dvaravati (Dvara-vati) was meant to be the abode of the gates and was in close connection to Babylon that means in Semetic language the Gate of God. In its practical sence, it was the gate of Southeast Asia with the outside world through it connection with the South China Sea. Being part of Sri Dharmaraja, Dvaravati must to get its identity from the Naga's legacies of the Southeast Asian ParamKamboja Kings of the Menam Valley (Nagadvipa: The land of the Nagas). As part of the lowland of the Indochina mainland of today, Dvaravati along with other ancient communities of Kambojadesa (Funan), settled on a group of islands (Nokor Khmer: The Khmerization of Kamboja: The work of the Naga King). Along the seatrade with Mesopotamia and the West, Dvaravati grew to become an important seaport of Southeast Asia (The Nagadvipa: The Land of the Nagas: The last of Mesopotamia's connection). In Buddha's time, Dvaravati must to be part of the Naga King Mahodhara and was in close connection to the Water or Sea Kingdom of Manipura. Being part of Tian-son, it was the seat of the civilized Kun-lun or Kajin people making their way to populate the mainland Indochina during the third millennium BC (Prehistory: The Move toward the plain: The Moi forts and the Kajin migration).
The Cradle of the Khmer-mon Civilzation
One important factor that make Dvaravati stood out in the history of Southeast Asia was its association with Buddhism. It started since the Buddha's life time when the Mon tradition witnessed the trips of Buddha Gautama making peace between the Naga's clans. Since Buddhism was implanted, the Naga people became devout Buddhist and their devotion became stronger through more Buddhist interference. As many other parts of the mainland, Dvaravati got its cultural boost after the arrival of Kaundinya from India. Due to the consortium between the Kamboja and the Khmer court, the Menam Valley became part of the Khmer Empire. Evidences from scarse vestiges unearthed from the site show that Kaundinya Jayavarman brought the Theravati Buddhism into the region during the Khmerization that took place around the late fifth century (Nokor Khmer: The Siam Country: The Siam Kuti and Lawaratha). In the development, we have assert that the Kaundinya court already made available the Pali canon to the practice of Buddhism. The incorporation of Pali Language in their daily life, in connection with Buddhism, moreover rendered the Mon language to be rich in Pali based phenom. It explains the divergence of the Mon Language at the Menam Valley, from the Sanskrit based Khmer Language of Prey-nokor. It was the first cultural distinction so far known between the Mon and the Khmer societies, as people (Notes: The Mon People). The decisive split however occurred later during the conquest of the Chenla Clan over Dvaravati. With the initiation of the Chenla King Bhavavarman, the Indianization of the Menam Valley changed its course into Vishnuist theme. The identity' s change to become Raman (Mon people) furthermore, gave the people of Dvaravti a diffrent identity from from their counterpart Khmer people. Even after King Bhavavarman changed his mind to restore back Buddhism in the Mon countries, the damage had already been done, as the Ramana's legacy stayed unchanged as the Mon Identity (Notes: The Dvaravati's Culture). After the formation of Angkor, Dvaravati was back again under the Khmer control. To fit into the Cakravatim Sangrila of Angkor, Dvaravati was split into two important cardinal states of Angkor. While the lower Menam Valley was included in the Buddhist state of Sri Dharmaraja, the northern Siam country became part of a diverse cultural environment that made Lavo unique in its cultural standing in the mixture of Hindu cultures under Buddhism. Mentioned in Khmer inscriptions as Aninditpura, Lavo became the house of Hindu think-tank for the next Angkorian court.
THE EXPLOIT OF KING BHAVAVARMAN
We have argued that the Chenla uprising was due in part to the conflict of religious belief between Buddhism and Vishnuism. When Kaundinya brought Buddhism into Southeast Asia, the Cham royal house along with Vishnuism was ruling over the Funan Empire. With the support of the Han court of China, Champapura was formed under Cham Suzerainty. The conflict started when Kaundinya fought off the Cham court and freed Prey-nokor for the establishment of the Khmer Empire. In retaliation, the Chams rallied themselve behind the Chenla kings and subdued the Funan court. Champapura was again reestablished and the Chenla power-house was seen unstoppable in their conquest, not only in the Mainland Indochina, but also in its surrounding territory. To better suit their campaign, the two Chenla brothers, Bahavavarman and Mahendravarman, split their battle ground into two fronts. At the end Buddhism prevailed and while the two Chenla clans ended up fighting each other, Buddhism started to flourish again.
The Mon's Account of King Bhavavarman
We have argued that King Bhavavarman was actually the leader of the Chenla pact and his exploit was so extensive that no part of Funan was spared from his conquest. His victory by all-mean allowed the Chenla Clan to promote the Vishnuite Cult back to a new high. By driving away the late Khmer and Sri Vijayan courts out off the mainland, Bhavavarman imposed his Vishnuite zeal that changed the Menam Valley into becoming the Raman country. It is thus not a coincidence that the Mon people had a rich collection of his exploit. A passage of a Mon chronicle (Khmer=Kham: Chatra Premridi) attributed the founding of cities in the Menam Valley to king Pya kalavannatisaraja of Takkasila MahaNagara.
In 1002 of Budhhist Sakaraja, the king Pyakalavannatisaraja, son of Pya Kakaphaktra, ruled over Takkasila Mahanokor. He commissioned his court to build the city of Lavo, taking 19 years to finish. After it was done, he commissioned the Pya to build other cities all over the places. They went on (to build) Dvarapuri, Santanaha, AChe, Kusamati ...
We shall identified Pya kalavannatisaraja of the passage as no other than the Chenla king Bhavavarman whose inscriptions had credited him as the conqueror of the Funan Empire (Takkasila). As we had seen, King Bhavavarman' s posthumous name was Kalakantisapada that relates him to the Kala king Tisa of the Mon's story. It is important to note that most of the cities in the passage were already been established during the Funan era if they had not been founded earlier. Except for Ache, they were well known as Buddhist centers of Southeast Asia. Their association to Pyakalavannatisaraja in the Mon tradition might mean instead his conquest and the conversion to Vishnuite after the attack. His campaign against Buddhism had been also noticed in the record of a Chinese monk I-tsing. On his pilgrimage to India in 671, I-tsing stopped at South East Asia to investigate about the new Buddhist development. He wrote that in former Funan the law of the Buddha prospered and spreaded, but a wicked king has completely destroyed it and there are no more monks. We can relate the event to the assault of Chenla over the Funan Empire and the "wicked king" was no other than the Chenla king Bhavavarman. In parallel to the advent of his conquest, the Mon Tradition has a clear recollection of severe setback incurred to Buddhism under the rule of king Tisa of Takkasila whom drastic measure against Buddhism was no less wicked.
There was a king of Thaton named Kalavantisa; a group of Naga had persuaded him to destroy Buddhism. All Buddha images had been thrown in the river. There was a daughter of a wealthy family name Mith Tho who was a devout Buddhist. Ignoring the king's order, she went on saving the Buddha images and kept them in her house. Accusing of violating the king order, she was sentenced to dead.
Devote to Vishnuite, King Bhavavarman was determined to wipe out Buddhism from the Kamboja Kingdom. Evidences also show that the extend of his campaign went beyond Southeast Asia to take hold of Srey Langka and of Southern India as well. By doing so, he was regconized by the Vishnuite community as their hero and that his exploit was included in the last part of the Vishnu's Purana. However we shall see that the advent of his camapaign against Buddhism in the Mon's tradition was going to change as the persistance of the story line's heroine finally succeeded to change his mind.
The Vishnuite Account of King Bhavya
The late development of the Vishnuite folklore was not totally Indian. As we shall see, the resuscitation of the Cholan ancient legacy of South India was one of the many developments that followed the uprising of the Chenla power house. The Vishnu Purana, for instance, includes an interesting part regarding the political establishment of king Bhavya whom we shall identify as no other than the Chenla King Bhavavarman (Histoire du Cambodge depuis le 1er Siecle de notre ere: Adhemard Leclere, p.43).
The king of the name Bhavya reorganized his country into three divisions with the name of Jalaga, Kumara and Sukamara. The Vishnu Purana also mentions the three ranges of montains Udayagiri, Syama and Astagiri and name the rivers Nalini, Kumeri and Sukumari.
Scholars agree that the geographical description indicates the mainland of Southeast Asia as a whole and perhaps some part of India. For easier identification, each partition is provided with its own mountain range and river. It was a political mapping of the Chenla territory, apparently conquered by the Chenla king Bahavavarman I. First, Jalaga is undoubtedly the corruption of the Sanskrit word "Jalasa" meaning water in reference to Vyadhapura that became known as the water Chenla. Its mountain range Udayagiri and its river Nalini appears to be instead in the Indian continent supporting our assumption that Water Chenla extended itself beyond the groops of Southeast Asian islands into Southern India. Kumari on the other hand is the reference to the Kamara kingdom of the ancient Hiong-wang country that included Prey-nokor. Now becoming the seat of the Land Chenla court, it included a big part of the today's Lao country. Its mountain range Syama could be the reference of the Red-earth country that became since the identification of the modern Syam identity (Nokor Khmer: The Siam Country: The Syam Kuti and Lawaratha). Referred in Chinese source as Kun-lun, Kamari was wrested from Rudravarman by the Land Chenla clan, led by Citrasena. It is consistent with the fact that, in the high of his power, the Chenla King Isanavarman controlled both northern Siam country and Prey-nokor that were originaly parts of the Khmer Empire. The river Kumari could then be identified as the Mekong River. On the other hand, tradition refers Sukamari (Sukamati in the Mon's account) as the new founding kingdoms of Irrawati basin that was to become the seat of later Ramanadesa. The River Sukamari could then be the Irrawati River, but the Astagiri (Horse Mountain) howevr still needs to be identified. We thus conclude that the exploit of king Bhavya in the Vishnu Purana is actually a corellation to the conquest of the Chenla king Bhavavarman and his descendants as witnessed by the Mon vestiges and tradition left behind. Under his extensive conquest, we shall see that the western part known as Tian-son in Chinese text during the Funan era, was now developed under a new Southeast Asian dynastic clan, the Anuruddha lineage of the Pyu kings. His summoning of all kings in the Jumbudvipa, as recounted in the northern Siam tradition, reveals his authority to lay over both Indian (at least at the northern part) and Southeast Asian continents. This vast territory would pave the way to the next formation of the Southeast Asian Cakravatin Empire (Xiang-mai:The City of Lawasangharatha).
Bhavapura as the Birthplace of the Santhap-amarindra 's Dynasty
The conquest of Dvaravati during the reign of Bhavavarman marked another turning point of Khmerization to the West. Except for his devotion to Vishnuism, King Bhavavarman retained most of his Khmer heritage from Prey Nokor. According to the Mon Tradition, the first city to be built was Lavo that took 19 years to transform into Bhavapura. Next were the cities of Dvarapuri, Santanaha, AChe and Kusamati. The first two cities could be identified with Dvaravati and Santan-Naga of the Menam valley while AChe was the same as Atche of Sumatra and Kusamati with Hangsavati of the Irrawaddy Delta. If the date of the story line is accurate, the attack clearly preceded the reign of Bhavavarman which collaborate the Khmer Tradition that the attack against the Thong (Kaundinya) dynasty was done instead by the Cham kings. Bhavavarman and his brother Citrasena were to benefit from the Cham's attack and built the Chenla Empire on top of the Cham Kings' conquest.
An inscription recently discovered on the site of Sri Tep, in the valley of Nam Saka at the heart of Menam Valley, attested the ruling of king Bhavavarman I, a descendant of Kaundinya at the region. It was the city of Bhavapura where, according to the inscription of Mi-son, the first Kaundinya marked his territory by throwing the lance received from the son of Drona, Aswathaman (BEFEO t. IV: Les Inscription de Mi-Son, Louis Finot). Another inscription relates Bhavapura to Shrestapura, the city founded by Shrestavarman identified as no other than the Lawa country or Lavo. As the new capital of the Khmer Empire where resided the Kaundinya court, Lavo was obviously the first target of the Chenla 's attack. It was also first in the Mon's list of Pya Kalavantissa's cities to be built or (more correctly speaking) conquered. The fact that it received the name of Bhavapura indicates that it was the city that Bhavavarman took control and turned it into his own capital. To commemorate the new line of kings, the dynasty of Santhap-amarindra, he established a new era at 638 AD as the Chola Sakaraja. In both Siam and Burmese Tradition, the Chola Sakaraja was observed faithfully indicating the continuance of the same line of kings from Lavo to Pagan, later in the history of both countries. As the word "Santhap" or "Ganthap" was a derivative from "Ganthara" and the word "Amarindra" was a combination of the word "Amara" or "Kamara" with the word "Indra" the dynastic title was simply referring to the Kamara line of Kings over Gandhara of the Kamboja Kingdom. This line of kings as we shall see, would play important role in the history of the mainland Indochina during the next centuries to come. It was also at Lavo that he presumably met and married the queen Kambojarajalaksmi who according to many Khmer inscriptions, was a member of the Kambojan king Shrestavarman' s royal line. It is also known that Buddhism had always been practiced in the royal house of Lavo since its formation. In conjunction to the Mon's tradition, we believe that the queen was no other than the heroine of the Mon's account who went out her way to restrieve Buddha's image from the river. The Mon Tradition claims that because she was of hight merit, she did not die by the execution as it was ordered by the king. No matter which way he tried, the executioner was not able to kill her. In frustration, the king asked if she knows of any magic when inquiring on her ability to escape death. She replied that the only magic she knows is her belief in Buddha's teaching. The king Tisa, recognizing his mistake, converted himself to Buddhism and took the Lady Mith Tho as his queen. Her commemoration as the "Laksmi of Kamboja king" tells us, one way or another, about her important role in the reign of her king. Through her influence, his conversion to Buddhism furthermore changed the course of the Chenla development. As we shall see, Bhavavarman would align himself with the ousted Kaundinya court of the last Khmer Empire to drive the Chenla court out from the mainland to Java. By the formation of the Angkorian Cakravatin Empire, we shall see that Bhavapura was known in Khmer inscriptions as part of Aninditpura where the early court of Jayavarman II was originated (Xiang-mai: The Cradle of the Angkorian Empire: Aninditapura as the birthplace of the next Angkorian power elites).
THE INDIAN ESCAPE GROUND
It is undeniable that South India had been civilized at least since the Sangum era. Little evidences however show that the cultural transition was carried directly from Northern India. Southern dynasties prior to the Sangam era were not of the small Bharata family of Gangetic India, but belonged to the big Mahabharata family of Middle-eastern origin. Modern South Indian dynasties such as the Pallava and the eastern Pala were in fact considered as strangers to them. By this statement, we are contradicting the claim that the Arianization of Southeast Asia was through Southern India. Furthermore, we shall argue that southern Indian dynasties of modern time were derived from the falling courts of the Kambujan (Funan) and Khmer Empire. We shall also argue that the reemergence of the Cholan power house of South India was also tied directly to a faction of the Chenla court.
The eastern Dynasties of India
The assault of Chenla, mighty as it was, did not annihilate completely the Funan legacies. To recall back, Funan was ruled by a consortium of two courts during the reign of Kaundinya Jayavarman (Nokor Khmer: The Siam Country). Evidences show moreover that the original Kambojan court at Kedah as well as the Khmer court of Ayudhya were not destroyed but were displaced by the Chenla assault. From the Chinese source, we know that the Funan court of Kedah was driven by the attack down to the island of Na-fu-na. At the same time, the Khmer tradition attests that the Thong Family survived he surprise attack of the Cham kings and took refuge at Nokor Rajasima.
Taking by surprise, Prah bat Devavamsa escaped north to Nokor rajasima, in the territory of the great Kamboja. Staying at Nokorsima for a year, he then strikes back to chase out the Cham kings, some escaped to Bayangkau some to the mount Isvara . (RPNK: Devavamsa)
The account had make it clear that after only a year, the fallen Khmer court of Prah Thong came back to fight against the Chenla kings. However it took more than a century, from the fall of the Khmer Court of King Rudravarman in 550, for the Khmer court to drive off the Land Chenla to Java in 681. During all that time, evidences show that both courts were pushed all the way out off Southeast Asia deep into the Indian territory. It is important to note that, at this late stage, both sea and land communication between the two continents were already well established. Formed from the legacies of Funan, the two refugee courts built their new Indian ventures at the expense of the ancient local ruling houses. While looking for opportunities to move back to Southeast Asia, both courts established their subsiduaries in both northern and southern India. Perhaps through past connection, the settlement of the Kaundinya court at Bengal was skirmish free and the rebuilding of the Bala court under Buddhism was next a sucessful venture. At the contrary, the Kambojan court of Kedah, establishing itself in South India was met with heavy resistances. Their situation was aggravated because a faction of the Chenla court had already resuscitated back the Cholan legacy of the Sangam era of South India. Joined later by the fallen Chenla court, they formed the Chola Empire to become a powerful maritime power of the South China Sea. When Jayavarman II later formed the Khmer Cakravatin Empire at the site of Angkor, evidences show that the refugee courts were back to joint in with the reconstruction of the Khmer Empire. At first, a consortium was formed to prevent the Javanese court from harassing members of the new Khmer court at Prey-Nokor. Evidences however show that after an elapse of time that allowed the conflicts to die down, the Chola had also moved to join the Khmer Cakravatin Empire (The Chola Dynasty: The Javanese connection: The reign of Sindok at Eastern Java). By then, each ruling dynasty have already developed their own characteristic and autonomy and to make the matter worst, were still fighting for their supremacy. For the sake of sustaining its own status as the Middle Kingdom, we shall see that Angkor had to face head-on with the new dilemma and to work out the difference with the rest of their long lost relatives.
The Rise of the Pallava
In modern History of India, the past of the Pallava as a south Indian royal house is obscure. The earliest attribution of its existence at the Tamil country was around the second Centry BC.
The Pallavas are not referred to in the classical Tamil literature of the Sangam age, and are generally regarded as foreigners who immigrated into the Tamil land during the rule of Satavahana, probably as their governors or military officials. (INDIA: South India: The Pallava)
Consistent with the history of Southeast Asia, the Kambojas were wandering in the South China sea long before King Hun-tien formed the Funan Empire by subduing the local queen Liu-yi. They came through the arrival of the exile court of the Sri Vijaya and later through the expansion of Buddhism by the family members of King Ashoka. Evidences show that their existence as Southern royal house of India was very much at later date.
The name of some early Pallava rulers like Simhavarman and Sivakandavarman are known from a few copperplate-charters, written in Pakrit and probably belonging to the third century AD. (INDIA: South India: The Pallava)
The title Kandavarman, in particular, could be related to Skandacisya, mentioned to be the son of Aswataman (and the nagi queen) whom we had identified as king Hun-tien of the Funan Empire (Kambuja Desa: The Funan court: King Hun Tien and the establishment of Funan). That could be the early ancestral lineage of the Pallava when Aswataman still ruled the Menam Valley. On the other hand, the Pallava appears to hold a tradition that traces the origin of their race from their founder Nandivarman. His legendary birth from the marriage of a Cholean prince with a Nagi princess apparently mimic the Khmer legend of Prah Thong and Neang Nag (BEFEO XI: Etudes Cambodgienne: La legend de la Nagi, By George Coedes). The connection indicates that the refugee court from Kedah included many of the kaundinya and the Nagi princess family members. That explains the presence of the Sailendra kings in the re-establishement of the Sri Vijayan court, after the fall of Chenla. Their contribution with the formation of Angkor was checked out by the presence of the God King Paramesvara, consecrated to King Jayavarman II, the founder of the Angkorian Empire. The Varman titles along with the Simha and Kanda' s legacy are consistent with those of the Southeast Asian Kambojan Clan (Kamboja: The Kamboja Desa: The Varman legacy). The titles Narasimhavarman, Paramessvaravarman and Mahendravarman of the next Pallava Kings were, on the other hand common with the ParamKambojan legacy of Sri Dharmaraja (The Nagadvipa: The Land of the Nagas: Sri Paramesvara). To sustain his kingdom, Narasimhavarman is said to have defeated the Cholas, Cheras and Kalabras. He gave shelter to a Ceylonese prince Manavarman and sent two naval expeditions to Ceylon to help him establishing the throne of that country. The shared legacies proved that the Pallavas, either originated from Middle-eastean or local, continued to have close relationship with the Sri Vijayan kings of Southeast Asia. Before they were driven out from Funan by the Chenla' s uprising, evidences show that their residence was located on the Kedah mountain of Malaya. In their own history, the Pallava's records show conflicts with older South Indian royal courts, especially the Pandya. We shall see also clashes with the newly formed Chalukhya and later the Chola Empire, indicating that their presence in South India was regarded by most as intruders. The Chalukya king, helped by the Gangas of Mysore and the Pandias of the south, invaded the Pallava Kingdom and Mahendravarman II (668-70) was probably killed in the battle. There was some elapse time that the Pallava throne was not ruled until the reign of Narasimhavarman II (695-722) which coincide the return back of the fallen court of king Borom from Yunnan (Xiang-mai: The Nan-chao's connection: The legend of Khun Borom). Also the reign of the next king known as Rajasimha who was the son and successor of Paramessvaravarman appears to be uneventful (Notes: Khun Borom of Nan-tchao). However his son and successor, king Paramesvara II (723-731) had to face with a Chalukya invasion again over the city of Kanchi. During the rule of the next king Dantivarman (796-840) the Pallava suffered attacks from both the Pandya in the south and the Rastrakuta from the north. By this time we had seen that the Sri Vijaya was already formed and that Jayavarman II already moved the Khmer Cakravatin Empire inland to the Angkorian site.
The Eastern Pala
Another Indian court, establishing itself as a northern subsidiary of Bengal, left legacies through vestiges fount at the archeological sites centerd around the ruin of the Buddhist University of Nalanda. Because it displays the same culture as the Pallava, it was at first thought as another scion of the western Kamboja. The Varman' s legacy, for instance, had been longtime mistakenly associated to the western Kambojan' s origin. As we had argued, the Sanskrit word "Var-man" was instead a royal title of the Hion-wang Kingdon and was widespread used in Southeast Asia since the ancient time. Both the Pallava and Pala did not inherit this legacy from the Western Kamboja, but from the ancient court of the Indochinese Hiong-wang Kingdom. Its presence in both courts proves their connection to the same Kambojan legacy of Varadhana. Scholars agreed that the word "Pala" was a derivative of the Sanskrit word "Bala" or "Ball" and was referencing to the Nanda legacy of the Xiang branch of the Naga King Choladhara of the Shan Country (Nagadvipa: The Visit of Buddha Gautama: Pandaranga). Representing by the symbol of a Mountain Goat, we had argued that this Indochinese Naga ream of the Hiong-wang Kingdom was a big part of the Gupta Empire. Evidences also show that the Gupta Court included through marriage, members of the both Naga and Nanda clans of Southeast Asia. It was from this branch of Indian royal house that Kaundinya came from to form the Khmer Empire at Prey Nokor. The Khmer Tradition stresses out that during the Chenla uprising, the Kaundinya court escaped to Nokor Rajasima, the frontier city. Known later as Rajapati, it was actually a connecting gate between Indochina to the Gangetic India. The next emergence of the Pala Empire after the fall of Funan, leads us to believe that the refugee Khmer Kings took this land route to escape during the attack of Chenla. They took Buddhbism with them and went back to form the Bala Empire on the ground of the scattered Gupta States. In conjunction with Mahayana Buddhism of Yunnan, Bengal became the Buddhist Center as proved by the archeology site of the Buddhist University of Nalanda. After the fall of Chenla, the Sailendra who were no others than the descendants of Kaundinya and the Nagi Princess, brought this heritage back to Southeast Asia (Xiang-mai: The Indra Consortium: Sri Sundarapakrama of Ayudhya). At the same time we had argued that the legacy of King Rudravarman of Prey Nokor also brough Mahayana Buddhism deep into Yunnan. Joined together, Buddhism was going to be widespread adopted and became later the unification factor of the next Southeast Asian Cakravatin Empire. Even it is hard to admit, the Chenla's uprising was crucial, in any ways possible, for the next formation of the Khmer Cakravatin Empire. In the process, it allowed the Meru culture to complete its course in its journey around the mount Himalaya and back to its birthplace. Based on Buddhist faith, Angkor became the last temple built on top of the legacy of the Meru Cosmogony.
THE TWO CHENLAS
As other members of the Chenla clan, Bhavavarman was an ardent Vishnuite and did anything in his power to promote his own devotion. However, circumstances had turned him into a devout Buddhist and stopped his destructive campaign against the Buddhist organization. Along with his new faith, Bhavavarman started on restoring the fallen Khmer Empire and turned against the Vishnuite Chenla Clan. His descendants in the line of Anuruddha continued this policy until the end of their time and became since an ardent Buddhist promoter. In close relationship with the re-emerging Sri Vijayan court, they introduced the Pali Hinayana canon into the mainstream of Southeast Asian Buddhist practices. This change of policy would set them apart from their Cham compatriotes whose devotion to Vishnuiet cult was still strong.
The Split of Chenla
Since the early stage of their exploits over the Khmer Empire, we had seen that the Chenla Clan had already split into two factions. One side that was led by king Mahendravarman, made their conquests over all the eastern Kamboja's territory while the other side that was led by king Bhavavarman would concentrate to the West. It might have been at first a strategic arrangement between the two brothers to split their military campaign in two fronts. However during the final takeover of the Funan Empire, signs of fracture already signaled a decisive politically split between the two camps. The restoration of Buddhism by King Bhavavarman, for instance, indicated clearly his change of policy. As Bhavavarman had his mind changed about Buddhism and married the princess Kambojarajalaksmi, his political standing regarding the Kambojan and Khmer Empire was changed. At the same time, the descendants of the Mahendravarman continued the fight against Buddhism and strenghtened their holding of the Kambojan territory into becoming the Land Chenla or the Chenla proper. It was recorded in the history of the Tang Dynasty (BEFEO IV: Deux Itinaries De Chine en Inde t. I, p. 211, Paul Pelliot) that the two antagonist factions were forming their own kingdoms.
Chenla was split in two kingdoms, shortly after the period Chen Long (705-706 AD) called Lou-Chenla (Land Chenla) and Choui-Chenla (Water Chenla).
The split along the geographical landscape of the two kingdoms reminds us of the pre-historical feud between the mountain kingdom of the Naga king Coladara with the ocean kingdom of the Naga king Mahodara. It also leads us to believe that Lou-Chenla and Choui-Chenla were the reminiscences of the kingdoms of both Naga dynasties and that the Chinese word "Chenla" was another reference to the ancient "Dhara" or "Sodhara" of the Kamara legacy. The split, as we shall see, changed the whole course of the Chenla campaign. By now, Water Chenla that was led by a descendant of king Bhavavarman, Anuruddha, would be ready to form a consortium of all fallen Funan courts to form a Buddhist Empire (Xiang-Mai: The Chenla's connection: The work of Anuruddha). Needless to say, the change of policy left the Land Chenla's court in isolation and was vulnerable to the coalision's attack. Known also in Chinese texts as Wen-tan and Po-Lou, Land Chenla was seen coopearting with its close alliance Champapura to strengten its position against attacks by both Yunnan and Water Chenla. An embassy led by a son of the king was sent to China in 753 obviously in despared situation to find help from the Chinese coufrt. Under the protection of the Tang, the Land Chenla became the Chinese gate of the southern land route to India as described in the itinerary of Chia-tan. The itinerary places the capital of Land Chenla at the middle of Mekong on the Khorat Plateau. In 754 a Chenla prince accompanied the Chinese armies in a campaign against eastern Nanchao where a king named Ko-lo-feng reigned. In 771 an embassy led by a second king named Po-mi, then another embassy was sent on 799.
The Attack on Nan-chao
During their high achievement of commercial development, the Tang shifted their focus to the southern provinces in the searching for possible southern route to India and the West. Beside the full control of the Silk route at Central Asia, the Tangs needed an alternative route that was secured enough to safeguard more of their western ventures. Their plan however was met with serious setback, due to the presence of the surviving Funan' s court of King Ko-lo-feng at Yunnan. At that exact moment, the Man barbarians led by the displaced Funan kings were already attacking Kiao-tche and made their move to attack Land Chenla. The only option left for the Tangs was to strenghten their alliance with both the Land Chenla and Champapura and used them in a join campaign to oust the Yunnan court. The proposal of the Tang Dynasty for help became a viable solution for both countries in leaning to the Chinese court for support. For the rescue of Kiao-tche (Tonkin), the Tang court used the coalition force of Land-Chenla to launch a joint campaign to attack Nan-Chao. During the expedition of 794, Chinese texts mentioned of the presence of a Land Chenla prince, tugged along with the Chinese armies during a campaign against Ko-lo-pang, the ruler of Yunnan. The fight was intense and the the Tang Court was under pressure from the Chinese communities of giving not enough commitment to save Tonkin. A poem composed by an artist Chinese scholar, Pi Jih-hsiu provides important information on account of the war (The birth of Vietnam: Appendix N: Pi Jih-hsiu and the Nan-chao War, by Keith Weller Taylor). On his stay in the city of Hsiu-chang located on the Ying River in modern Honan, Pi Jih-hsiu witnessed the suffering of local population under the draft for the Tang army and sent to Tonkin to resist the Nan-Chao offensive. In 862, two thousand men from Hsu had been drafted and according to Jih-hsiu, many had died during the siege of Kiao-tche by Nan-chao.
Hih-hsiu was staying at an inn in Hsu-chuan. He suddenly heard the sound of wailing outside the city walls and inquired of people passing in the street. They said: "Southern barbarians besieged our Giao-chi. An imperial order was received to levy two thousand Hsu soldiers to attack them. They attack again and again, and they all died in battle.
In the account, the Chinese people clearly considered Tonkin as a country of their own. When it was attacked by Nan-chao, the Tang court was pressured to recruit Chinese army to help. On his poem composed later, Jih-hsiu portrayed a wartime grim picture.
The south was neglected, officials were not selected, causing the overthrow of our Giao-chi, which for three or four successive years, has drifted away, bringing disgrace to the empire.
Even then, Jih-hsiu and other Chinese citizen still stood with Tonkin despite the high casualty of their men and diverted the blame to the Tang Court for, according to the poem, had neglected Tonkin for too long. The critic of Jih-hsiu was just a weary feeling of a Chinese citizen about one lost battle among many others conducted against the southern barbarians. Little that Jih-hsiu knew about the Tang policy in regard to the south. The Tang court might have been occupied to secure its own suzerainty taken from the Sui dynasty, but was far to be neglectful. With the help of the Land Chenla they succeeded to drive the man rebels from both Tonkin and Nan-chao. Even then, they could not restore back their own credibility and the next turning of events would be against them.
The Fall of Land Chenla and the Escape to Java
While the Tang succeeded to drive the Funan kings out from Nan-chao, the Land Chenla was falling apart and was already seen preparing for the escape from the Mainland. After the Chenla king Jayavarman moved his court back to Wat-phu to be closer for the Tang's protection, evidences show that he also regrouped the Chenla hard core, with the legacy of the late king Isanavarman in Central Java. Counting on the support from the emerging Chola Empire of South India, the escape was critical to the survival of the rest of the Land Chenla's court. Before its final exit from the mainland, evidences show that the Land Chenla had moved its court to the northeastern province Stung-treng of Cambodia today. Becoming the capital of the Land Chenla, Stung-treng was the last refuge of both Chenla and Champa courts before their final escape to Central Java. A little farther south seated the site of Sambor Prey Kup, known as the capital Isanapura of the last Chenla king Isanavarman. It was by then already abandoned by the fleeing Chenla court. In an inscription dated in 716, we find the commemoration of a prince named Puskarasa from Aninditapura as king of Sambhupura (Sambor). The inscription indicates that Puskarasa was a descendant of Kaundinya and the Nagi Princess, thus a member of the Khmer court ousted by the Chenla uprising. His commemoration as king at Sambor indicates that this last capital of Chenla was already fell back under the control of the Khmer King. It also signals the lost ground of the Chenla Empire and their final preparation to leave the Mainland for Central Java. An inscription found at Tan Kran of the district of Kampong Cham describes and the final escape of the last Chenla king Jayavarman to Java (Inscriptions du Cambodge: Inscription de Tan Kran: P. 7, by George Coedes). Inscribed by two brothers, the inscription described all necessary preparation for the escape overseas. Having served Jayavarman, at one time as a chief of Chrestapura, the Brahman Dharmasvamin was assigned by the latter to prepare Java for their next settlement. According to the inscription, a city name Dhruvapura was then occupied and pacified by the Brahman to be ready for the refugee court. Otherwise unknown, the next passage described it as a new city founded among savage tribes of the forests.
Taking care of the citing Dhruvapura, full of horrible forests where lived men of savage tribes, he (Dharmasvamin) governed that territory and got rid of all dangers.
The passage includes a reference to an ineligible word "Ya..pati" which we are confident enough to identify it as "Yavapati" or Java, pinpointing that Dhruvapura was a county of the Javanese islands. It is a confirmation of the fact that Java was not at the time developed and was still inhabited by savage tribesmen. The passage moreover mentioned that Dharmasvamin had already safeguard to country for the Chenla court of Jayavarman to move in. The rest of the inscription concerns about the next preparation done by a brother of his named Samantasarala, for the final escape that consists first with recruiting soldiers for the royal guard.
He fulfilled the functions of extremely honorable as recruiter of soldiers for the royal guard who wore casket. And had an army on hand.
He then formed a group of bodyguard of which he himself was appointed to be their chief. The next passage indicates that boats were used for the escape operation and that Samantasarala was appointed next to be the chief of a thousand combatants in war recruited from the inhabitants of Dhanavipura.
Next (he was assigned) by the order of the king to be chief of a troop of thousand inhabitants of Dhanavipura, going to war..
Interesting enough, the inscription made a reference to the kings of Kancipura which without more information, we could not elaborate on what this southern Indian city had to do with the escape plan of the Chenla king Jayavarman.
THE RISE OF THE JAVANESE EMPIRE
The southern islands had been cited in Javanese sources to receive the Saka immigrants from Gujarat since the antiquity. Unlike the Sri Vijaya of the Malay archipelago, the Saka communities of Java appeared to stay in the background and underdeveloped. Evidences from Chinese sources confirm that ancient rituals of head hunting and human-flesh eating were still widely practiced among local people. After the fall of the Chenla Empire, the situation was changed. Looking for an escape ground, the last Chenla King Jayavarman I saw Java as his last chance to survive the assault of the Khmer Kings. Starting from the formation of Dhruvapura, a new Javanese Empire was to be formed.
The Ho-ling Kingdom of Java
During the decline of the Tang dynasty and subsequently of the Chenla Empire, Chinese texts started referring Ho-ling and Cho-po as a kingdom of Central Java sending its ambassadors to China. As Cho-po was well known to be a Chinese reference to Champapura, Ho-ling which was its alternate reference must to have close historical connection with Champapura. We shall identify it as no other than the falling court of Land Chenla. The Chinese word Ho-ling, meaning the River of Reed, is the exact translation of the Khmer word "Stung-treng". After escaping to java, the fallen Champa court regrouped themselves with the support of the South Indian chola. At the same time, the New History of the Tang has many passages relating to the Embassies of Ho-ling to the court of China. This was because Land Chenla was still sustaining itself at the southern part of the Khorat Plateau before they were driven out from the mainland to join the Cham refugee court at Central Java. To the tang court, they still introduced themselves as the court of Stung-treng (Ho-ling). Their first three embassies were dated in 640, 648 and 666. The Ho-ling's reference in the Tang Court however lasted for only a short while, as the Chenla court of Stung-treng was about to succumb and never been mentioned again in the next Chinese records. Cho-pa or She-po, a transcription of Champa, was now becoming the only Chinese reference to Java. Another supporting evidence to the same displacement of the Chenla court into Java is the legacy of the late Chenla king Isanavarman. Javanese inscriptions later attest the consecration of IsanaBhadrasvara, the god king of Iasanavarman, as the divine protector of the Javanese Empire. Clearly Land Chenla was still seeking the Tang's support, even they already moved to join with the Javanese Court. It was not against the Khmer Kings of the mainland anymore, but against its new powerful and rival neighbor of the malay achipelago, the Sri Vijaya. As a new Empire formed by the consortium of ancient Sri Vijayan and Water Chenla courts, the Sri Vijaya was obviously not friendly to the Javanese court. A Chinese passage recounts the story of a queen named Sima, apparently ruling over Ho-ling in 674, having to restrain her court against the solicitation from the Sri Vijaya.
The ruler of Ta-tche sent a bag of gold to be laid down within her frontiers. The people, walking by, avoided the bag and it was untouched for a long time. One day, one of the crown princes stepped over it and the queen was furious. She ordered to have her own son executed, but with the objection of her court, a compromise was set to just cut off the toe that touch the bag of the gold.
The story portrays a provocation orchestrated by the kingdom of Ta-tche (the Great Kingdom) which was no other than a Chinese reference to the Sri Vijayan Empire. It was a test of will-power pressured upon the new queen of Ho-ling to submit herself to the control Sri Vijaya. The failure from her part would mean retaliation from Ta-tche and the end of her court in Javanese land. Through her determination, continues the story, the queen Sima won respect from Ta-tche and her tenacity had led to the formation of the Sanjaya Empire. The alliance between the displaced Chenla and Champa courts in the formation of the new Javanese Empire explains the next retaliation of the Javanese Empire toward the reformed Khmer Kingdom at Prey-Nokor (Xiang-mai: The Cradle of the Angkorian Empire: The startup of the Southeast Asian Cakravatin Empire). Set to become a new maritime power of the South China sea, the Sanjaya court would send its expedition back to Prey-Nokor where the Khmer court was in the process of forming the next Khmer Cakravatin Empire.
The Chola Connection
One of the many factors that makes the new Javanese kingdom of Ho-ling able, not only to standup, but to challenge the Sri-Vijaya, was its connection with the South Indian Chola Empire. The emergence of the Chola power house of South India was not a coincidence and we shall argue that it was formed by the same Cholan legacy of Prey-nokor. Since the fall of Jinnan, Chinese texts consistently referred the leadership of Lin-yi as Chu-lien when they fought to free themselves from the Han's control (Prey-Nokor). We had also argued that it was the resuscitation of the Kamara Empire in connection to the ancient Choladhara legacy of Jinnan. After the arrival of Kaundinya, Nokor Khmer was formed on top of the Kamara court of Prey-nokor and started to claim back the legacy of the ancient Hiong-wang Kingdom. Under the interference with the Kam and Cham courts, the Kaundinya family split into two antagonist clans and started to fight for the control of the whole Kambojadesa. With the help of the Chenla King Bhavavarman, the Sri Vijya regrouped themselves to take back Kambojdesa while the fallen Khmer court regrouped themselve at Prey-nokor to form the Khmer Cakarvatin Empire. Defeated, the Chenla clan regrouped themselves at Central Java and made their ways further to South India. Their close connection with both South India and the ancient Champa court of Vanga is checked out in the new history of the Tang (FUNAN: Le Funan: P 298).
The country (Ho-ling) is at the south of To-mo-tchang, and is said to be dependent of South India; it also known to be coast to coast with the Campa of India, which is at the shore of the Gange.
In this account, To-mo-chang was the same reference to To-mo, the Funan capital that we had identified as Mahidhara or Khedah. Ho-ling was mentioned to be at the south of To-mo-chang and was referring to Java itself. The new history of the Tang indicates that the Chenla's legacy of Ho-ling was not only restricted to Java but had extended itself also to eastern India as well.
In those conditions, the Ho-ling that was at the north of To-mo-chang, itself at the north of Tsin-tche-fou, would not be at Java nor in the Malay Peninsula: it would be the Kalinga of India that Hiuan-tsang had known under the name of Kie-ling-kia.
In reference to the same To-mo-chang, Ho-ling is now mentioned at the north of the eastern seashore of India. Kalinga that was known as the stronghold of the Chola since the Sangum era was then mentioned as another escape ground of Ho-ling. These evidences show that the coalision that started since the rise of the Chenla Clan at Prey-nokor, continued on during the next stage of the Javanese Empire. On the same premisse, Chinese texts still used the word "Chu-lien" to refer to the new combined Javanese and South Indian Empire. Inscriptions of the mainland witnessed the marriage between Sakabhramanas from South India and princesses of both the Chenla and Champa courts, Javanese connection with Southern India continued on during the next phase of the Sanjaya Empire.
The Sanjaya Empire of Java
A Sanskrit inscription found in the central part of the Island of Java among the ruins of the Sivaite sanctuary of Changal, was an attribution to the king Sanjaya. The inscription mentions the erection of a linga on the island of Yava. Described to be rich in grain and gold mines, the country of Kunjarakunja appeared to be located between Travancore and Tinnevelly, the site of the sanctuary dedicated to the sage Agastya. In Indian Tradition, the sage Agastya was credited to conquer the natural barrier between the Transgangetic India and the south, and in the process bring along the new development of the Sivaite culture from the north to the South. In the legend, the sage Agastya had to trick the mountain range to let him pass to the South and never returned back to the North again. Since then there were gaps between the Northern and Southern Hindu development but the problems had not been the same with Java. As the sea communication between the Javanese and the South Indian continent was very much established, the South Indian cultural evolution reaching the island of Java was not a problem. Sanjaya was obviously capitalizing on this cultural transfer and manged to take control of the Javanese throne. The same inscription refers two royal figures of the name Sanna and Sannaha as predecessors of Sanjaya. According to Javanese Tradition (History of Indonesia, B. R. Chatterji), Sanna and Sannaha were brother and sister, Sanjaya was the son of Sannaha. Connecting with the Chenla legacies, the daughter of Jayavarman I, queen Jayadevi mentioned in one of her inscriptions about donations to a sanctuary of Siva Tripurantaka. This sanctuary was founded by the princess Sophajaya, also a daughter of Jayavarman I who married the Sivaite Brahman Sakravarmin born in India. It is in high probability that this Sivaite Brahman was connected to the sage Agastya who became known as the Sivaite Guru in South India. This new development that was credited to the sage Agastya in spreading the first time of Sivaite culture in South India was strongly seen as a contributing factor to the emergence of the Chola Empire. On the other hand, Sanjaya might have been related to the queen Jayadevi who was portrayed as queen Sima in the Chinese story. After their settlement, evidence show that the new Javanese rulers did not forget their past glory over the mainland during the Chenla era. Inscriptions of both Java and Champapura described the naval attacks orchestrated by the Javanese Empire making its suzerainty felt along the eastern coast of Indochinese Peninsula. According to an Arab story, this campaign was conducted in retaliation to the insult of a young Khmer king against his antagonist Sanjaya monarch.
THE RAMANA OR MON IDENTITY
Under the Chenla control, many parts of the Mainland Indochina had under-changed their political and cultural backgrounds. For instance, the Malay identity appears to be conceived at the first time under the control of Bhavavarman. It was a political move to replace Ganthari of the Malay Peninsular, a Kamboj legacy, to become Malayu that stayed until today. On the other hand, the Buddhist Dvaravati had its identity changed into the Visnuite Ramavati that gave the people of the Menam Valley their Mon identity ever since (The Ramana Desa: The Mon Countries: The Mons of Hamsavati). Tapped on top of their traditional Buddhist heritage, the Vishnuite cult gave the Mons unique tradition.
The Mala kings of Malayu
Common to the Mon Culture, uncovered vestiges at different sites gave clue to the distribution of Dvaravati culture at the time. Covered completely the central plain of modern Thailand, the Mon Culture extended itself westward to the Bay of Bengal and Northward up to the Chaopraya River Valley. We shall argue that the extension of the Mon Culture reflects the control of the Chenla King Bhavavarman known in Mon Tradition as Pya Kalakantatisa. The Raman development was however facing with a setback when king Bhavavarman himself changed his agenda. After marrying the queen Kambojarajalaksmi who was apparently belonging to the Sri Vijayan royal house, his next proccupation was mainly about the spreading of Buddhism and the extension of the Sri Vijayan court. Some of the cities mentioned in the Mon's list of exploits by Pya Kalavannatissa could be identified to locate on the Malay Archipelago. Ache, for instance, was located deep in Sumatra. This legacy proves that Ganthari, then part of Sri Dhammaraja, became part of the Chenla Empire after the conquest of Bhavavarman. The inscription of Han Chey, at the first line, introduces Bhavavarman as "mala malayu iva malayam raja", the Mala King of Malayu. It is the first inscription so far to relate a Chenla king as the ruler of the Malay Archipelago. The New History of the Tang mentions the first embassy of Malayu in 644-45, shortly after the first embassy of Ho-ling in 640 was sent to the court of China. This name refers to the country of Malayu situated on the eastern coast of Sumatra and centered in the region of Jumbi. Perhaps descended from the ocean Naga king Mohodara, this Mala dynasty had a specific custom of identifying themselves with flower (mala), especially the lotus (Botum or Padma) flower. This identity was no doubt the origin of the Malayu Kingdom, known today as Malaysia, the kingdom of the Malay people. However, past connection with Middle-east, especially with Greece, was also present through the big family of the ancient Mohodhara lineage. Tradition says that garland of flowers was used as part of their everyday hairdressing. The word "Malayang" (Mala-yang), meaning the Mala Kingdom, was mentioned in many Khmer inscriptions as a visaya (an annexed country) of the Angkorian Empire. It is also interesting to note that Jumbi, a Khmer word for a flower tree known in Sanskrit as Kamboja, was none other than the reference to the Kam kings of the ancient Ganthari of the Malay Peninsular. The inscription of Han-chey commemorates the victory of Bhavavarman over the king of mountains residing at Mahidhara whom we had identified as the combined court of the Kambojan king of Sri Vijaya and the Khmer court of the Kaundinya family. The inclusion of the Vishnuite Chenla King Bhavavarman added the Rama or Mon identity to the upper part of Sri Dharmaraja and split it from the Malay Peninsular. Taking hold of Lavo as his new capital, a new line of Bhavavarman ' s descendants, Anuruddha, played important role in the next development of Buddhism in Southeast Asia, patroned by the revived court of Sri Vijaya.
The Pyu Identity of King Bhavavarman
King Bhavavarman was known in the Mon Tradition as Pya Kalavanntisa and in Khmer Tradition as Pya Krek. His royal title Pyakalavannatisaraja could be the same title as King Tisaraja that, according to Khmer tradition, was an attribute to a descendent of the Cham king Ajiraja. The Khmer-mon word "Pya" was a transcription of the word "Pyu" also known in Chinese as Piao. Supposedly descended from AShoka's son, Piao-siu-ti, the Pyu kings were among earlier migrants from Central Asia into the footstep of Himalaya and of Southern China (The Sakadvip: The Saka of Dayadesa: King Ashoka of Magadha). They are known also as the rulers of the Mien tribesmen speaking Sino-Burman tongue and for the sake of clarification they should not be treated as a people (Notes: Pyu Vs Mien). They were known as fervent Buddhists of Mahayana sect founded by Kanishka. Their original homeland at Central Asia where the Kambojan tribesmen once roamed free leaded us to believe that they were related. It was likely that the Koshans were derived from the western Kamboja and received the Buddhist faith through the descendants of Piao-su-ti. The Koshan Empire emerged as the eastern Saka is checked out by score of Koshan's legacies found among the Pyu Tradition. For instance, the Saka era which started at 78 AD during the reign of Kanishka was also known as the Pyu era. The same as the Jins and the Sakas, the Pyu kings claim their kinship with Buddha Gautama, a claim that could be validated through the Meru lineage. Through time and space, the Kambojan and the Koshan branches of the Sakan leadership diverged and became rivals. In Southeast Asia however, the Pyu Kings aligned themselves with the Sri Vijayan court under the Kambojan legacy and supported the khmer Empire of Kaundinya. During the rising of the Chenla Empire, the Chams were mostly Visnuite and fought against the Kamboja and Khmer alliance of Buddhist faith. The fact that king Bhavavarman, apparently of Cham origin, received the title as a Pya King reflects his later association with the Pyu court of the Sri Vijaya. It represents the seamless mixture of the the Khmer, Pyu and Cham legacies in the court of the Sri Vijayan Empire. His descendants would carry on the title as the Southern Pyu Kings and their Kingdoms were known as Pyuksetra that were to be absorbed later into the Angkorian cakravatin Empire. The Angkorian title "Narapati", as we shall see, was referring to the governor's title of a unified Pyu State often called Nararatha. Evidences show that the word "Pya" and "Pon-gna" became a reference to the Pyu ruler as witnessed by inscriptions found in the Menam Valley (Notes: The Title Pon-gna). In Post-Angkorian era, Pon-gna became a Khmer Title of court officials up to the King himself who, as we shall see, had past connection with the court of Pagan.
The Mon vs the Pyu Legacy
Even though King Bhavavarman brought out the Rama identity to impose upon the people of the Menam Valley, he soon reversed his own drive to inhibit Buddhism in favor for Vishnuism. In agreement with the Mon tradition, the true Mon identity had to wait until the formation of Tathon by the Cholan King Manuha or Makuttavamsa. At the mean time, Bhavavarman and his descendants by the name of Anuruddha built the lower part of the Menam Valley into becoming the Buddhist center of Sri Dharmaraja (Xiang-mai: The Chenla's connection: The work of Anuruddha). By doing so, Anuruddha was considered by many historians as the true champion of the Pyu race. Through Chinese sources, we know how extensive the new Pyu development was accomplished by him. Prome was seen to retain rich heritage of this Buddhist Pyu legacy. Evidences show however that not all Pyu communities were Buddhist as they were not part of Anuruddha new development. Through isolation, mountainous tribesmen were mostly left out and still retained their tradition in close connection with the original Sri Vijayan and Mauryan leadership. This ancient connection could be checked out by a stock of custom and traditions of the Don-son culture. Their slash and burn agriculturist life style forced them to move from one region to another, looking for better suitable environment. This restricted lifestyle however limited them to be constrained in the high attitude region and never wondered out to the plain. They could move from mountain to mountain as long they are in the same range and for most of the time, they have no need to leave their natural habitat unless they felt threated by the Valley people. From these findings, we are confident enought to conclude that the Karens, like their Jin and Naga compatriots, were at home at their mountain ranges since the antiquity. Despite their long-distant physical separation, they nevertheless share a long time cultural background dated since the Great Flood. Except for their spoken language, the Karens and their Naga or Jin tribesmen shared strong legacies of the Great Flood with their Khmer-Mon counteparts. For most of their existence, evidences show that they were safe in their environment as the valley people left them alone in their homeland. We conclude that the Karens, as other mountainous tribesmen, were originally austro-asiatic speakers like the valley Mon people. Their Tibeto-Burmese tongue was not native but implanted through many generation of Central Asian interference. Brought first by the Xia Dynasty and later by the Pyu Kings of the Mauryan Empire, evidences show that the Tibeto-Burmese tongue remained among the high mountainous tribesmen until today. Because their living is in isolation, they were left out by the Khmerization and later of the Ramanization of Southeas Asia and like the Jins and other mountainous tribesmen, they still retained strong Naga heritage. Unlike their Valley Mon relatives, they were virtually isolated with little or no contact to new Buddhist developments and stayed as remnants of the original non-Buddhist Pyu states. Scholars agree that their Karen ' s identity is in fact derieved from the word Karyang or Yang, a close relative to the Anga tribesmen visited by Buddha Gautama during his trips to Nagadvipa (Nagdvipa: The visit of Buddha Gautama: The connection with the Naga world).
- ISSA: The Indianized States of Southeast Asia, by G. Coedes
- IDCL: Recueil des Inscriptions du Siam: Inscriptions de Dvaravati, de Crivijaya et de Lavo, George Coedes
- IA: JSS: Une nouvelle d'inscription d'Ayuthya, George Coedes
- DICI: BEFEO IV: Deux Itineraires de Chine en Inde, by Paul Pelliot
607: Water Chenla took over Xiang-mai; 640: First embassy of Ho-ling to China; 644-45: The first embassy of Malayu to China; 649: The reign of Si-nou-lo (Narapatindravarman) in Yunnan; 695-722: the reign of Narasimhavarman II at Kanchi; 705-706: the split of the Chenla Empire; 723-731: the reign of Paramesvara II at Kanchi; 802: Jayavarman II founded Hariharalaya; 825: The Mala brothers, Thamala and Vimala founded Hamsavati;
- The Mon People
While compiling the modern history of Southeast Asia, the complex Khmer-Mon relationship had been one of many enigmas for scholars. Based on the difference of spoken language, scholars disconnected Dvaravati from the Khmer Empire by the wrong impression of cultural differences. In an effort to give the Mon Identity to the people of Dvaravati, Coedes used Mon language of the inscriptions found in the Menam Valley as a proof of his claim.
Outside the existence of the kingdom of Dvaravati, and of its probable role in the history of the Buddhist art in Indochina, the sculptures and the inscriptions of Labapuri and of Brah Pathamcetiya reveal absolutely nothing about the history of the state, that remains obscure if no other epigraphic discoveries do not shed some more light. A point at least that seams already established : Dvaravati, which the city of Lavo, today Labapuri, was a part of it, was inhabited by the Mon people.(IDCL: Le Royaume of Dvaravati: P.4)
- The Dvaravati's Culture
Coedes wrote: There were no information on what exactly happened during this transition; however a khmer inscription in Sanskrit, dated the year 937, told about a lines of princes of Chansupura (GuachaNagapura). The first of the line was the king Bhagadatta; then after an undetermined number of generations, we hear of Sundaravarman. Mangalavarman, consecrated a statue of Devi, a likeness of his mother. These names are not found in the epigraph of Cambodia, which gives a list of slaves, proves that three quarter of a century before the area was incorporated into Cambodia the Khmers had replaced the Mon population that had occupy it in the seventh century.
Comment: Coedes' statement was true to the archeology fact supporting the Khmerization of Dvaravati. The inscription of Ayudhya, even though in Sanskrit, contains part in Khmer Language listing slaves of the God king Sankara. It indicates that the Khmer language was being used in the high court of Dvaravati as any other places of the Menam Valley that has the Khmer court settled as an offshoot of the Angkorian court. However, his last comment about the Mon population being replaced by the Khmers was superficially based on the assumption that the people of Dvaravati were Mon, a different race from the Khmer. The inscription which provides the genealogy of the rulers of Ayudhya confirms no displacement of the people of the Menam Valley and evidence show that they were there, still speaking Mon, at least until the formation of the Siam Country under king U-Thong in 1350 AD.
- The reign of King Tisaraja
The chronicle dated the event in 1002 of Buddhist era (459), an approximation of the Jayavarman Kaundinya reign over Kamboja. The reign of King Bhavavarman must to predate the end of the reign of Rudravaran that was in 550.
- Sri Ksetra
Scholars agree that the Chinese word "She-li-cha-to-lo", mentioned by the Chinese Hsuan-tsabg and I-tsing, was a reference to Sri Ksetra. However, the reference of Sri Ksetra to the Pyu kingdom of Prome, based on Burmese name of Thayekhetaya need to be reviewed. The Burmese word "Thayekhetaya" might be instead a transcription of "Daya-ksetra", but not a reference to "She-li-cha-to-lo" of both Hsuan-tsang and I-tsing. Either the Pyu Kingdom of Prome was or was not part of Sri Ksettra, its historical link with the Chenla king Bhavavarman was already established.
- Khun Borom of Nan-tchao
The King Narasimhavarman II at Kanchi (695-722) appeared to have no or little connection with Mahendravarman, the last Pallava king whose reign was cut short by the Chalukya's invasion. On the other hand, his reign coincided with the disappearance of Sri Nara or Simhanara from Nan Tchao. His predecessor, Paramaesvara, could be also attributed to the new development of Khun Borom in Nan-tchao that we had argued was from the court of the Khmer King Rudravarman of Prey-nokor.
- Pyu Vs Mien
There is strong misunderstanding that Pyu and Mien were ethnically related. The misconception is based mostly on the facts that both spoke Tibeto-Burman tongue. However, it is important to distinguish the difference between the two identities. The Pyu identity was derived from the leadership of Ashoka's thrid son, Piao-Siu-ti, while the Mien, often nicknamed as the Shan Chinese, mostly represented the people of Central Asia.
- The Title Pon-gna
In the inscription of of Tham Rusi of Rajapuri, the form "pungn" for "Pun-gna" is also Mon. The important of the element Mon in the population of the Basin of Menam and in its colonization to the north until Haripunjaya (Lampoon), unknown until this later time reveals itself little by little, due to inscriptions unfortunately of little explicitly. (IDCL: Le Royaume de Dvaravati: P.4)
- The Tibeto-Burmese Tongue
In spite of the wide scattering of the Tibeto-Burmese speakers, however, their flood myths of the "mountain-landing box" type show remarkable uniformity. There is a strong tradition of sea-flood myths among Tibeto-Burmese speakers but linguists believe that Tibeto-Bumese languages originated in Central Asia and migrated southwards to Burma and Thialand. So, for example, Karen, spoken down the peninsular coast of Burma, is regarded as a recent introduction. (Eden in the East: Babel, Stephen Oppenheimer)