Monday, April 30, 2012

Prajñāpāramitā प्रज्ञा पारमिता (A short notes on Prajnaparamita)

Prajñāpāramitā प्रज्ञा पारमिता
(A short notes on Prajnaparamita)
Garud Bhagwan
Bikramshila Mahabihar, Simhakalpanagar

(Bhagwan Bahal, Thamel
Buddha Era 2552 Nepal Era 1132 Bikram Era 2068 2012 A.D        
Compiled by:  Damodar Pradhan  Monumental Guide

Prajñāpāramitā  प्रज्ञा पारमिता
The Sanskrit word Prajñapramita literally translated signifies this book as "the Perfection of Transcendent Wisdom” (Perfect wisdom beyond ordinary limits / (Prajñ - प्रज्ञा wisdom and paramita - पारमिता perfect or perfection). Prajñapramita is a central concept in Mahayana Buddhism and its practice is believed to be the essential elements of the Bodhisattva Path. The practice of Prajñaparamita is described in the Prajñaparamita Sutras, which vary widely in length and written by different scholars. Tara and Prajnaparamita are both referred as mother of all Buddha, since Buddha is born from wisdom. The Dharma is classified as inferior and superior according to the disciple's grade. In Buddhism the disciples are being classified into four different stage of human being for example ordinary men; the stage of sainthood; Saint and Bodhisattva. In Buddhism, Dharma is referred to the teaching of Buddha, the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Noble Path, the three Marks of Existence, and other guidelines. The main motif is to achieve the freedom and liberation from suffering and understand the state of mind to realize the supreme happiness, the natural joy and nirvana. The happiness is classified as Ananda (Joy), Paramanda (Supreme Joy), Virmananda (Absence of Joy), and Sahajanand (Natural Joy).
Four Noble Truths is referred to the state of mind Dukkha (Suffering), Samudaya (the cause of suffering), Nirodha (free from suffering), Marga (a way to end suffering). The Four Noble Truths are formulated according to the ancient medical model as follows:-
1) There is an illness
2) The diagnosis – there is a cause of illness.
3) There is a possibility of a cure for the illness.
4) There is treatment for the illness. (The prescription that can relieves the illness)
The First Noble Truth:  Dukkha
Dukkha usually is translated as suffering. In life, we have illness, poverty, disease, old age and death. We cannot keep what we like and avoid what we do not like. The happiness we do enjoy is temporary and we do suffer is the universal truth
The Second Noble Truth: Samudaya
The cause of suffering is desire & illusions which is mainly because of ignorance. Wanting life, death, pleasure and things all lead to suffering
The Third Noble Truth :  Nirodha
There is a state of mind free from suffering. Suffering can get stopped if we can get rid of the state of mind, desire, cravings or hunger.
The Fourth Noble Truth:  Marga
There is a way to end suffering, we must end our cravings. Eightfold Path is the only noble way to end craving.
 The Eightfold Path
The eightfold Path is the teachings of the Prajñā- pāramitā Sutra:
the Triśatikā, Pañcaśatikā, Saptaśatikā, Astasāhasrikā, Sārdhadvisāhasrikā, Pañcavimśatisāhasrikā Astadaśasāhasrikā and Śatasāhasrikā Prajñāpārami Sūtra.
Truth is found through the Middle Way by following Eightfold Noble Path as stated below:
1) Right Viewpoint - Realizing the Four Noble Truths (samyag-dṛṣṭi / sammā-diṭṭhi). Correct thought by avoiding sharp desire - extreme desire to acquire, the wish to harm others and wrong views (thinking as if the actions have no effect or say I have no problem so there is no ways to end suffering etc.)
  2) Values- Commitment to mental value or expressing moral approval or moral philosophy (samyak-samkalpa, samma - samkalpa), correct speech avoid lying, harass speech (while having difference of opinion do not use harsh speech) and idle talk or rumor.
  3) Right Speech - To speak in a truthful way without harming others and to grow worse with unreasonable or wrong logic (Samyag-vāc, sammā-vācā). Correct actions: avoid killing, stealing and sexual misconduct
  4)  Actions–simple and healthy action, avoid action that would harm others (samyak-karmānta, sammā-kammanta). Correct livelihood: try to make a living with the above attitude of thought, speech and actions.
  5)  Livelihood - profession does not harm in any way oneself nor others, directly or indirectly -- to understand and develop genuine wisdom. (samyag-ājīva, sammā-ājīva).
(The following last three aspects refer mainly to the practice of meditation)
  6)  Effort - Correct effort, after the first real step we need joyful belief to continue or make an effort to improve the belief.(Perseverance --- samyag- vyayama,  sammā-vāyāma).
7)  Mindfulness - Correct mindfulness: try to be aware of the "here and now", instead of "there and then". Mental ability to see things with clear knowledge or the sense of one's personal or collective identity-consciousness (samyak - smṛti,  sammā - sati).
8)  Meditation - Correct Concentration: to keep a steady, calm and attentive state of mind where one reaches enlightenment and the ego gets disappear (samyak-samādhi, sammā-samādhi) universal emptiness or the Natural Joy.
Prajñāpāramitā Sutra is believed to be the highest form of Buddhist teaching and is classified into eight different categories as follows:
The Triśatikā, Pañcaśatikā, Saptaśatikā, Sārdhadvisāhasrikā, Astasāhasrikā, Astadaśasāhasrikā Pañcavimśatisāhasrikā and Śatasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramita Sūtra.
1)  Triśatikā Prajñāpārami Sūtra: 300 lines, the Diamond Sūtra or Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra
2)  Pañcaśatikā Prajñā- pāramitā Sūtra:  500 lines
3)  Saptaśatikā Prajñā- pāramitā Sūtra: 700 lines, the bodhisattva Manjushree’s exposition of Prajñāpāramitā
4)  Pārdhadvisāhasrikā Prajna -pāramitā Sūtra: 2500 lines, from the questions of Bodhisattva Suvikrāntavikrāmin
5)  AstasāhasrikāPrajñā- pāramitā Sūtra: 8000 lines
6)  Astadaśasāhasrikā Prajñā -pāramitā Sūtra: 18,000 lines
7)  Pañcavimśatisāhasrikā  Prajñā pāramitā Sūtra: 25,000 lines
8) Śatasāhasrikā Prajñā pāramitā Sutra: Mahāprajñā- pāramitā Sūtra.
According to Joseph Walser, Pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikā (25,000 line) Prajñāpāramitā Sutra and Śatasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sutra (100,000 lines) have a connection with Dharmaguptaka sect, while Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sutra (8000 lines) does not have any sect. ------ Williams, Paul. 2008 Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations.In addition to these, there are also other Prajñāpāramitā sūtras such as the Heart Sūtra (Prajñā pāramitā Hridaya), which exists in both 14-line and 25-line versions. Regarding the shorter texts, Edward Conze in his book "The Short Prajñāpāramitā Texts - 1973" writes, according to merit the Diamond Sūtra and the Heart Sūtra are renowned throughout the world. Both have been translated into many languages and have often been commented upon. Tantric versions of the Prajñāpāramitā literature were produced from the year 500 CE on.
Additionally, Prajñāpāramitā teachings are held by some Tibetan Buddhists to have been conferred upon Nāgārjuna by Nag raja, King of Nāgas, who had been guarding them at the bottom of the ocean. Tantric versions of the Prajñāpāramitā literature were produced from the year 500 CE on. Some of the ancient manuscripts are in the collection of Museums around the world. The following two collections are very important and authentic, The Heart Sutra (smallest of its kind having only 14 Stanzas in Sanskrit) is in New York Museum and The Perfection of wisdom (Tibetan Script having 8,000 stanza) from the collection of Royal Library Copenhagen.
There are more Prajnaparamita written in other languages found in many South Asian Countries Tibet, China, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Java, Sumatra, Bali, India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. Most of the Scholars are of the opium that the oldest and authentic manuscript is from Srilanka.
There are more Pranjaparamita manuscript also in the collection of National Achieve as well in Asha Saphu Kuthi, (Asha Archives) Kaiser Library and National Library.  Most of those collections are in small version or are of small volume but the one in Vikramshila Mahavihar, Thamel sounds to be more authentic and has more Stanzas (shlokas) and is nicely written with real golden ink (dated 344 NS / 1233 AD). Prajnaparamita from Patan, Rudra Varna Mahavihar is dated 216 NS/ 1105 AD and from Hiranya Varna Mahabihar is dated 336 NS / 1225 AD __ (Hem Raj Sakya and T.R. Vaidya, 1970 Medieval Nepal: Colophons and inscriptions, Kathmandu page 6).
The oldest Prajnaparamita manuscript (written during the period of Manipaldeva the king of Bengal 1020 AD) from the collection of Cambridge University is written in Ranjana script, highlights the origin of Ranjana Script from India. (From the collection of Indian Art Museum, Berlin –Dr. Regmi, Dinesh Chandra, Purlekhana Paricaya VS 2048/ 1991 An introduction to Nepalese Paleography - in Nepali -Page 102)
Conclusion:- There are many Vihars in and around Kathmandu Valley where they do have some collections of manuscripts written by different scholars and are displayed during the holy month GUNLA - August / September.
Vikramshila Mahavihar, Thambahi Simhakalpanagar
(Bhagwan Bahal, Thamel, Kathmandu)
Vikramshila Mahavihar, Thambhil, Simhakalpanagar is the ancient name of Bhagwan Bahal, Thamel Kathmandu. Mahavihar signify it to be a higher teaching institute same as a University, Thambahil signify it to be the monastery of high significance & pride. Simhakalpanagar denotes it as a separate city or town.
Bahi is the old form of Nepalese monastery usually located in a peaceful place far from the city settlement and are made in a plinth little above the level of the ground and are constructed in a very simple form. Originally Bahis were designed as a place for training, perching,copying the religious text; as a teaching institute; boarding for the students and shelter for the visiting monks. After the introduction of Vajrayan cult a new kind of monastery known as bahal were constructed (with some lavish decoration) in the city settlement to accommodate the married monks living together with their family.( Korn, Wolfgang, 1976 - The Traditional Archecture of Kathmandu Valley, Bibliotheca Himalayan Series 2, Ratna Pustak Bhandar, Kathmandu).
The Saharsha Prajnaparamita a rare collection of four volumes of highest Buddhist manuscript in this temple complex has a close relationship with Manjushree. The legendary Caravan to Lhasa leaded by Simha Sarth Bahu also does have main historical significance to its establishment. Some of the travel records made by scholars from India, Tibet and China also did mention about the glory of this temple during the 11th and 13th century; still lots of real facts are missing. The oldest available document related to this temple is of the visits of Pundit Atisa from India in the early 11th century (1041 A.D.).
In this short article I am trying my best effort to high light some facts to make understand a common reader about this ancient temple complex: lots of investigation and research need to be conduct to identify its past glory, as we are left with few documents.
Swayambhu Puran is one of the oldest manuscripts narrating the story of the evolution of Kathmandu Valley. According to the legend Kathmandu Valley was a lake surrounded by mountains. Kanakmuni Bodhisattva is believed to have thrown a lotus seed in the lake. A big lotus with thousand leaves blossomed in the center of lake that attracted visitors from around the globe. Manjushree Bodhisttva is believed to have visited this place and meditated in Phulchoki (Phullichho) and Jamachho (Jatamatroccho). He is believed to have drained the valley by cutting the edge of the hill with the divine sword. (Chovar being the only exit for all rivers in Kathmandu Valley and the black soil found everywhere in Kathmandu Valley does testify it to be a lake earlier). Manjushree is the Bodhistava of Divine wisdom representing the infinite and eternal wisdom of Buddha. Manjushree holds a sword in his right hand and a book of perfection (Prajnaparamita) in the left hand.
The first historical important evidence of Than Bahi is the visit of Pundit Atisha Shrijana (982- 1054) and spent one year studying Buddhist philosophy during 1041 - 42 AD. He was the head pundit (Principal) of Nalanda University and was invited by Tibetan king to visit Tibet to teach and revive Buddhism. On his way to Tibet he spent one year in Nepal (1041 - 42), most of his time was spent in Than Bahi and is believed to have studied the Buddhist philosophy and has written books in Sanskrit. (but the name of Prajnaparamita is not mentioned).
The Saharsha Prajnaparamita a rare collection of four volume of highest Buddhist manuscript in this temple complex has a close relationship with Manjushree. The legendary Caravan to Lhasa leaded by Simhsarth Bahu also does have main historical significance to its establishment.
Some of the travel record made by scholars from India Tibet and China also did mention about the glory of this temple during 11th and 13th century, still lots of real facts are missing.
Dharmashri Mitra, a renowned scholar from Vikramshila Vihar, Nalanda, India is believed to visit Nepal for advance study in Buddhism and Sanskrit in the early 13th Century. He did study in Thambahi, which clearly indicates the high importance of Thambhil and the similarity of the name Vikramshila indicates the name might have been given by him. “Traditional Architecture of Kathmandu Valley" by Wolfgang Korn, Ratna Pustak Bhandar, 1976 (Text by Purnaharsha Vajracharya).
Recent Archeological excavation in Nalanda got a new light about the existence of Vikramshila Vihar as one of the old teaching institution for higher study in Buddhism in the early first century BC.
A historical evidence of the restoration of the temple in 408NS/1287AD by Hari Singh during the resign of king Parthvendra Mall is being mentioned in the Toran, the semicircular wood archive kept in the main entrance of the temple. (It did have nice carvings of the image of Prajnaparamita which was stolen some 40 years ago; a new Toran is kept now as a replacement). The brick paving and the restoration of the temple complex in Thambahi was done by Hari Simha during the reign of king Parthivendra Malla is also mentioned in one of the stone inscription kept in National Archiev (The stone inscription no.173), Rajvamsi, Sanker Man 2027 VS in Kantipur Silalekh Suchi published by HMG National Archiev page 125.
Almost all Vihars in and around Kathmandu valley are being managed by the community of priest family either by Bajracharya or Sakya (Gristha Bhishu) family but this Vihar is exceptional where Pradhan family do control the management to run the day to day activities as well as various rituals during festivals. Simha Sartha Bahu is believed to have established Bhagwan Bahal and the entire daily rituals and activities during the festival are being controlled by the Pradhan family from Thamel, who believe themselves as the descendents of Simha Sartha Bahu.
We see Gaju on the roof tops of the religious buildings and temples; and chaitya in the Buddhist temple. Both the Hindu as well as Buddhist temple have Gaju (the roof top) a kalash (water Pot) design but the main shrine of Thambahi has a chaitya and a metallic mirror on the roof. A banner of white cloth along with a metallic belt hangs down from the metallic mirror (or chaitya). (Lucke, John K. S.J. Karunamaya 1986 page 474)
Saharsha Prajnaparamita
The four volume of Saharsha Prajnaparamita manuscript in the collection of Thambahi is dated Nepal Sambat 344 Margasira Pratipada (1223AD) is believed to have written by Jinashri Jnana and started by Manjushree.
Jinashri is supposed to get inspired by Manjushree and found an auspicious moment to start writing the manuscript, but felt asleep; Manjushree is believed to have started writing the first three pages with his finger. (The first three pages do have big script different than the remaining page).
When he woke up, found the auspicious moment already passed and was laminating; Manjushri came forward and instructed him to start writing without any disturbances as he has already started writing from the auspicious moment. This is a legend but we have no evidence regarding how long it did took to write all the four volume. The date NS 344 (1223 AD) might be the date it was completed or the date mentioned by someone else? King Pratap Mall (1641-1674 AD) and Queen Lalmati after visiting this temple wrote three stanzas appreciating the holy manuscript Laksavati Prajnaparamita (NS 780 /1658AD).
Pandit Hemraj Sakya in his Nepal Sanskritya Mulukha 1969 (Main entrance of the culture of Nepal) did mentioned this manuscript as Laksavati Prajnaparamita; This clearly indicate to have 100,000 stanza. It is believed that there were in total five volumes of Manuscripts. Tibetans did invade the temple and looted one volume which was recovered by the army and was deposited in Hanumandhoka Palace during King Pratap Mall’s period. Some people used to speak to have seen a manuscript having more similarity in script, being used during rituals in Sweat Bhairav temple in Hanumandhoka but there is no record in Hanumandhoka regarding this manuscript). 
There are 54,864 total lines in the four Volumes, (27 lines in one page - nine lines in three rows) four volume containing 2032 page (517 pages in Vol.1, 506 in Vol. II, 512 in Vol. III and 497 in Vol. IV). We have no idea regarding the total number of pages in the missing volume kept in Hanuman Dhoka.
If we guess 500 pages in the missing volume it will add 13,500 lines making total 68,364 lines. It is very interesting facts about numerology in both Hindu and Buddhist mythology that number nine plays a vital role, this is clearly understood in the layout of the page with three row containing nine lines totaling twenty seven lines, adding two and seven makes nine so each and every volume also do have the same count ending with nine. This does not happen if we have eight lines with three rows even though nine lines with four rows do fulfill these criteria but the size do not look nice. The size of the page is rectangular nine inches by eighteen inches written in real golden ink, which looks like a print rather than a hand written manuscript as the character looks uniform and looking at the nice and bright prints, it is hard to believe it being written long ago.
During GUNLAA, the Buddhist holy months (ninth months of Lunar Calendar) the four volumes are given to the Bajracharya of four renowned Vihars of Kathmandu to recite from top to bottom and are paid for doing so. During the last day of the display of the manuscript the National (Royal) Kumari from Hanumandhoka is being carried on a chariot to Thambhil for viewing the manuscript and the head Priest from Hanumandhoka used to recite few lines from the first page and the last page in the presence of Kumari marking the end of reciting the holy manuscript Prajnaparamita.
This used to be the only time when the manuscript is able to be view by public. (Now a days one can easily see it on paying fee that is used for the temple expenses). Many devotees from China, Tibet, India, Sikkim and Bhutan come visit Thambhi to pay to view and pay respect to this holy manuscript as it is believed to have written by the devine lord of learning Manjushree.
The Legendary story of the Caravan to Lhasa
A copy of ancient wall hanging (Poubha, Wilampau, Thangka painting, Scroll painting) narrating the story of the legendary caravan to Lhasa is being displayed in the main courtyard of Bhagwan Bahal during the festival of the holy month Gunla the ninth months according to the Nepali Lunar Calendar.
According to the legend (a non-historical or unverified story), a group of five hundred young businessmen left for a caravan to Lhasa. The group did selected Simhal, a merchant with rich knowledge, as their leader, this is how he got a new name Simhal Sarthabaha, as Sarthabaha is called for the leader of the group of merchant.
Walking through dense forest they came across river Brahmaputra. While crossing river the river they encountered an accident and were being rescued by five hundred young and exceptionally beautiful ladies. All members of the caravan were busy doing business and were enjoying with the young ladies as their wife, they did not thought of returning back home. Simhsarthabahu used to worship the family God Avalokiteshvara (Karunamaya) daily.
One day Simhsarthabahu was given the sight of Lord Avalokiteshvara (Karunamaya) while in meditation and worship. In the dream the Devin Lord Avalokiteshvara told him that they are being under captive of the devils (The man eater) and told him to leave the city as soon as possible as it was a bewitched Island. He was instructed to go to the north side of the city to check a big compound surrounded by tall walls like a well, where they used to throw the skeletons.
Avalokiteshvara also did promise to help them cross the river. He went there and was able to climb a tree, and saw lots of human skeletons behind the tall walls, where they were not forbidden to visit. He got convinced himself about the dream after visiting the northern side of the city. He made the plan to get an escape from the evil eyes of the damsels whom they mistakenly thought of their beloved wives.
He was able to get convinced his friends about the instruction of the divine Lord and made a plan to live the bewitched land as soon as possible. They left their home in the middle of the night when their wives were fast asleep and came close to the Brahmaputra River. Simhsarthabahu did worship the divine Lord and a flying horse appeared. The horse instructed all them to get a ride and warned them not to look behind while crossing the river and enchant the Triratna Mantra. When the she devils wok up, they could not find the young merchants sleeping next to them. They were flying across the river and started laminating and requesting them to return back home. All members except Simhsarthabahu looked behind and were under the captive of the she devils and were taken back to the other side of the river. Simhsarthabahu was the only person who did not look behind, and did not forget to enchant the Mantra of Triratna, so was able to get back home leaving behind all his friends under the captive of the wretched women (she devil). The chief devil, wife of Simhsarthabahu followed him and disguised as a young and exceptionally beautiful lady came to the court with a baby on her lap claiming herself to be the wife of Simhsarthabahu. Simhsarthabahu did try to convince the king that she is a man eater and denied to accept them as his wife and son.
The king then kept her in the palace as he was attracted with the exceptional beauty of the lady. In the middle of the night she called all her companions and started killing the members of the Royal family and the staff. Next day when the palace door did not opened Simhsarthabahu entered the palace climbing through a ladder. He was no more able to find any body but the human skeleton scattered all over the palace court yard. He could not found any of the Royal family members in the palace as all were being killed and eaten by the she devils. He found the human skeletons scattered around the palace and saw the she devils sleeping around the courtyard. With the Devin sword he is believed to have killed all the Dankinis except his wife who did beg pardon for her life.
After being pardoned from her life she is being ordered to make a solemn vow to protect the entire community and in return she also made a proposal to protect the community least there be no opening in the roof top of the buildings. This is why even today the Pradhans from this locality do not have open roof-tops in their houses.
She was then asked which portion of the rice she wants to have- the first, middle or the last. She spoke to have the first one thinking herself as senior so this is how she got the sticky water (Jati). This is how even today the sticky water (Jati) is being poured to the image of Jatikwa Ajima, before reaching the rice bowl to Garud Bhagwan.  She has made a vow to protect the entire community; she also made a proposal least there be no openings in the rooftops of the buildings. This is why even today the Pradhans from the locality do not have open rooftops in their houses.
Simsharthabahu was nominated as the leader of the community as all members of the Royal family were killed by the she divil. This is how he got a new name Garud literally meaning army chief and later on was able to became the king and called Garudjuju. (Pradhan, Bhuban Lal, 2047, Kathmandu Upatyeka ka Chirka Mirka Page -72 
Simhasarthbahu donated land and is believed to have established Thambahi in his home town; with the wealth he earned from Lhasa (the traders usually bring Gold from Tibet).
Later on being the chief of the army was able to become the king and got coroneted to the thrown so called Garud juju and was coroneted as the king. Later on with his spiritual power and intellectual knowledge, he gained popularity as a form of Divine God – Dipankara  Garud Bhagwan. His wife also is honored as a divine god Ajima, the proctector Goddess (Jatika Ajima). Even these days the sticky water (Jati) is being poured to the image of Ajima (Jatika Ajima), before reaching the rice bowl to Garud Bhagwan.
The main image of Bhagwan Bahal which is known as Garujuju or Garud Bhagwan, is believed to be the image of Simha Sartha Bahu. Even today Pradhans from Thambahi do not visit Lhasa as they belive themselve the descendant of Simha Sartha Bahu, because they are scared of being attracted by the she devils as revenge.  

Baidyo Boayagu
The ninth months of Lunar calendar (it starts from the dark moon night of Festival of light) so called GUNLAA is being celebrated as the holy month by the Newar Buddhist community in Kathmandu Valley. During this festival antiques, Images of Dipankar, images of different God and Goddess, Paubha paintings (Wilampau, scroll painting, Thanka painting), traditional clothing’s are displayed in the courtyard of Buddhist shrines - Baha and Bahi and is called Baidyah Boayagu.
A copy of ancient wall hanging (Paubha, Wilampau, Thanka painting, and Scroll painting) being displayed in the main court of Thamel, during the holy months of Gunlaa narrates the legendary story of the Voyage to Lhasa, being leaded by Simhasarthbahu.
Professor Siegfried Linhard did published an article introducing a painting 11.44 meter long and 0.55 meter wide with 80 frames each with legend story text in Nepali script and the language Newari illustrating the Simhalavadan from the collection of The Museum of Indian Art, Berlin (Heritage of the Kathmandu Valley: Preceding of an International Conference in Lubek, June 1985 edited by Niels Gutschow and Ayiel Michaels. Nepalica 4 Sankt, 1987 s 49-53)
Professor Todd Lewis of the college of Holy Cross in Massatuetse, USA also published a paper on the localization of Simhalasarthabahu Avadana- Chicago Journal- History of Religion volume 33 no.2, November 1993 page 135-160 (Tib-Trade-and-Domestication-of Simhalasarth-Avadan).

Garuda Bhagwan (Garudjuju)

Sartha Bahu is used to identify the leader of the merchants, in some of the early texts as well as in the poem from Kalidasa in the early 11th century. The Poubha (scroll painting) being displayed in the main court of Thamel, during the holy months of Gunlaa narrates the legendary story of the Voyage to Lhasa, being lead by Simha Sartha Bahu.
This is how Simhala the leader of the Caravan got a new name Simhalsarthabaha later called upon as Simhsarthabahu.The main image of the Bhagwan Bahal is known as Garujuju or Garud Bhagwan, is believed to be the image of Simhsarthabahu. After all royal family were killed he became the leader or say chief of the Army so got a new name Garuda and once he became the king again called Garudjuju.(Pradhan, Bhuvan Lal,2047, Kathmandu Upatyakaka kehi sanskritic chhirka mirka -some notes on the culture identity of Kathmandu valley in Nepali page 72). Simha Sartha Bahu is believed to have established Bhagwan Bahal and the entire daily rituals and activities during the festival are being controlled by the Pradhan family from Thamel, who believe themselves as the descendants of Simha Sartha Bahu. Simhsarthabahu is mentioned as one of the previous life of Buddha in the 16th chapter of Gunakarandavyaha.
In one of the chronological history (Bansabali) from Kaiser Library the story of lhasa caravan was mentioned during the Regine of King Gunakamadeva (NS 107-110/ 987-990 AD) and in some writtings he is mentioned as to belong to the period of Singhketu descendent of Gunakamadeva.
Atisa the renowned scholar from Vikramshila Vihar did spent one year (1041/42 AD) in Nepal before departing to Tibet, most of his time was spent in Thambahi but he did not mentioned about Garud Bhagwan.
The monastery in Itubahal is believed to have established by Bhashkardeva(NS165-167 / 1045-1047 AD) and later on got renovated by Kesh Chandra brother in law of Simhsarthabahu (Bhaskardeva sanskarita Kesh Chandra krita parabrata Mahavihar from the stone inscription of Itumbahal).
We can thus conclude that Simhsarthabahu belong to a period after Bhashkardeva(NS 165-167 / 1045-1047 AD) or after Kalidasa (early 11th century).
Simha Sartha Bahu is believed to have established Bhagwan Bahal and the entire daily rituals and activities during the festival are being controlled by the Pradhan family from Thamel, who believe themselves as the descendants of Simha Sartha Bahu. They do not visit Lhasa as they were scared of getting revenge by the she-devil from Lhasa.
Both Simhsarthabahu is given equal honor as the form of diven God by the Tibetan people calling him the Jewel Trader Bhagwan (Chhong Nurbu Saange or Tsongpon Norbu Sangpo - Chhong meaning Trader; Tsongpon meaning Leader of Traders; Nurbu meaning Jewel and Saange or Sangpo meaning Bhagwan). There is a chorten (Temple) in Zhugong near Lhasa called Simhsarthabahu Chorten and a shrine of his wife in Jokhang that contain the image of his wife. (Newar Tibetain Trade and the Domestication page 152)

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