Tín ngưỡng thờ Linga và Yoni của người Champa

Linga and Yoni: A Revelation of Ancient Champa Worship

The birth of Hinduism in India brought forth the mythical tale of Siva, the first appearance of whom was as a phallic-shaped column of fire. Over time, humans have symbolized (Linga and Yoni) to worship the deity Siva. The Linga represents the masculine aspect, while the Yoni represents the feminine aspect of the god. The combination of Linga and Yoni, also known as Linga-Yoni, is considered the symbol of creative power of Siva. In this form, Siva is also known as the “God of Wakefulness.” The Linga-Yoni, representing fertility and growth, is often venerated in Cham towers.

Tượng thần Shiva bằng đá cát, cuối thế kỷ XII ở Tháp Mẫm, An Nhơn, Bình Định. Hiện Trưng bày ở Bảo tàng Lịch sử quốc gia.

Linga and Yoni are not only worshipped in India but also hold significance in countries that have embraced the influence of Hinduism, including ancient Champa.

The Unique Linga and Yoni of Champa

The Linga and Yoni in Champa have their own distinctive features and are unparalleled in terms of quantity, diverse shapes, and large sizes. This type of Linga and Yoni in Champa can be considered the most profound manifestation of the cultural and religious influence of Hinduism. Champa embraced and integrated elements of Indian culture and religion more strongly than any other region.

In Champa sculpture, Linga typically has a slightly flat top, with very few instances of spherical or pyramidal shapes. Linga can be categorized into three basic types. The first type is a simple rectangular prism. The second type consists of a cylindrical upper part and a hexagonal or square lower part. The third type has a cylindrical upper part, a hexagonal middle part, and a square lower part. The third type is quite common in Champa sculpture as it represents the three Hindu gods (Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva), known as the “Trinity of Supreme Beings.” Additionally, it can also symbolize the emphasis on royal authority in Champa. Furthermore, the representation of Linga consisting of three parts may also have philosophical implications related to the materialistic interpretation of the process of origin, development, and destruction of objects, as well as the convergence of the three divine deities in Indian philosophy, explaining the world in motion with three essential tendencies: creation, preservation, and destruction.

Another representation of Linga is Mukha-Linga, which incorporates a human face on the top. In Champa sculpture, there is only one known case of Mukha-Linga found in the main tower of Po Klaun Garai. This depiction suggests a close connection between royal and divine authority.

The representation of Yoni in Champa sculpture is also diverse, generally encompassing rectangular or near-square shapes, circular shapes adorned with lotus petals, and circular shapes decorated with female breasts.

Typically, Linga and Yoni are combined to form a composite entity called Linga-Yoni. In most cases, each Yoni contains a Linga. However, in Champa sculpture, there are instances where multiple Lingas or even human (or deity) figures replace the Linga on the Yoni. An example of this is the Yoni set in the main tower of Po Naga in Nha Trang, which might represent the goddess Po Naga.

Tượng Linga-Yoni hiện đang trưng bày tại khu trưng bày ngoài trời Bảo tàng Lịch sử quốc gia.

Currently, at the outdoor exhibition area of the National Museum of History, there is a display of LINGA-YONI statues made of sandstone, dating back to the 9th and 10th centuries, following the style of the Chiên Đàn Tower in the An Mỹ ruins, Tam An commune, Phú Ninh, Quảng Nam.

The Varied Meanings and Artistic Value of Linga and Yoni

In Champa sculpture, Linga and Yoni take on various forms and can carry multiple meanings. They are not merely symbols of the god Siva in the conventional sense. This diversity in interpretation explains the many different opinions regarding the significance of Linga and Yoni in Champa sculpture.

Cụm tháp Chăm Pô shai nư (Phan Thiết, Bình Thuận), xây dựng thế kỷ thứ VIII thờ thần Shinva, trong đó tại tháp A có bệ thờ Linga-Yoni.

The Linga and Yoni worship in Mỹ Sơn not only holds artistic value but also serves as a reflection of the unique cultural and religious world of the ancient Champa people. It represents a world of divine beings, the desire for fertility and harmony of masculine and feminine energies, the power of creativity, and symbolizes the legitimacy, authority, and eternity of a dynasty that established it. Moreover, Linga and the deity Siva are the embodiment of the protectors of the Champa kings, among many other reasons that are yet to be fully understood.

By Nguyễn Thu Hương, Phòng TBNT&KGTN (Tổng hợp) (Source: “Tìm hiểu bản sắc văn hóa Việt Nam (phần văn hóa Chăm)” by Trần Ngọc Thêm, “Luận án Điêu khắc đá Chăm Pa (phần Linga)” by Phạm Hữu Mý)

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