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Devarāja

  • I. W. Mabbett
Extract

The ideas of the ancient Khmers about the connection between kings and gods, as known from sources bearing on the Angkorian kingdom, have received considerable attention from modern scholars. As early as 1904, Aymonier in the third volume of his history described the cult of the Devarāja as “une sorte de déification aux divinités brahmaniques, des rois et même des personnages de distinction, hommes ou femmes, qui érigent des temples ou contribuent d'une façon quelconque à rehausser le culte de ces divinités.” The stele of Sdok Kak Thom, edited by E. F. Aymonier in 1901, by L. Finot in 1915, and again by G. Coedès and P. Dupont in 1946, is particularly important in yielding fragmentary information about the history of the devarāja cult, and the introduction to the last-named of these editions contains a discussion of the cult, which appears to link the person of a king to the god Siva, or some other. G. Coedès has discussed aspects of royal divinity in several places, his most general and best-known account of the subject, originally presented as “Cultes Personnels à l'Epoque du Bayon” appearing as the third chapter of Pour mieux comprendre Angkor. The scholarly literature describing the statuary and architecture of the Angkor monuments abounds in references to the apparent deification of kings and their relatives, as represented in statues and in titles attributed to them. J. Filliozat's notable study of the symbolism of the Bakheng may be mentioned as an example of the attention which has been devoted to Khmer architecture as a reflection of ideas associating a king with a god. Among other relevant discussions, J. Przyluski's views on the nature. of the Angkorian monuments and B. P. Groslier's analysis of the kings' religious functions in the light of their social, political and economic rôles may be mentioned here. The representation of kings as gods is a theme commonly recognized in Angkorian studies, and even in other periods of Khmer history. A comparatively recent article suggests the existence of the “god-king” in pre-Angkorian times.

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1. Aymonier, E. F., Le Cambodge Vol. III (Paris, 1904) p. 582.

2. Aymonier, E. F., J.A. 1901, pp. 5 ff.

3. Finot, L., B.E.F.E.O. Vol. XV (1915) pp 277 ff

4. G. Coedès and P Dupont, ibid. Vol. XLIII (1943–46) pp. 57–134.

5. Goedès, G., “The Cult of Deified Royalty, Source of Inspiration of the Great Monuments of Angkor” in Art and Letters Vol. XXVI, pt. I. (1952) pp. 5153; “Note sur l'apothéose au Cambodge” in B.C.A.I. 1911, pp. 3849; “La Divinisation de la Royanté dans l'Ancien Royaume Khmer à l'Epoque d'Angkor” in Proceedings of the Seventh Congress of the History of Religions) (Amsterdam, 1951), pp. 141142; “La Destination Funéraire des Grands Monuments Khmèrs” (Etudes Cambodgiennes, XXXIII) in B.E.F.E.O. Vol. XL (1940) pp. 315343, “Angkor Vat, Temple ou Tombeau” in B.E.F.E.O. Vol. XXXIII (1933) pp. 303309.

6. idemPour Mieux Comprendre Angkor (Paris, 1947).

7. Filliozat, J, “Le Symbolisme du Monument de Phnom Bakheng” in B.E.F.E.O. Vol. XLIV, pt. 2 (1954) pp. 527–54

8. Przyluski, J., “Pradakṣina et Prasavya en Indochine,” in Festschrift für M. Winternitz zum 70 ten Geburtstag, 1933, pp. 326332; “Is Angkor Vat a Temple or a Tomb?” in Journal of the Indian Society of Oriental Art, Coomaraswamy volume (1937) pp. 131–34.

9. Groslier, B. P., Angkor et le Cambodge au 16e Siècle d'après les Sources Portuguaises et Espagnoles (Paris, 1958) pp. 107–21.

10. Bhattacharya, K., “Hari Kambujendra” in Artibus Asiae, Vol. XXVII (19641965) pp. 7278.

11. Aymonier, E. F., op.cit. pp. 581 f.

12. Coedès, G. and Dupont, P., op.cit. p. 103, n. 3.

13. Sdok Kak Thom Stele verse LXXV.

14. Coedès, G. and Dupont, P., op. cit. p. 87 (line 56)

15. ibid. p. 103, n. 3.

16. ibid. p. 87, 11.73 f

17. ibid. p. 88, 11.80–82

18. Coedès, G., Inscriptions du Cambodge (Paris, 1937/1966), pp. 4771 at p 48 (k. 188, 1.1).

19. ibid. (k. 189).

20. Coedès, GLe Site de Janapada d'après une Inscription de Prasat Khna” in B.E.F.E.O. Vol. XLIII (19431946) pp. 811 at p. 10 (1. 9).

21. idem.Inscriptions du Cambodge Vol. I (Hanoi, 1937), pp. 1731.

22. Coedès, G. and Dupont, P., op. cit. p. 87 (11.71–73).

23. Mus, P., “Cultes Indiens et Indigènes au Champa” in B.E.F.E.O. Vol. XXXIII (1933), pp. 367410.

24. Groslier, B. P., op. cit. p. 116. “De même, croyons-nous, la religion fondamentale de la société Khmère, sous son brillant manteau indien, rut le culte des eaux et du sol: Et, au moins à l'origine, le rôle du roi-dieu était d'ordonner ce culte en tant que maître du sol.”

25. Coedès, G., “The Cult of Deified Royalty, Source of inspiration of the Great Monuments of Angkor”, in Art and Letters, vol. XXVI, pt. 1 (1952) pp. 5153.

26. idem. “La Date du Bayon” (Etudes Cambodgiennes, XIX) in B.E.F.E.O. Vol XXVIII (1928) pp. 81112 at p. 105.

27. ibid. p. 100.

28. Groslier, B. P., loc.cit.

29. Filliozat, J., op. cit. pp. 532–37.

30. von Heine-Geldern, R., Conceptions of State and Kingship in Southeast Asia, Southeast Asia Program Data Paper No. 18, Ithaca, 1956.

31. Filliozat, J., op. cit.

32. ibid. p. 549.

33. Groslier, B. P., op cit. p. 115.

34. Cedès, G., “La Destination Funéraire des Grands Monuments Khmèrs” in B.E.F.E.O. Vol. XL (1940) pp. 315543 at p. 343.

35. See Bhattacharya, K., op. cit., Coedès, G., “The Cult of Deified Royalty, Source of Inspiration of the Great Monuments of Angkor” in Art and Letters Vol. XXVI. pt. 1 (1952) pp. 5153 at p. 52.

36. Coedès, G. and Dupont, P., op. cit. p. 64.

37. See Briggs, I. P., The Ancient Khmer Empire (Philadephia, 1951) p. 90.

38. Barth, A, Inscriptions Sanscrites du Cambodge. No. 18: (Práh Nôk) D. 27, p. 157.

39. Coedès, G., “La Destination Funéraire des Grands Monuments Khmèrs” in B.E.F.E.O. Vol. XL (1940), pp. 315343 at p: 326, n. 4;

40. Coedès, G. and Dupont, P., op. cit. p: 87 (1, 69).

41. ibid, p. 86 (vv. CXX-CXXII).

42. Aymonier, E.F., op. cit. Vol. III, p. 584.

43. Coedès, G., Pour Mieux Comprendre Angkor (Paris, 1947) pp. 46ff.

44. idem., Inscriptions du Cambodge (Paris, 1937/1966) Vol. II, pp. 161181.

45. Goedès, G., “Etudes Cambodgiennes, XIX La Date du Bayon”, Appendix, in B.E.F.E.O, Vol. XXVIII (1928), pp. 104112.

46. Coedès, G., Inscriptions du Cambodge (Paris 1937/1966) Vol. II, pp. 161181, v.LXXIX.

47. idem., “La Destination Funéraire des Grands Monuments Khmès' in B.E.F.E.O. Vol. XL (1940), pp. 315343 at pp. 324ff.

48. ibid. pp. 325f.

49. ibid. p. 325.

50. Coedès, G. and Dupont, P., op. cit. p: 78 (v.XXI).

51. Filliozat, J., op. cit. p. 553.

52. ibid. pp. 549f.

53. Groslier, B. P., op. cit., p. 115:

54. ibid..

55. On the prosaieness of divinity in India see Spellman, J. W., Political Theory of Ancient India (Oxford, 1964) pp. 4042.

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Journal of Southeast Asian History
  • ISSN: 0217-7811
  • EISSN: 2398-7375
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