Jayavarman II – The Beginning of Angkor Period
Angkor Era (802-1431) was the most splendid period of Cambodian history which was began from the greatest Khmer King Jayavarman II (802-850). Jayavarman II was a King who won all the battles and reunited the two Chenla into a great Kingdom, Khmer Empire.
According to stone inscription at Sdok Kok Thom recorded that King Jayavarman II came back from Java in 800 AD. while the ruler at Java, Silendra family, was under weakness which was a good chance for him to escape from Java back to his homeland.
No one has known when and why has Jayavarman II left his kingdom. According to the situation at the late 8th century, Khmer was divided into two parts and ruled by many Kings in each part. This was a weakness of Khmer, then Java, under the leading of Silandra family, took this chance to destroyed the Khmer capital, Sambhupura, and kept Khmer under their protectorate. Perhaps Jayavarman II was brought to Java as a prisoner of war during Sambhupura was under controlled.
Another stone inscription said that Jayavarman II was a relative of King Bosaka Reaksa who was the King of Sambhupura and he was a nephew of Jayandranatipadeyvarman, a King that his biography is unknown.
Jayavarman II back to his homeland
After back from Java, Jayavarman II stayed at Indrapura which located in present day Banteay Preinokor, Tbong Khmum commune, Kampong Cham province. At there, he accepted a Brahman named Shivataivalaya, to be his Brahmin. In his mission of reunite the Khmer Empire, Jayavarman II must take control over all the territory which was divided into small parts. Thus his capital city has been changed from time to time.
According to a historian, Claude Jacques wrote that Jayavarman II probably has stayed in Vyadhapura when he first arrived Khmer Kingdom, then moved to Indrapura. He added that, King Jayavarman II moved to Wat Phu (in present day Laos) and moved along the Dangrek Mountain range before he arrived the Angkor area.
The Khmer history book recorded that, when Jayavarman II first arrived the Khmer Kingdom, he stayed in Sambhupura and later on he moved to northern Tonle Sap Lake (the Great Lake) at Kote (Banteay Kdei Temple in present day). Next he moved to Hariharalaya in Roluos (about 13 km east of Siem Reap town) and to Amarendrapura, the western of the West Baray.
Devaraja Ceremony on Kulen Mountain
The last place to move was Mahendra Paravata (Kulen Mountain) and there he performed a new ceremony called Devaraja in order to keep Cambodia out off controlled by Java and made himself become a Chakravartin, means universal monarch. He invited another Brahman named Haranhadama who was skillful in preparation for Devaraja ceremony.The ceremony was prepared base on the method recorded in the magic book Vinashikha, to crown the King to be Devaraja (the God King) which is called in Khmer as Kamrateng Jakatataraja, means the king of the world.
At Mahendra Paravata, Haranhadama has teached Shivakaivalaya of how to process the Devaraja ceremony.The king and Brahman Haranhadama has made a promised that the Devaraja ceremony could only prepare by a member from Brahman Shivakailaya family.
G.Coedes suggests that the Devaraja ceremony on Mahendra Paravata probably involved having a statue as a representation of Java’s King, and had the head of the statue cut off. In the same time, a ceremony of dedicating Shiva linga, which was considered to by given by Shiva through Brahman, was also taken place. So that people believed that the sacred power of the King has stood in the Shiva linga, which has become a representation of Devaraja. In short, after the ceremony, the King has become an avatar of Shiva (not only representative) which has controlling power on all beings. Since then, the command of the King is treated as the command from Shiva. One who respected and followed the command would received good merit as the result of their actions.
The First Temple-Mountain on Kulen Mountain
Because the home of Shiva is on top of Mount Kailasa, the Shiva Linga, which was the representative of Shiva as well as the King, also must kept on the mountain. If there is no natural mountain to reserve this purpose, a tower with many tiers as a mountain, must be built which was named temple-mountain. Moreover, the temple-mountain must situated at the central of the capital which was considered as the axle of the universe.
On Kulen Mountain, the Preah Aram Rong Chen is the first temple-mountain to be built by Jayavarman II. The sanctuary tower, housed a linga with special shape, was on a base of three tiers made of laterite.
This was the first time in Khmer history that we have a certain record about Devaraja ceremony. There are questions that where is the source of this ceremony? Is it originated from Java where Jayavarman II have lived?
According to the history of Indonasian, there was a stone inscription written in Sanskrit which dated 760 AD found in the eastern area of Java island. The inscription said that a Java King respected Linga Botikesvara which represented Devaraja.
The history of Champa also recored that, in the 4th century King Bhadravarman built a tower dedicated to Bhadresvara, which King of Chenla has worshiped at Wat Phu temple. From here, people has concluded that Bhadresvara is a deity worshipped by both Khmer and Cham.Some Angkorian Kings also worshiped Bhadresvara such as Yasovarman I (889-915) at Preah Vihear Temple and Rajendravarman II (944-968) at Pre Rup Temple.
In the Phnom Empire period, The King was also treated as the representative of Shiva. In Chenla period, a stone inscription dated 713 AD written by Princess Jayadevi, daughter of Jayavarman I, has talked about her King father was the one who has reached Shivaboratha (the teriroty of Shiva).
These records have showed that almost countries in the area of South East Asia were worshiped Shiva and Kings have tried to convert themselves to be the God King. In conclusion, Devaraja has been existed long time ago, Jayavarman II just have made it to be more obvious. However, there was no temple-mountain built in Indonasia or Champa, but only in Cambodia. The structure of temple-mountain is the unique architecture innovation of ancient Khmer. And the development of this temple mountain has a close relation with the prosperity of splendid Angkor period.
The duration of Jayavarman II stayed on Kulen Mountain is unknown. Perhaps the capital situated on mountain top was not comfortable for some reasons. At last, Jayavarman II has returned to Hariharalaya together with the Shiva linga. The King passed away in 850 AD with a name of death called Baramesvara. This was the first time that a certain name of death has been used for the king. The name suggests the place that the spirit will go after death. For Jayavarman II, Baramesvara explained that his spirit has reached and stayed with Shiva.