This paper is an attempt to detail the dualism observed in the cosmology of both the Cham monuments and contemporary Cham society. It first outlines the dualistic cults as represented in two royal sanctuaries, My Son in the north and Po Nagar Nha Trang in the south of the Champa kingdom. The My Son sanctuary was located in a deep valley surrounded by high mountain ranges and it was here that the god Bhadresvara/father/ mountain/areca were worshipped. On the other hand, the Po Nagar Nha Trang Sanctuary was located on a riverside hill near an estuary where the goddess Bhagavati/ Po Yang Inu Nagar/mother/sea/coconut were worshipped. Similar to the dualism observed in these two key sanctuaries of Champa, we can also observe cosmological dualism within contemporary Cham communities along the south central coast of Vietnam. The Cham people of this region are divided into two groups based on their religions. One group, called the Cham or Ba-la-mon (Brahmanists) are adherents of an indigenized form of Hinduism; the other group called Bani, are adherents of an indigenized form of Islam. The paper details the cosmological dualism within these communities. The study concludes by suggesting that cosmological dualism is a key concept for understanding Champa, elucidating both the structure of the kingdom in the past as well as the structure of contemporary Cham society.
William B Noseworthy
[ Abstract ]
This article utilizes interdisciplinary methods in order to critically review the existing research on the Mother Goddess of Champa: Po Inâ Nâgar. In the past, Po Inâ Nâgar has too often been portrayed as simply a “local adaptation of Uma, the wife of Śiva, who was abandoned by the Cham adapted by the Vietnamese in conjunction with their conquest of Champa.” This reading of the Po Ina Nagar narrative can be derived from even the best scholarly works on the subject of the goddess, as well as a grand majority of the works produced during the period of French colonial scholarship. In this article, I argue that the adaption of the literary studies strategies of “close reading”, “surface reading as materiality”, and the “hermeneutics of suspicion”, applied to Cham manuscripts and epigraphic evidence—in addition to mixed anthropological and historical methods—demonstrates that Po Inâ Nâgar is, rather, a Champa (or ‘Cham’) mother goddess, who has become known by many names, even as the Cham continue to re-assert that she is an indigenous Cham goddess in the context of a majority culture of Thánh Mẫu worship.
Keywords: Hinduism, Localization, Goddess worship, Champa civilization, Vietnam, Cham