Raja Deekshithar discovered the Sphinxes of India The Sphinxes of India, heritage, mythology and history. The sphinx is a well known symbol of ancient art and mythology. The Sphinxes of India discovered by Raja Deekshithar.

Sphinxes of India. heritage, mythology, history and art



   Purushamriga and Sphinx






A few years ago I told a friend about my discovery of the sphinxes of India. “Sphinxes”, he said, “in India?” And exclaimed “Wrong country!”

During the course of my research at first I encountered much opposition and resistance against the idea that sphinxes were part of the Indian artistic and ritual tradition. The purushamriga could not be a sphinx, because it existed in India. It should be called an anthropomorphic lion, not a sphinx. Calling it a sphinx was Euro-centric and un-academic. But the word ‘sphinx’ itself is a word from the Greek language. In that case it should also not be applied to the Great Sphinx of Gizeh, or any other anthropomorphic lion outside Greece. This is how I think about it.

What is the reason behind this opposition? And why is it that during the past two hundred years or so of Oriëntalistic research into the arts and traditions of India so far nobody noticed or recognized the prolific presence of the mythological composite being called sphinx?

From my understanding and my experience, I have to draw the conclusion that some kind of unrealized pre-concept exists about the Indian civilization and its place in the history of humanity. In a way the Indian civilization is placed apart, as separate from the other ancient civilizations. Sphinxes are not supposed to exist in India. Therefore nobody ever noticed them. Discovering the Indian sphinx, and presenting it before the world-audience and on the world stage challenges this existing preconceived idea of what India is, and what the place and meaning is of the Indian civilization within the frame of world history.

I feel that the publication of my article “Discovering the Anthropomorphic Lion in Indian Art’, in the international magazine on Indian art and its history, Marg, published in Mumbai by the Tata Company (Volume 55, Number 4, in June 2004) constitutes an international recognition and acknowledgement for the existence of the sphinx in the Indian civilization.

The discovery of the role and significance of the sphinx in Indian art and civilization contributes to the wealth and beauty of the Indian heritage. And it will bring a new understanding of the place of India in the perspective of world history. Its artistic expression shines a fresh light on India and its place among the great civilizations of ancient and modern times.


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