Hayagriva or Jambuvan ?

Not too long ago I shared the two-armed image of Hayagriva in a social media site and there were quite a few suggestions that the Vigraha is Jambuvan, Divine King of bears from Ramayana and Mahabharata.

The reasons for the suggestion include (with my comments in brackets)

  • Hayagriva is four-armed ( There is at least one relief sculpture in Kanchipuram Varadaraja Perumal temple with two arms)
  • Hayagriva is always shown with Lakshmi (There are several examples, including the one above, where he is depicted on his own)
  • The torso hair suggests a bear rather than a horse (There is merit to this )
  • Face is typical of bear rather than a horse (May be the artists interpretation. See some of Hayagriva sculptures from the Far East)
  • The teeth suggest bear rather than a horse (Plausible case)
  • Jambuvan was created by Brahma and hence carries Pustaka (Need more proof on the Pustaka part)
  • Jambuvan is known for his wisdom and hence the cin mudra and Pustaka (So far I have not come across any literature that suggest Jambuvan as a teacher, espousing wisdom).

The most vocal of the Jambuvan identity supporters are from Odisha. As this Vigraha is from Odisha, it may be possible a local version of Ramayana sees Jambuvan as a teacher, in addition to being physically strong and a wise being.

Till the answer is found this remains an under-research Vigraha.


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