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Sreyas Venkataraman 1

Personal Reflection
I have chosen to write about the Queen Indradevi inscription for a few reasons. The main
reason is that it is the oldest out of the three available texts, and I find ancient/older history more
fascinating than more relatively recent history. The inscription is also written in Sanskrit and a lot
of the content has references to the culture and mythology of India, which is also interesting to me
because that is where I was born. The classical style in which the poem was written is also
intriguing because it is not something that I have a lot of exposure to. That is to say, the type of
classical writing that comes from that region with its emphasis on certain themes that are not
present in Western classical writing. I hope to gain a better understanding of some of those
aforementioned themes by reading the text more closely, mainly the theme of purity and how that
is manifested via actions or objects in the poem.

Question
How is the theme of purity and devotion expressed or manifested either via certain rites or
actions in the eulogy attributed to Queen Indradevi?
Sreyas Venkataraman 2

Analysis of the Queen Indradevi Inscription


The theme of purity and devotion is given a central role in Queen Indradevis eulogistic
inscription and is expressed mainly through certain rite or actions, namely the utilization of gold,
focus on filial piety, and emphasis on learning. Throughout the poem, there are many references
to encasing objects in gold. In the first stanza, for instance, Jayarajadevi piously swathed in gold
a stone stele, transforming it into an ornament of both soil and sky (Coeds 161-181). The poem
suggests that it is possible to transform a baser material like stone into a divine ornament by
encasing the material in gold. The phrase of both soil and sky offers evidence that the stone has
undergone a metamorphosis that has now placed it in the realm of not only the earth or soil, but
also of the divine or sky. In the second stanza, Jayarajadevi also erects bejeweled gold images
of her three gurus, another instance of her demonstrating her devotion (Coeds 161-181).
In the third stanza, she erects images of her family members everywhere & demonstrates
devotion through filial piety (Coeds 161-181). These images are also encased in gold, which
spiritually elevates the images as well. These actions, according to the inscription, are indications
that Jayarajadevi is ever wise (Coeds 161-181). The familial theme extends to Jayarajadevis
devotion towards the king; the poem mentions that Only once her lord had done the midday rite
did she reach the state of serenity, showing that she puts the king first before she considers herself
(Coeds 161-181). Indradevi also later raises images of her sister, Jayarajadevi, herself, and the
king, continuing the same thread of purity.
Finally, the role of learning is another expression of devotion and purity throughout the
poem. Knowledge and being knowledgeable is equated to grace in the seventh stanza, and later
on, knowledge is referred to as nectar (Coeds 161-181). There are several references between
knowledge and illumination as well. For instance, Indradevi is said to have shined when
lecturing to her students (Coeds 161-181).
Sreyas Venkataraman 3

Works Cited

Coeds, G. (1942). Inscriptions du Camboge II. Paris: Ecole francaise dExtreme-Orient.


Translated by Trent Walker.