This was also the first time that many older ideas of divinity with lineages in Zoroastrian and Vedic cultures were being given an iconography, just as this was the time when many other older Indian deities find visual articulation for the first time in Gandhara, not excluding yakshas and nagas (who are subordinated in their greater glorification of the Buddha).
Caption: 5 Matrika (mother goddess) with a baby in her lap, seated on stool carved with yakshas, from Bengal, c.
Heavy-hipped women and sinuous men with lotuses in their fingers, Buddhas in repose, naked Tirthankaras, tree spirits and underwater nymphs, yakshas
and demons, some prostrate, some upright, others on their sides.
He added, They contemptuously called Ravanan and Tamils as Asuras (A+Suras in Tamil means teetotalers), Rakhshasas (Protectors of the Tamils' faith, culture and the way of life) and Yakshas
(erroneously interpreted as demons in the Pali by Buddhists chronicles but were a race of human beings and were called Iyakkar - Archers, the ones who uses bow and arrows, in Tamil) because of their strength and courage, valor and for the supernatural powers ascribed on them.
(New Delhi: Munshiram Munoharlal, 1971), 4-8.
Now, inside this tree there lived a family of spirits (yakshas
) who, upon hearing the man saying that he would destroy their home, were seized with fright and anger.
And were these images without any traditional Hindu or Buddhist attributes once acolytes around a central Mahadevi Durga Mahishasuramardini, the Great Mother, or mythical yakshas
and yakshis, intermediaries between the divine and the human, associated with local field and forest deities, rural and vegetal fertility forces, which can appear in many different forms?
And, as if to emphasize the importance of commerce in the remarkable development of both Ajanta and Aurangabad, the ubiquitous representations of yakshas
(nature spirits), large and small, pouring coins out, "implies that abundant monetary wealth was invested at the site (p.
Moreover, the pictorial artists visualized the main protagonists of the story associated with the place (6) and added legendary figures like Mara and his retinue of monsters (figure 2), or the Naga king Erapattra, or the horse Kanthaka borne by yakshas
. (7) Religious experience and memories of the presence of the Buddha on that particular spot seem to be the core elements in these representations.
The thematic classification of terracottas offered by the authors is straightforward: mother and child; birth-giving mother; Shri Lakshmi and associated types; lady with hairpins; ganas, yakshas
, and nagas; male and female figures with different attributes; mithuna plaques; animal riders; plaques with narrative content; plaques and figurines of animals; and miscellaneous.