Yaksha Manibhadra, from Parkham, c. 3rd-2nd century BCE, Government Museum, Mathura
Manibhadra is one of the major yakshas. He was a popular deity in ancient India.
Several well known images of yaksha Manibhadra have been found. The two oldest known image are:
Yaksha Manibhadra from Parkham
- Yaksha Manibhadra coming from Parkham near Mathura, datable to period 200 BCE – 50 BC According to Upinder Singh, the statue is 2.59 meters high. On stylistic grounds it should be dated to the 2nd/1st century BC, but an inscription in Brahmi suggest a 3rd century BC date. The inscription says "Made by Gomitaka, a pupil of Kunika. Set up by eight brothers, members of the Manibhadra congregation ("puga")." This inscription thus indicates that the statue represents the Yaksa Manibhadra. According to John Boardman, the hem of the dress is derived from Greek art. Describing a similar statue, John Boardman writes: "It has no local antecedents and looks most like a Greek Late Archaic mannerism". Similar folds can be seen in the Bharhut Yavana.
Yaksha Manibhadra from Padmavati Pawaya
- Yaksha Manibhadra from Padmavati Pawaya. The inscription under the image mentions a group of Manibhadra worshippers.
Both of them are monumental larger than life sculptures, often dated to Maurya or Shunga period. The Parkham Yaksha was used an inspiration by Ram Kinker Baij to carve the Yaksha image that now stands in front of the Reserve Bank of India in Delhi.
Manibhadra was often shown with a bag of money in his hand.
Manibhadra is an avatar of Shiva which he called when he was angry and summoned for warfare. Manibhadra decimated the army of Jalandhara along with Virabhadra, another avatar of Shiva. In the Mahabharata Manibhadra is mentioned along with Kubera as a chief of the yakshas. Arjuna had worshipped him. In the Ramayana, Manibhadra is mentioned as fighting Ravana when he had attacked the domain of Vaishravana at Mount Kailash. It is possible that the avatar of Shiva and the chief of the yakshas may be the same Manibhadra but there is no confirmation.
In Sūryaprajñapti, a Manibhadra chairya in Mithila is mentioned. Yakshas are referred to in the Harivamsa Purana (783 A.D.) of Jinasena made the beginning of this concept. Among them, Manibhadra and Purnabadra yakshas and Bahuputrika yakshini have been the most popular. Manibhadra and Purnabadra yakshas are mentioned a chief of yakshas, Manibhadra of Northern ones and Purnabadra of Southern ones.
Manibhadra still a yaksha worshipped by the Jains, specially those affiliated with the Tapa Gachchha. Three temples are famous for association with Mandibhadra: Ujjain, Aglod (Sabarkantha) and Magarwada (Banaskantha). Manibhadra Yaksha (or Vira) is a popular demigod among the Jains in Gujarat. His image can take many forms, including unshaped rocks, however in the most common representation, he is shown with a multi-tusked elephant Airavata.
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