Mayan City Yaxchilan (Yaksha-Sila), in Mexico – Indian Connection

yaxchilan city mexicoMayan City Yaxchilan is an ancient city located on the bank of the Usumacinta River in Chipas, Mexico.
Epigraphers think that the ancient name for the city was probably the same as that of its’ realm, Pa’ Chan, meaning “Cleft (or broken) Sky“.
The lintels of Yaxchilan Temples are decorated with carvings that can be connected to carvings of Yakshas in India.
In Sanskrit PaShan (पाषण) also means stone and this could be distorted as Pa’Chan.
In Ancient India, Yakshas(यक्ष) are a class of benevolent spirits or super-natural guards who are the custodians of treasures that are hidden in the earth and in the roots of trees.
Kubera (lord of wealth) was leader of Yakshas, who left Lanka to his cousin brother Raavan and migrated to other place.
Maya, who built mystical and phenomenal structures for Yakshas and Asuras was also a Yaksha and we can related him as origin of Mayan civilization, that thrived in mexico and south america.

Sila (शिला) means stone or stone-sculpture or stone plate in sanskrit.
Yaksha-Sila (यक्षशिला) are the Yaksha’s stone-lintels in Mexico and thus the name Yaxchilan (distorted version of Yaksha-Sila).
Yakshas are mentioned in Hindu, Buddhist and Jain traditions.
In Indian art, male yakṣhas are portrayed either as fearsome warriors or as portly, stout and dwarf-like. Female yakṣhas, known as yakṣhiṇīs, are portrayed as beautiful young women with happy round faces and full breasts and hips.

Yaxchilan Lintel in Mexico & Yaksha with Yakshini stone carving in India

Yaxchilan Lintel Yaksha Yakshini stone carving

Yakshas in Buddhism

Yakshas (Thai: ยักษ์, Yak) are an important element in Thai temple art and architecture, as they are the guardians of all Buddhist temple gates.
Yakshas and their female counterparts are common in the Buddhist literature of Thailand. As ogres, giants and ogresses yakshas are popular as well in Thai folklore.

yaksha guarding wat phra kaew  temple in bangkok

Yakshas in Jainism

Jains mainly worship idols of Arihants and Tirthankaras, who have conquered the inner passions and attained God-consciousness status. Some Jains also believe that Yaksha and Yakshini look after the well-being of Tirthankaras. Usually, they are found in pair around the idols of Jinas as male (yaksha) and female (yakshini) guardian deities. Yaksha is generally on the right-hand side of the Jina idol and Yakshini on the left-hand side. In earlier periods, they were regarded mainly as devotees of Jina, and have supernatural powers. They are also wandering through the cycles of births and deaths just like the worldly souls, but have supernatural powers. Over time, people started worshiping these deities as well.

Some Yaksa were and are known for bestowing fertility and wealth upon their devotes. Therefore, they had become very popular and their idols had been placed in Jain temples and Jains worship them. Jains offer them different things in favor of boons for children, wealth or freedom from fears, illness or disease.

Since ancient times, Yaksha-Gaana (Song of the Yakshas), the musical presentation of the Yaksha folklore, which is equivalent to the popularity of the Opera in the West, famous in India.
Mahabharata mentions an episode where one Yaksha captures 4 brothers of Yudhishtira and asks Yaksha-Prasnas (Yaksha’s questions). Yudhishtira answers all of them to prove his worth as future king and gets is brothers released.

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