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October 21, 2009

lord of the earth (banteay chhmar) 

   In NW Cambodia is one of my favorite jungle temples.  It is called the Banteay Chhmar temple.  It means the “narrow fortress”.   It is rugged and untouched. It is only slightly smaller than Angkor Wat (the largest religious temple in the world).  It is dedicated to an interesting god.  It is called “Lokeśvara”.  Ah, I know what you are thinking. . . your Sanskrit is a little rusty.  Let me explain a little about this god. 

   The Cambodian’s call it the “god with a thousand arms”.  However, if you can count you will see the god only has 32 arms.  I know, it is a lot to count.   Actually the original Hindu deity was said to have 1,000 arms, but it is tough to carve 1,000 arms into stone wall.  The god is worshiped in most of Asia.  In Tibet he is called, “Chenrezig”, but you probably better know this reincarnated god as the Dalai Lama.  Not many people, including myself, can understand clearly about the millions of gods there are.  Apparently, this is one of the top ones, maybe a form of Visnu (the ever-present creator) or Shiva (the lord destroyer).  These are two of the three main gods of Hinduism, one of the oldest religions in the world.

   This god chose not to go to nirvana (heaven), but rather stay and serve the beings of the earth (every being with life including animals and people).  As he struggled to serve those who worshipped him his head split into eleven pieces and grew to different heads.  His thousand arms grew to serve those who worshipped him.  Strange huh?  Now, let’s put this story in the context of the Bible.  This story was likely told around or before the time of the events in the book of Job, which is probably the oldest book in the Bible.  Maybe he didn’t “choose” to stay on earth, but was “cast down” to earth. 

  You see, “Lokeśvara” is Sanskrit translated Loke (Earth) and śvara (lord).  The Lord of the Earth.  Sound familiar.  Revelation 12:7-9 tells us the story of Lucifer being cast down to the earth.  This picture and god who has been worshiped for thousands of years in Cambodia and is a significant territorial spirit over Cambodia maybe satan himself. Maybe this is what satan actually looks like.  He is still worshipped today, all across the world.

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