Definitely put Hoi An on your bucket list!!! And if you have the time, travel to My Son, the capital and religious center of the Champa kingdom in the middle ages,
If like me, you are interested in finding similarities, rather than differences in religious practices through the ages, My Son will not disappoint.
More of that later, just for now let’s look at some dates so as to put The Champa kingdom into perspective.
The kingdom of Champa emerges around 2nd century AD. It is strongly influenced by India. Sanskrit is used as a form of written communication.
The Champa people are strongly influenced Hinduism. They believe in the Trinity Gods. Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
In the 4th Century, Simhapura or Lions Citadel becomes the Capital of Champa and remains a city of prominence until the 8th Century.
Between the 7th to the 13th century My Son is the capital and religious center of the Champa kingdom.
Photo: Cham sculpture using Sanskrit
Some of the finest collections of Cham sculptures in the world originate from Simphaura and are now shown in the Cham museum in Danang.
Note to self
We went to the museum in Danang.
Many of the sculptures are made from sandstone.
As far as I can make out they depict a story of creation which involves and interaction between 3 Gods. Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. All things apparently come from Brahma which is at the bottom of the Nang Luc Sang Tao sculpture. Then Vishnu or Visnu, is involved with the preservation of life on Earth. And Shiva, well Shiva is very busy helping us to deal with troubles and distractions in life.
This is only my understanding of what appears to be a very complex interaction between the Gods.
In My Son we watch a show which demonstrates this spiritual phenomenon.
Photo: A dance show which demonstrates the God Trinity Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva
Yup, there it is again; The Trinity. It’s everywhere. The Father- Brahma, Son – Shiva and Holy spirit- Vishnu, perhaps? Who knows? I certainly don’t.
And yet the thought that there can be similarities between the core concepts underlying Hinduism and Christianity is delightful.
I know Br Martin eluded to this when we visited the ashram of the Holy Trinity in Shantivanam in Central India. I am just delighted to get it so unexpectedly reinforced here
Photo: The museum in Danang displaying Champa sculptures
Photo: Nang Luc Sang Tao depicting the story of creation of the Trinity. Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
Photo: The God Shiva
Photo:The God Vishnu
A final note to self
The night before we leave for Saigon I experience a night terror. I am running through colourful streets lined with red and gold. I am lost. In the distance I see Paul. He is sitting on a stone slab talking to a tall man and a woman. They see me and stare with black dull eyes. I feel afraid. They are forcing Paul to drink something. Overhead two large prehistoric mythical birds with feathers of gold and blue fly towards me. Like the people they have eyes like coal. Before me I see Paul. His body is disappearing, fading. He becoming invisible. A hologram of his former self. I beg him to come away. He does not listen. Danger and Death feels eminent. Fighting sleep I force myself to wake up and pray. I am not alone. Paul sleeps soundly obvious to what I have seen in my mind. In reality I am sitting up in bed. I am just a tourist experiencing a trip of a lifetime. I wash shower and prepare for my trip. Today we head away from Hoi An towards Ho Chi Minh City. My inner quest in search of the miraculous continues