The Surya Majapahit is an ancient Indonesian symbol, but its origins are immemorial and its significance is cosmic in nature.
It takes the form of an eight-pointed Sun ray with the rounded part in the center depicting eight major deities in eight cardinal points around Shiva in the center.
Together, the 8 deities with Shiva are known as the Nava-Dikpāla (“Guardians of Nine Directions”), or Dewata Nawa Sanga.
Eight minor deities, or Lokapāla (Guardians of the Worlds) located at the outer rim of the Sun.
The deities within the Surya (Sun) are arranged as cosmological diagram in the form of a mandala.
The holy symbol of the Surya Majapahit functions as both a powerful protection and prosperity talisman.
It is an enhancement on the form (rupa) of the Star of Lakshmi, which emits the Aṣṭalakṣmi, or the eight forms, or “kinds of wealth”.
The eight-pointed star was later copied by the Moslems in the Middle East under the name of “Rub El Hizb“, which is why it is nowadays also found on mosques in a much simplified form.
Symbol of the Majapahit Empire
The carving of Surya Majapahit usually can be found on the center ceiling of the Garbhagriha (inner sanctum) of the temple such as in the Bangkal, Sawentar and Jawi temples.
It is sometimes engraved as just a simple eight-pointed sun ray such as the emblematic Surya Majapahit set into the ceiling of Candi Penataran.
The carving of Surya Majapahit is also commonly found on gravestones dating from Majapahit era, such as in the Troloyo cemetery in Trowulan.