According to legend, this statue was made date back 1211 Saka or 1298 at Wurarare (Lemahtulis), the residence of Mpu Bharadah or at Kedungwulan village nearby Nganjuk. This statue was made to honor Kertanegara, son of Wisnu wardhana, the king of Singosari in that period. King Kertanegara was known for his wisdom, knowledge in law and his religiosity as Buddhist and his goal to unify nusantara.
Other legend said that Kertanegara built the statue to throw away Mpu Bharadah curse that could fail his goal to unify kingdoms in nusantara.
In 1827, East Indies, led by Resident De Salla moved the statue to Surabaya and placed at Taman Apsari. The statue can be visited by pilgrims, and has ease of access as it is located in the heart of Surabaya.
Kertanagara is the follower of Buddha tantra and inaugurated as Jina (Dhyani Buddha) with title Jnanasiwabajra as Aksobhya, where Joko Dolok is his manifestation. The calm face mimic and his hand in bhumisparsamudra or the left hand is closed as it touching earth. In pararathon and several inscriptions, after died it is called as Siwabuddha, and in Negarakertagama as Siwabuddhaloka. On the base of the statue, an old Javanese letter written. This inscription is named as Wurare inscription. This inscription is from date back 1211 Saka or 1289 and mentiones few history facts in SIngosari Kindom period. Summary of the inscription is : ‘Long time ago Java was divided into two parts by Arya Bharad, Jenggala and Pamjalu. But in Wisnu wardhana period, both areas could be reunified. The king that ruled made an inscription and inaugurated as Cri Jnanjaciwabajra and his manifestation of Jina Mahasobya. The inauguration was held at Wurare cemetery.
Those information above is closely related to the history of East Java in the past. The king of Kahuripan , Airlangga, decided to devide his kingdom into two for his sons to avoid brothers war. The East was called as Jenggala and the west was called as Pamjalu. This dividing duty was done by Mpu Barada. By King Wisnu Wardhana, both sides were reunified few centuries later. He also did political marriage by wedding his daughter Turuk Bali with King of Kediri, Jayakatwang to avoid conflict.
The political marriage was continued by Wisnuwardhana predecessor, Kertanegara, by wedding his daughter to Jayakatwang’s son, Ardharaja. Kertanegara also tried to legalize his status as king by referring himself as Cri Jayawisnuwarddhana and Crijayawardhani, and emphasizing that he was Jina Mahasobhya , entitled as Crijnanjaciwabajra, to show his power.
Thise title was also meant for political reason as he was in conflict with King of Mongol, Kubilai Khas by insulting Kubilai Khan man in 1211 Saka or 1289. King of Mongol was inaugurated as Jina Mahamitha. With Mahasobhya title, King Kertanegara wanted to be equalized with Mongol king. Mahasobhya is god of the east direction, while mahamitha is god of west direction. Kertanegara was mengkukuhkan himself as the ruler of the east direction.
According to those detail, Mahasobya statue is the manifestation of Kertanegara. And Wurare inscription is the evidence of the bravery of Indonesian, by explicitly reject colonialism by other countries. So no wonder that Surabaya people were brave facing the Allies in November 1945.