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Dear Salil, I read lots and lots…

12 October 2010 2,517 views 49 Comments

…but still could not find anything to support your contention that “many…jain/buddhist temples (were) destroyed to build hindu temples” (pl read the beginning of this discussion here; emphasis added, throughout)

*** CAUTION: Long Post ***

Below, I have made an attempt at addressing each of your points (in bold blue) one-by-one. I have also made serious efforts to provide references wherever possible. Pl do point out if I have missed something.  You will recall that in the first response to my tweet asking you to name three Jain/Buddhist temples destroyed to build Hindu temples, you wrote (emphasis added):

1. chola destruction of buddhist temples in what’s now tamil nadu;

I asked you for specific names since I could not find any material/ information on this.  The only link that came close to describing what you had mentioned was an from Outlook, titled, “Bodhi’s Tamil Afterglow” by S. Anand. The article mentioned:

…60 granite images of the Buddha (have been found) in Perambalur, Tiruchi, Thanjavur, Thiruvarur and Pudukkottai districts, adding at least 16 to the earlier recorded Buddhas. The survey covered only five of the state’s 30 districts.

Is it not strange to discover such a large number of impressive images in the face of “destruction” of the kind you allude to in your tweet? The article further mentions:

The Cholas, otherwise hostile to Jainism and Buddhism, granted land for a Buddhist vihara in Nagapattinam, a key coastal town, in 1006. It survived in dilapidated condition till 1867, when Jesuit missionaries levelled it.

Note that while the article talks about “deadly fueds” between the various sects, there is not a single mention of a Buddhist/Jain temple destroyed to build a Hindu temple. While explaining the discovery of Buddhist statues near/in the vicinity of temples, Sh Anand states that the “builders of Shiva and Vishnu temples would have found the granite Buddhas too large to move very far away from the original sites“. Leaving aside the fact that no source appears to have been cited for this assertion, please note that the builders could have simply smashed the idols – but they did not. And is there not a distinct possibility that invading Mughal armies could have caused the plunder – give the reverence with which some of these status are are still treated?

In fact the article later notes, “The otherwise Shaivism-friendly Cholas gave Buddhism token space as it was essentially a religion of traders south of the Vindhyas”. So where is the question of destruction of these temples to build Hindu temples on top of them?  You may also want to read the logical inconsistency pointed out by alert reader Rahul Malviya in a comment to the article:

I’m trying to come to terms with some logical problems of your piece. Check this out

The Cholas, otherwise hostile to Jainism and Buddhism, granted land for a Buddhist vihara in Nagapattinam, a key coastal town, in 1006.” And contrast this with

“In the Chola-ruled Kaveri delta areas, several huge Buddha granites have been recovered within or close to temples.
So, were Hindu temples built on old Buddhist shrines?”

Either these Chola fellows were confused or cunning? On one hand, they give grants to Buddhist viharas, and on the other, they destroy their temples to make way for Hindu temples. I’m sure there is a deeper significance, please explain :-)

Allow me to present some counter-evidence. Below, an excerpt from When Buddhism was a bridge between Lanka and Tamil Nadu:

The fascinating story of the historical links between the Buddhists of Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka was narrated by Dr S Pathmanathan, Professor of History at the University of Peradeniya, in his Fourth Vesak Commemoration Lecture delivered under the auspices of the Deputy High Commission of Sri Lanka at Chennai on May 14.

As the religion of the elite, Buddhism contributed tremendously to Tamil Nadu’s art, literature and culture. This was so even when the Tamil Nadu kings, namely, the Pallavas, Cholas, Cheras, and Pandyas, were Hindus. Contrary to the general impression, the non-Buddhist Tamil kings patronised Buddhism.

Buddhism declined in Tamil Nadu in the 7th.century AD. The monasteries in Kanchi and Kaveripattinam were almost abandoned. But under the Cholas (9th to the 13th century AD) Nagapattinam became a major centre of Buddhism. Pathmanathan says that Rajaraja Perumpalli and the Rajendra Chola Perumpalli were the principal monastic establishments during Chola rule in the Coromandel coast.

These were named after Chola Kings who were worshippers of Shiva. These establishments were handsomely funded by merchants and artisans as well as royalty. Under the Cholas, the Tamil Nadu Buddhists produced exquisite bronzes for which the Tamil country is well known even now. Among the great religious works of this period, Pathmanathan mentions “Veeracholiyam” a treatise on grammar and poetics. It was written by the monk Puttamittirar (Buddhamitra) of Ponparri during the reign of Vira Rajendra. Chola rule also saw the revival of the Theravada school in terms of the growth of study centres. Prof Pathmanathan notes that this also led to the revival of Pali studies in Tamil Nadu.
……
Prof Pathmanathan quotes fellow Sri Lankan historian, Amaradasa Liyanagamage, to say that King Parakramabahu II revived Buddhism in Sri Lanka by bringing all the religious texts from Jambudvipa (India).
“Although Jambudvipa meant the entire Indian sub-continent and even much more, in this context, in all probability, it meant the Chola country, where Theravada Buddhism was very much alive during this period,” Liyanagamage says. Sri Lanka preserves documents By the 5th century AD, confrontation between the Maha Vihara, Abhayagiri Vihara and Dakkhina Vihara orders ceased, and they started documentation and preservation of texts for mutual benefit.

***

The next example you cited was:

2. jayavarman at angkor

I responded by pointing out that we were talking about India and not Cambodia (Angkor). Nevertheless, I did some digging out of curiousity and found via Wikipedia that (emphasis added):

The Hindu restoration (in Angkor) began around 1243 A.D., with the death of Jayavarman VII’s successor, Indravarman II. The next king, Jayavarman VIII, was a Shaivite iconoclast who specialized in destroying Buddhist images and in reestablishing the Hindu shrines that his illustrious predecessor had converted to Buddhism. During the restoration, the Bayon was made a temple to Shiva, and its central 3.6 meter tall statue of the Buddha was cast to the bottom of a nearby well. Everywhere, cultist statues of the Buddha were replaced by lingams.

Note that even during the “reclamation” and “restoration”, no mention is made of statues being smashed or temples being destroyed…

***

Your third example was

jain impalement see http://bit.ly/cZvjOp

This is a red herring. I had specifically asked you to name three Jain/Buddhist temples destroyed to build Buddhist temples. Where does Jain impalement figure in this? But since I had promised you I am going to read up on this, I did. Below is what I found that is somewhat relevant to the present discussion.

Comment by Shaan @ #18 on this post below (emphasis added):

Periya Puranam says that there was debate between buddhists (or jains, I don’t remember exactly) and a Saiva saint and the buddhists who were defeated killed themselves (kaluvaerinar – hanged themselves in kalu. kalu – a wooden pole that had nails protruding out.) The king never killed them. On the other hand the well known Saivite saint ‘Thirunavukkarasar’ who was initially a jain and then converted to Saivism was tortured by the king Narasimha Pallavan (who built Mahabalipuram). Later the king also converted to Saivism. No stupas were destroyed. In fact the the great Chola king Rajaraja Cholan who built the Tanjore temple also built the Choodamani Vihara in Nagapattinam.
There were conflicts between Saivites and Vaishnavites but no temples were destroyed. But the main deities were converted from Shiva/Subramanya to Vishnu and Vishnu to Shiva. In Courtallam Sage Agastya converted the Vishnu temple to Shiva temple. Even Tirupathi temple’s main deity Venkateshwara is said to be originally a Subramanya statue now worshiped as Vishnu. And it is a known fact that in Tamil nadu Subramanya temples were always built on hilltop/mountain and Vishnu temples are built near forest lands.

The follow-up comment (#19) also by Shaan is relevant too:

Historically in Tamil nadu (and other parts of India) kings destroyed each other’s palaces but not the temples. For example Gangaikonda Cholapuram a Chola city in Tamil nadu was destroyed by a Pandya king but the temple is still there.

***

The fourth example you mentioned was:

Chola sacking of Anuradhapura;

I assume you are referring to Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka. Again, let me remind you that we are talking about India – not Cambodia or Sri Lanka.  Two, can you pl. cite specific examples of Jain/Buddhist temples destroyed to build Hindu temples during this “sacking” of Anuradhapura? As an aside (and partly to pre-empt another line of argument)  – if this was an act done by troops – or happended during the general rampage and destruction, would you hold the king responsible? Was the act celebrated as an act of bravery or piety by the King (a la the destruction of Hindu temples and sacred sites by Islamic invaders)? If it was done by soldiers not under command, is it right to hold the King responsible?

***

The fifth example you mentioned was:

Kukuthonga Chola vs Shaivites;

As I had mentioned in my response, “Neither Jain impalement nor Chola sacking/”Kukuthonga Chola” r abt Jain/Buddhist temples destroyed 2 bld Hindu temples“. But, as promised, I did look further…

First of all, I am not sure if you meant “and” rather than “vs.” – this is because the Cholas were (apparently) predominantly Shaiva worshippers (and I assume you mean Kulothunga, not Kukuthonga) E.g.,

The 12th century was the time of great rivalries between Shaiva and Vaishnava sects in South India. Vaishnavas were persecuted by the Cholas, who were the rulers of Tamilnadu at that time. Sri Ramanujacharya, the leading preacher of Vaishvism had to escape from Chola rule. He was allowed to live in exile at Melukote by then Hoysala ruler Vishuvardhana. ..During 14th century, defeat of Hoysala Kings against Muslim forces saw the destruction of Melukote. The town was plundered by the invaders. It was later restored during Vijayanagar rule.

Note that although this excerpt talks about “persecution” but does not mention any temple destruction or plunder – this was done later by the Islamic forces. Also the leading preacher of Vaishanvism was allowed to live in exile – not executed. In addition, good old Wikipedia informs me:

Kulothunga II had a comparatively peaceful reign. His reported persecution of Vaishnavism is disputed. Chidambaram Temple, a major Shiva shrine, also houses a separate temple to Lord Vishnu and is one of 108 Divya Desams (sacred temples of Lord Vishnu). Under Kulothunga II’s orders, an attempt was made to persuade the patrons of the Vishnu shrine to temporarily remove the deity of Vishnu for purpose of repairs and renovation, but this was opposed by the Vaishnava community. Kulothunga II got the idol forcibly shifted mainly so that the repair work could move forward without causing any damage to the Vishnu shrine. This opposition of Vaishnavas to the temporary closure of Lord Vishnu’s temple was interpreted in some quarters as persecution of Vaishnavites, because in Hinduism closure of a temple is frowned upon, and at least a small lamp has to be lit, without which the temple is not considered fit for worship.

To the best of my knowledge – and after spending several hours reading up on various history onlines, it appears although there were conflicts, neither the temples nor the icons or statues were ever destroyed. They appear to have been invariably treated with deference:

He also took away the jewelled anklets of the goddess Pattini, and the insignia of the gods of the four devala, and also the bowl-relic which had been carried off in the time of king Valagamba; and admonishing the king not to act thus in future, departed.’

Those who forget History

One of blog readers, Sridhar sent me the following email which is pertinent to this:

this is w.r.t salil tripathi’s comment about “kulothunga chola” (tripathi’s spelling was wrong). he seems to have picked it up from popular sources rather than from academic. Kulothunga was supposed to have intimidated and troubled ramanuja (shaivite kulothunga against vaishnavite ramanuja) and not against jains.
jains have lived in tamilnad always and even now there is a large community of jains whose mother tongue is tamil. there is also a significant migrant jain community who are from western india and have lived for any number of generations here but still speak their north indian language.
the tamil jains have contributed a lot to tamil literature and at their peak were very wealthy and influential citizens. kanchi was supposed to have four equal sections – one for each religion – shaivite, vaishnavite, buddhists and jainism. the buddhist section has left no trace now. the vaishnavite section has merged into the shaivite but i have seen a police station named vishnu kanchi police station.
but the jain section has survived but the name has been wrongly used as chinna kanchi instead of jaina kanchi…the tamil jains live in significant numbers here.

P.S. “chinna kanchi” means “small kanchi” similar to a suburb. the corruption of the term makes sense that way.

Just to remind ourselves, the original question I had asked was:

Re. “..many..jain/buddhist temples destroyed to build hindu temples”, can you please name three? Thanks

So far, I have not got a single example of a Jain/Buddhist temple destroyed to build Hindu temple.

***

Your sixth example was:

http://bit.ly/a1EfnZ for lingayats vs jains

I had a look at the link. I can only see one page – presumably because I don’t have access to JSTOR. In any case, this may be another red herring, I think. How does a Lingayat vs Jain conflict becomes an evidence of Jain/Buddhist temples destroyed to build Hindu Temples? I will be grateful for specific examples – with references and sources please.

***

Your seventh example was:

Also look at chalukya storeies,

Again, I looked and looked but could not find much evidence. Presume this article by Romila Thapar is what you are talking about? Below are the relevanyt excerpts:

In the early 12th century, another Jaina next informs us that the Chaulukya king, angered by the rakshasas, the daityas and the asuras who were destroying temples and disturbing the rishis and brahmanas, campaigned against them.

Sadly no names of these rakshasas, the daityas and the asuras at all – and no mention of which Hindu temple they built on top of the Jain/Buddhist temples. Later on, in the article Smt Thapar writes:

… But the Paramara king also looted the Jaina and other temples built under the patronage of the Chaulukyas.

Unfortunately(?) no details are mentioned by Ms Thapar – not even one specific example/name of any temple that was destroyed..and again, no mention of any Hindu temple that was built after such desctrution.

Later on in the article, some references are made to “looting” of temples and pilgrims by “local Rajas” but there is no mention of “destroying” and building a Hindu temple in their place – so this too is not relevant.  Again, let me quote from another comment on my blog (again by Shaan):

Narasimhavarman’s General Paranjothi did not destroy the temple. He is said to have brought the statue but once my mom said citing some Tamil literature that what he brought was actually the door of the temple and the door had a beautiful Ganesha image etched on it. The statue being worshiped today is not the original Vathapi Ganapathi but a statue made with the Vathapi Ganapathi as a model (this is accepted by many historians).

I also stumbled uopn this fascinating excerpt from another blog:

…There is an interesting belief regarding Ganesha statues in the villages of Tamil nadu (I don’t know whether the belief exists anywhere else). They believe that installing a stolen Ganesha statue is lucky. Though there is no proper explanation for this (as far as I know), I believe the root of this lies in history. In the year 642 AD, the Pallava king Narasimha Varman (also known as Mamallan, famous for building Mahabalipuram) attacked and destroyed the Chalukya capital Vatapi to avenge the defeat of his father Mahendravarman at the hands of Pulikesi II. As part of the loot of Vatapi, his General Paranjothi brought a statue of Ganesha from a temple in the Chalukyan capital. Narasimha Varman’s rule became the golden period of Pallava history and his capital Kanchipuram flourished as an important economic, cultural and educational center, a fact recorded by the Chinese traveller Huan Tsang. Perhaps this is the reason for the belief that stolen Ganesha brings good luck.

Is that one of the Chalukya stories you had in mind?

***

Your final example was:

kashmir’s harsha

I will simply quote from Koenraad Elst’s excellent rebuttal to Smt Thapar on this. From Harsha of Kashmir, a Hindu Iconoclast?

The general data on 11th-century Kashmir already militate against treating him as a typical Hindu king who did on purely Hindu grounds what Muslim kings also did, viz. to destroy the places of worship of rival religions. For, Kashmir had already been occupied by Masud Ghaznavi, son of Mahmud, in 1034, and Turkish troops were a permanent presence as mercenaries to the king.

Harsha was a fellow-traveller: not yet a full convert to Islam (he still ate pork, as per Rajatarangini 7:1149), but quite adapted to the Islamic ways, for “he ever fostered with money the Turks, who were his centurions” (7:1149). There was nothing Hindu about his iconoclasm, which targeted Hindu temples, as if a Muslim king were to demolish mosques rather than temples. All temples in his kingdom except four (enumerated in 7:1096-1098, two of them Buddhist) were damaged. This behaviour was so un-Hindu and so characteristically Islamic that Kalhana reports: “In the village, the town or in Srinagara there was not one temple which was not despoiled by the Turk king Harsha.” (7:1095)

A few important points. Nowhere is it mentioned that Harsha sought sanction from or invoked from Hindu scriptures to justify or celebrate his destruction of temples…In all likelihood, this was an individual who had an eye on a political constituency and the acts were meant to garner their support – so to call his acts “Hindu” cannot be justified – to cite them as example of temples destroyed is also not accurate. In fact to the best of my knowledge, there is no record of Harsha having destroyed non-Hindu temples. He did loot them extensively. But more importantly, there is no mention of him having destroyed Jain/Buddhist temples to build Hindu temples – which was the point of your original tweet.

So there we are. I am still missing “three names” (let alone “many” examples) but as I had promised in my comment #17, I did spend several hours reading online materials, archives and asking my readers/acquaintances to find out more. I have drawn a blank.

Finally, this is in specific response to your comment at #9 here wherein you had cited Smt Romila Thapar.

I must say that I find it hard to agree with the premise of the excerpt. I just cannot see how “temple destruction” can be seen “juxtaposed with other undertakings that were not destructive”.

Temple destructions were deliberate, sustained and common across the board – unlike the alleged instances by Shaivite or Vaishnav kings – where we are struggling to find any evidence.

More importantly, the acts of desecration and wanton destruction were almost “divinely ordained” – unlike the alleged examples of destruction by “Hindus”. And finally, the scale of destruction of Hindu temples and sacred sites was staggering. Worse, cities or places of pligrimage that were particularly sacred were deliberately targeted – which is why Kashi Vishwanath temple abuts a mosque – as does the Keshav Dev temple in Mathura (by the way, do read and comment on this article by Koenraad Elst if you have the time).

So the destruction of temples was deliberate – not necessarily part of the general destruction of a city. Why whitewash this fact? Why cover up parts of History that are uncomfortable – and pretend that all is well? Deliberate obfuscation or “forgetfulness” about history does not make wrongs go away – it instead leads to festering wounds…We forget history at our own peril.

Finally, I know you are not suggesting “There was one-to-one reciprocity in temple destruction” but I am aggrieved that you (flippantly?) used the word “many” – as in “many Jain/Buddhist temples were destroyed” – not only destroyed but “…destroyed to build hindu temples“. I still have not found any evidence that would justify the use of the word “many”, leave aside the “destruction” and building of Hindu temples in their place.

As for sins of the past, while no one is holding any generation accountable for the acts/deeds of their forefathersothers, there is a reason why leaders (and countries) offer apologies for wrongs committed in the past.

I look forward to your response…

I gratefully acknowledge the immense help from my blog readers in this effort – in particular the links cited by froginthewell in comment #10 here and the information by Shaan and Sridhar cited earlier. Finally, some caveats.

I am not a historian. I am not an expert. I can be wrong. I am willing to be educated and even more willing to be corrected. I prefer specific examples and references to support statements – especially sensitive statements made by people who are widely considered an “authority” or an “expert” or are otherwise well-known (as you are). Please take this in the spirit of a discussion. I don’t mind loosing this debate but I need to be convinced. Otherwise I expect you to acknowledge that the tweet was not quite accurate and the use of the word “many” was wrong – and unjustified. Thank you.

***

Related Posts: Dear Vir, Leave these kids alone…

Dear Vir, This is why Buddhism declined in India…

Taj Mahal: The Biggest Whitewash in Indian History?

On Aurangzeb, Kashi Vishwanath, Lies and Half-Truths

Lies and Half Truths in the name of National Integration

For those who missed the beginning, click here.

49 Comments »

  • 1. Vamanan said:

    Dear Shantanu..Thanks for your painstaking efforts on this front.
    While theoretically extreme reactions are possible in all humans, and Hindus too — Govindaraja in the Chidambaram temple is said to have been forcibly removed by Saivites — it is indeed a fact that generally Hindu beliefs and values don’t lead to the destruction of the places of worship of others. This is a way of life that seeks to build bridges to the divine in a million ways. Along with you I appeal to all right thinking persons not to belittle its wonderful vision. This applies to zealots and secularists who err on the side of excess.

  • 2. Nanda said:

    First of all, we owe a big thanks for your hard work in researching this topic. When I first looked at Salil’s comments, I was convinced that he was just another fanatic who will just throw some dirt on hindus and run away. I am amazed to see you providing such a great rebuttal for his thoughtless comments. I’m sure your analysis can be used for rebutting such accusations from other psedo-experts as well.

  • 3. Gopi said:

    These “shoot n scoot” experts will never accept that they could be wrong; expect silence or some side issue to be raised to muddy the main issue.

  • 4. B Shantanu (author) said:

    @Vamanan, Nanda: Thank you for your kind words…I am inspired by the work and thankless efforts of stalwarts such as Sh Dharampal, Sh S R Goel, Sh Arun Shourie and Sh K Elst. While I can never match their prodigous efforts, I try and do what I can.

    As most of you have noticed, my reaction was against the use of the word “many” and the attempt at establishing an equivalence between the Islamic acts of destruction and the alleged acts of Hindu kings (of which I still have not found a solid example).

    ***
    @Gopi: Lets wait and see…

  • 5. cricfan said:

    Dear Shantanu:
    Due diligence, painstaking original research work by your friends and you, great scientific temper, and a touching ending, especially the readiness to seek the truth. What more can one ask for?

    In contrast, the opposition and their eminent historians come across as haughty with a condescending attitude, lazy to do any original work, and basically no real interest in the truth or facts.

    Result: Like Bush and the mythical Iraqi WMDs, the so-called eminent historians have found “evidence” to fit a profitable storyline.

    Above all, you come across as a good human being – how can one ever become an unbiased historian otherwise?

    Amazing effort.

  • 6. froginthewell said:

    Thanks a lot, Shantanu. I am still skeptical about whether Salil will have the courtesy to even go through your arguments, but I am sure most of your readers will find this a veritable treasure trove. I wish someone could create a “Hindu iconoclasm critically examined” website where there would be an index to various allegations of Hindu destruction, and for each alleged destruction, link to scholarly debates regarding the same that cite from original sources (not casual and handwaving remarks from Thapar-types).

  • 7. B Shantanu (author) said:

    @Cricfan: Thank you…you are far too generous in your praise…but encouragement and support from readers is what keeps this effort alive. Thanks for that…

    @froginthewell: Thanks…great suggestion…I will add “Hindu iconoclasm” as a tag to the post so that it can be found and referenced easily.

  • 8. cricfan said:

    Dear Shantanu:
    I would request that a serious effort be made to collect these works and published in book form, preferably in different volumes. i personally feel that it will make a big difference.

    1. Yes – a few trees will be cut but we will replant them

    2. No, we wont call u an eminent historian when it is published and becomes mainstream :-)

  • 9. Narasimham said:

    Namaste, first of all a big applause for taking the time and effort for such a deep research. In the “modern day India” it is a fashion to degrade what is Hindhuism, if someone talks on behalf of the great culture, they are branded extremists but anyone who degrade and promote intolerance is “secular”. We surely live in strange times.

  • 10. M2Menon said:

    Namaste Shantanu Ji:
    Readers like me owe a lot to people like you, Sandeep, and others. I can only pray and wish that, keep up the great work.

    I listen to On Point Radio, a radio program by WBUR Boston, hosted by Mr. Tom Ashbrook, former New Delhi reporter of Boston Globe News Paper. Sometime back, there was a show on Angkor Waht, the forbidden temple at Combodia. http://www.onpointradio.org/2010/09/cambodia-temples

  • 11. Bhanu said:

    May God bless you Shantanu for the great service that you are rendering to Hinduism. May your tribe only increase

  • 12. senthil said:

    Hi,

    In the battle of anuradhapura, the buddhist temple is later restored by the king rajarajan..

    In Hinduism, the brahmins do not mingle with politics, and hence they were mostly neutral accepting who ever wins..

    But in case of budhism, the budhist monks participate in political affairs, which is true even to this day in srilanka.. so during a war, it is natural that budhist monasteries were destroyed..

    But it is also a fact, that the cholas rebuilt those viharas later on..

  • 13. KPP said:

    If this abundantly adequate reply will not suffice the curiosity and cluster of ill-information they possess, nothing else will. It would be best to rest it with them in that case since, from my experience from similar debates with Muslims, they hardly succumb to accepting logical facts and historical references.

  • 14. B Shantanu (author) said:

    Pl do read this piece by Rajeev Srinivasan from almost 13 years ago:
    The Buddhist Connection: Sabarimala and the Tibetans by Rajeev Srinivasan, from which a brief extract…
    “…There is considerable evidence that Lord Ayyappan was once a Buddhist deity, and that Sabarimala was once a Buddhist temple complex. However, it appears that prior to its Buddhist incarnation, the temple was an early Dravidian Saivite centre; therefore it has been a sacred spot of singular merit of at least three or four millennia.

    …Astonishingly, it appears that the Dalai Lama’s Palace in Lhasa, the incomparable Potala, is named after Sabarimala! The Bodhisattva (Buddha-to-be) Avalokitesvara Padmapani, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, who is, by tradition, reincarnated as the Dalai Lama, was also the one worshipped at Sabarimala.

    I am indebted to my cerebral friend Devakumar Sreevijayan (formerly of Austin, Texas and currently of New York City) for almost all of this fascinating research. It is in three texts: the Avatamsaka Sutra, the Hymn to the Thousand-Armed Avalokitesvara, and the writings of the intrepid Chinese traveller Hsiuen Tsang (Zuen Xang?), that we find the detailed references. Dev found a good deal of information in the book, The Thousand-Armed Avalokitesvara by Lokesh Chandra.

    But there is ample circumstantial evidence for Kerala’s Buddhist/Jain past. Unlike Nagarjunakonda in Andhra Pradesh and Sravanabelagola in Karnataka, they have left no large monuments in Kerala, but it is known that Kodungallur, for example, was a Buddhist centre. Kodungallur, at the time known as Muziris, was a major port; a Buddhist nunnery there became a great Devi temple later, associated with Kannagi, the heroine of the Tamil epic Silappathikaram (The Jewelled Anklet) written by the Chera Prince Ilango Adigal, who lived in what is now Kerala.

    The revered Patriarch Bodhidharma (Daruma in Japanese) from Kodungallur was the originator of the Zen sect (dhyana in Sanskrit, Ch’an in Chinese) — he went to the Shao-Lin monastery in China (420-479 CE), and he took the martial art of kalari payat there for the protection of the unarmed monks, whence the various martial arts of East Asia. According to Chinese legend, Bodhidharma also created the tea plant, by tearing off his eyelids and planting them in the ground: presumably this means he also took the tea plant with him.

    Mahabali The legend of Mahabali — the asura king sent to the underworld by an avatar of Lord Vishnu — also gives clues to the Hindu-Buddhist past: an egalitarian Buddhist rule overthrown by Brahmin-led Upanishadic Hindus. Perhaps there was a period of co-existence, much like the centuries-old peaceful co-existence between the followers of the Buddha and Eswara/Siva in South East Asia. In the great temples of Java and Cambodia, Eswara/Buddha are almost seen as interchangeable.

    At Prambanan in Java (the Hindu counterpart to the great Buddhist complex at Borobudur) and at Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the images of Siva/Eswara and of the Buddha are sometimes intermixed; apparently there was no great animosity between the worshippers of both. Similarly, one might hope, the transitions from Siva to the Buddha to Ayyappan were relatively peaceful.


    Thus, the history of Sabarimala is to some extent a microcosm of the religious history of India. It is interesting that there are connections between Kerala, in the deep South, and Ladakh/Zanskar in the far North, where the last of the Tibetan Buddhists practise their religion unmolested.

    Those devout Ayyappan pilgrims in their dark clothes symbolising the abandonment of their egos, who flock to the hill temple in the cool winter months, are thus, in a way, celebrating two of the great religious streams of Mother India: both the Hindu present and the Buddhist past.

  • 15. B Shantanu (author) said:

    From some recent tweets by Rajeev:

    …in java, dieng plateau full of ancient hindu Buddhist shrines called chandi

    …prambanan actually from brahmavana, some say. Been there too. Iswara and Buddha merge, no conflict. Borobudur Buddhist

    …even when there was war kings respected each others religious sentiments. there are stories of kings stealing deities, reinstalling

    …similarly hindu-buddhist joint worship quite peaceful in java, etc.. in sabarimala. siva and avalokitesvara worshipped simultaneously

    …and as for angkor wat, i have been there: the eight-armed vishu idol is being worshipped as the buddha by cambodians. no fuss, no issue.

    ***
    Nothing more needs to be said. Thanks Rajeev for sharing this,

    UPDATE: Courtesy NR_Tatvamasi..cuddalore was named dakshina pataliputra for its famed monastery..

  • 16. Ravi Kumar said:

    Dear Mr Shantanu,

    Thankful for your effort. There are vested interests from time immemorial trying to destroy the social fabric and fabric of dharma in our country. Selfless efforts by people like you make us proud. Apart from being just nice with words, I suggest you start documenting with the help of some interns what you have been doing so far and I will be very happy to help in some way.

    regards
    Ravi

  • 17. K. Harapriya said:

    I always find these arguments about the supposed wrong doings of Hindus interesting. The subtext is always the same. Hindus did such and such wrong thing in the past (caste, sati, destroying jain temples, etc.) and therefore they should not mind the wrongs done to them ( e.g. Babar destroying temples). Is this what our debates have come to? Notwithstanding the facts which seem to prove that Hindus in fact did not destroy temples, can we use the same arguments to justify present injustices. How about the Godhra train carnage to justify the killing of innocent muslims? Any takers for that argument? This continuous pointing of fingers misses an important point–intolerance is possible in any and every religion as long as there are intolerant people. The only difference is that for some religions, intolerance of differing beliefs is a part of its core beliefs, and for others, it isn’t.

  • 18. B Shantanu (author) said:

    Dear All: Thanks for the comments…Hope to respond tomorrow (a bit tied up in work)…
    In the meantime, more from NR_Tatvamasi

    Nayanmar saint Thirunavukarasar was a leader of the monastery where he defeated buddhists in debate. was named dharmasena…this was before he turned back to shaivaite on account of diseases.he was put through tortures by mahendra varman for that

    …would also request you to have a look at kadirgamam and thirukoneshwa
    http://is.gd/g00B2 have a look at tese pages of book.Its not sure whther ganapati at tiruvarur or tiruchettangadi is vatapi ram in wiki

  • 19. cricfan said:

    In reply to 17. @Haripriya

    Just my 2 paisa worth.

    I broadly agree with the arguments, especially the last part. I’m probably going off on a tangent below to try and add more context. or perhaps i just ramble …

    There are multiple and broad reasons why analyses like these are required and must ultimately become standard reference in the form of a journal publication or a book (paper or digital). We need to have more smart people doing work like this toward their PhDs, questioning the official version, and following the data.

    Our kids and grand-kids should be reading books authored by such truth seekers, and not just those by the ‘eminent’ historians. Let them make up their own mind as to which one is more reliable and scientific. That’s the Hindu way, isn’t it?

    >> Is this what our debates have come to?

    I believe it is far worse. I don’t think we even get invited to reasonable debates (if any) anymore in the mainstream media ?!

    For example, one side here is putting together a team and working hard to collect facts and meticulously piece them together into a coherent argument (in their own time – they aren’t even getting paid for this fantastic service i think), while i absolutely did not see any real work done by the opposition in cross-examining these results and providing any original arguments. All i see is Mr.Salil tweeting some one-liners and then walking off into the sunset.

    Just one side bothers to debate. Why? Because they can afford to. Their eminent historians are paid salaries to paint narratives under little scrutiny, and their students simply piggyback on that. Notwithstanding the brilliant cross-examination by the wise judges in the recent verdict, in 10-20 years, their eminent stories may well become the recognized version, and it is going to be increasingly hard to undo. How much of the inconvenient evidence will be destroyed? Every effort *today* that expose the gaping holes in eminent tales is valuable.

  • 20. flawsophy said:

    wow … shantanuji … your passion and appetite just dwarfs me … amazing research and the best way to shut one up !!!

  • 21. Dirt Digger said:

    Shantanu,
    As much as I like Rajeev’s writing, he’s no historian and to quote him on history is akin to quoting me on politics. (Both of us are amateurs with little grounding).
    His article is filled with hearsay and incoherent babble on how Buddhist temples were converted into Hindu shrines. He might even go on to claim that Tirupathi Balaji temple is a former Buddhist shrine (as claimed by some neo-secularists).
    If he can claim that the Dalai Lama’s palace came from Sabhari Mala, I can make a claim that the name Dalai comes from a Tamil/Malayali word Thalai which means head. Ergo Buddhist nominations came from Tamil Nadu. (Of course this is to just make a point).
    I will research more into some of the references provided and respond back. (Hopefully you can publish my lunatic writings as a guest post ;) )

  • 22. Gopi said:

    The late Sitaram Goel had done lot of work and published many books on these things. Please go to the website and download books – most are free – but kindly also buy the printed books and support Voice of India financially. K Elst has done lot of work on these kind of issues and produced books, booklets, articles but he is financially strapped as, sadly, he is unable to find a job in academia, partly his own doing but also because he is not one of “us” to those who control Indology in the West! Imagine if we had 5 Voice of Indias, SR Goels n K Elsts with even 5% of the financial backing “eminent” ones have! A big IF! Those of us who have been actively involved with them know the reality – very sad!

    http://www.bharatvani.org/
    http://koenraadelst.voiceofdharma.com/

    Please help them; even a small contribution of $100 can go a long way in creating pro-Hindu intellectual heft.

  • 23. peacemonger said:

    http://www.telegraphindia.com/1101009/jsp/nation/story_13037587.jsp an article from the telegraph newspaper .

  • 24. B Shantanu (author) said:

    Dear All: Thank you for your continuing words of encouragement and support. I’m a bit tied up so have not been able to respond to each comment individually. Apologies.
    Salil Tripathi is currently travelling and may only be able to respond/write a rebuttal by next week. Fingers crossed.

    @Peacemonger; I checked the link…The article is thin on fact/ evidence etc…(a good example of bad journalism; most likely lifted from a press release). If you have more information (other than press reports etc, pl post here). Thanks.

  • 25. cricfan said:

    @21. Dirt Digger -
    Sarcasm doesnt count for much. Some direct refuting evidence would be more constructive. None of what u have written so far refutes rajeev’s hypothesis.

    ” .. I will research more into some of the references provided and respond back”.

    great. I look forward to your response based on original research.

  • 26. Dirt Digger said:

    Cricfan,
    If you care to analyze Rajeev’s statement, he provides no direct proof vetted by experts either. His “theory” is based on conspiracies wrapped in conjectures in fantasies.
    Huien Sang’s “stories’ have often been questioned by historians for having a veritable slant towards pro-buddhist monarchs and against other kings.
    Likewise the story of Mahabali is mentioned in many ancient texts long before Buddhism was born, which again exposes the wishful thinking of the writer (Rajeev).
    So please read your history before jumping onto any bandwagon.

  • 28. B Shantanu (author) said:

    @peacemonger: Thanks for the link. What you have posted is a review of K Jamanadas’ book..I am sure the book makes for interesting reading…
    Perhaps the Balaji temple at Tirupati was a Buddhist shrine at some point in the past…perhaps the temple co-existed with the Buddhist shrine…we do not know…I believe there is a possibility that such “conversions” of sacred places may have taken place – particularly as Gautam Buddha was incorporated as one of the Dash-AvatArs of Vishnu…There is equally the possibility that some Buddhist shrines/sacred places may have Hindu, pre-Buddhist origins.. So does all this suprise me? No, it does not.

    The *main* point though is such “conversions” – even if they did happen – do not appear to have been done by threat of force, or using force…(certainly the Balaji temple does not fall in that category)

    And in any case, there is no evidence at all of icons and idols being destroyed or entire places of worship being razed to ground to build “Hindu” temples – much less destruction of the most revered places of Buddhism, such as the Bodhi Vruksha at Bodh-Gaya (which is the closest analogy I can think to Ayodhya, Kashi and Mathura).

    ***
    All, I am posting below another link that mentions the similarities between certain rituals at Tirupati Balaji and Buddhist traditions and also a comment from the same site…makes for interesting reading: http://indiafirsthand.com/2010/06/05/thirumala-venkateswara-temple-from-buddhism-to-hinduism/

    Comment from Pradeep (emphasis added):

    Interesting post.. I recently visited Muktinath in the Mustang province near the Nepal-Tibet border. I spent some time with the priests who perform the poojas there at the Shiva Parvati Temple and they said it has been so always… at the same time, it is really interesting to note that the same Muktinath Temple is also known as Chumi Gyarcha and is a buddhist religious site as well… and what intrigued me most was that young buddhist nuns open the temple gates everyday at 5:30AM and then the South Indian priests proceed onwards to perform the rites there…. The main idol also looks like a blend of the Buddha and the Shiva idols – there are distinct characteristics and features of both. And the nun ties a maroon sacred cloth after you have darshan and teertha at the temple… Amazing blend of Buddhism and Hinduism coexisting since a long time till today… Check out the pics (The right panel has the links to pics) of my travels to Muktinath and Kagbeni at http://www.DADandME.in – Im still learning and there is a lot I dont know yet about Hinduism and Buddhism – still learning a have a long way to go…Just sharing something interesting I have recently learnt…

    ….
    I also had a lengthy talk with the Buddhist nun at 5:30AM the next day – They all seemed so grounded in truth and in their quest for the truth. I was actually impressed with the harmony in which the day to day tasks were carried out at the temple – Buddhist as well as Hindu rituals are practised. This place attracts a few visitors – There were just 9 visitors the entire day I was there. It involves a flight to Jomsom from Pokhra and a long Jeep ride along the Krishna Gandaki river (a tributary of the Ganga that flows in from Nepal) and a trek upto the shrine. Divine experience.

  • 29. Dirt Digger said:

    Shantanu,
    Peacemonger makes some good arguments about Hindu practices in the links provided. However many of them can be easily refuted if one has to analyze the historical evidence. Case in point Tirupati temple. His contention is that the temple is a converted Buddhist shrine and the idol is Boddhisatva. However this does not explain how the temple has stone scriptures in Sangam Tamil dating back to 500BC (as analyzed by archeologists from ASI) or the fact that there are vedic scriptures referring to the temple.
    Sad part is that the article posted by peacemonger serves a very narrow political agenda to bash Hindus than clearly articulate their viewpoints.
    Same goes to the India first article which does similar claims but does not have historic evidence to back it up and has to resort to manufacturing claims. Like for example,
    “Most historians agree that people in South India (including parts of Maharashtra and Gujarat) up until the 9th and 10th centuries for the most part were Buddhists and Jains.”
    What rubbish. There is more than enough documented evidence in many scriptures from the Mahabharata to the Sangam Tamil documents of strong Saivite and Vaishnavite South Indian traditions dating thousands of years.
    While its interesting to dream of possibilities of Tirupati being a Buddhist temple there is no historic or otherwise evidence to back them up.

  • 30. cricfan said:

    26. @Dirt Digger:
    yes, I read Rajeev’s initial article (1997)
    http://www.rediff.com/news/dec/31rajeev.htm

    Some additional details not mentioned in rajeev’s article (some interesting stuff, some not so), i found in another post here, 10 years after the first one:
    http://hindusutra.com/archive/2007/04/01/is-sabarimala-a-buddhist-monastery/

    The difference is that the 1997 article suggests a shaivite to buddhist to Iyappan progression. Rajeev mentions some ancient texts, but i dont have access to those. Rajeev says “The circumstantial evidence for the Buddhist nature of Lord Ayyappan is compelling”.

    The second article largely concurs with the first one statement but doesn’t talk about the initial shaivite roots of the sacred place. So personally, I continue to view this as an interesting hypothesis that is plausible. My history is poor, but i aim to improve it by (among other things) exploring such interesting connections and I thank Rajeev and Shantanu for this post – I certainly learnt something new and it’s got nothing to do with bandwagons.

  • 31. gajanan said:

    Thirukural by Sage Valluvar

    Verse 322 Of all the virtues summed by ancient sages the foremost are these: To partake of food one has shared and to protect all living creatures.

    The arguement will be that Valluvar was influenced by Jainism. Verse 322 he refers to ancient sages. Who were they? They were all Santani’s. Now if you read Sandilya Upanishad , there is a query

    “Sandilya questioned Atharvan thus: “Please tell me about the eight Angas (parts) of Yoga which is the means of attaining to Atman”.

    The reply is huge, here is the web site
    http://www.celextel.org/108upanishads/sandilya.html
    When you read the reply , you feel that this is quasi Jainism.

    In a similar way you can find Buddhas teachings very much in Upanishads, which is human centric and not related to Maya or other esoteric thoughts. It took centuries till the advent of Quantum Mechanics that Vedantins were right about Maya etc. This requires a separate posting.

    What must have happened is that India having the maximum fertile arable ( agricultural) land ( even now India has the best fertile land with all the environmental degradation) in the great river beds, there must have been a lot of ownership problems of arable land and infighting due to this. Men of the calibre of Buddha and Mahavir must have given leadership qualities , picking the best human centric verses in Upanishads. Buddha was Prince Siddhartha and Mahavir Prince Vardhaman. Both were from ruling Kshatriya class. The forment in society , the incessant quarrels over arable land , must have made both leave their kingly pursuits and become ascetics to the betterment of society. A stategy which had immense effect. In this respect, only one man comes to mind and that is MK Gandhi. He wore ascetic clothes and had a dand like a holy man to give a non-violent approach to freedom movement. Gandhi was from the trading class. The strategy had to come from a business acumen human as it was the trading and resources which made India a jewel in the crown of British empire. The strategy of Buddha , Mahavir was repeated by Gandhi.

    Gandhi has his weaknesses. No point discussing this. After many centuries, many will see Gandhi as Buddha or Mahavir. Who knows , there may be temples for Gandhi called Gandhistava or Gandhirtankara. There will be questions by the generations later , whether Gandhi was more enlightened or his predeccessors like Buddha or Mahavira. The database of Gandhi will be available to future generations thanks to technology , but since record keeping has been atrocious or biased pre Guttenberg printery era. there will be debates. One can summarise by saying that these three have come down to ascetic level to give meaning to human centricity in times of India’s crises and they have used the best teachings of Sanatan Dharma, which are solid , true facts. This can happen only in India. Just scan the history of other continents over centuries. All is available in google. It is pathetic and too harsh even to read.

  • 32. B Shantanu (author) said:

    A reminder tweet to Salil Tripathi posted yesterday (placing here for the record):
    @saliltripathi Repeatng my Q (1st Oct) Re. “..many..jain/buddhist temples destroyed to build hindu temples”, can you pl. name 3? Thanks

  • 33. Kaffir said:

    Shantanu, I doubt that Salil will respond – it is fashionable among the seculars to make irresponsible comments re: Hinduism in a spit-and-run manner, and even more so when confronted with facts.

  • 34. B Shantanu (author) said:

    You are probably right Kaffir…
    The latest to join the bandwagon is R Jagannathan (DNA)..>See my tweet to him below (so far unanswered):
    @TheJaggi Can you pl enlighten us which part of Gita is copied/borrowed frm Buddhist literature? http://bit.ly/aOiHaN (HT: @ranganaathan)

  • 35. Sid said:

    Shantanu (#34),
    Do not bother. I can recall some American-Indian moron (can not recall the name) writing a letter to the young Hindu-American-Indian generation where he claimed that Gita was copied from Buddhist texts. Rajiv Malhotra challenged him to a public debate in his blog and understandably the moron did not respond.

    Much later, a friend pointed to a link in another forum post which told me that it was Romila Thapar who wrote so. It is however unclear how the gang leader of ‘Rape-India’s-Past’ project reached such conclusion.

  • 36. Nemo said:

    On comments #14 and #15 for Ayyappa and his hypothesised relations to Tibetan Buddhism.

    There are several points to be made concerning this at:
    http://www.india-forum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/2224-removing-the-sheen-from-buddhism/page__view__findpost__p__109064

    Mere hypotheses and assertions ought not to be spread in this fashion unless they have been *confirmed*, because once begun (however innocently) containing these things becomes much harder.

    Moreover, if you ever find you were wrong, it furthermore remains Your Responsibility to correct all those you have influenced into accepting unfounded ideas through such avenues as your blog. It is much easier to investigate and confirm (or refute) first, than to fix the errors of spreading unsubstaniated notions.

  • 37. Malavika said:

    Kaffir said:
    “it is fashionable among the seculars to make irresponsible comments re: Hinduism in a spit-and-run manner, and even more so when confronted with facts.”

    Kaffir, why do you call these people ‘secular’ a far more apt word is
    durbaris or establishment folks. If not the enlightened folks must coin a new work to describe these self righteous hypocrites.

  • 38. Nemo said:

    On comment 27 by ‘peacemonger’ about the claims by the neo-Buddhists of ambedkar.org:

    a) Jamanadas, the (neo)Buddhist representative, claims that Tirupati and a whole slew of other temples, most predictably mainly Tamil Hindu temples but also Jagannatha temple, were all originally Buddhist and stolen by the Hindus and their religion.

    b) The reasoning given is that “Hinduism” (which they reduce to what is in the Vedas alone) “didn’t have temples/idols”, and that Buddhism “must therefore” have invented these.

    c) One of the other claims is that Buddhism must have given rise to vegetarianism.

    Possibly more trivial claims have been lodged there, but it is in such incomprehensible English by the reviewer (despite him holding so many titles) that one can’t make anything out.

    But how true is any of this?

    First, ALL those claims have been made by the All India Jain Minority Forum on behalf of Jainism. In fact, the latter even claims that “dravidian” civilisation is entirely Jain originally.

    Both these Buddhist and Jain voices are claiming practically all the Very Same Hindu temples for their own religion: from Puri Jagannath to Tirupati, to practically All the Hindu Tamil temples that the claimants have heard of. (The claimants, originating elsewhere in India, obviously know nothing about the southern Hindu temples and the science and origin of their construction. It’s also why they only know to list the popular ancient southern Hindu temples, since they don’t know of the more obscure ancient ones.)

    Humouring them: since both claim to have originated the Hindu temples, which of the two was it? If indeed it is to be considered so unquestionably “proven” on their part, then how is it two voices are lodging the same claims on their own religion’s behalf? They can’t *both* have built them, so we already know that At Least one of the two is compulsively lying.
    But is Either one telling the truth?

  • 39. Nemo said:

    Onto the more serious and verifiable arguments of why the Hindu temples claimed for Buddhism and Jainism are actually Hindu:

    1) As all Hindus know, but Buddhists and Jains do not (it’s not their religion), the sacred Hindu texts and oral corpus of sacred Hindu material include not only such works as the Nigamas (another name for the Vedas) and Upanishads, but also the Hindu Agamas and Hindu Tantras, the Hindu Puranas and Itihasas (Ramayanam and Mahabharata) as well as later Stotras and Keertanas by acharyas, bhaktas, kavis and composers.

    However, being what are called “revealed” texts, the Hindu Agamas are accorded a very central place in Hindu religion, just like the Nigamas (Vedas) are. And they are indeed closely related in content, including specific mantras, to the Vedas and Upanishads themselves (and so, also to various Hindu Tantra texts and sacred Pauranic mantras).

    The Agama Shastraas – placed as highly as the Nigamas (Vedas), and both words mean the same thing – tell the Hindu architects how a mandiram to the Gods is to be constructed and how to fashion the Temple Vigrahas, they tell the Hindu what the Temple Vigraha means, how to invoke the Gods and do pooja to the temple Vigraha and how to worship (at) the Temple itself. (For instance, the most ancient Shaiva Agamas are on how to construct Shiva and Shakti temples. Likewise, there are Vishnu and Shakti Agamas too. All were given by their respective Deities to Hindu Rishis. E.g. the Shaiva Agama Shaastras generally adhered to in the construction and worship of the ancient Tamil Hindu temples to Shiva and Shakti are mainly by Kashmiri and Tamil Hindu Rishis.)

    And indeed, many an Upanishad cover Temples and Vigrahas too, both the construction and meaning thereof. In fact, an entire section belonging to the Atharva Vedam is devoted to construction of Hindu architecture including Hindu temples and Vigrahas (including the meaning of the Shivalingam and how to worship Vishnu). And so it is that later, but still rather ancient, Hindus also referred to mandirams and the sacred Agamas: such as Kalidasa in his prayers to the Hindu Goddess Kali where he likens Her to both.

    Ancient Hindu temples of Tamil regions are being called “dravidian style” temples, but the actual term is Agamic temples, because they are built according to the Hindu Agama Shaastras of the Deity of each temple (and as per the Upanishads). And the worship in those ancient Tamil Hindu temples, by both the priestly Hindu bhakta performing the daily and cyclical rites and by the lay Hindu Bhakta taking part in it, is generally according to the Hindu Agama shaastras too (as well as stotras from the Upanishads, Vedas and other Hindu shaastras). There are some exceptions of course, such as Chidambaranatha Temple where the Temple rites are according Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras (which are also exclusively Hindu and not Jain or Buddhist).

  • 40. Nemo said:

    2) That the Hindus of India built their Hindu temples is yet again confirmed in the evidence presented by the copious ancient Hindu temples in Southeast Asia that predate Buddhism. Their construction, the fashioning of the Vigrahas, even the range of Hindu Deities worshipped in Hinduised (note: pre-Buddhist) Southeast Asia are all directly related to the concurrent state of India’s Hindu temples, in particular to southern Indian Hindu temples (since it was usually the southern regions of India that were travelling round and about that side of Asia).

    3) Furthermore, there have ever been entire Hindu communities devoted to the sacred Hindu profession of Temple and Vigraha construction, which is a religious science handed down within Hindu families since ancient times (and until this day among southern Hindus). That such Hindus are still adepts at this is for instance witnessed by the fact that Indian and Sri Lankan Tamil Hindus continue to construct the typically Agamic Hindu temple as per ancient Hindu specifications in various countries overseas from the west to Hawaii. Likewise, to this day, Hindus continue to perform the ancient Agamic rituals such as kumbabhishekas in their Hindu temples throughout southern India, Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia.

    4) In contrast to the ludicrous neo-buddhist claim that “buddhism” built the famous Hindu temples and that Hindus “stole” these from Buddhism (with brahmins most visibly blamed for this by the neo-buddhists, just like the “All India Jain Minority Forum” claim that the brahmins stole the Hindu Temples from Jainism instead), it so happens that Hindus have not only built their own Hindu Temples but moreover, it was Hindus (in this case a brahmana) who had the famous Mahabodhi Buddhist Temple in Bodh Gaya constructed, for example:

    http://koenraadelst.voi.org/books/acat/ch3.htm
    ‘More than that, a Buddhist member of the Bodh Gaya temple management committee has admitted that “the laudable work of the construction of the Mahabodhi temple” was “undertaken by a Brahmana minister of Shaivite persuasion”.6
    6. Xuan Zang, who saw the temple in 637 A.D., shortly after it was built, and who explicitly gave the credit to a Brahmin worshipper of Shiva Maheshwara.’

    As that same link shows, this temple is now infamous as the scene of neo-buddhist agitation: erstwhile Buddhists having fled during the earlier Islamic genocides of India, Hindus in time took over the abandoned Mahabodhi temple and have since been ardently worshipping a Shivalingam there. Buddhists have been allowed back to worship there, but not being content with co-existence, neo-buddhists, monks and their foreign friends such as Japanese Buddhist monks want Hindus out altogether. Taking the matter into their own hands, these Buddhists repeated a historical phenomenon of desecrating Hindu Gods: in this case the Shivalingam at the temple.

  • 41. Nemo said:

    5) Furthermore, it is pre-eminently the ancient Gods-centred religions of the world that build temples and have vigrahas. That is why Greeks and Romans constructed Temples and fashioned Vigrahas of their Gods, did Temple worship, where they also made sacrifices to their Gods, had sacred forests and groves and rivers where their Gods would make their appearance. The same is true in eastern Asia from Korea to Japan to China: it is the indigenous religions of the Gods that developed their very original temple and vigraha construction there, and their sacrifices and worship. (There are similarities in all of these to Hindus’ religion.)

    And likewise, it is the Hindus of India, following as they did the ancient religion of the Gods of the ancient reaches of the Indian subcontinent, that came up with the science of Hindu Temple and Vigraha construction including its meaning, and what mantras are to be used to consecrate the Vigraha and temple, what mantras are to be used to worship the Temple Vigraha and what mantras are to be used at home, etc. Hindus have Gods, Hindu religion is the religion of the ancient Gods of the subcontinent, therefore the construction and worship of Hindu Temple to Hindu Gods and Vigrahas of Hindu Gods has been but a natural expression of the religion. Just as it had been in with the indigenous religions of the Gods in Ancient Greece and especially Rome, late Egypt of the Roman imperial period, south-eastern and notably eastern Asia.

    One therefore knows to disregard silly and imprudent claims that Hindu Temples and Vigraha worship cannot be “Hindu”. The religions with Gods naturally express themselves with exactly these things, and Hinduism is the religion of the Hindu Gods (the Gods known to ancient people of the subcontinent and nearby regions). The derivation of temple and vigraha construction in Gods-centred religions is straightforward, and so it is with Hinduism. As all Hindus are aware, even the construction of very *shape* of the ancient Tamil city of Kanchi itself is evidence to who (which religion) originally built it: its famous, carefully-laid out shape is intimately associated with the worship of a primary Hindu Deity of the city.

    6) Finally, Vegetarianism is not at all an uncommon feature in the ancient religious world. There was ancient to late ancient Greco-Roman documentation on the vegetarian practices among some communities of their ancient religion. (At least one late-ancient text on this is still extent, having survived the christian fires of book burnings, but there is reference to more.) As with Hindus, Greco-Roman communities were not uniformly vegetarian, but there were those that were strictly so (including in worship it seems. This last may be related to how Roman Temple worship did not originally involve the sacrifice of animals, but grains and other plant-based products instead. Note that this too was in a century preceding the existence of Jainism and Buddhism. As per ancient Roman documention, sacrifice of animals to Roman Gods was introduced later).

    No other religion is required to derive the vegetarianism of the frugal sages of the far eastern indigenous religions or those of Rome either. Certainly, neither Buddhism nor Jainism can take the credit of originating vegetarianism in those other parts of the world. If the most reasonable idea of religious vegetarianism can be independently-derived in ancient religions in various parts of the world, it can have independent origins in India as well. In any case, there is ancient textual reference to some Hindu communities in India being vegetarian, and Hindu texts give internal (to Hindu) reasoning for its significance.

  • 42. Manas said:

    Shantanu (#34) and Sid (#35):

    The thesis that Gita borrows from Buddhist canon is a consummate concoction propounded by the insidious Marxists and their Eurocentric associates in the west. The Indian-American that Sid refers to is the self-proclaimed radical left Marxist Comrade Vijay Prasad. He has on more than one occasion refused to debate Rajiv Malhotra after making such ludicrous assertions. Spit-and-run is a common rubric of these perfidious ideologues.

    Sid says: It is however unclear how the gang leader of ‘Rape-India’s-Past’ project reached such conclusion.

    Their method is simple. One of them will vaguely propound some nonsense without any sort of veracious evidence to back it up. Then few others will cite that rubbish in their own concoction which incidentally one within their cabal will write an introduction or preface for. Then some of their Eurocentric associates will cite them and lo and behold before you know it, you have a consummate mendacity being passed off as the truth. Their methods bear an uncanny resemblance to what the Nazi propaganda minister Goebbels said, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it”. And so now you have people like Salil Tripathi, R Jagannathan passing off Marxist concoctions as truth.

  • 43. Nemo said:

    Another thing related to comment 27 by ‘peacemonger’ about the claims by Jamanadas/the neo-Buddhists of ambedkar.org:

    They claim vegetarianism is owing to Buddhism. Have already explained that’s not true. But I forgot the opposite case can be made.

    Here’s the relevant second-to-last paragraph of Microsoft Encarta’s article on the “Buddha”, by Wing-Tsit Chan:

    “The five disciples rejoined Buddha at Benares. Accompanied by them, he traveled through the valley of the Ganges River, teaching his doctrines, gathering followers, and establishing monastic communities that admitted anyone regardless of caste. He returned briefly to his native town and converted his father, his wife, and other members of his family to his beliefs. After 45 years of missionary activity Buddha died in Kusinagara, Nepal, as a result of eating contaminated pork. He was about 80 years old.”

    Contributed By: Wing-Tsit Chan
    Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 2002. © 1993-2001 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

    There you have it: Buddha, as per the famous traditional Buddhist transmissions of his life, was not a vegetarian.
    So much for Jamanadas et al’s claims: he couldn’t even get basic, well-known facts straight (well-known among *actual* Buddhists).

  • 44. B Shantanu (author) said:

    Excerpts from a recent twitter exchange on this matter:

    Rangesh Sridhar ‏@kshetragnya said (9 Jul)
    …Yes, there were lifting of murtis+
    But the murtis so secured were enshrined in a respectable place in the victor’s native. Two examples come+
    to mind- 1) Rajendra chola, According to K.Balasubramiam, an authority onCholas, brought home 100 statues+
    from his campaigns in the north, all enshrined today in innumerous temples across the Tamil country, and+
    worshipped till the present. That it was done out of respect and not contempt is clear when we note +
    that he had also brought home waters of the ganges, loaded on elephants, poured it into an artificial+
    lake he had created and called it the “chola ganga” lake.

  • 45. B Shantanu (author) said:

    Placing this link here for the record: http://arunshourie.voiceofdharma.com/articles/scandal.htm

  • 46. The unleashing of secular hatred | The Rediscovery of India said:

    [...] is what it begets: a solidly researched piece clinically demolishing Zaleel’s education at the Romila Thapar University of Indian History. [...]

  • 47. Sai said:

    This flawed argument about how Tamilnadu’s Saivas converted poor Samanas/Jainas places of worship is doing the rounds now as leftists know its easy to confuse the educated.
    The truth about this issue lies in Tamil literature.
    Just a sample.

    Appar/Thirunavukarasar one of the 63 Saivite Nayanmars [ and one of the four important nayanmars who left Saivite verses that map our history was himself a converted Jaina first -his sister's [ also a Siva Bhaktha] prayers are answered and he becomes a saivite again , gets tortured by Mahendravarma Pallava who’s under the Jaina influence and gets thrown to his death but is rescued by Sri Siva-The king reconverts to his religion too and becomes a Hindu.
    Appar in his life is well known for reconstructing dilapidated Siva temples [ dilapidated as Samanas/Jainas- influenced kings ] have neglected them ]
    They have also converted some temples in to their places of worship]=Pazhaiyarai Sivan temple is an example- it was converted to a Jaina temple and appar ‘s effort brings out the truth and the king realises its a Siva temple.
    This is just a small example. There are more in Saivite lit. about how Baudha /Jainas influneced royals and went about their conversons [much like some groups do now.] and how Saivite Nayanmars brought back people to their original faith.There are info in Vaishnavite lit . too abt the same issue.
    The leftists as usual try to twist obvious stuff.
    Sai

  • 48. Jooske said:

    http://voiceofdharma.org/books/htemples2/
    HINDU TEMPLES WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM
    Volume II The Islamic Evidence
    (Second Enlarged Edition)

    The only part you need to read.The whole book would be better.

    http://voiceofdharma.org/books/htemples2/app4.htm

    “I attended a seminar on the Mandal Commission Report held in the Gandhi Peace Foundation in October, 1990. One of the participants who spoke in support of the Report was Shri Hukam Dev Narain Singh Yadav, an MP of the Janata Dal at that time and a Minister in the Chandra Shekhar Government some time later. Speaking of Brahminical tyranny, he referred to the time when rivers of the blood of Buddhist monks were made to flow in the Buddhist monasteries (jab bauddha vihãroñ mêñ bauddha bhikSuoñ kê rakta kî nadiyãñ bahãî gayî thîñ).

    The following dialogue took place between myself and the speaker at the end of the latters talk:
    I: Could you kindly name the Buddhist monasteries where it happened, and also the time when it happened?
    Speaker: I will not pretend that I know. I must have heard it from someone, or read it somewhere.
    I: I give you six months for finding a single instance of Hindus murdering Buddhist monks. I am demanding only one instance, not two.
    Speaker: I will try.

    The speaker looked to me to be one of the finest men I had ever met. His voice had a ring of sincerity in whatever he said. His humility in presenting his point of view was more than exemplary. I expected him to remember my question and provide an answer. But two and a half years have passed and there is no word from the eminent politician occupying a high position in the public life of this country.

    I know that the evidence demanded by me does not exist. It is a Big Lie being spread by Hindu-baiters. Hindus have never done what they are being accused of. My only point in mentioning the incident is that even honest people can become victims of hostile propaganda which is not countered in good time.

  • 49. B Shantanu said:

    Sad to read that even well-read and expert academicians appear to subscribe to this view…
    From a recent interview with head of ICHR, the last question:

    Q: Didn’t Hindus destroy Buddhist monuments?

    A: I agree. But Buddhism was on the wane then, in decline.
    ….
    .

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