Showing posts with label china. Show all posts
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Is Gautama Buddha Avatar of Vishnu

Why does Purana and Buddhist Chronology does not synchronize with each other. While they seem to be saying about the same person. When Analyzing this question. It becomes apparent that we have merged two Buddhas. The Adi Buddha or Avatar Buddha of Vishnu and Shakya Buddha  or Gautama Buddha into One. Let us Analyze

Let us  summarize what we have regarding each Buddha

Adi Buddha
Adi Buddha is avatar of Vishnu was born on 1887BC to Mother Anjana in Kikata (Bodh Gaya).
The Adi Buddha Established the Philosophy of Ahimsa, Non Violence. He preached against ritual Animal Sacrifices that has crept into Vedic Hinduism. He emphasized the divine in all beings and divinity of all souls arousing compassion for all.

Gautama Buddha
Siddhartha was was born around 560BC in Royal Family of Suddhodana and Mayadevi in Lumbini in Nepal. Siddhartha received his name Gautama from his spiritual Master Gautama Muni, who belongs to Kapila dynasty(as per Sundarananda Charita). He left home his royal comforts to find enlightenment. He went to Bodh Gaya to meditate and got enlightenment.
Gautama Buddha philosophy that is Monist (the God, is inert, nonactive and without any characteristic) and that reaching the same inert and non-active state through Nirvana is the goal. For attaining freedom from all suffering and end cycle of rebirths, one should attain Nirvana. Gautama Buddha is the propagator of Bahyatmavada, Jnanatmavada and Sunyavada, three pillars of Atheism. He Went to Bodhgaya to medidate because of its spiritual potency as the birthplace of Adi Buddha.

Buddhist Texts
Threvada Texts refer to six Preceding Buddhas (Those who have been awakened) as Vipasyin, Sikin, krakuccanda, Konagamara and Kashyapa, also they say Maitreya as the Buddha of the future.

Amara Simha Buddhist scholar, who wrote Amarakosha gives eighteen names of Vishnu avatara including the name Sugato (Which Shankara calls Buddha) and seven names of Shakya Simha Buddha without any mention of Sugato. So we can even argue that Shankara talks about avatar Buddha not Shakya Buddha. Amarakosha states the Lord Buddha is also known as Samanta Bhadra, whereas Gautama Buddha is a human being.

In Lalita Vistara, it is described how Gautama Buddha medidated on the same spot as the predecessor Buddha. The original name of Bodhgaya is Kikata, after Gautama attained enlightment there, it came to be known as Buddha gaya. Even today the rituals of worship is preformed by sannyasis of Shankaracharya sect.

Lankavatara Sutra, the famous buddhist work says that Ravana King of Lanka first worshipped Vishnu incarnation Buddha then successive and future Buddha.

Analysing Buddhist texts like Prajna-Paramita sutra, Astasahastrika prajna- paramita sutra, Sata-Shastrika Prajna, Pramita Sutra, Lalita Vistara shows three categories of Buddha namely

Human Buddhas: Like Gautama, who came to be known as Buddha after enlightment.
Bodhisattva Buddhas: Personalities like Samanta Bhadraka who were born enlightened.
Adi(Original-First) Buddha: the Avatar of Vishnu.

Hindu Texts
Bhagavata Purana says "At the commencement of the Kāli-yuga will Vishnu become incarnate in Kikata, under the name of Buddha, the son of Jina, for the purpose of deluding the enemies of the gods."

Puranas say that Adi Buddha was born in Ikshvaku Dynasty.

How Two were merged.
Adi Shankara, in discussion with others treated both of them as one person and did not discriminate between the two. Shankara Sunya philosophy is similar to Buddhist Nirvana. With his Mayavadha philosophy he not only stopped rise of Buddhism in India, but also started its decline.  However acharyas who came after him did not agree and they came with corrections for clear vedic View
Vishnuswami -Suddha Advaitha
Ramanuja - Vasistadvaitha
Nimbarka - Dvaita Advaita
Madhva - Dvaitha
Chaitanya - Acintaya Bheda Bheda

Historical Accounts
Adi Buddha is contemproary of Srenika(Sunika) whose father was Hemajit or Kshemajit or Kshetroja or Ksetrauja. Son of Srenika is Kunika. His son is Dharshaka.

Gautama Buddha is contemproary of Bimbisara(Son of Bhatiya or Bhattiya), King of Magadha with Capital at Rajgirh. Bimbisara made married alliances with many kings of India. His first wife Kosaladevi was the princess of Kosala, daughter of king Mahakoshal and sister of Pasendi or Prasenjit. The marriage ended the hostility between Kosala and Magadha. Ajatsatru was Kosaladevi`s son. Bimbisara conquered Anga and send Ajatsatru as the ruler there. Champa was the capital of Anga. Bimbisara was assasinated by his son Ajathashatru. Gautama Buddha then went to sravasti, Capital of Kosala ruled by Prasenjit. Most of the teachings come from Sravasti. Buddhist, Puranic and Jain Accounts confirm Gautama Buddha to be the contemproary of Bimbisara.

Jain scriptures, described King Bimbisara as a disciple of Mahavira who frequently sought his teachings. As per Jain texts, he is referred to as King Shrenika of Rajgriha (being the possessor of a large army). Bimbisara sent Jivaka to Ujjain for medical treatment of King Pradyata, the king of Avanti.

Mahavamsa traces the Shakya dyansty to Ikshvaku dynasty and starts the dynasty with Ikshvaku.

Let us see the list of Contemproary kings as various religious texts 

Puranas List
Shishunaga(40yrs)(Desposed Pratyodya)
Khastrojas (40yrs)
Bimbasara (28yrs)
Ajatashatru (25yrs)
Udayin (33yrs)
Nandivardhana (40rys)
Mahanandin (43yrs)

Buddhist List
Kalashoka (Sons Bhadrasena, Korandavarna, Mangura, Sarvanjaha, Jalika, Ubhaka, Sanjaya, Koravya, Nandivardhana and Panchamaka)
All 10 sons ruled simultaneously.

How Reliable is Buddhist Historical sources

Indologists have been saying Puranas are not reliable, let us see how unreliable Buddhist texts are. It is from Buddhist texts that Indologists arguments come. There two schools of sources. Tibetan and Sinhala. There is Chinese source, which comes later.
Let us take the kings around Buddhas time

Lankan Tradition

Ajatasattu (32yrs)
Udayabhadda (16yrs)
Nagadasa (24yrs)
susunaga (10yrs)
Ten sons of Kalasoka (22yrs)
Asoka (37yrs)

Bimbisara (52yrs)
Ajatasattu (32yrs)
Udayabhadda (16yrs)
Anuruddha, Munda (8yrs)
Nagadasaka (8yrs)
Susunaga (18yrs)
Kalasoka (28yrs)
ten sons of Kalasoka (22yrs)
Nine Nandas (22yrs)
Candagutta (24yrs)
Bindusara (28yrs)
Asoka (37yrs)

Burmese Tradition
Ajatasattu (35yrs)
Udayabhadda (15yrs)
Aururddha, Munda (9yrs)
Nagadasaka (4yrs)
Susunaga (32yrs)
Kalasoka 28yrs
bhaddasena and 8 brothers (33yrs)
Uggasenananda and 8 brothers (21yrs)
candagutta (24yrs)
Bindusara (27yrs)

Tibetan Tradition
Ujayain or Udayibhadda

Jain Tradition
(Total 60yrs)
Nine Nandas


Buddhist dates
1)Sources of Buddhist: First Where do Buddhist sources come from, they are not there from time immemorial like Purana or Jain sources. They are from definite time frame that is after Gautama Buddha. Mainly after the state patronage of Buddhism. Now how does Buddhist dates start from Ikshvaku dynasty. They should have got from some source. where else Purana. These Buddhist chronologies before Buddha are from Purana sources. If Puranas are the source of many Buddhist dates, how can Indology scholars choose to reject Puranas and take Buddhist sources.

2)Indian Dates: Dates from Purana or Buddhist or Jain are all Indian dates. Indologists are just playing one against other.

3)Not the Same Kings: Jain and Purana Chronology names does not tally with Buddhist Chronology names on contemporary kings

4) Differences within Buddhist: There are two main dates for Buddhists. One from Sinhala Buddhist and other Tibetan sources. There are two sources from Sinhala. That is Dipavamsa and Mahavamsa. There are differences between the two dates, but let us not overplay the differences.

The Tibetan Buddhist dates are more closer to Puranas date. But there are major differences. Such as when did Buddha lived. Date of Ashoka etc.

There is also Burma (Myanmar), though based on Lankan sources has a mind of its own because it has direct contact with puranic sourcse.

Chinese and Japanese follow Lankan, though they also have direct contact with puranic, so there are differences.

Indology Confusions
By Combining two Buddhas Indology scholars have discredited the Purana accounts and thus Indian History. Whenever the Puranas refers Adi Buddha they will cite Gautama Buddha to discredit and vice verse.

Colonel Kennedy, argues that the Buddha of the Purana and Buddha the founder of the Buddhist system of religion have nothing in common but the name, and that the attempted identification of these two is simply the work of European scholars, who have not been sufficiently careful to collect information, and to weigh the evidence they have had before them.

Jacobi Believes that Kakavarna(Puranas) = Kalashoka (Sinhalese Buddhist Literature) = Udyain (Jain Literature)

The Cambridge and Oxford histories of India accept 483 B.C as the date of Buddha’s nirvana. But, William Jones, on the basis of Chinese and Tibetan records infers that Buddha lived in the 11th century B.C. Historian Fleet, who makes a study of ‘Rajatarangini’, thinks that Buddha lived in the 17th century B.C. Chinese monk Fa-Hien puts Buddha’s Nirvana at 1050 B.C. These contradictory theories may confuse one altogether.

Indology scholars just pick and choose to discredit Purana sources. The history that Buddha lived in the 5th century B.C was propounded by E.J Rapson who writes that the exact date of Buddha’s Nirvana is not known and hence the popularly accepted year of Buddha’s Nirvana is imaginary. Sastry states that Western scholars arbitrarily skipped 12 centuries of Indian history because their ‘hypothesis’ about Alexander’s invasion did not match with centuries-old Indian chronology.

We see that Early Buddhist texts distinguishes the two Buddhas, while the later ones seem to ignored the former. The Rock Edicts of Piyadasi teachings are of Adi Buddha not Gautama Buddha. This clarification actually synchronizes the Buddhist and Purana Chronology and there seems to be no problem in merging the two once we take as two persons. The key is not play puranic , Jain, Buddhist chronology against each other, but synchronize them. The Conclusion is that : Gautama Buddha is not avatar of Vishnu. Avatar of Vishnu is Adi Buddha.

Were There Two Buddhas By Stephen Knapp
Modern Buddha and Vishnu Avatar Buddha are Different by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaja
Hindu Mythology, Vedic and Puranic, by W.J. Wilkins
Index to all Chronology Pages from Indic Studies Foundation
Saisunaga Dynasty- The Third Dynasty of Magadha after the great war. from Kota Venkata Chelam - Ancient Indian History
Buddhist India
Lord Mahāvīra and His Times By Kailash Chand Jain
History of Ancient India: From 4250 BC to 637 AD By J.P. Mittal
The dates of the Buddha

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Date of Buddha

Most of us are taught that Buddha was born around 560 to 550 B.C. However, once we start doing some research, we find evidence that this date may be too late. Buddha may have lived much earlier. Let us see how Buddha is dated.

Let us see the Traditional Theories at arriving date of Buddha.
  1. Long chronology Based on the Mahavamsa and Dipavamsa accounts which state that 218 years difference between Buddha Death and Ashoka Conversion. Which put date of the Buddha’s death is 544/543 B.C.E.
  2. Corrected chronology According to Richard Gombrich, Aśoka’s dates are approximately established by the synchronism between his 13th major rock edict, which is dated by scholars in the 13th year after his consecration, and the five monarchs of the Hellenistic world named therein as reigning at the time. The date of the edict must be 255 B.C., give or take a year; Aśoka’s consecration is accordingly dated 268 B.C. So the Date of Buddha's Death is 483BC
  3. short chronology Many Sanskrit , Tibetan and chinese traditions say the difference between date of Asoka coronation and Date of Nirvana of Buddha to be 100 years and Chinese accounts say 116 years. So the date can be anywhere between 544BC to 440BC depending on which theory you are following.
  4. Dot-ted record. This account, taken from Chi-nese sources and referred to initially by Tao-hsüan in the Ta t’ang nei tien lu, argues that when Upāli, first collected the Vinaya after the Buddha’s death, he marked a dot in the manuscript at the end of the pavarana, and continued the process in each year thereafter. His successors, Dāsaka, Sonaka, Siggava, Moggali-putta, Tissa, Caṇḍavajji, and so forth continued the process. Samghabhadra, who presumably translated the Samantapāsādikā into Chinese, is said to have put the 975th dot on the manuscript during a visit to Canton in 489 C.E., thus establishing the Buddha’s death in 486 B.C.E.
But we are not bothered by this relative chronology based on the date of Ashoka cornation. Since we have seen that Ashoka grandfather chandragupta Maurya is itself is not based on Solid evidence the article Did Megasthanese Meet Chandrgupta. We will go to the root of the evidences to see when he can be dated.

European Account
Since the records of ancient India give only the intervals between events but do not, like later records, date the events themselves, it is necessary in order to establish dates in Indian history to call on Greek historians. Indo-Greek relations developed as a result of the Indian campaign of Alexander the Great (327 BC). About 303 BC, the Indian Emperor Candragupta came to a territorial agreement and entered into diplomatic relations with Seleukos Nikator, Alexander's former general who ruled over Babylonia. Through the reports of the Greek ambassador Megasthenes, who was ambassador to the imperial court of palimbothra , Candragupta ( Sandrokottos ) became known to Greek historians, and through them we are able to date his accession to 321 BC. But this date is now disputed due to various reasons, Further Information on Chandgragupta and Alexander Date follow article Did Megasthanese meet Chandragupta Maurya. How Let us see

Purana Account
The Puranas provide a chronology of the Magadha rulers from the time of the Mahabharata war, Somadhi (Marjari) was the ruler. He started a dynasty that included 22 kings that spread over 1006 years.They were followed by five rulers of the Pradyota dynasty that lasted over 138 years. Then for the next 360years was the 10 rulers of the Shishunag family. Kshemajit (who ruled from 1892 to 1852 B.C.) was the fourth in the Shishunag dynasty, and was a contemporary of Lord Buddha's father, Shuddhodana. It was during this period in which Buddha was born. It was during the reign of Bimbisara, the fifth Shishunaga ruler (1852-1814 B.C.), when Prince Siddhartha became the enlightened Buddha. Then it was during the reign of King Ajatashatru (1814-1787 B.C.) when Buddha left this world. Thus, he was born in 1887 B.C., renounced the world in 1858 B.C., and died in 1807 B.C. according to this analysis.

Further evidence that helps corroborate this is provided in The Age of Buddha, Milinda and King Amtiyoka and Yuga Purana, by Pandit Kota Venkatachalam. He also describes that it is from the Puranas, especially the Bhagavat Purana and the Kaliyurajavruttanta, that need to be consulted for the description of the Magadha royal dynasties to determine the date of Lord Buddha. Buddha was the 23rd in the Ikshvaku lineage, and was a contemporary of Kshemajita, Bimbisara, and Ajatashatru, as described above. Buddha was 72 years old in 1814 B.C. when the coronation of Ajatashatru took place. Thus, the date of Buddha's birth must have been near 1887 B.C., and his death in 1807 B.C. if he lived for 80 years

Professor K. Srinivasaraghavan also relates in his book, Chronology of Ancient Bharat , that the time of Buddha should be about 1259 years after the Mahabharata war, which should make it around 1880 B.C. if the war was in 3138 B.C.

Astronomical Account
A search was made from 1900 BCE to 400 BCE for the sequence of events: winter solstice, lunar eclipse, solar eclipse, followed by Vaisakha poornima, the full moon day of Buddha nirvana. It is found that there are only 14 dates possible for this sequence of events to occur:1807 BCE, 1694 BCE, 1659 BCE, 1510 BCE, 1250 BCE, 1192 BCE, 1138 BCE, 1119 BCE, 1062 BCE, 1007 BCE, 765 BCE, 690 BCE and 560 BCE. If a time limit of about three months (the time that Buddha spends in sravasti before attaining his nirvana) is imposed, then the time intervalbetween winter solstice and vaisakha poornima must be less than 90 days and that vaisakha poornima should occur before the vernal equinox, as winter solstice occurred after his arrival at sravasti. With this restriction, most of the dates do not qualify, leaving only two dates 1807 BCE and 1510 BCE as possible dates. It is interesting to note that the ‘traditionally’ accepted dates, 544 BCE, or 483 BCE, or any of the recently revised dates do not fit the picture. One additional piece of astronomical information is needed to fix the date.

The Samyutta Nikaya , Part I, sugatta Vagga, Book II, Chapter I, Devaputtasa yuttam,suttas contain ten units in all, two of them to relate to kassapa. The others are devaputtas who visit Buddha. Sengupta identifies kassapa with prajapati and hence with winter solstice. He regards the other deities as adityas The first devaputta to visit is to be taken as the lord of the month of the lunar eclipse. We take a hint from a listing of the sons of aditi in taittirya aranyaka dhata aryaman. If we assume as Sengupta did, kassapa as dhataa or prajapati, his visit would indicate the arrival of winter solstice. Aryaman would be the first ‘devaputta’ to visit as the deity of the month, i.e., the presiding deity of the nakshatra of the full moon, where the lunar eclipse occurs. In 1510 BCE the lunar eclipse occurs at uttaraphalguni, whose deity is bhaga. In 1807 BCE, the lunar eclipse occurs at purvaphalguni , with aryaman as the deity. So the year is 1807 BCE

Furthermore, astronomical calculations by astronomer Swami Sakhyananda indicates that the time of the Buddha was in the Kruttika period, between 2621-1661 B.C.

Pali and Ceylon Chronicles
Mahavamsa and Dipavamsa , give the traditional figure of 218 years between the death of the Buddha and the conversion of Asoka is best taken as conventional. It amounts to the claim that between the death of the Buddha and the conversion of Asoka, there intervened
  • A first major event occuring after 100 years, this being the standard conventional interval of prediction in the later Buddhist literature
  • A second major event, occurring after another 100 years, this event being the rise of the ruler patron, or the coronation of Asoka.
  • A third event, occurring after a further 18 years. We may note that according to his own inscriptions, it was in the 18th year of his reign that Asoka was persuaded to accept Buddhism.
The alternative interval of 256 years, is based on counting backward from a later date in Asoka's reign, namely, the year of his abdication to pursue a life of virtue. This is the information given by the chronicles , the western scholars have taken the difference in years between ashoka , buddha and Megasthanese – Chandragupta meeting to date Buddha.

The Ceylonese Pali traditions leave out the kings mentioned RockEdicts from list of Asoka’s kingdoms, whereas Rock Edict XIII includes them. In fact, as many scholars have noted, the character of Asoka from Ceylonese and other traditions is precisely (as RK Mukherjee has said) what does not appear in the principal edicts. Rock Edict XIII, the famous Kalinga edict, is identified as Asoka’s. It was, however, Samudragupta’s (Samudragupta was a great conqueror and a devout admirer of Asoka. He imitated Asoka in many ways and also took the name Asokaditya. In his later life, he became a sanyasi).

Tibet Account
The Kalachakra tantra puts the life of Sakyamuni Buddha in the 9th. Century BCE William Jones, on the basis of Tibetan records infers that Buddha lived in the 11th century B.C. A number of Tibetan documents place Buddha at 2100 BC.

China Account

Fa-hsien was in India and at Patliputra c. 410 AD. He mentions a number of kings, but makes not even a fleeting reference to the Gupta, even though according to European scholars he came during the height of their reign. Fa-Hien puts Buddha’s Nirvana at 1050 B.C.

Qin Shi Huang, who is said to have suppressed Buddhism, in the same way that he suppressed all other Chinese philosophy. His reign lasted from 246 BCE to 221 BCE. Han Wei, a noted researcher from the Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology, found evidence in the Historical Records, which were written in 104 BC. Silk Road archaeologist WANG Jianxin said Han's research sounded "reasonable" .

The Weilüe reports a tradition that an envoy of the Yuezhi king who gave oral teachings on Buddhist sutras to a student in 2 BCE

Greek Accounts
Seven Sages of Greece (Dated 620-550 B.C ) surprisingly give the Buddhist Teachings.

Thyagaraja Aiyer in his book "Indian Architecture" observes," Here lies Indian Sramanacharya from Bodh Gaya, a Buddhist monk taken to Greece by his Greek pupils and the tomb marks his death about 1000 B.C." If the Buddhist monk went to Greece in 1000 B.C., then the Buddha must have lived at least a few centuries earlier.

Somayajulu places Chandragupta Maurya in the 14th century B.C. This puts the Buddha three centuries earlier, i.e., in the 17th century B.C.

Long before the word 'missionary' came to be synonymous with Christianity" Buddhist monks ('dharma-bhanakas') were traipsing across Asia. Travelling the Silk and Spice Routes they spread their doctrines all the way from Khotan in central Asia to Antioch and Alexandria in the west. One such visit is documented in 20 BC in Athens. A Buddhist philosopher, Zarmarus, part of an embassy from India, made a doctrinal point by setting himself alight. His tomb became a tourist attraction and is mentioned by several historians.

It seems the original Therapeutae were sent on an Indian embassy to Pharaoh Ptolemy II in 250 BC. The word 'Therapeutae' is itself of Buddhist origin, being a Hellenization of the Pali 'Thera-putta' (literally 'son of the elder.') Philo Judaeus, a 1st century AD contemporary of Josephus, described the Therapeutae in his tract 'De Vita Contemplativa'. It appears they were a religious brotherhood without precedent in the Jewish world. Reclusive ascetics, devoted to poverty, celibacy, good deeds and compassion, they were just like Buddhist monks in fact. From the Therapeutae it is quite possible a Buddhist influence spread to both the Essenes (a similar monkish order in Palestine).

Gnosticism is Influenced by Buddhism , which was a religion of quite a different order to earlier 'pagan' cults. It was a scriptural religion, making a strong appeal to the emotions. It offered a moral code – and hope. The Gnostic idea of liberating the soul from entrapment in matter is not dissimilar to the teachings embodied in the "4 Noble Truths" of the Buddha.The Greek details presented above are also sometimes dated before Alexander, so the argument that Buddhism came to Greece only after Alexander invasion does not hold water. Greek and some parts of then India like Bactria were part of Persian empire of Darius, so the exchange of ideas is not confined to Alexander era.

Korea Account
Hwanin or Divine Regent is a figure in Korean mythology. Hwanin is an alias of Indra. Hwanin is the name on Buddhism of Indra, this name is widely used in east Asia. We have evidences that Hwanin being used in 3rd Century BC in Korea.

South East Asia Traditions

Japan, Thailand, , Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia follow the Ceylon (Sri Lanka) date.
Christian Account
Apart from similarities between buddha and Jesus Christ, Most Important account has been the Barlaam and Josaphat story, which is the Christianized version of Buddha Story.

Max Muller stated that missionaries also were sent more than thirty years prior to Ashoka's reign

Philo noted the presence of Buddhists in Alexandria, Egypt.
The above accounts say that Buddha can be earlier than the said dates of 560BC and Western and Indology Scholars have not even explained the contradictions in their own calculations. The fundamental sheet Anchor theory (Megasthanese -Chandragupta Meeting) is itself not established. The Indian literary accounts are being dismissed summarily. And Western scholars themselves dont provide any evidence to backup their account. Since Chandragupta Maurya date by Western and Indology scholars is disputable, Buddha Date is also susequently disputable. Regarding what is being said in Ashoka Edicts and what are the claims made on the edicts , we will see in another article. For now Buddha date is nowhere settled. Date by Indian Literary sources and Astronomical calculations is 1807 BC.
  • The Date of the Buddha by E Bruce Brooks
  • Re-establishing the Date of Lord Buddha by Stephen Knapp
  • A short note on the date of Buddha nirvana using planetarium software B. N. Narahari Achar
  • Indian Architecture by Thyagaraja Aiyer
  • Cooking the Buddhist Books by Charles S. Prebish 
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Origin of Buddha Image

Today India is known for Idol Worship. All religions in India have in Form worship, either as symbols, letters, pictures or Idols. But this was not the case 2000Years ago. Any form of Form in Faith was not considered. In some places like Karnataka not even name of the dead Jain persons written on the Graves even until 400 AD. Hinduism , Jainism and Buddhism did not support gods in human form. So how did this extreme swing took place , from nothing everything in human forms. This explains the lack of Inscriptions, temples, Idols before 5th century BC. Classic study in this transformation is Buddhism. This was the religion at the prime when this transformation occurred. So Let us see how we got the Image of Buddha. Which will explain the transformation. Let us see if Image in Indian religion and the Origin of Buddha Image and associate controversies.

Vedic Hinduism.

Vedic religion says Absolute or Trancendental can be realized in diverse ways. Co-existence of Sakara(diety with Form) and Nirakara(Diety without Form) in the same household , with men with different Intellectual and moral denominations aspiring for spirituality in their respective ways. Kena Upanishad says man cannot comprehend God with his sense organs. That is God cannot be seen with Eyes. Svetasvatara upanishad says that Great one has not likeness to form. In Bhagavat Gita Arjuna asks Krishna in what forms and objects the Great one should be meditated. In response Krishna first Enumerated all phenomenal objects , all flora , all fauna and so on. Then Krishna gives Arjuna supernatural Eye , in which he sees entire universe, process of creation and process of destruction. Arjuna beholds God is identical with Cosmos. Later Supplements of Gita say God can be worshipped by Agni by Brahman, Devata(divinity) worshipped in the heart of Muni,Pratima(Image) is adored by men of Low intellect. While one whose sight is not limited can see God everywhere. Adi shankara preferred Formless and Ramanuja said he is prefers both Formless and With Form.


Jainism says In the theist world the loftiest entity is The God. It has thousands of names like Paramatma (the ultimate soul), Bhagavan (the most glorious one), Siddha (the liberated), Buddha (the enlightened), The God, etc.

In the Jain tradition there are two forms of this entity-

(1) The formless God or Siddha (the liberated) and

(2) The God with a form or Tirthankar / Arihant.

The Tirthankar is a detached individual who is the ultimate altruist and benefactor of not only mankind but every living being. He propagates the religious path and preaches about it for their benefit. His benevolent voice promotes happiness, peace, and infinite bliss for every being.In the Jain tradition there have been twenty-four Tirthankars during the current descending cycle of time, Bhagavan Rishabhdev being the first and Bhagavan Mahavir being the last. For every Jain these Tirthankars are the entities to be worshipped and revered. The ultimate goal of Jainism is to tread the path shown by them and acquire infinite powers and virtues.


Thervada ban on Buddharupa( Buddha Image) is well known. An old Disciple of Buddha Vakali was eager to see Buddha before he died. One day buddha came and said to him “ O vakkali why do you crave to see this body of impure matter, one who perceives Dharma Perceives me. One who perceives me perceives Dharma” On different occasions through dialogues and sermons Buddha spoke against adoration of his Rupakaya or Buddha Rupa.

What does faith say?

The Trinity Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism say that God is formless ,but it does not go against worship of forms , saying that is done by lower intellectuals. So the form is also present in Indian Dharma along with Formless, which is the basic or ultimate. Now let us see how Buddha Image developed.

Origin of Buddha Image

Buddhist followers remained faithful to Buddha teaching of non-worship of buddha Image. The first to break the rule King Udyana of Vatsa or Kausambi, who was very devoted, The story goes that he was worried that Buddha would not return. Buddha's disciple Maudgalyayana used magic to send an artist (some say 32 of them) up to heaven to capture the likeness of the Buddha in a 5-foot figure carved out of sandalwood. This image was so accurate and imbued with devotion, that when Shakyamuni returned, it rose up to greet him. The Buddha acknowledged then, the power of the rupa to inspire and to teach the dharma to future generations. This story is not accepted by most Buddhists. For Five centuries after Buddha until 1st century BC , Buddha was represented by Symbols. Until 1st century AD he was never represented in Human Form. Immediately following this period the Graeco-Buddhist or Indo-Hellenistic or Ghandara period presents us with enormous anthromorphic images. Immediately we have suggestions from western world that the images were introduction from west , particularly from Greece. The present Image developed after the 5th century AD. Our main debate of the article comes here, Was the Concept of Image of God came from West (Persia, Middle east , Greece, Rome , etc).

Image or Icon in Indian Religions – History Debate.

In the First two decades of this 20th century Western scholars like Albert Foucher and John Marshall has concluded that Image or Icon was not the characteristic of Indian religions till the advent of Persians , West Asians and Greek. This Western Idea was supported by Arya Samaj, Brahmo Samaj and Prarthana Samaj. They maintained that Worship of Image was un - Vedic, Un - Brahminical and was the later development in Puranic age. Thervada buddhist also accepted this theory.

Other Hindus who held Pratima(Likeness = Image) was an Indigenous element nothing was foreign. Kashiprasad Jaiswal and Anand Coomaraswamy contended that Rupa (form) is integral part of the Vedic religion. At this time Indus Valley civilzation was unearthed, Archeologist R.P chanda found earliest representation of Siva Pasupathi and Yogi in the Indus valley. Also scholars pointed to Tibetans traditions and showed that Image was used before Mauryas. Also aborignals(Not Aryan and Dravidian) like Veddas and Nagas have their dieties and symbols of worship. So the worship of symbols and dieties is not totally absent.

Image worship in India

  • Image worship as we have seen in the Formless debate was accepted and prevalent.

  • Images of Shiva, mother Goddess,Yogi and wide variety of Terrocotta statues representing Human and Animal like forms. in Indus valley have proved beyond doubt that Image worship was prevalent.

  • Aboriginal like Yaksha and Naga have dieties. We find numerous dieties in their settlements since earliest times. Which show that Idol worship was prevalent before vedic times(7000BC)

  • Sakya, the clan Buddha was born in, had its own Yaksha deity, the Yaksha Sakyavardhana, the benevolent guardian of Sakyas. As prevailed the custom, soon after his birth, the child Buddha was presented to Yaksha Sakyavardhana for child's long life and glory.

So from the above points the worshipping of Forms and images was widely prevalent and the Idea is not Import from west. Let us move to the next point. Was the Buddha image creation due to influence of the west.

Foreign Influence.

Foucher argued that the Buddha Image is a eurasian one or Greek one. Let us analyse the facts.Before the Gandhara buddhist images there were Mathura Buddhist Images which were Indian in look and Indigenous. So there is no question of Gandhara images being the first buddhist images. Infact Gandhara images are continuation of mathura Images. Let us see the if there is any influence of Greek or western on the Gandhara images. Let us see one by one


  • The Asanas are all Indian. The early art shows five sitting postions with hands showing mudras (Dharmachakra Mudra, Dhyna Mudra, Bhumisparsa Mudra, Varada mudra, Abhaya Mudra)

  • The Dress worn by Boddhisattvas are Indian.

  • Physical attributes: Protuberance(usnisa) on the crown is evident, urna or turf in the fine hair between the brows is evident, Fingers are webbed, The Ears are elongated by wearing the ear rings before monastic robes.

  • The Boddhisattvas represented in less rigid position holding attributes in the hands(vajra pani in Vajra, Padmapani by roselotus , Avalokitesvara by blue lotus, Maitreya Amrta Flask) These attributes can be held in any hand, but they are always held in Right hand by Indian Tradition.

  • The Dieties are either seated or Standing on traditional Indian lotus Flower.


All the Symbols used in the Art are indian such as bull, Sacred Tree,Mountain, River , many Solar ,Nandipada, Trishul, Swastik, Lotus , Bow and Arrow Etc. These are Hindu, Jain and Buddhist or Indian.

Art form

In Indian art (abstract) the emphasis is laid on the significance of the object not the appearance. In Greek art (naturalistic) the emphasis is laid on the object and its looks. Every art is a compromise between the abstract and naturalistic, but what we see in Gandhara and other Indian art is continuos concept of Abstract(whether one finds a sacred tree or Buddha Figure) , no swing from one style to another as seen during 19th century when there were wild swings to European art. The Gandhara artforms are infact reproduction of early mathura artforms.


The Technology , Craftsman were already present , when the need for buddha arise and they had no problem in making the images.


So we cannot say that the Buddha got the Image due to Western Influence. The Gandhara art shows lot of Influence of Hellenistic artform, but the Image is originally Indian. Hinduism , Jainism and Buddhism embodied accomodation of non-believers into their fold as they are , without losing anything. Unlike in Europe when pre-christian gods were banished once christianity took hold, Indian faith accepted aboriginal Yaksha and Naga dieties and symbols and absorbed them. This process continued and Buddhist and Jain elements were absorbed into Hindu fold. So the Image and Deity worship are essentially Indian , though they were not part of Hindu, Jain or Buddhist Dharma initially.


The origin of Buddha Image by Ananda K Coomaraswamy

origin of Brahmi Script

Brahmi Script
In the last centuries BC the script was divided into 3 varieties: northern, eastern, and southern. Dialectal differences consisted of the shape of the symbols, though the system remained the same. First separate branches emerged in the 5th century AD. The Brahmi script is the ancestor of all modern Indian writing systems, there are about 40 varieties of them nowadays, including Tibetan, Sinhalese, Sharada, Newari, Bengali, Oriya, Gujarati,Gurmukhi, , Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Burmese, Khmer, Lao, Thai, Devanagari. In addition, many other Asian scripts, even Japanese to a very small extent (vowel order), were also derived from Indian script. Languages which used Brahmi as their script: Indo-Aryan (Vedic, Sanskrit, Prakrits, Pali), Dravidian, Iranian (Sacian), Tocharic.

Brahmi origin
Brahmi origin has been controversial. one of the reason is the sudden appearance of fully developed script in the inscriptions during Ashokan period and l absence of inscriptions between Indus valley and Ashokan period(gap of 1500 years). Opinions of Brahmi is divided to into two camps Foreign origin by Foreigners and Indigenous independent development by Indians. Let us see the opinions behind claims.

Foreign origin
Foreign origin or derived script theory is based on the following theories
  • Failure to find and identify actual specimens of between indus valley and pre-Ashokan writing.
  • The testimony of Greek author Megasthenes to the absence of writing in India in the early Mauryan period
  • The evident influence of Indian phonetic and grammatical theory on the structure of the early scripts
  • Uniform appearance of Ashokan Brâhmî all over India.
Aramic origin
It is thought that the brāhmī drift of a Semitic writing like the imperial Aramean alphabet, as it is the case for the alphabet gāndhārī(khartoshi) which appeared at the same time in Northwest India, under the control of the empire of the Achéménides. Rhys Davids thinks that this writing could be introduced in India of the the Middle East by the merchants.The similarities between the scripts are just what one would expect from such an adaptation. For example, Aramaic did not distinguish dental from retroflex stops; in Brāhmī the dental and retroflex series are graphically very similar, as if both had been derived from a single prototype. Aramaic did not have Brāhmī’s aspirated consonants (k, t), whereas Brāhmī did not have Aramaic's emphatic consonants (q, ṭ, ṣ); and it appears that these emphatic letters were used for Brāhmī's aspirates: Aramaic q for Brāhmī kh, Aramaic (Θ) for Brāhmī th (ʘ). And just where Aramaic did not have a corresponding emphatic stop, p, Brāhmī seems to have doubled up for its aspirate: Brāhmī p and ph are graphically very similar, as if taken from the same source in Aramaic p. The first letters of the alphabets also match: Brāhmī a, which resembled a reversed κ, looks a lot like Aramaic alef, which resembled Hebrew .
Southern Semitic origin.
Brahmi is a syllabary, it consists of syllables only, if we state that single vowels are also syllables. Each character carries a consonant followed by the vowel "a", much like Old Persian or Meroïtic. However, unlike these two systems, Brahmi indicates the same consonant with a different vowel with extra strokes attached to the character. Brahmi is written from the left to the right. However in few coins right to left Brahmi is also found.

Phoenician Origin
Phoenician origin is based on the following points.
  • Writing from left to right unlike aramic which is right to left.
  • Striking similarity between theta and Brâhmî tha
Emphasising this two points to Brahmi phoenicaian origin is theory far fetched. Maybe there is influence but no such a thing as origin from Greek alphabet.

Greek and Brahmi
That the basic system of indication of post-consonantal vowels by diacritic marking was originally developed in and adapted from Khartoshi seems well established. But Falk's suggestion that the introduction into Brâhmî of distinct diacritics for short and long vowels was influenced by the model of Greek script is doubtful, since the notation of vowel quantity in Greek operates on entirely different principles. Whereas Greek uses distinct alphabetic characters, mostly derived from Semitic consonants, to represent, incompletely and inconsistently, short and long vowel pairs, Brâhmî has a complete and regular set of matched short/long pairs of post-consonantal diacritic signs.

Brahmi Numerals
Numerical notation system of Brâhmî. Because the use of distinct signs in Brâhmî for each of the digits (1 to 9) and the decades (10 to 90) a similar system used in early Chinese numerals. Also not only in system but also in the actual form of several of the numerical signs, between Brâhmî and heiratic and demotic Egyptian. we dont know which side influenced the other or Independent.

Indigenous origin

Independent origin
script appeared in India most certainly by the 6th century BC, but the fact it had many local variants, which suggests that its origin lies further back in time. The earliest inscription written in Brahmi date back to the 6th century BC in srilanka, and by 2nd century BC already there existed several varieties of it. Brahmi quickly became the official script of religious texts and cults, and therefore spread over all India.
Writting in Pre Ashokan Era
  • J.D.M. Derrett argues Megasthanese talks only about written Legal document not generally writting in India.
  • Nearchos, quoted by Strabo, to the Indians' practice of writing letters on cloth
  • Panini mentions Lipi (Writting)
  • Pali cannon makes reference to likhitako coro,lekha.m chindati (writting) in Vinaya-pi.taka
Ashoka Invention
Harry Falks believes as for him that the brāhmī was created under the Empire maurya. One often admits that it was an invention planned under the reign of Ashoka, necessary to the drafting of his edicts, case similar to that of the Hangul(Korean).

Indus origin
Brahmi script came from the Indus Valley Script. However, the lack of any inscription evidence between the end of the Harappan period at around 1900 BC and the first Brahmi and Kharosthi inscriptions at roughtly 500 BC makes the Indus origin of Brahmi highly questionable. However recent claims of deciphering the Indus script has strengthened this theory. Indus script have been found around 1500BC in Vaishai, bihar. And the theory derives the evidence from similarities as other theories. You can see in the picture .

Now the theory by western scholars is Khartoshi predated Brahmi and it was loose adoptation of Aramic. Khartoshi from Aramic is also not a good argument simply because several cases Khartoshi characters have different phonetic values from the Aramaic letters that they most closely resemble in shape. wide usage of Aramaicin the Ashokan Aramaic inscriptions, in the eastern regions of the Achaemenian empire.another theory is Brahmi is derived from Khartoshi. But this can be disproved on following points. Brâhmî ¤ ha , which can reasonably be derived from an Aramaic * he , but hardly from Khartoshi * ha , and * ta from Aramaic * taw ,
but not Khartoshi ¤ ta

We have to see that each theory putsforward the similarities and keeps silence on the other points. Brahmi is superior script all the others compared. And there is no easier explanation for the development of same.

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Who are White Huns

During the 5th century, the Gupta dynasty in India reigned in the Ganges basin with the Kushan empire occupied the area along the Indus. Huns invaded India. This is the saying that goes on in History, let us analyse the facts.

White Huns
The paucity of record in Hephthalites or Ephthalites provides us fragmentary picture of their civilization and empire. Their background is uncertain. They probably stemmed from a combination of the Tarim basin peoples and the Yueh-chih. There is a striking resemblance in the deformed heads of the early Yueh-chih and Hephthalite kings on their coinage. According to Procopius's History of the Wars, written in the mid 6th century - the Hephthalites "are of the stock of the Huns in fact as well as in name: however they do not mingle with any of the Huns known to us. They are the only ones among the Huns who have white bodies...."
Ephthalites was the name given by Byzantine historians and Hayathelaites by the Persian historian Mirkhond, and sometimes Ye-tai or Hua by Chinese historians. They are also known as the White Huns, different from the Hun who led by Attila invading the Roman Empire. They are described as a kindred steppe people originally occupied the pasture-lands in the Altai mountain of southwestern Mongolia.

Toward the middle of the 5th century, they expanded westward probably because of the pressure from the Juan-juan, a powerful nomadic tribe in Mongolia. Within decades, they became a great power in the Oxus basin and the most serious enemy of the Persian empire.

The Westward Expansion and War with Sassanian Empire
At the time when the Hephthalites gained power, Kushan and Gandhara were ruled by the Kidarites, a local dynisty of Hun or Chionites tribe. The Hephthalites entered Kabul and overthrew Kushan. The last Kidarites fled to Gandhara and settled at Peshawar. Around 440 the Hephthalites further took Sogdian (Samarkand) and then Balkh and Bactria.
The Hephthalites moved closer and closer toward Persian territory. In 484 the Hephthalite chief Akhshunwar led his army attacked the Sassanian King Peroz (459-484) and the king was defeated and killed in Khurasan. After the victory, the Hephthalite empire extended to Merv and Herat, which had been the regions of the Sassanid Empire.

The Hephthalites, at the time, became the superpower of the Middle Asia. They not only destroyed part of Sassanian Empire in Iran but also intervened in their dynastic struggles when the Sassanid royal, Kavad (488-496), was fighting for the throne with Balash, brother of Peroz. Kavad married the niece of the Hephthalites chief and the Hephthalites aided him to regain his crown in 498AD.

The Eastward Expansion to the Tarim Basin
With the stabilization at the western border, the Hephthalites extended their influence to the northwest into the Tarim Basin. From 493 to 556 A.D., they invaded Khotan, Kashgar, Kocho, and Karashahr. The relationship with Juan-juan and China were tightened. The Chinese record indicated that between 507 and 531, the Hephthalites sent thirteen embassies to Northern Wei (439-534) by the king named Ye-dai-yi-li-tuo.

Invasion to India
During the 5th century, the Gupta dynasty in India reigned in the Ganges basin with the Kushan empire occupied the area along the Indus.

Huna in Sanskrit
India knew the Hephthalite as Huna by the Sanskrit name. The Hephthaltes or Hunas waited till 470 rigth after the death of Gupta ruler, Skandagupta (455-470), and entered the Inda from the Kabul valley after the conquest of Kushan. They kept on invading India until skandagupta repulsed them. After their defeat they assimilated into indian population without any trace, which show they are not very different from the local population.
Pahua, Hua , Hun?
Japanese researcher Kazuo Enoki takes on the theories of both the ancient and the modern writers, including the redoubtable Stein, knocking the legs out from one after another. Theories which are based on coincidence of name, e.g. Pahua and Hua, are unlikely in this part of the world which exhibits so many languages and so much linguistic adaptation and orthographic variation, he points out, and should not be upheld if other sorts of evidence do not support the reasoning. Stein's contention that the Ephthalites were of the Hunnish tribe and therefore of Turkish origin is dismissed largely on this basis. On the other hand, J. Marquart finds similarities between the terms for the Ephthalites in India and words in the Mongolian language, but this theory requires so many leaps between tongues that it remains quite unconvincing. Finally, there is a whole school of researchers attempting to prove this tribe a Turkish, albeit non-Hun, one. These too must rely only on flimsy name evidence. Instead, Enoki makes a convincing case that the Ephthalites are actually an Iranian group. His theory, it must be admitted, does not explain all, but there seems little against it. More importantly, it relies first on data which is generally agreed upon, namely, ancient observations of Ephthalite geographical movements and culture.
For Enoki, Ephthalite origins may be determined by considering where they were not, as well as by where their conquests drove their enemies. They were not previously north of the Tien Shan, thus they did not stem from that region. They drove the Kidarites out of Balkh to the west, thus they came originally from the east. By such reasoning, the Ephthalites are thought to have originated at Hsi-mo-ta-lo (southwest of Badakhshan and near the Hindu Kush), which tantalizingly, stands for Himtala, "snow plain", which may be the Sanskritized form of Hephthal.

Chinese Account
To the Chinese, they were the Ye-ti-i-li-do or Yeda, even though the Chinese chroniclers seem to realize that the people called themselves the people of Hua (the similarity to Hun may help explain the origin of "White Hun") and that the Chinese terms came actually from the name of the Hua leader. Like Procopius, contemporary Chinese chroniclers had their own theories about Ephthalite origins. One thought that were related in some way to the Visha (Indo-Europeans known to the Chinese as the "Yueh Chih" (Yuezhi)), another, a branch of the Kao-ch`ê, a third, descendants of the general Pahua, a fourth descendants of Kang Chu and a fifth admits that he cannot make clear their origins at all.
Iranian Decent
Turning to the elements of Ephthalite culture, Enoki notes that Procopius' comments on their appearance while not decisive, are in favor of an Iranian theory. Similarly, the seventh century travels of Hsuan Chwang show that he found no physical difference between the descendants of the Ephthalites and their known Iranian neighbors. As for their language, commentators made clear that it was neither Turkish nor Mongol, which also seems to support an Iranian origin.
Iranian customs also are common in the Ephthalite world. For example, the practice of several husbands to one wife, or polyandry, was always the rule, which is agreed on by all commentators. That this was plain was evidenced by the custom among the women of wearing a hat containing a number of horns, one for each of the subsequent husbands, all of whom were also brothers to the husband. Indeed, if a husband had no natural brothers, he would adopt another man to be his brother so that he would be allowed to marry. Conjugal rights were traded off and children were assigned in turn with the oldest husband receiving the first and so on. Tellingly, polyandry has never been associated with any Hun tribe, but is known of several Central Asian ones.
In their religious beliefs, the Ephthalites are said to have worshipped fire and sun gods. While either one is not unusual in any early culture around the world, both together is likely to indicate a Persian origin. In Persia, such beliefs were later to culminate in Zoroastrianism.
As part of their religious observance, the Ephthalites did not cremate, but as is reported by all commentators including Procopius, always buried their dead, either by constructing a tomb or under the ground. This is not consistent with the Zoroastrian practice of leaving the body in the open, but is clearly at odds with Turkish nomadic groups. The practice of inhumation then may simply indicate an Iranian group which had been sundered from the main branch at an early date and had adopted local Central Asian burial customs.

Arabic persian Accounts
Arabic/Persian name for the Hephtalites/Ephtalites was Haytal or Hayatila, and they are so mentioned by Firdausi in his Shahnameh. In his commentary on the Hudud al Alam, the late Russian Professor Minorsky quotes two early passages from Arab chroniclers that link the Khalaj with the Hayatilas aka Ephtalites.
  • From the Mafatih al Ulum of Al-Khwarezmi written in 975 AD (H. 365): The Hayatila are a tribe of men who had enjoyed grandeur and possessed the country of Tukharistan; the Turks called Khalukh, or Khalaj, are their descendants.
  • From the Kitab al Masalik of Istakhri, written in 933 AD (H. 321): The Khalaj are a kind of Turks who in the days of old came to the country between Hind and the districts of Sijistan (Sakastan/Sistan) behind Ghor. They are catle-breeders of Turkish apperance, dress, language.
Takharistan is what is now north-eastern Afghansitan, around Baghlan. Takharistan was actually one of the major strongholds of the Hephtalites during their dominant period in history, so it correlates well to the 2 passages above. Both passages take the Khalaj back some five centuries before the Ghuzz migrations, making their ancestors the White Huns.
As their empire shows, the central focal spot of their empire is the Hindu Kush. Regardless of their origins, by the end of the 6th century AD, there emerges a group of tribes with an Iranian background and language, but not fire worshippers, rather sun worshippers, made up of successive hordes overlaid at the last by a Hunnish conquest, and with a centre of historical attraction towards the Gandhara Valley.

So white Huns are of Decendents of Iranian and Central Asian tribe ,and they are noway connected with Huns of Attila fame. Probably they are just Indian tribe on the periphery in Afghanisthan

Let us see other Huns
European Huns
In 370, nomads arrived nroth of the Black Sea. These nomads were given the name "Huns" by Greco-Roman historians. One theory for the origin of these people is that in 160, Fragments of the Xiong Nu settle around the Ural sea for 200 years, before moving west. However, association of the Xiong Nu and the Huns is now more of a "classic speculation" without enough evidence. Most realistically, the Huns in Europe could've contained some fragments of the Xiong Nu, but also fragments of other steppe groups, along with more local european barbarians. In any case, the Huns moved and destroyed the cultures north of the Pontus including the Sarmatians and the Goths. The Goths then migrated into the Eastern Roman empire, who after rebelling against the Empire, defeated the Romans at Adrianople. The Hun gradually expanded their realms incorporating many local barbarian groups. The height of the empire marked the Reign of Attila, who made repeated invasion against the Romans. Although the Huns did not penetrate very deeply compared to other barbarians, they were instrumental in causing migrations of other barbarians against Rome. After Attila died, the empire rapidly fell apart. Germanic tribes rebelled and defeated Attila's sons, forcing whatever was of the Huns to move back into the steppes, where they faced away.

Red Huns (Chionites)
In 350, the Chionites came to power in Sogdia and invaded the Sassanid Empire of Persia. Latin sources relate them to "Huns" but ethnical relations is far beyond what names can say. Most probable, they were driven out of the Mongolian Steppes by the Juan Juan. (this pattern of groups migrating away from strong nomadic empires is a constant theme in history) The Chionites declined with the Invasion of the White Huns. The last record of Chionites was in 558 AD, when their last remnant was destroyed by the Western Turks.

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Myth of Chinese Martial arts origin

Most Western students of Asian martial arts, if they have done any research on the subject at all, will surely have come across references to Bodhidharma. He is known as "Daruma" in Japan and as often as not, this Indian Buddhist monk is cited as the prime source for all martial arts styles or at the vary least, for any style which traces its roots back to the fabled Shaolin Temple. However, the question of his contributions to the martial arts and to Zen Buddhism and even of his very existence has been a matter of controversy among historians and martial arts scholars for many years (Spiessbach,1992).

As legend has it, the evolution of karate began over a thousand years ago, possibly as early as the fifth century BC when Bodhidharma arrived in Shaolin-si (small forest temple), China from India and taught Zen Buddhism. He also introduced a systematized set of exercises designed to strengthen the mind and body, exercises which allegedly marked the beginning of the Shaolin style of temple boxing. Bodhidharma's teachings later became the basis for the majority of Chinese martial arts.

Let us analyse facts to see the legend.

Sholin martial history
It is well known that China has had thousands of years of martial arts development. What is not easily known is where the monk's skills and techniques originated. The often-repeated legend of the Indian Buddhist monk, Bodhidharma, or Da Mo in Chinese, states that he began teaching the Shaolin monks (around the year 600 AD) special stretching and aerobic exercises designed to build up their health and strength for enduring long periods of sitting meditation. He is said to have initiated three sets of exercises: the Book of Muscle-Tendon Changing (Yi Jin Jing), the Book of Bone Marrow and Brain Washing (Xi Shui Jing) and the Eighteen Hands of the Lohan (Lohan Shi Ba Shou). From these three, a set of self-defence techniques was developed and the Shaolin fighting arts (Quan Fa) are thought to have been born.

However, these legends did not appear until hundreds of years after this event was said to have occurred, and there is no mention at all from India or Persia that Da Mo ever existed. What's more, written records show Shaolin as having fighting monks protecting its grounds before Da Mo's said arrival (the temple being in operation since the late 300 AD). Ba Tuo, the Indian monk who founded Shaolin thirty years before Da Mo was said to have arrived, had two disciples, Hui Guang and Seng Chou, who were noted for their fighting skills. In fact, in recent news from China, archaeologists found ancient manuscripts that pre dated Shaolin by many years and which contain illustrations that closely match those of Yi Jin Jing and Xi Shui Jing! So what are where are the roots of Shaolin Quan Fa?

In ancient times- before Shaolin- the martial arts were practiced for military reasons. Usually, only the nobility and professional soldiers were allowed to openly study martial arts. Besides empty handsets, much attention was spent on spear and sword sets. This was true for almost two thousand years before the start of Shaolin. Through the various Chinese dynasties, wars, marauding mercenaries, and highway bandits made fighting and self-defence a survival necessity.

According to the most commonly accepted versions of the legend, the Chinese martial arts trace their origin to thousands of years ago in China. As the Chinese writing system traces back to the Shang Dynasty (1766 BCE - 1122 BCE), claims of entire books regarding the martial arts being written at earlier times are suspect. The Art of War, written during the 6th century BCE by Sun Tzu, deals directly with military warfare. There are passages in the Zhuang Zi that pertain to the psychology and practice of martial arts. Zhuang Zi, the author of the same name, is believed to have lived in the 4th century BCE. The Tao Te Ching, often credited to Lao Zi, contains principles that are applicable to martial arts, but the dating of this work is controversial. Archery and charioteering were a part of the "six arts" (Traditional Chinese: Simplified Chinese: pinyin: liu yi, also including rites, music, calligraphy and mathematics) of the Zhou Dynasty (1122 BCE - 256 BCE), according to the text Zhou Li. According to legend, the reign of the Yellow Emperor (traditional date of ascension to the throne, 2698 BC) introduced the earliest forms of martial arts to China.

The Yellow Emperor is described as a famous military general who, before becoming China’s leader, wrote a lengthy treatise about martial arts. He allegedly developed the practice of Jiao di or horn-butting and utilized it in war. Jiao di evolved during the Zhou Dynasty into a combat wrestling system called Jiao li (between tenth and third century BCE). The practice of Jiao li in the Zhou Dynasty was recorded in the Classic of Rites]] This combat system included techniques such as strikes, throws, joint manipulation, and pressure point attacks. Jiao li became a sport during the Qin Dynasty (221 BCE - 207 BCE).[1] Currently, Jiao li is known as Shuai jiao, its modern form.

Taoist monks are claimed to have been practicing physical exercises that resemble Tai Chi Chuan at least as early as the 500 BCE era. In 39-92 CE, "Six Chapters of Hand Fighting", were included in the Han Shu (history of the Former Han Dynasty) written by Pan Ku. Also, the noted physician, Hua T'uo, composed the "Five Animals Play" - tiger, deer, monkey, bear, and bird, around 220 CE. As stated earlier, the Kung Fu that is practiced today developed over the centuries and many of the later additions to Kung Fu, such as the Shaolin Kung Fu style, later animal forms, and the drunken style were incorporated from various martial arts forms that came into existence later on in China and have accurate historical data relating to their inventors.

I may not go here to suggest anything here. But what we can infer martial arts existed since ancient times in all parts of the world and chinese are no exception. To say all the martial arts skills were taught byDA MO is too much. But since the martial arts form of Shaolin temple is the most famous and legends associated with carry till today shows that there could be some truth to it.

surviving Indian martial arts
Kallaripayattu :
Kallari is the Malayalam (language spoken in Kerala) word, for a special kind of gymnasium, in which the martial art known as Kallari Payattu, is practiced. It had its origins in the 4th century A. D. Legends claim, that the art began with the sage Parasurama, who posssessed mystical powers. He built temples and also introduced martial arts, which have influenced and shaped many other arts. The art reached its peak in the 16th century, in the days of Thacholi Othenan - a celebrated chieftain of north Malabar.
A Kallari Payattu demonstration includes physical exercises and mock duels - armed and unarmed combat. It is not accompanied by any music or drumming, but is a silent combat, where style matters the most. Kalari Payattu is practiced by women also. Unniyarcha was a legendary heroine, who won many battles with distinction. Today, Kallari Payattu is a method of physical fitness, and an empty-handed means of self-defence. Yet, it is tied to traditional ceremonies and rituals.

Kallari Payattu consists of various techniques and stages. Among them are:
Uzhichil Uzhichil, or the massage with the Gingerli oil, is used for imparting suppleness to the body, but only persons with a thorough knowledge of the nervous system, and the human body, conduct the 'uzhichil'.

Maipayattu Body exercises or Maippayattu includes the twists and turns of the body, leaps and jumps, and poses, designed to gain control over various parts of the human body.
Sticks of Kolthari This is the next stage where training in handling various staffs of wood or canes of different lengths are imparted. The long stick is called 'kettukari' and the short ones are called ' kuruvadi'.

Otta The otta is an 'S' shaped staff, with a knob at one end, made of the toughest portions of the tamarind tree.These sticks, which are about 2 feet long, are specially suitable for attacks on the nervous system.

Metal weapons or Anga Thari Weapons of various metals are used in training and combat sessions, like the sword, sword and shield, two types of knives, daggers, the spear and the 'urumi', which is a flexible two sided sword. Various exercises are performed with these weapons.

Puliyankam (Sword Fight) Wielding the sword in an efficient manner, is considered to be the peak of perfection in Kallari Payattu. Various methods in the use of the sword, as a weapon of offence and defence, are being practiced today, but the most awsome amone these is the Puliyankam, where the combatants fight like tigers.
The Spear vs the Sword In this combat, one contestant is armed with a sword and shield, and the other with a spear. Due to the length of the spear, the swordsman faces a disadvantage, but if he knows how to exploit all the weak points of the spear-man, and take advantage of all the opportunities, that come his way to get under his opponent's guard, he can easily triumph over his opponent.

Barehanded Fight or Verumkai In unguarded moments, there are some special ways of getting out of a tight situation, by using one's hands or a piece of cloth or a rope. Locks and blows are in vogue. Attacks on the nervous system by the edge of one's palm, are enough to paralyse the opponent. Various types of blows with different effects are, therefore, practiced to perfection.

ChakrumThe Chakram (or Chackrum or Chackram or Chackra) is a metal ring that has been used as a throwing device by the Sikhs of India for many hundreds of years. The Sikhs became martial under Guru Govind Singh and used the Chackra effectively against the Moghul dynasty. The Chackrum has a history that is as old as Indian civilization itself. It's useage is embedded in Indian myth and legend. In the epics..the Mahabharata for asura trying to get heavenly nectar from the moon had his head chakra-ed off. Still he tries to swallow the moon and succeeds ever so often before the moon escapes through the cut eclipse myth. Sculptures and paintings of many gods and godesses show the chakra being twirled.

Thang-TaThang-Ta is the term used to represent all of the Manipuri martial arts. Thang-Ta literally means "sword and spear" because these are the mains weapons used, however, other weapons are used as well, including shields, daggers, sticks, and axes.

The Manipuri people have a long history of combat. Their methods involved specific elements of etiquette. For example, if an unarmed man was challenged to do battle, he was given time to obtain his weapon(s) before engaging in a fight.

Another example involved combatants who used spears to do battle. These warriors would agree on a set distance between them. When this distance was reached, the two rivals would begin to throw spears at each other. Receiving even a small scratch was enough for a participant to lose this dual and the defeated man would bravely accept death as his fate. Many times before he would die, he would share a meal with the victor. By allowing himself to be executed, the vanquished warrior was actually following what he believed to be God's laws, the violation of which would be viciously avenged.

The arts of Thang-Ta are serious forms of self-defense, even aggression, now choreographed into well-performed movements on stages. All performances of Thang-Ta often differ greatly from one another, yet they are executed with the utmost skill and precision. Anything less would result in the injury, or even death of one, or both of the participants.