Wednesday, 4 December 2013

From my book shelf

In this section, I am writing notes which I took from the following book.

ASHOKA - CHARLES ALLEN

Preface- Page number –12
British historians and archaeologists working in India in the nineteenth century were quick to blame the eclipse of Buddhism there on the Muslim conquests. For seven centuries zealots did indeed inflict horrendous human and cultural damage on India in the name of Islam, yet the fact is that Buddhism in Indi was in terminal decline long before Mahmud of Ghazni first crossed the Indus in the year 1008CE. Already by the ninth century Buddhism practised by its adherents in India had become so esoteric, so isolated from the wider community as to be unable to compete with revitalised, devotional Hinduism promoted by the ninth-century reformer Adi Shankaracharya and his followers. However, there is another equally important reason for the failure of the Buddhism in India- one that few followers of the Hindutuva nationalist movement (which believes that the only good Indian is a Hindu Indian) are prepared to accept: Brahmanical intolerance, which at times was an unbending in its hatred of heresy and heretics as later Muslim hardliners were in their jihads against unbelief and unbelievers.

Page number -13
The politicians who in 1991 egged on the mob that destroyed Babur’s mosque at Ayodhya on the grounds that it was built over the Hindu warrior-god Rama’s fort may be surprised to know that some of the most famous Hindu temples in India almost certainly began as Buddhist structures, often incorporating Buddhist icons, either in the form of images of deities or as lingams. Four likely examples- selected simply because they come from the four corners of the subcontinent- are the Badrinath shrine in the far north Garhwal Himal, the Jaganath temple at Puri on the east coast, the Ayyappa shrine at Sabarimala in Kerala and the Vithalla Shrine at Pandharpur in Western Maharastra.