In this Our History Series 7, we are going to witness something more tangible that our forebears have left behind, something to base our study upon how a Kirati Mongolian Prince became a household word centuries ago in our neighbourhood. Let us examine:
The first picture above is of the script carved on rock by Ashok the Great; it is written in Pali language the lingua franca of his days and contains the Buddha’s message of The Four Noble Truths. Pali was also the mother tongue of the Buddha and is thought to be a corrupt spelling of the word Nepali. Some pseudo historians have been trying to identify the script as Brahmi, in an attempt of stealing the credit.
Second picture highlights the influence of the monk missionaries who had gone into the land ruled by the Greeks, the successors of Alexander the Great. The monks were able to learn their language as well as the local language and engraved the Buddha’s message bi-lingually into Greek and Aramaic, the ancient language of the Jews.
The third picture is significant as it depicts the Buddha as the central figure flanked by Bisnu (Visnu) and Brahma carved in granite in a temple of South India. It points to the age when the Buddha had replaced Mahes as the Hindu theologians were debating the relative identity of the Hindu trinity. While the Buddha is seated and preaching, the other two divinities are standing and listening yet, Bisnu and Brahma are depicted as four armed divinities, the Buddha is apparently happy with his two.
Ten Awatar (Avatara) of Bisnu (Visnu) is the fourth picture and this too is in a temple from South India. Here Bisnu is seen lying down with his consort goddess Luxmi massaging his feet while above him are seen the images of Ram (Rama), Krishna (Krusna), Parsuram, Matsya, Kurmi, Narsingha (Narasimha), Bawan, Barah, Buddha and Kalki, the tenth awatar (Avatara) expected in indeterminate future.
The last illustration is a painting by Raja Ravi Varma of Travancore (Kerala) of the ten awatar (avatara). Raja Ravi Varma noticed the absence of pictorial depiction of India divinities and credit goes to him to have introduced this specific art form ab initio. However, his painting brilliantly displays Indian godhood mentioned above in all its glory and charm where the Buddha occupies his rightful place.