Religio-Cultural Emissaries From Indian

Introduction of Ganesa Beyond The Indian Frontiers
Introduction of Religio-Cultural Emissaries From India

Introduction of Religio-Cultural Emissaries From India

Afghanistan and Central Asia:

Recent archaeological discoveries, particularly Asokan epigraphs in Aramaic in Afghanistan and art remains in Central Asia are significant. It is said that Yavana Dharma Rakshita went from India to Arachosia to propagate the faith of the Enlightened and converted many.6 Arya Dhitika, son of a rich Brahmin of Ujjain, was converted by Upagupta and he was responsible to a great extent for the spread of Buddhism in Thogar (Tho-dkar), a principality to the north and north-west of Kashmir and ruled by Minar Dhitika. During his short stay of three months he converted numerous persons, including the king Minar. He thus paved the way for the many sthaviras from Kashmir to visit this region. During the time of Minar and his son I-ma-sya about fifty monastries became active
with monks and nuns.

At Balkh, ill the seventh-eighth centuries, many monasteries were functioning with a number of monks having there. At Zang-tepe, 30 km. from Termez on the Oxus, have been found during excavations fragments or birch bark manuscripts in Central Asian Brahmi and in hybrid (Buddhist) Sanskrit language. They are assignable to seventh-eighth centuries A.D. Several other documents written in variants are Buddhistic in purport.7

The trade routes between India and China passed through Central As{a and Afghanistan and these are studded with a number of religious and cultural townships of Indian religions. A few such establishments are: Bamiyan, famous for its temples and colossal images of the Buddha; Bactriana, with its Nava-sangharama; Sogdiana (Samarkand and Bokhara), from whence Seng hun (Sanghabhadra) translated Buddhist texts into Chinese; Kashgar and Yarkand and Khotan yielding a number of Indian texts, viz., Dhammapada, Suryagarbha-sutra, Prajnaparamita, etc., besides vestiges of many stupas, viharas and temples. Besides, the discovery of inscribed frescoes recalling Ajanta paintings and a number of standing Buddha figures at Dandan Uiliq; tablets inscribed in Kharosthi with the legend Mahanubhavo Maharajo likhati from Niya, the language and the script, all confirm the continuance of Indian tradition (their being introduced by immigrants from Taxila).8 Sanskrit texts datable to fifth century A.D. from Endere; colossal stucco statues at Rawak; temples and wall paintings showing Indian monks at Bazaklik; the Thousand Buddha caves at Tunhuang all point towards the Indian influence in Central Asia. The rulers of Kuchi bore even Indian names. Besides, a few notable Indian texts like the Dhammapada in Kharosthi (first-second century A.D.); Sariputra-prakarana (first century A.D.), and a Sanskrit drama attributable to Asvaghosha were also found in Central Asia. Endere and Niya also yielded seals bearing the figure of Kubera, Trimukha and Ganesa while Stein has brought to light figures of Siva and Vishnu.