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

INDIA, THROUGH HER long history, has influenced the culture of most countries of Asia and the Western world. Such cultural communications were through saints, traders, ambassadors, besides religious teachers. It is a fact that Indians, unlike others, never imposed their faith and ideas by force or by exterminating the local culture, but enriched it by mutual adjustments while retaining the basic elements of the culture of the .nations to which they carried their home-culture. The first notable ambassador of Indian culture was the sage Agastya, the first compiler of the Tamil grammar, who is said to have gone as far as Ceylon in the south. In fact in the South-East Asian countries he is venerated so much that a separate cult-the Cult of Agastya-has grown around him.

Sanskrit and Prakrit literature, particularly Kathasaritsagara, Dfpava1jlsa, Mahiiva1jlsa, the Jatakas, etc., are replete with stories of sea voyages and the hazards of travellers. The protohistoric and historic trade routes, especially the silk-route to China passing through Central Asia, the spice-routes to South-East Asia and the Western world played a vital role in the spread of Indian religions and culture in other countries. Impact of the Indian culture is discernible in Egypt, West Asian countries, Afghanistan, Central Asia, China, Ceylon and the South-East Asian countries. Here, in this paper, it is proposed to recapitulate it region-wise.