A Nepalese Manuscript and Potalaka

Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan Palaniappa at AOL.COM
Tue Dec 8 05:35:05 UTC 1998

In the book "Expansion of Indo-Aryan Culture During Pallava Rule" (published
January 1965) B. Ch. Chhabra presents his thesis about the pivotal role played
by the Pallava influence in South-East Asia. This is based on his doctoral
work at the State University of Leyden, Holland in 1934.

In this he says, "A Nepalese manuscript, containing miniature paintings of
famous Buddhist sanctuaries and deities worshipped in India and abroad,
mentions  temples raised to Avalokitezvara in KaTAha and zrivijayapura. Though
the manuscript is much later, the sanctuaries depicted in the miniatures must
have existed in the 6th and 7th centuries. The same manuscript mentions a
sanctuary at the mount Potalaka, which is mentioned by Hieun Tsiang, too.
Since this Chinese pilgrim travelled in India in the first half of the 7th
century, it shows that the Buddhist shrines mentioned in the Nepalese
manuscript may have been in existence a considerable time anterior to the date
of the manuscript in question.

What is characteristic of this colonial Brahmanism and Buddhism is that they
present a blending which is unknown in India. ziva and Buddha are often
represented as identical. maJjuzrI, for example, in the Kelurak inscription is
praised in these terms: ayaM sa vajradhRk zrI-mAn brahmA viSNur mahezvaraH.
Moreover, avalokitezvara seems to occupy the same place in Buddhism as
agastyain Brahmanism. The latter appears as an attendant to ziva in the same
manner as avalokitezvara to Zakyamuni. Then  again they are worshipped
separately as saviours of the world..." (p.80-1)

Apparently, the Nepalese manuscript is cited by A. Foucher  in Etude sur
l'iconogr. Bouddhique, Paris, 1900.

It will be interesting to find out what that Nepalese mansucript says about

S. Palaniappan

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