When did the gods become literate? Was: Are the gods literate

N. Ganesan naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM
Sat Nov 6 15:49:29 UTC 1999

>Maybe a few great AchAryas with their small following existed and
>probably  had a good deal of influence in intellectual and royal circles,
>but whether it was really widespread, I doubt it.

We may also consider the fact that scores of Buddha and Avalokita
sculptures have been found all across Tamilakam, some in the midst
of agricultural fields in tiny villages as high as 10 feet. Within
the last few years, a beautiful Buddha statue in the Amaravati style
was discovered from the sea at KaveripUmpattinam by fishermen. It is
dated to 3-4th century, See Prof. Schalk's article in Kolam in the
U. Cologne website. Many buddhist works were destroyed by saivism and
vaishnavism and the names and stray verses that survived -
vimbisArakathai, kuNTalakEsi epic, etc., The only buddhist epic,
maNimEkalai, available in full and veerachozhiyam grammar by
Buddhamitran (puttamittiran2aar) show Buddhism's influence.

The wars led by South Indian kings in Ceylon were political in
nature and did not have much agsainst any religion. There are
Buddhist viharas in Chola times with kings bestowing endowments to

In the last century, Neo-Buddhism was started by a Tamil in Madras.
The revival of Buddhism starts with the separate classifying of
Buddhists in the Madras presidency in late 1800s.

N. Ganesan

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