When did the gods become literate?

L.S.Cousins selwyn at DTN.NTL.COM
Sat Nov 13 09:26:51 UTC 1999

Julio writes :

>Let me make an observation here. The culture of Andhra and Tamil Nadu,
>which are close to one another are not very different - in terms of
>dress, food, social customs etc
>But the difference between Lanka (SinhAla) and Tamil Nadu is quite
>distinct. And if interaction between India and Lanka were as you
>claim, such a distinction cannot be supported. And when Hinduism
>gained ascendency in Tamil Nadu, that should've reflected in Lanka too. But
>Sinhalese have remained stauch Bauddhas and even seem to consider Hinduism
>as an alien religion.

The Sinhalese ruling class, at least, came from North India and spoke
the same language as the North Indian peoples.

>>We know very little about how Buddhism spread to other parts of South Asia.
>>But there were certainly other missionaries -referred to in various
>>inscriptions and literary sources.
>But I think the case should be pretty obvious atleast in India itself.

It is.

>>He refers to the Colas and Paa.n.diyas in exactly the same way.
>But for some reason, he didn't consider them to be important enough
>to send his son there. So why Lanka?

Perhaps he thought of the Colas and Paa.n.diyas as foreigners in a
way that the Sinhalese were not.

Perhaps there was no royal invitation from there.

Perhaps he did send others of his presumed hundreds of sons but they
are not recorded because the Buddhist literature from those areas is
lost or because they were not as successful.

Perhaps the legend of Mahinda is a later invention to account for the
success of Buddhism on the island.

>>On the contrary, travel by sea was much faster and easier at the right time
>>of the year; so the travel distance from Patna to Ceylon may well have been
>>much less than that to, say, Ujjain.
>What? From Bihar to Ceylon? To get to Ceylon from Bihar you'd have
>to first cross Ujjain itself.

You do as the Chinese pilgrim Fa hsien did. You sail down the Ganges
from Patna.

Lance Cousins


L.S.Cousins at nessie.mcc.ac.uk or selwyn at dtn.ntl.com

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