Re: [INDOLOGY] Was Aśoka an iconoclast?

Artur Karp karp at
Fri May 26 16:44:46 UTC 2017

Dear Matthew,

>> Asoka after embracing Buddhism discontinued this practice and removed
the idols of such deities.

The meanig of the sentence is clear. According to Dr. Ambedkar Aśoka
'removed the idols of such deities'.

Removed - gently?

The problem is that no edict mentions Aśoka stating:  "As I venerate the
Buddha, the Enlightened One, there is no need to worship any other deity".

The question of 'the emergence of images and idols in India" apart what can
be seen here is an example of falsification of historical record, done
purposefully, with political agenda in mind.


2017-05-26 18:21 GMT+02:00 Matthew Kapstein <mkapstei at>:

> I have no idea about just what Dr. Ambedkar may have had in mind in regard
> to Asoka,
> but I do think that the question of the emergence of images and idols in
> India should be empirically focused.
> See, for instance, Michael Willis,
> The Archeology of Hindu Ritual: Temples and the Establishment of the Gods
> (Cambridge 2009).
> Although Willis prudently avoids the question of beginnings, some
> interesting suggestions may be gleaned
> from section 2.7 "From Private Sacrifice to Public Spectacle," pp.
> 113-122.
> One may also wish to consult, for evidence of deity-worship in early
> Buddhism, Robert DeCaroli,
> Haunting the Buddha: Indian Popular Religion and the Formation of Buddhism
> (OUP 2004).
> Matthew
> Matthew Kapstein
> Directeur d'études,
> Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes
> Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies,
> The University of Chicago
> ------------------------------

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