ous philosophy of the Mahabharata we observe the gradual relaxation of the idea of the non-duality. Dualism is inevitable for the generation of bhakti by the loving devotion to God. Yoga which originally meant physicopsychological discipline leading to the stillness of mental activities now becomes a method of sitting one self enrapport with the divine who is the Inner Ruler Immortal both in the soul of man and in the universe outside of him. Thus Yoga becomes a way of life a method of communion with God but is not however a great repression of desires or the forcible expulsion of disturbing thoughts. The new aspects of this theistic religion are love and grace reconciliation of the immense and transcendence of God and finally the view that the path of deliverance lies through heart’s devotion rather than through laborious travail of cerebration. Bhakti there fore is an easier path of deliverance than jnana saivism too developed a theology adapted to devotion and literature. Tamil saivism teaches the reality of the three categories God souls and matter. In salvation the soul is united but not identified with the deity. Tamil saivism thus does further in the direction of dualism than the qualified monism and Ramanuja. 33
The theist concept of Vishnu and Shiva have the common content of Bhakti element. Both are more dvaitic than advaitic. The Bhagwad Gita shows wonderful confluence of currents of philosophic and religious thoughts. The Gita clearly shows that there is compelling need for a personal God. BHAGVATISM Talking of Bhagvatism it had a very peculiar birth. The inroads of a large number of foreigners in the wake of the disappearance of the Mauryan Empire was a cultural shock to Aryanism. Quite a number of foreigners took to Buddhism as it was a simple doctrine unlike Minduism. Exceptionally as a few foreigners started believing inow exactly this came into existence is not known. This cult gradually caught on and in course of time came to be transformed into the Vasudeva Krishna cult of the Gupta period. This stage in the development of Bhagvatism is controversial. Some opine that the Bhagavata cult of the north-west got merged with the Krishna cult of the Abhiras in the Mathura area.
The one chief attribute of this religious perception is devotion or love towards god known as the Dionysian perspective in the west. This feature was not at all prominent in the then Aryanism of Hinduism. The predominant feature of Aryanism was the Apollonian perspective but not the Dionysian. To begin with it is not clear on how this off shoot of Hinduism came about but in course of time it came to be blended with the traditional Aryanism or brahminism. As a matter of fact the Vasudeva-Krishna cult belongs to the epic the Mahabharata and thereby forms one of the bases of Hindu religious consciousness even till today. NEED OF BHAGVATISM 1. Brahmanism had become an essentially intellectual doctrine. It ignored the right of heart. The fundamental principles which Brahmanismtaught were impersonal and speculative. It became too dogmatic orthodox violent ritualistic formal and too rigid to be pursued. The people who were always in need of an ethical and emotional cult in which it was possible to find both satisfaction of the heart and moral guidance understood no thing of it. It was in these circumstances that the movement Bhakti devotion blended with love of God found a favorable atmosphere. 2. These was the need of popular hero who could be made the rallying center to counter-act the mighty influence of the heterodox or heretical sects which challenged Brahmanism in the 6th century B.C. 3. Then there was the need of the absorption or assimilation of new ethnic groups, tribal groups and foreigners, and bringing back of these, if possible, who were then known as sramans, sanyasia, parivrajaka or yogi into the Aryan fold. 4. Secure revived respect of and confirmation to varnashramandharma in order to establish social law or ensure systematic functioning of society which would ensure its well-being. ESSENCE OF BHAGATISM Bhagvatism believes in : action performed attached to its fruit is fetter causing endless of briths while nishakama karma is release and true renunciation, selfless, loving pursuit of personal God is true bhakti which inspires selfless action and service, pursuit of one’s varnasharma-dharma i.e. social obligations is one’s true dharma, God incarnates Himself from time to time in human or any other form in 34
order to uphold dharma and wipe out sin; and every human being has a right to achiev moksha provided he finds shelter in God. CAUSES OF POPULARITY Significantly the cult of Vasudeva-Krishna spread rapidly and became most popular. Reason being, Krishna, satisfied all human urges and emotions as son (of Devaki and Yashoda as conwerd (protecting cows much venerated both by the Aryans and the non-Aryanas), as human or divine lover (of gopis and young women), as saviour (of the oppressed by killing his maternal uncle Kansa and demons, of the non- Aryans by hcallenging the Vedic God Indra, of the women by saving Draupadi’s honour) as ambassador (playing this role for the Pandavas), as charioteer (by driving Ajruya’s rath) as preacher (upadesha in Kurukshetra), as dvarapala (gatekeeper and receptionist when the Pandavas conducted the Yajna) as the lover of tradition (his presence at the time of the conduct of sacrifices) as friend (of the poor, the cowherds and Sudama), as lover of music (playing flute), as just kind (of Dwarka) and by his emphasis on a combined pursuit of Inana, karma and bhakti made brahminical religion more flexible and more easily acceptable. It was this
tradition which cound and did attract foreign mlecchas and which transformed Brahmanism into Hinduism. To sum up, Krishna probably even more popular than Rama, is a divinity of a rare completeness and catholicity, meeting almost every human need. As the divine child he satisfies the war maternal drives of Indian womehood. As the divine lover, he provides romantic wish-fulfillment in a society still little tightly controlled by ancient norms of sexual relations. As charioteer of the hero Arjuna on the battle filed of Kurkshetra, he is the helper of all those who turn to him and even saving the sinner from evil of rebirths if the has sufficient faith in the Lord. SAIVISM A. The worhisp of Shiva or Rudra goes back to the Harappan and Vedic times. In the Yajurveda we have the shatarudriya. The Taittinriya tells us that the whole universe is the manisfestation of Rudra. Some of the Upanishads, the Mahabharata and some Puranas glorify Siva or Rudra. The sacred literature of the Shaivas is called Shaivagama. Shrikantha places it side byside with the Vedas. Madhavacharya refers to the four schools of Shaivism – Nakulishapashupata, Shaiva, Pratyabhijna, (Kashmir Shaivism) and Raseshvara. Besides these we find mention of two more sects, Kapalike and Kalamukha, in Yamuna’s Agamapramanya. Shaivism of the ‘Shaiva’ type is further divided into Vira Shaivism or or Shakti vishistadvaita and Shaiva Siddhanta. The former is also known as Lingayata or Satsthala. Shaiva Siddhanta is the representative of the Southern Shaivism and Pratayabhijna or Kashmira Shaivism is the representative of the Northern Shaivism. B. It is certain that saivism and Vaisnavism developed almost simultaneously and have complementary references to eachother. Siva worship is referred to in the Tamil epics silapadikarna and mamimekhalai. The anthropomorphic as well as the Phallic figures of Siva are found in early art. The Mathura sculpture of the late Kushan period shows four faces of Siva carved on four shafts joined together. Coins of Sakas, Parthians and the Kushan rulers depict Siva in the human form relining on the sacred bull, the Nandi. The God Siva is mentioned by different names in the literature namely Ishwara, Mahadeva, Mahesvra, Shankara, Januardha, bholenath. (Shakti) ie.e Parvati his sons Skanda i.e. Kartikeya the Bull, the Moon, The Ganges, Snakes, the tiger, the trishul are also worshipped. Saivism was patronized by 35
Shashank of Bengal, the Matiraka of Valvavi, besides these dynasty almost all dynasties of India including the Rajputas practiced the cult of Shiva. Pasupata Sect : Pasupatas, worshipped siva in the temples. This sect included asetics or Bairagies who besmeared their bodies with ashes as well as householders. The Pasupati Doctrine: was dualistic in character. Pasu the invidindual soul was eternally existing with Pati, the supreme soul, and the attainment of Danhkhanta (cessation of misery) by the former was through the performance of Yoga and Vidhi. The Vidhi or means consisted mainly of various apparently senseless and unsocial acts. D. Saiva Movement in the South:
Nayanars and Acaryas. The Saiva movement in the south, like the Vaishnava, flourished at the beginning through the activities of many. Of the 63 saints known as Narayanars. (Sivabhaktas). Their appealing emotional songs in Tamil were called, Tevaram stotras, also known as Bravida Veda and ceremonially sung in the local Siva temples. The Nayanaras hailed from all castes, the Brahamana Tiru Janasabandhar having the greatest respect for this much older contemporary, Tirunavukkarasu (Appr), another Siva bhakta ofa low caste Manikkavasagar, though not included in the list of the 63 Nayanars was also a great Saiva devotee, and his Tamil work Tiruvasagam is one of the best devitional poesm of India. The emotional Siva-bhakti success preached by the Nayanars and other Saiva saints was supplemented on the doctrinal side by a large number of Saiva intellectuals whose names were associated with several forms of Saiva movements like Agamanta, Saiva-Siddhnata and Vira-Saivism. E. The Agamantins based tehets mainly on the 28 Agamas said to have been composed by the various aspects of Siva himself. The philosophy of this school was dualistic or pluralistic and one of its ablest exponents Aghora Sivacarya belonged to the 12th century AD. F. Saiva-Siddhanta. The Saiva-Siddhanta upheld Visitadavitavada and great expounder Srikatha Sivacharya appears to have been influenced by Ramaniya (13th century AD). SAIVISM 1. It recognize eighteen Agamas. From the fifth to the ninth centuries many great Shaiva saints like Sambandar Appar and Sundarar flourished in South India whose hymns constitute a magnificently rich devotional literature. The collection of these hymns is called Tirumurai. Manikkavasagar (seventh century) has written his famous Tiruvasagam. Meykandar the author of the Shiva jnanabodhamwho belongs to the thirteenth century is regarded as the first systematic expounder of the Siddhanta philosophy. His disciple Arulnandi Shivacharya is the author of the famous work Shiva jnanasiddhiyar. Shrikantha Shivacharya (fourteenth century) has written a commentary on the Brahmasutra which is commented upon by Appaya Diksita in his Shivarkamanidipika in the light of shivism in general though not strictly according to the Siddhanta philosophy. 2. Shaiva Siddhanta calls itself ‘Shuddhavaita’ the name which Vallabha’s school bears. But whereas Vallabha means by the word ‘Shuddha’ that which is free from the impurity of Maya (Maya sambandharahita) and by the word ‘Advaita the nondual Brahman Shaiva Siddhanta takes the word ‘Shuddha’ in the sense of ‘unqualified’ and the word ‘Advaita’ in the sense of ‘Dvaita devoid of duality’ which means that difference is real in existence but inseparable from identity in 36
consciousness. This means that though matter and sould are real yet they are not opposed to Shiva but are inseparably united with him who is the supreme reality. This suggests the influence of Aprthaksiddhi of Ramanuja. But whereas Ramanuja
makes matter and sould only the attributes of God Shaiva Siddhanta agrees with Madhva in giving them substantive existence. 3. Shiva is the supreme reality and is called pati or the lord who possesses the eight attributes of ‘self-existence essential purity, intuitive wisdom, infinite intelligence, freedom from all bonds infinite grace of love omnipotence and infinite bliss. Junst as the potter is the first cause his staff and wheel is the instrumental cause and clay is the material cause of a pot similarly Shiva is the first cause his Shakti is the instrumental cause and Maya is the material cause of this world. The relation of Shiva and Shakti is that of identity (tadatmya) though it is the power of the Lord. Thus Shakti is conscious unchanging and eternal energy and is known as Svarupa Shakti. 4. The individual sould are called pashu for like cattle they are bound by the rope of avidya to this world. The sould is really an all-pervading eternal and conscious agent and enjoyer (ichcha-jnana-kriyayukta). It has consciousness the essence of which is in the act of seeing. It is different from the gross and the subtle body and the senseorgans etc. The bound soulmis take themselves as finite and limited in will thought and action and in liberation are restored to their original nature. 5. The fetters which bind the souls are called pasha and are three fold Avidya Karma and Maya. Avidya is one in all beings and is beginningless. It is also called Anavamala or the impurity which consists in the fales notion of the soul to regard itself finite or atomic confined to the body and limited in knowledge and power. It is avidya because it makes the sould ignorant of its inherent glory and greatness. It is Anava because it makes the sould mistake itself as atomic and finite. It is the bondage (Pashutva) of the beast (pashu). Karma is produced by the deeds of the souls and is subtle and unseen (adrsta) and is the cause of the union of the conscious with the unconscious. Maya is the material cause of this impure world. 6. The removal of the pashu, makes the soul one with Shiva. Virasaiva or Lingayat Saivism 1. The Virasaiva or Lingayata movement was developed by Basava a minister of the Chalukya king Bijjala Raya of Kalyana (1157-68 AD). There is every reason to believe that it came into existence one or two centuries earlier through the activities of some Brahmana Saiva reformers. Basava used his political power and position in furthering the cause of this movement which was as much a social reform as a religious one. In the tenets of this school Visistadvaitavada played an important part. 2. Virasaivism means the Saivism of the stalwarts or heroic Saivism. The name serves to distinguish the Virasaivas from the three other classes of Saivas viz the samanya misra and the Suddha-Saivas. The first two the these classes worship siva alone. The Linga they wear on their person distinguishes the Virasaivas from the Suddhasaivas. Hence the name ‘Lingayats’ is also applied to them and the cult itself is called Lingayata. 3. The Virasaivas philosophy is called Saktivisistadvait a term which means the nonduality of God (viz, Parasiva) as qualified by power or sakti. There isno duality between the soul and the Lord God and soul are in an inseparable union through the inalienable power called Sakti.
4. As in the other systems of saivism, so in Virasaivism para Siva is the supreme reality theon Absolute without a second. He is of the nature of existence (sat) intelligence (chit) and blises (ananda). Sakti is the power which cternally resides in Parama-Siva as his inseparable attribute. It is the ultimate creative principal mulaprakriti or maya which evolves itself into thephenomenal univers. 5. The final goal of the soul is conceived in the Virasaiva system as aikya or unity with para-siva the supreme reality. The soul in union with Siva enjoys unexcellable bliss. This final state of experience is technically called linganga-samarasya i.e. identity in essence between Linga (Siva) and anga (soul). 6. The three terms most of ten used in Virasaiva writings are Guru, Jangama and Lihga. The guru is the preceptor who imparts to the aspirant spiritual knowledge the Jangama is the realized soul and the Linga is the Deity Siva. 7. Virasaivism teaches eight rules to be observed which are called ashtavarans. (1) obedience to a guru (2) worship of a linga (3) reverence for the Jangama as for an incarnation of Siva (4) smearing of ashes (Vibhuti) made of cowdung (5) wearing of a rosary of rudraksha beads (6) padodaka sipping the water in which the feet of a guru of jangama have been bathed (7) prasada offering food to a guru linga or jangama and partaking sacramentally of what is left and (8) panchakshara uttering the five syllabled formula namah sivaya at the diksha ceremony these eight modes of piety are taught to every Lingayat child. (9). The lingayats do not concern themselves with the worship of Siva in public temples. Some of the other peculiarities of the sect which are in the nature of reforms are the following the following the diksha ceremony which takes the place of upanayana is performed in the case of girls also and the women too have to wear the Linga like men. The widows are allowed to marry and women are not considered to be polluted during their monthly periods. The Lingayats dispense with the rite of offering oblations in fire and instead of the Brahma-gayatri they make use of the Siva-gayatri. The reformist zeal of the Lingayat teachers and the spiritual fervour of the Vachana-writers combined in making Virasaivism the most popular faith in the kannada country. Kashmir Saivism 1. Kashmir Saivism traced to the Siva-sutras whose authorship is attributed to Siva himself. The Sutras are said to have been revealed to a sage by name Vasugupta who lived towards the end of the eight or the beginning of the nineth century AD. A succession of talented exponents of the system followed Vasugupta. Kallata who was Vasugupta’s chosen pupil wrote among other works Spanda-sarvasva in which he explained the meaning of the Siva- Sutras as taught by his master. Somananda the author of Siva-dristi and a vritti thoreon was probably another pupil of Vasugupta.
2. Kashmir seivism advocated a kind of monism or non-dualism. The names by which the system is known are Trika, Spanda and Pratyabhina. The name Trika 38
primarily refers to the triple principle with which the system deals viz Siva-sakti-anu or pati-pasa-pasu. Though the other schools of saivism also accept these three categories Kashmir saivism regards the individual soul and the world as essentially identical with Siva and so the three according to it are reducible to one. The term Spanda indicates the principle of apparent movement of change from the state of absolute unity to the plurality of the world. And the expression Pratyabhija which means recognition refers to the way of realizing the soul’s identity with Siva. 3. The Ultimate reality in Kashmir Saivism as in every school of Saiva philosophy is Sambhu or Siva the supreme God. Siva is the Atman the self of all beings immutable and ever perfect. He is pure consciousness (chaitanya) absolute experience (para samviti) supreme lord (paramesvara). He is the ground of all existence the substrate of all beings. He is called anuttara the reality beyond which there is nothing. 4. Sakti (power) is Siva’s creative energy and is spoken of as his femine aspect. Siva in his aspects as Sakti manifests himself as the univorse. That is there is nothing other than siva. If the universe appears as if different such appearance is a delusion. 5. The supreme aim of the Partyabhij a system is to enable the individual soul to find its salvation. The salvation consists in the soul’s recognition of its identity with the Ultimate reality. As bondage is the result of ignorance release is to be attained through knowledgs. H. Kashmir Saivism 1. Kashmir Saivism traced to the Siva-sutras whose authorship is attributed to Siva himself. The Sutras are said to have been revealed to a sage by name Vasugupta who lived towards the end of the eight or the beginning of the nineth century AD. A succession of talented exponents of the system followed Vasugupta. Kallata who was Vasugupta’s chosen pupil wrote among other works Spanda-sarvasva in which he explained the meaning of the Siva-Sutras as taught by his master. Somananda the author of Siva-dristi and a vritti thoreon was probably another pupil of Vasugupta. 2. Kashmir seivism advocated a kind of monism or non-dualism. The names by which the system is known are Trika, Spanda and Pratyabhina. The name Trika primarily refers to the triple principle with which the system deals viz Siva-sakti-anu or pati-pasa-pasu. Though the other schools of saivism also accept these three categories Kashmir saivism regards the individual soul and the world as essentially identical with Siva and so the three according to it are reducible to one. The term Spanda indicates the principle of apparent movement of change from the state of absolute unity to the plurality of the world. And the expression Pratyabhija which means recognition refers to the way of realizing the soul’s identity with Siva. 3. The Ultimate reality in Kashmir Saivism as in every school of Saiva philosophy is Sambhu or Siva the supreme God. Siva is the Atman the self of all beings immutable and ever perfect. He is pure consciousness (chaitanya) absolute experience (para samviti) supreme lord (paramesvara). He is the ground of all existence the substrate of all beings. He is called anuttara the reality beyond which there is nothing. 4. Sakti (power) is Siva’s creative energy and is spoken of as his femine aspect.
Siva in his aspects as Sakti manifests himself as the univorse. That is there is 39
nothing other than siva. If the universe appears as if different such appearance is a delusion. 5. The supreme aim of the Partyabhij a system is to enable the individual soul to find its salvation. The salvation consists in the soul’s recognition of its identity with the Ultimate reality. As bondage is the result of ignorance release is to be attained through knowledgs. Kapala and Kalamukha Sects The Kapalas and Kalamukhas are two distinct sects though they were of ten confused with one another. According to Ramanuja the Kapalikas (members of Kapala sect) maintained that a man who was advanced in their doctrine could attain the highest bliss by concentrating his mind on the soul seated on the female organ. They owrshipped Bhairava the great God and attributed great virtue and occult powers to drinking wine and eating disgusting substances as food. They performed human sacrifices and bolived that by the practice of Yaga they could achieve miraculous powers of speedy movement. The Kalamukhas held that happiness in this world and salvation in the next could be attained by such practices as (1) eating food in a human skull (2) besmearing the body with the ashes of the dead and also eating those ashes (3) worshipping the God as seated in a pot of wine and (4) holding a club. Men of other castes could become Brahmanas by performance of certain rites and one who under took the vow of a kapala became a holy saint. The religious devotion of these outlandish sects was reserved for the horrid God Bhairava with his wife Chandika wearing a garland of human skulla and requiring human sacrifices and offering of wine for his propitiation. They must have been in vogue from fairly early times and their origin may be traced to the terrible form and conception of Rudra. What is however significant is heir philosophical aspects of Saivism. MARUYAN ART In the Mauryan period stone culture dramatically emerged as the principal medium of Indian artist. Some evidence is put forward by John Irwin that Ashokan columns may be the culmination of the ancient pre-buddhist religious tradition in India of a cult of one cosmis pillar of axis mundi. To say that a school of art fully matured and created lasting monuments in stone suddenly appeared is not believable. In all likelihood it could have been anilines importation. In particular the city of persppolis of the Achaemenids influenced Mauryan sculpture and architecture. The finest examples are those of Ashoka particularly his monolithic pillars. Each pillar consists of one piece of stone supporing a capital made of another single piece of stone. The stone is highly polished and gracefully proportioned while the polish was lustrous. Even this polish pales into insignificance before the high artistic merits of the figures that exhibit realistic modeling. The four lions on the Sarnath pillars and the smaller figures of animals in relief of the abacus exhibit remarkable beauty and vitour. The jewellery of the Mauryan period also exhibits a high degree of technical skill and proficiency. The inscriptions of Ashoka were placed either in sacred enclosures or in the vicinity of towns. The most commonly found remains are the animal capitals of the pillars. 40
They were generally cut from a single block of stone and stood in an enclosure, which was regarded as sacred. Stones from the regions of Mathura and Chunar near Benaras were carried to different parts of the empire because of improvement in communications. Not only stones were sent but even craftsman accompanied them. The uniformity of style in the pillar capitals suggests that they were all sculpted by craftsmen of the same region. Only at Taxila, possibly the local craftsmen were employed. Apart from the monolithic pillars, Ashoka built a large number of Stupas. Traditions puts their number as 84,000. Some of them were later enlarged and enclosed. Possibly the Stupa and Sanchi dates back to Ashoka. According to Sir John Marshall the oringinal birck stupa built by Ashoka was probably of more than half the present dimension. The present railing also replaced the older and smaller one. A few Mauryan figure sculpture have come to light – identifiable by the Mauryan polished surface. Two headless metal torsos have been found at a site near modern Patna. They are the earliest known sculptures of Jain Tirthankaras. Perhaps the figures of Yakshi and Yaksha found at Didarganj and Patna respectively belong to the Mauryan period. These figures seem to be emerging into reality from a melting volume of stone. They have smooth glossy faces, but they have meticulously carved details of of jewels and fabrics. Some scholars think that they were the best of Mauryan products. The last Mauryan / Sunga figure is that of the eight feet high image fouind at Parkham near Mathura. It is made out of cream sandstone. A bolt from Rampurva (2 feet in length and barrel shaped) is an excellent specimen of the copper-smiths’ art. A more important heritage of the Mauyas are the caves built out of Barbar caves. They were built for the Ajivika sect by Asoka. They are 19 miles away from Bodh Gaya. Smith records the art of of polishing hard stone was carried to such perfection that it is said to have become a lost art beyond modern powers. The two sites of Barabar caves are polished like glass mirrors. The two widely know wood-imitating chambers are the Lomas Rishi and Sudama caves. The details of these caves show a clear influence of wooden architecture. These rock-cut chambers mark the beginning of great tradition which would spent more than 1000 year in the history of Indian Art. The earliest examples of the rock-cut method like some aspect of the Lomas Rishi caves in Barabar show that they were faithful copies of the stone structure of wood and thatch. The use of bamboo in roof construction is to be seen in the Gopi cave during the reign of Dasaratha. Contemporary Greek writers refer magnificent halls in the capital city of Patliputara and regard them as the fines and grandest in the world. All of them have perished but in recent times axcavations have laid bare their ruins. The excant of architectural remains consists mainly of the rock-cut chaitya halls in Barabar halsls and the neighboring localities in the Bihar Sub-division of Patna district. Althouth the caves were excavated from hardest rocks they are polished like glass. Terracota objects of various sizes have been found at Mauryan sties. The tradition of making mother-goddesses in clay, going back to the prehistoric period is revealed by the discovery of these objects at Mauryan levelsat Ahicchatra. Many have 41
stylized forms but technically they are most accomplished in the sense they have well defined shapes and clear ornamentation. Also, a large number of terracotta’s have been found near Taxila consisting of primitive idols, votive reliefs with deities, toys, dice, ornaments and beeds. Toys were mostly wild animals, the elephant being a particular favorite. Despite the extraordinary creations in the field of art and intriguing questions remains. The artist of Ashoka must have relied on a long history of artistic traditions. How is it then that we came explain the almost total absence of specimen of Indian art before 250 B.C. ? we have to wait for this answer to be provided by archaeologists. So far, there is no evidence that the art tradition of the Indus valley had any kind of impact on the Mauryan achievements. Indian artist of the Pre- Mauryan period possibly worked both on stone and wood. The stone art effects have not been excavated so far. We many suppose Indians first began to work on stones during the Mauryan period. The results of their endeavor to change from wood to stone are seen in the crude inferior pillars of Ashoka, while those which are excellent and highly finished were the works of foreign artists employed by the great emperor. According to this theory this trend continued long after Ashoka until a full-fledged Indian art was developed under the imperil Guptas. GANDHARA-MATHURA SCHOOL Architecture in association with sculpture enjoyed the liberal patronage of Kanishka. The style of this age is known as the Gnadhara. The forms of Greek art were applied to Buddhist subjects with reasonable amount of success. Images of the Buddha appeared in the likeness of Apollo and Yaksha Kubera in the fashion of Zeus of the Greeks figures. The drapery follows the Hellenistic models. This particulars style was later transmitted to the FarEast through Chinese Turkista. The figure of the Buddha in Chiana and Japan reveal distinct traces of the Hellenistic modes of vogue at the court of Kanishka. Excavatations in the Kotan (Chinese Turkestan) prove that it was the meeting place of four civilization – Greek, Indian Iranian and Chinese. The Kushan dynasty reached its apex-during the days of Kanishka, who ruled over a flourishing nation strategically located to control to gates to the rice network of trade crossing Asia. He even sent to an envoy to the Emperor Trajan in Rome. Kanishka coins also reveal his desire to live harmoniously with various people and religions within his domain and beyond it. The elaborate parathion struck on the face of his coins illustrates particularly the various religions, practised beyond Gandharadeities of Persia and Gods of Rome, Alaxandria and the Hellanised orient and finally Shiva and Skand Kumar representing brahminical India. The most remarkable image appeared on a gold coin of Kanishka with standing figure of the Buddha. The Gandhara sculptures have been found in the ruins of Taxila and in various ancient sites in Afganishtan and in West Pakistan. They consist mostly of the images of the Buddha and relief sculptures presenting scenes from Buddhist texts. A number of Bodhisatava figures were carved out. A figure of Gandhara shows the first sermon in the deer park and the death of the Buddha. In all these figures there
is a realistic treatment of the body although it is draped. In these sculptures there is a tendency to mould the human body in a realistic manner paying great attention to accuracy and physical details particularly in the presentation of muscles, moustaches, etc. Also the representation of the thick bold fold lines forms a distinct characteristic. Thus the Gandhara sculptures offer a striking contrast to what has been discovered elsewhere in India. 42
The Gandhara art primarily depicted the Buddhist themes. The mother of the Buddha resembles an Anthenian matron. Apollo-like face went into the making of a Buddhist scene. Perhaps one of the loveliest Gandhara sculptures reflecting a western subject is the figure of Athena of Rome at Lahore. This sculpture is made out of blue-grave schist, which is found only in Gandhara. Although the technique of Gandhara was essentially borrowed from Greece this particular art is essentially Indian in spirit. It was employed to give expression to the beliefs and practices of Bhddhists. Except for a few exceptions no Greek art motif ahs been detected in the extanct specimens. The Gandhara artist had the hand of a Greek, but the heart of an India. There are large Gandhara stupas and monasteries survived as ruins at Guldara in Afganishta. Later a votive stupa from loriyaan Tangai in Gandhara has been found. If this is treated as the model of stupa in Gandhara, the stupa has undergone great changes form great stupa at Sanchi with its dome structure. It Gandhara the dome grew taller while the square railing at its summit was enlarged and elaborated. The greatest of all gandhara stupas as the one erected by Kanishka outside the gates of modern Peshawar. Here also the stupa had not survived but a reliquary (receptacle for relics) of Kanishka have been found. One more such beliquary has been found at Bimaran in Afganishtan. This particular kind of Gandhara style continued at least till the 8th century. It was along with Caravan route joning Taxila with Bactria that one of the greatest monastic centers of Buddhism flourished. It is the Bamiyan valley. The paintings in the valley reveal the motives adopted from Sassanian fabric designs. The most spectacular creation carved from the cliffs at Bamiyan are two colossal standing figures of the Buddha, the largest of them began as high as 175 ft. in its stone niche. It was finished with lime plaster. The image reflects the Gupta style of early fifth century. Above the figure’s head are fragments of painting resembling those created by Gupta Buddhists at Ajanta. Stucco was a popular technique in Gandhara art. A large number of monasteries of Afganishtan are decorated with stucco images. Also terracotta was used particularly among those who could not afford stone sculpture. Terracotta figures were also used as decorations in homes and as toys. All these provide interesting glimpses of the dresses and fashions of the time. Another revealing features is the presence of the images of Mother Goddess as the worship of this goddess remain an essential religious expression of the ordinary people. Buddhism, too came to be associated with fertility cult and other popular religious cults. This association in evident from the symbolic importance of the stupa and the brackets with female figures as to be seen at Sanchi. As a matter of fact, these figures are sophisticated version of Mother Goddess images. Apart from Gandhara sculpture appeared at Sarnath near Benaras. Mathura on the Yamuna and ‘Amravati’ and in Andhara Pradesh. They all offer many examples of
excellent sculpture. Each of them has a distinct style. The most well-known are the elaborate base relief from Amravati. Over many years this form was pursued. Most of it was probably execute in Huvishka reign. Simultaneously with the appearance of Buddha icon in Gandhara Buddha portrait based upon Yaksha model began to be created in the southern worship or Mathura. This place was a religious center even before the arrival of the Kushans. Under 43
standably the Jains continued their activities along with those of the Buddhists in the Kushan and Gupta periods. Some scholars believe that the Mathura worship created a Buddha icon at least as early as Gandhara. Close to Mathura is a sanctuary consisting of stone figures of Kushan rulers and deities. Only mutilated aculptures are recovered. They are carved from sikri sand-stone which is red mottle with cream spots. Two great fragmentary protrains are of king Vima Kadphises and standing king Kanishka. The garments worn by the Kushans can be know from these two pieces. Apart from creating the Buddha figures in the form of Bodhisattva the Mathura school did produce the master-piece of Buddha in the mid 2nd century. It is carved from the local sand-stone and it is a sitting figure. Unlike the majority of statis Buddhas of Gandhara wropped in the toga-like sanghatis this Buddha of a warmer clime is dressed as a true Indian wearing transparent muslim garments. Such like transparent textile being shown in a distinctive Mathura feature. Some hold the view that the Buddha image was evolved independently both at Mathura and Gandhara since there is a striking difference between the two. The Gandhara school laid stress on accuracy of an actomical details and physical beatury while that of Mathura strove to impart sublime and spiritual impression to the figures. The first was realistic and the other idealistic. Others hold the view that the Hellenistic artists of Gandhara are the earliest iconographers while others attributed to the sculptures of Mathura. However, it is generally held that sculptures made by the former have been reckoned as those belonging to the gandhara school, while those made by the latter have bee ascribed to the Mathura school. It is probably that images came to the made and almost simultaneously by both the schools. For the sculpturala and iconographic features of their products differ in essential details. Other Schools of Mauryan Period Talking of other schools, Amravati school is the foremost. Its sculptures shows a mastery of stone sculpture. The monuments at Jaggayyapeta, Nagarjuna-konds and Amaravati are a classes by themselves. The Andhra sculpture is generally known as Amaravati schools. The stupas at Amaravati were made of a distinctive while green marble probably it was began about the time of Christ, and received its final carved faces and railings from about 150 A.D. to 200 A.D. The nature art of Amaravati region is one of India’s major and district styles. A great number of graceful and elongated figures on the reliefs imbue a sense of life and action that is unique in Indian art, not only that each figures is animated by an internal vitality, the quality of the surface further enhances the action of having a gluid quality reminding one of water-worn pebbles. One of the great stupa railing (probably of the 3rd century A.D.) show the Buddha in Human form subduing a maddened elephant which had been sent by his jealous cousin, Devadatta, to attack him.
In the field of sculpture a round figure appears belonging to the 3rd century of A.D. It has a sure certain modulation of the flowing sculptural volume and illusion of life, both hallmarks of the late Amaravati school. All the railings of the Amaravati stupa are made out of marble while the dome itself is covered with slabs of the same material. Unfortunately, the entire stupa is in ruins. 44
Fragments of its railings have been partly taken to the British Museum. The sculptures of the stupa are quite different in style from those of northern India. The figures of Amaravati have slim blithe features and they are represented in most difficult poses and curves. However, as the scenes are mostly over-crowded, the general effect is not very pleasing, Indeed one characteristic and Amaravati is not disputed. The technical excellence of sculptures in caving plants and flowers, particularly the lotuses at Amaravati are most admirably represented in this school. The Buddha is mostly represented by symbols. It is only recently excavations have revealed art works at Nagarjunakonda. Slabs of limestone illustate scenes from the Buddha’s life. Although the period under review is not known for architecture, there came into existence beautiful temples and monasteries. The famous tower of Kanishka of Peshawar was one of the wonders of Asia. Unfortunately, no trace has been left behind. There is only one class of buildings which merit some attention and they are the caves hewn out of solid rocks. The caves of the Ashokan period were plan chambers. But the caves of this period are adorned with pillars and sculptures. Some were used as Chaityas or halls of worship. There are many such chaitya caves at Nashik, Bhoja, Bedsa, and Karle. The last one if regarded as the finest specimen because of the beauty of the sculptures on the front wall. The chaitya of Karle is the most impressive specimen of massive rock architecture. Monasteries or Viaharas were excavated near the chaityas. We have three viharas of this kind at Nasik. Apart from these caves we know of several free standing pillars as the Garudadhavaja of Heliedorus. This period of times is really famous for independent for Buddhis structures. The most important of days monuments are the stupas distributed over an area of 125 kilometers all around Ellora. The most famous of them are at Amaravati and Nagarjunakonda. THE GUPTA AGE RISE AND FALL OF THE GUPTA EMPIRE With the coming of the Buddha in early 4th century A.D. historical data becomes more reliable. Starting from 4th century A.D. till the latter half of the 6th century AD the facts of the day enable us to come to firm conclusions. How exactly the Guptas rose to power is difficult to be portrayed. With the collapse of the Indo-Scythian or Kushan empire some tie during the 3rd century A.D. the political pictures for northern Indian began to transformed. In all likelihood, a large number of independent states must have been formed. The lichachhavis of Vaisali of the days of Buddha re-emerged again. It appears that they obtained possession of Pataliputara and probably ruled as tributaries of the Kushans who had their headquarters at Peshawar. Very little is known of the early rulers of the Gupta dynasty. The founder of the dynasty was Sri Gupta who bore the titles raja and maharaja. Historically, as can be
gleaned from a few Gupta inscriptions, the history of dynasty really starts with king Ghatokacha, the son of Sri Gupta. Unfortunately, the original borders of the Gupta possession are not known. A number of historians feels that these must have coincided with the borders of Magadha, while others include parts of present day 45
west Bengal as well. The vagueness of the answers of this question is because of lack of precise epigraphic data. One of the main written sources available is the writing of the Chinese Pilgrim, T-Tsing. CHANDRAGUPTA I : Early in the 4th century Lichchhavi princes was married to the ruler in Magadha, who bore the historic name of Chandragupta. This alliance enhanced his power. Soon he was able tod extend dominion over Oudh as well as Magadha and along the Ganges as far as Prayag or Allahabad. Chandragupta I assumed the high-sounding title of Maharajadhiraja (Great king of Kings.) Conceding the importance of his wife, Chandragupta issued gold coins in the joint names of himself, his queent Kumaradevi and the Lichchhavi nation. Emboldened by his success he establish a new era. The Gupta which was used in parts of India for several centuries to come. In all likelihood, the region of Chandragupta I ended about 335 A.D. Even his son was careful to describe himself as the son of the daughter of Lichchhavi. There is some dispute regarding his succession since a few gold coins have been found in the name of Kacha. It is generally held that his name is Samudragupta.