Teaching and researching religions, languages, literatures, films, and ecology of India: http://philosophy.unt.edu/people/faculty/pankaj-jain

Dr. Pankaj Jain

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Dr. Pankaj Jain is the author of Dharma and Ecology of Hindu Communities: Sustenance and Sustainability (May 2011), which won the 2012 DANAM Book Award and the 2011 Uberoi Foundation Book Award. His 2nd book is Science and Socio-Religious Revolution in India: Moving the Mountains (Routledge 2017).

He is co-founder of American Academy of Indic Studies (www.AAIndicStudies.org) and is the editor of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism (Springer).

He is Associate Professor in the department of Philosophy & Religion. He has published articles in journals such as Religious Studies Review, Worldviews, Religion Compass, Journal of Vaishnava Studies, Union Seminary Quarterly Review, and the Journal of Visual Anthropology. He also contributes to the Huffington Post, Washington Post’s forum On Faith, and Patheos.
His research has been supported by the Fulbright fellowship and by the Wenner Gren grant. His teaching interests include Religion and Ecology, Indian films, and Religions and Cultures of South Asia and South Asian Diaspora in North America. Before joining UNT, he taught at North Carolina State University, Rutgers, Kean, and New Jersey City University. Interested in connecting ancient practices with contemporary issues, he is exploring the connections between religious traditions and sustainability in Hindu and Jain communities in India and the Indian diaspora. He serves as a research affiliate with Harvard University’s Pluralism Project, as scholar-in-residence with GreenFaith, as a board member of the Society for Hindu Christian Studies, and as a board member of the Executive Advisory Council of Hindu American Seva Charities, an NGO working with the White House Office for the faith-based initiatives. He has presented his research at Columbia University, University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, University of South Florida, Florida International University, University of Toledo, Texas Christian University, High Point University, Lancaster University (UK), Andhra University (India), Univ of Rajasthan (India), and several conferences, high schools, radio and TV stations, temples, churches, Yoga centers, and other community centers.
He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa and an M.A. from Columbia University (both in Religious Studies). In his “previous life” he had also earned a B.S. in Computer Science from India and had worked as a software engineer in India and in New Jersey. Dr. Jain is an active member of several academic and community organizations, is fluent in several Indian languages, and has published poems in Hindi. He was born in Rajasthan and had also lived in Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Karnatak (in India) and in New Jersey, Iowa, North Carolina, and Texas (in the USA). Some of his papers and articles are at:http://unt.academia.edu/PankajJain/Papers and videos are at http://www.youtube.com/pj2017. The Facebook page for his book is at:https://www.facebook.com/DharmaAndEcology

Sunday, May 10, 2009

भारत और दक्षिण एशिया

Subject: Indian Influence in Ancient South-East Asia
A Cultural History of India
Edited by A.L. Basham
Oxford University Press, Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Madras 1975
Chapter XXXI: Indian Influence in Ancient South-East Asia
Pages 442-443
By the opening of the Christian era the civilization of India had begun to
spread across the Bay of Bengal into both island and mainland South-East
Asia; and by the fifth century AD. Indianized states, that is to say states
organized along the traditional lines of Indian political theory and
following the Buddhist or Hindu religions, had established themselves in
many regions of Burma, Thailand, Indo-China, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Some
of these states were in time to grow into great empires dominating the zone
between metropolitan India and the Chinese southern border, which has
sometimes been described as' Further India' or' Greater India '. Once rooted
in South- East Asian soil, Indian civilization evolved in part through the
action of forces Of South-East Asian origin, and in part through the
influence of cultural and political changes in the Indian subcontinent. Many
scholars have described the eastward spread of Indian civilization in terms
of a series of 'waves'; and there are good reasons for considering that such
'waves' are still breaking on South-East Asian beaches today.
The cultures of modern South-East Asia all provide evidence of a long period
of contact with India. Many South-East Asian languages (Malay and Javanese
are good examples) contain an Important proportion of words of Sanskrit or
Dravidian origin. Some of these languages, like Thai, are still written in
scripts which are clearly derived from Indian models South-East Asian
concepts of kingship and authority, even in regions which are now dominated
by Islam, owe much to ancient Hindu political theory. The Thai monarchy,
though following Hinayana Buddhism of the Sinhalese type, still requires the
presence of Court brahmans (who by now have become Thai in all but name) for
the proper performance of its ceremonials. The traditional dance and
shadow-puppet theatres in many South-East Asian regions, in Thailand,
Malaya, and Java for example, continue to fascinate their audiences with the
adventures of Rama and Sita and Hanuman. In Bali an elaborate indigenous
Hindu culture still flourishes, and preserves intact many Indian ideas and
practices which have long passed out of use in the subcontinent; and here we
haven fossil record, as it were, which can be exploited to throw much light
on the early cultural history of India itself. The fact of Indian impact on
South-East Asian civilization, past and present, is, indeed, in no doubt.
Much controversy, however, has arisen over the precise way in which this
impact took place.
Page 443
The term South-East Asia, moreover, covers a very extensive area within
which there exists a considerable range of environments and ethnic types,
and throughout which there cannot possibly have been a uniform operation of
any one of the several likely processes of Indianization. Some populations,
like the Khmers, the Chams, and the Javanese, became heavily Indianized.
Others, like some of the tribes in Sulawesi (the Celebes), were indeed
subject to Indian influence, but lightly and, most probably, indirectly. Yet
others, like the Negritos of the Malay Peninsula, cannot be said to have
been Indianized at all.
Page 444
...It seems most probable, on the present available information, that
Indianization started in earnest in the period from the first century B.C.
to the first century A.D. There can be no doubt, at all events, that by the
fifth century A.D. Indian culture was widely known in South-East Asia, and
that Indianized states had appeared not only in regions with relatively
large populations practicing a settled agriculture, like Cambodia, Vietnam,
and Java, but also in remote and sparsely peopled districts like Kalimantan
(Indonesian Borneo) and Sulawesi (Celebes).
...Indian colonization of South-East Asia, on the pattern of European
colonization of North America or Australia and New Zealand, is no longer
regarded by the majority of scholars as a major factor in the initiation of
the Indianization process, which now tends to be interpreted in the light of
an expansion of international maritime trade.
Page 445
...It is certain however, that once the economic importance of the routes
from India eastwards through South-East Asia was established, they were
extensively exploited by Indians who, unlike the Westerners of this time,
left a lasting impression upon the South-East Asian cultural landscape.

We possess very little direct evidence as to the manner in which the
Indians, once they began to trade and travel widely in South-East Asia,
actually proceeded to Indianize the indigenous peoples with whom they came
into contact. It is clear, however, that more than one mechanism must have
operated and that there can have been no question of a single pattern of
events holding good for the whole region.
Pages 445-446
Such communities would no doubt provide an example for the techniques of
urban life along Indian lines and the practical advantages of the major
Indian religions, which could be copied by neighbouring indigenous
Another mechanism can perhaps be detected in the deliberate borrowing by
indigenous South-East Asian rulers of the techniques of Indian political
organization, of which they learned either from merchants visiting their
territories or from themselves visiting the early entrepôts. More recently
we have examples of this kind of mechanism at work in Asia in the efforts
towards self-Westernization made by Japan and Thailand in the latter part of
the nineteenth century. Here there was no blind swallowing in its entirety
of an alien culture: rather, specific aspects of Western civilization,
mainly technical and political, were married into the indigenous way of
life. The finer points of art, philosophy, and literature tended to be
ignored, Since ancient Indian political life was so inextricably bound, up
with the religious cosmology, one would expect that self-lndianization, as
it were, would result in the establishment, at an official level, of an
Indian-type religion in the charge of a brahmanical priestly caste, whose
role would be comparable to that filled today by Western advisers in an
under-developed nation.
Page 446
...The Chinese texts, confirmed by epigraphy, describe the founding of the
Indianized kingdom of Funan in Indo-China in terms which could well suggest
the career of the Indian equivalent of Brooke. Kaundinya, so the story goes,
guided by a dream, set out in search of a kingdom which he won by kidnapping
and marrying Willow Leaf, Queen of Funan, This tale was later phrased in
more orthodox Indian terms, with the brahman Kaundinya marrying Nagi Soma,
the daughter of the King of the Nagas, or serpent spirits, a legend
strikingly similar to that accounting for the origin of the Pallava Dynasty
of south India. The Khmers, whose empire was a successor state to Funan,
later adopted this story as their official myth, and the Naga motif came to
dominate their decorative art.
Pages 446-447
...Almost ubiquitous in South- East Asia, for example, is a category of
Buddha image showing very clear signs of Gupta or Amaravati influence; and
some examples of this can, on the established principles of Indian
iconography, be dated to very early in the Christian era. Specimens have
been found in Indo-China, Thailand, Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the
Philippines. The earliest South-East Asian inscriptions, some of which may
perhaps date to the fourth century A.D., show the use of a script generally
considered to be of a south Indian type, with little if any sign of
evolution in a South-East Asian environment. All this rather suggests the
deliberate acquisition by the first South-East Asian Indianized rulers of
the signs and symbols of Indian political organization, the language and
script of the brahmans, and the cult objects of the major Indian religions.
Page 447
...The cult of the Devaraja, the God King, though certainly expressed in
Indian terminology, developed, so many scholars believe, into a distinctive
corpus of political and cosmological ideas which lies behind the
proliferation of Khmer temples built in the form of mystic mountains and the
Javanese chandis which were not only places of worship but also royal tombs
and mechanisms, as it were, designed to link the dynasty on earth with the
spirit world. No more extreme examples of this cult, with its identification
of ruler with god,' be it Siva, Vishnu, or Buddha, can be found than in
Angkor Thom, the city of the late twelfth- and early thirteenth-century
Khmer ruler Jayavarman VII. Here, on the gateway towers of the city, and on
its central monument, the Bayon, the face of the king himself becomes the
dominant architectural motif. From all four sides of every tower of the
Bayon, Jayavarman VII looks out over his capital, his lips and eyes
suggesting an enigmatic and slightly malevolent smile. This is something
which the Roman emperors, who deified themselves in their own lifetimes,
would have understood, but which would have been beyond the comprehension of
the great Hindu and Buddhist dynasties of India. The Devaraja cult of the
Khmers, Chams, and Javanese Indianized kings has survived to the present day
in Thailand, where it explains many features of the modern Thai monarchy.
Page 449
...Indianization, once initiated, did not come abruptly to a halt. Contacts
between India and South-East Asia along the trade-routes, once established,
persisted; and cultural changes in the Indian subcontinent had their effect
across the Bay of Bengal. During the late Gupta and the Pala-Sena periods
many South-East Asian regions were greatly influenced by developments in
Indian religious ideas, especially in the Buddhist field. The pilgrimages to
Indian religious centres like Nalanda, of which devout Chinese like Hsuan
Tsang and I Ching have left celebrated accounts, were also made by
South-East Asians, sometimes with much encouragement on the part of their
rulers. The Indonesian King Baladeva, for example, so an inscription
records, made in A.D. 860 a benefaction to the Buddhist university at
Nalanda. It should cause no surprise, therefore, to find a strong late Gupta
and Pala influence in many manifestations of Mahayana Buddhism in South-East
Asia. The art of the Sailendra Dynasty in Java, the builders during the
eighth and ninth centuries A.D. of Borobodur and many of the other
architectural glories of central Java, shows abundant evidence of this
particular influence, as also does the art of Srivijaya, a state which
dominated the Malayan and Sumatran shores of the Malacca Straits from the
seventh to the thirteenth centuries A.D.; and Pala influence can also be
seen to a varying degree in the major styles of the South-East Asian
mainland. Thus the great temple at Paharpur in Bengal, dating perhaps from
the seventh or eighth century, of which excavation has revealed the
ground-plan, may well be representative of an inspiration shared in common
by such widely separated monuments as Borobodur and Prambanan in central
Java, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and the Ananda temple at Pagan in Burma.
Pages 449-450
Inscriptions show that there was also a very close contact between many
South-East Asian regions and the Tamil kingdoms, particularly during the
period of the Chola Dynasty (ninth to thirteenth centuries A.D.). There were
Tamil trading settlements at this time at Baros in western Sumatra and at
Takuapa on the Kra Isthmus. Indonesian rulers endowed shrines in Chola
territory in India. This connection between both sides of the Bay of Bengal
was so important that, in the eleventh century A.D., it induced the Chola
kings Rajaraja and Rajendra to undertake demonstrations of their sea power
in the direction of Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula, with the probable
objective of securing a commercial monopoly rather than the acquisition of
territory. It is not difficult, therefore, to find explanations for the
presence of a Chola element in many South-East Asian arts and architectures.
Page 450
The Thais, once established in the Menam basin, underwent a process of
Indianization which, because it is well documented, provides an invaluable
example of the mechanics of cultural fusion in South-East Asia. On the one
hand, Thai rulers set out deliberately to Indianize themselves. They sent,
for example, agents to Bengal, at that time suffering from the disruption of
Islamic conquest, to bring back models upon which to base an official
sculpture and architecture. Hence Thai architects began to build replicas of
the Bodh-Gaya stupa (Wat Chet Yot in Chiengmai is a good example) and Thai
artists made Buddha images according to the Pala canon as they saw it. On
the other hand, the Thais absorbed much from their Khmer and Mon subjects;
and the influence of Angkor and Dvaravati is obvious in Thai art. Thai kings
embraced the Indian religions, and they based their principles of government
upon Hindu practice as it had been understood by their Khmer predecessors.
Hence the Khmer version of the Devaraja cult was absorbed by the Thai
monarchy; and traces of it survive to this day.
Pages 450-451
The thirteenth century, which saw the conquests of the Thais, also witnessed
two major developments in South-East Asian religious life, both, if
sometimes rather indirectly, the product of Indian influence. Theravada
Buddhism established itself as the dominant form of religious expression on
the South-East Asian mainland; and the saffron-robed monk became ubiquitous
in Burma, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. This movement appears to have
originated in Ceylon and is unconnected, except in the most remote way,
with the Buddhism which came to South-East Asia in the first centuries of
Page 451
...But it seems that the actual conversion of South-East Asian populations
to Islam on a significant scale did not begin until the thirteenth century,
when Indian Muslim merchants from Gujarat or Bengal brought the faith with
them as their ancestors had brought the Hindu and Buddhist religions....
The conversion to Islam of much of island South-East Asia was the last phase
of Indianization which we can treat in the same terms as our discussion of
the earlier establishment of Hindu and Buddhist influence; for in the
sixteenth century the South-East Asian cultural scene was greatly
complicated both by the coming of the European empire-builders and by the
great increase in Chinese settlement. Indian influence, of course, has
continued up to the present; but it has done so in competition with the
influences of Europe and China, to which, in recent years, have been added
those of America and Japan. The Islamic conversion in South-East Asia took
place along lines very similar to those which marked the coming of Buddhism
and Hinduism in earlier-years. It was established by influence and example,
not by force; and there is no South-East Asian parallel to the Islamic
Turkish invasions of India. Once established on South-East Asian soil, Islam
began to acquire peculiarly South-East Asian features, the product of its
intermarriage with earlier cultural strata, both Indianized and pre-Indian.
Thus women in Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines have not, as they
have in India and the Middle East, taken to veiling their faces in public.
The first South-East Asian mosques were not replicas of Indo-Saracenic art:
they were based on the forms of existing Buddhist and Hindu temple
architecture; and the dome is a late, and rather exotic, development in this
region. Many old pre-Islamic customs and ceremonies survived. Islamic
peasants continued to be entertained by stories from the Ramayana. Much of
Malay and Indonesian court ceremonial, marriage customs, and the like can be
traced without difficulty back to the days of Buddhist and Hindu dominance.
Page 452
The Indianization of South-East Asia was a slow and gradual process. With a
few exceptions like the Chola attacks of the eleventh century, it was
carried out by peaceful means; and in consequence, as it developed, it did
not build up a resistance to its further progress. Though its initial impact
was probably at the level of the ruling classes, Indian influences had no
difficulty in merging with indigenous cultures to create a series of
distinct South-East Asian amalgams in which it is now virtually impossible
to disentangle all the Indian from
the non-Indian. The result may not have simplified the task of the cultural
historian; but it has without doubt guaranteed the Indian heritage a place
in South-East Asian civilization from which it cannot possibly be dislodged
without the total destruction of that civilization.
Pages 452-453
Secondly, there are new theories about the reasons for the coming of Indian
influence to ancient South-East Asia and the way this influence spread.
These show a clear tendency away from a predominantly commercial or economic
interpretation of the process of Indianization (i.e. traders seen as the
main agents of the spread of Indian influence), let alone one based on the
assumption of large-scale migrations, abandoned long ago. Emphasis is now
put on brahmans or missionaries, or even on the initiative of South-East
Asians themselves, a development foreshadowed by Professor Lamb's adoption
of the term 'self-Indianization' to describe one possible mechanism of the
process. The frequent use of the words 'Sanskritization' or 'brahmanization'
in recent publications underlines this tendency. Archaeological evidence now
available also points to a slightly earlier date than that suggested by
Professor Lamb for the effective results of this Sanskritization in some
parts of South-East Asia, if not for its beginning.
Page 453
...As regards the extension of Sanskritization, which until recently was
thought not to have reached the eastern parts of South-East Asia, it has now
been shown that even the Philippines got a fair share of it, although it did
not result there in the establishment of lndian-inspired kingdoms as in the
more western and southern parts of the region.


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