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buddhism in kerala history

Ⓒ 2017 talismanian.com. Present-day Kerala was an integral part of this historical region. Architectural and sculptural reminiscences are numerous apart from the vital linguistic and cultural imprints like the abundance of Pali words in the present south Indian regional languages. Images and records of the persecution of the Buddhists by the Brahmanic forces are still available in Kerala in the form of stone carved images and in local subaltern oral narratives. They also spread literacy and scripts in ancient Tamilakam. These Chandalas or former untouchable Buhujan masses were and still are the agents of Kerala social revolutions or renaissance under the aegis of various radical social rebellions like the Narayana Guru movement, Ayyankali movement, Sahodara movement and various other progressive left and democratic political processes in Kerala. The persecution and eventual exodus of Buddhists from Tamil Nadu to Kerala in the seventh century was occasioned by the fall of the Buddhist Kalabhras at the hands of the Pandyas. Buddhism probably flourished for 200 years (650-850) in Kerala. of Maharashtra, 1980. The vast majority of people, the Dalit Bahujans were outside the cultural geography of Brahmanism as Chandals and Mlechas, as they were the former Buddhist and Jain population. Omvedt, Gail. Like Jainism, Buddhism is also believed to have entered in Kerala by 3rd Century BC. Various grounds for such a judgement can be adduced. Valath, V V K. Keralathile Sthala Charithrangal: Ernakulam Jilla. Madham in Kerala was originally a Buddhist monastery or nunnery as in Kanya Madham or Kanyakavu. The earliest Buddhist rock-cut cave abodes were built for Buddhist missionaries (monks) by the kings and traders on the busy international trading routes. Sugatan, K. Jativyavastayum Buddhamatavum. A few Tamil Brahmi inscriptions record merchants’ patronage of Jain ascetics. Many old Tamil poems like Ettuthokai and Pathuppattu have mentions of Buddhist monks' works to propagate the ideals of Buddha. Buddha statue near Sree Krishna Swamy Temple, Temples devoted to Bhadrakali or Durga (often simply called Devi or Bhagavathy in Malayalam) and Sree Krishna at former places of Buddhist influence. This is an interesting account of the history of Buddhism in Tamil Nadu and its impact on Tamil by Mylai Seeni Venkatasami, one of the most respected … It was the growing strength and prosperity of the agricultural Brahmin settlements and the shrinking of long-distance trade under the feudal system, rather than the persecution by Brahmins that led to the decline and fall of these groups in Kerala. History of Kerala:- Salient Highlights:- The history of Kerala, is as interesting and striking as its varied geographical features that adds an awe-inspiring beauty and thus this place becomes a land of versatile appeal. The Surprisingly Early History of Christianity in India Modern Syrian Christians of Kerala believe that the Apostle Thomas visited in A.D. 52 to baptize their ancestors • Sabarimala, the abode of the celibate Lord Ayyappan also known as Dharma Shastha. All rights reserved. The neo Buddhism launched in the 1920s by his disciples and intellectuals like C V Kunhiraman, Mitavadi and Sahodaran Ayyappan is also worth mentioning. Recently, 236 Valmikis embraced Buddhism in Karera village outraged by the state’s mishandling and treatment of Hathras rape case. Calicut: Progress, 2011. This devotion to Bhadrakali is most likely a living testament of the importance Buddhism gives to, This page was last edited on 21 November 2020, at 21:29. The word Pally is still the most popular affix used along with place, plot and family names in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra. Some of the traditions of the Sabarimala pilgrimage bear resemblance to Buddhist traditions, an obvious example being the "Sharanam" chants "Swami Sharanam Ayyappa" similar to the Buddhist chants "Buddham Sharanam Gachami". The Pali word Pally means a non Hindu place of worship. • A large number ardent Buddhists were executed; some others escaped to the thick forest and became ‘Adivasis’ (early settlers) including ‘Chola Naikens’. Like Jainism, Buddhism is also believed to have entered Kerala in and around 3rd century BC, during the reign of Ashoka. According to researchers and writers in Kerala cultural history like P C Alexander, P K Gopalakrishnan, Pavanan, Puthussery Ramachandran, Dr K Sugatan, P O Purushotaman and Aju Narayanan Buddhism was introduced in Kerala in B C third century itself by the missionaries of emperor Asoka on their way down south to Sri Lanka which still is a Buddhist country. The abundance of the black and red ware or Indian roulette ware introduced in South India by these monks and nuns with the Brahmi script graffiti “Amana” on them testify the prolonged presence of Buddhism. Buddhism and Jainism reached Kerala in this early period. Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s illuminating subaltern hermeneutics of Buddhism in his masterpiece Buddha and his Dhamma is also instrumental in the second rebellion of Buddhism against caste Brahmanism and social exclusion. [1][2]. Buddhism probably flourished for 200 years (650-850) in Kerala. [10] [11], Quote: Muziris Kodungalloor is the present name of ancient port, ... the spread of Buddhism in Kerala. It was the missionaries of Asoka who introduced the Dhamma or ethics along with the Brahmi script in South India way back in BC 3rd century. Yogini Abhaya Devi ancient sites, Buddhism in India, Buddhism in Kerala, Buddhism in South India Many ancient Buddha statues, dating back to 6th Century CE were discovered from various parts of Kerala. Kerala is also known for its renaissance and its progressive left and democratic politics. Hindu monastries were … Buddhism guided culture and society in the south for more than a millennium. The recent archeological excavations in Pattanam in Kerala and Kizhadi near Madurai in Tamil Nadu have revealed the extensive cultural presence of Buddhist missionaries in Kerala and Tamilakam. 'Buddhism, after all,' declares a distinguished historian of Indian literature, 'is and remains that production of the Indian mind, which is that mos... t important in the history of the world.' It is assumed that Jainism and Buddhism had reached Kerala through the trade relations with the best of the country and from This was the period when Buddhism began to decline. The historic affiliation to Buddhism in the philosophy and praxis of Narayana Guru the seer of Kerala modernity is remarkable. Itinerant preachers from India and abroad were warmly welcomed in revival meetings that were common in Kerala those days. Now the new Ambedkarite dalit movement in Kerala is also falling back to the Buddhist roots of the marginalised. Kerala’s Buddhist history. Karungapalli, Karthikapalli, Pallickal, Pallippuram are some of the examples of these places. The ancient Tamilakam or Tamil country was a treasure house of Sramana heritage. In the Sangam age, Buddhism was prominent in Chola, Chera, and Pandyacountries. To a certain extent the decline of Buddhism since 4 th century CE onwards and the vacuum that generated much helped to the spread and growth of Abrahamic religions like Christianity and Islam. No it was not practiced. [8] The Amana or Sramana seers introduced the Brahmi script and the art of writing in South India. Sources of Kerala History Keralolpathi, Kerala Mahatmyam, Raghuvamsam, Mooshaka vamsam, Unnuneeli Sandesham, Unniyadi charitham, Chandrolsavam, Unnichiruthevi charitham, Malabar Manual, Hortus Malabaricus. The Bahujans in Kerala who lost their ethical Sramana legacy in the onslaught of Hindu Brahmanic internal imperialism are now recovering from the calamity of Brahmanism and its fascist Hindutva avatars and looking forward to alternative paradigms and egalitarian new ways of living. The brutal persecution of Buddhist monks and nuns and conversion of temples happened in eighth and ninth centuries under the leadership of Brahmanic priesthood and the militant agents of Brahmanical hegemony and violence. The Brahmanical scholars gained supermacy over the Buddhist monks. The Buddha idols recovered at Mavelikara, Kayamkulam and Karumadi in south Kerala are now well known all over the world. The Buddhists came to Kerala and established their temples and monasteries in different parts of the country. Tvm: Kerala Bhasha Institute, 2008. Poets like Sahodaran Ayyappan have extensively written about the internal imperialism of Hindu Brahmanism in Kerala. Want to be notified when our article is published? Evidence for the history of Buddhism at the southernmost end of the Indian subcontinent (defined here as the modern states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, and Tamilnadu) is highly fragmented, a scattered collection of inscriptions, archaeological ruins, art-historical remains, and a few texts. The outcastes of Europe, the Roma have embraced Ambedkar’s Navayana and they are running Ambedkar and Buddha schools in Hungary and Germany resisting the racist violence of Neo Nazis and fascist skin heads. Gopalakrishnan, P K. Keralthinte Samskarika Charithram. Caste was specifically used against the former Buddhists who never submitted to Brahmanism as a punishment. The middle of 1800swas a time of great spiritual awakening and revival among Indian Christians, more so for Christians in the state of Kerala. This event took place on October 14, a significant day as 64 years ago, Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar converted to Buddhism along with his 3,65,000 followers, initiating the Dalit Buddhist or Neo Buddhist movement in the country on this day. Buddhanum Nanuguruvum. Jainism and Ajivaka philosophy also co-existed with Buddhism creating the great Sramana civilization of the South that has given birth to cultural classics like The Tirukural, Silapatikaram, Manimekhalai and the whole canon of Sangham writing. In the ancient times it denoted a Jain or Buddhist shrine. Bombay: Govt. The contribution of Jain–Buddhist traditions to classical Tamil literature is indisputable. It is also worth remembering Swami John Dharma Teerthar, a disciple of Nanuguru who wrote The History of Hindu Imperialism in 1942. Some Buddhist families in the Northern Kerala converted into Islam and in the Central Kerala into Christianity. Buddhism - Buddhism - Buddhism in the contemporary world: During the 19th and 20th centuries, Buddhism responded to new challenges and opportunities that cut across the regional religious and cultural patterns that characterized the Buddhist world in the premodern period. The Indian army has a horsed cavalry regiment. The Paliyam Copper Plate of the Ay King, Varaguna (885-925 AD) shows that the Buddhists benefited from royal patronage in the 10th century. While the history of yoga goes far back in time, the physical aspects of the yogic practice were … But more credibility is to the finding of M. G. S. Narayanan that these date back to AD 898. The people or Bahujans who were defiant to Hindu Brahmanism after the destruction of Buddhism by Brahmanism were condemned as untouchables outside the Brahmanic Hindu Chatur Varnayam. According to the inscription, a huge number of land holdings were donated to the Sri Mulavasam. [32] In the Sangam age, Buddhism was prominent in Chola, Chera, and Pandya countries. Your email address will not be published. The Paliyam Copper Plate of the Ay King, Varaguna (885-925 AD) shows that the Buddhists benefited from royal patronage in the 10th century. "[11], Paliyam copper plates dated to the 9th–10th century CE, List of Inscriptions, Copper Plates and Artifacts with Buddhist heritage, List of colloquial words of potential Buddhist history, List of current (non-Buddhist) religious sites with potential but unproven Buddhist history, List of traditions and practices of potential Buddhist origin, List of places (villages and towns) with ancient Buddhist presence. They argued with other religious scholars, defeated them verbally and annihilated them and their peaceful ethical religion forever. Accroding to historians Brahmanic Hindu religion was established only in AD 8th century in South India and Kerala in particular. Calicut: Matrubhumi, 2004. Ambedkar, B R. Buddha and his Dhamma. According to researchers and writers in Kerala cultural history like P C Alexander, P K Gopalakrishnan, Pavanan, Puthussery Ramachandran, Dr K Sugatan, P O Purushotaman and Aju Narayanan Buddhism was introduced in Kerala in B C third century itself by the missionaries of emperor Asoka on their way down south to Sri Lanka which still is a Buddhist country. Brahmanism created its notorious sexual colonies among the Sudra women and used their male counterparts as foot soldiers who ensured the caste and Varna system, the practice of untoucahbility and pollution. References Kerala is the melting pot of many cultures and civilizations – native as … All these human development indicators are also part of the lasting legacy of Buddhism, the democratic, egalitarian and inclusive way of living that shaped the cultural contours of Kerala from B C 3rd century to A D 16th century. Some Buddhists even consider Ayyappa as the incarnation of Lord Buddha. Most of the Buddhist temples became Hindu temples. Of the preachers, V. D. David, popularly known as Tamil David, had a great impact upon many in the Mar Thoma and Jacobit… During the 8th century, the decline of Buddhism started as the Brahmanical revolution started in Kerala. Buddhism as a doctrine has to be revived so that more and more can resort to a more ethical life of democratic values . Several Bhadrakali temples have their main Bharani festival during the month of Kumbham (Feb–March). Thrissur: Kerala Sahitya Academy, 2001. Keralathile Buddhamatha Samskaram. Merchants from West Asia and Southern Europe established coastal posts and settlements in Kerala. There are about five Buddha statues that were discovered from modern day Kerala. Ayyappa or Dharmasasta is a synonym for the Buddha. Buddhism is making a second coming as an ethical philosophy and eco-spiritual alternative way of life all over the world and in India and Kerala in particular. The famous poem Manimekhalai is a poem with ideals of Buddhism. —, Thiruvananthapuram Jilla, Thrissur: Kerala Sahitya Academy, 2001. The common essence of both yoga and Buddhism is the attainment of enlightenment through discipline. The Re-Entry Project : Combating Covid-19. History of Religion in Kerala Part II - Entry of Buddhism (From the book by A Sreedharan Menon) Like Buddhism, Jainism is also believed to have entered in Kerala by 3rd Century BC. Narayanan, Aju. Dr Ajay Sekher. The legend of Onam and Maha Bali still articulates the historic deceit of Buddhist Bahujan culture by the Vaman dwarfs. All the early major inscriptions now available are written in Brahmi script in Tamil language. —, Thrissur Jilla,Thrissur: Kerala Sahitya Academy, 2001. In places like Mathilakam and Kiliroor there were even Buddhist universities in Kerala in the early centuries of the first millennium that attracted intellectuals and students from all over the world. Enter your email address and name below to be the first to know. A colossal soul satisfying self experience. The main rulers of this period were CheramanPerumal and Kulasekara Alwar. Kerala and its Buddhist people are mentioned in Asoka’s rock edicts as “Kera Puto.” Manimekhalai the heroine of Chatanar’s epic is said to have received higher education in Vanchi university near Kodungallur. The independent Kerala identity evolved as a separate regional expression in the late ninth century. Buddhism refers to this enlightenment or realisation as Nirvana. Many ancient texts of Buddhism like Manjusri Mulakalpam were recovered from Kerala. The upkeep of the lands are believed to have been vested with Prince Indukotha, a heir to the throne, during the reign of Veerakotha Kulasekhara. The term Palli means a Buddhist vihara. By the beginning of the Christian era, there was a noticeable increase in the influence of the Chera dynasty of across the Western Ghats and into the political and cultural life of ancient Kerala. Tvm: Kerala Bhasha Institute, 2001. Adi Shankara (Sankaracharya, 788 - 820 A.D.) lived and propagatedthe Advaida philosophy during this perio… New Delhi: Sage, 2007. In Kerala very minor group of people follow the Buddhism. This is a list of ancient Buddhist sites, relics, traditions and places from the Indian state of Kerala. During their glorious period, for many centuries, these … The period ranging from the middle of 7th century to the early part of the 9th century is known as the Post - Sangham period. "The plates were discovered by T. A. Gopinatha Rao. Kulasekara Alwar later became a Vaishnavite poet and Cheraman Perumal accepted Islam and went to Mecca. Calicut: Progress, 2011. Even though Kerala does not have any major presence of Buddhists in modern times, many historians recognize a Buddhist heritage that seem to have existed until the 10th century CE along with a widespread Sramana tradition of co-existence between Vedic Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and ancient Dravidian folk religion. They were trained under Maravars , a Dravidian martial tribe, accepted Buddhism in later stage. Pavanan and C P Rajendran. A mangalacharana praising Buddha, dharma, and sangha is inscribed in the plates. Most of the surviving ancient Hindu temples in Kerala are modified Buddhist or Jain Pallys. Parsi (Zoroastrianism) There were a number of Parsi families settled in Kerala, particularly around Kozhikode and Thalassery area. Sugatan, K. Jativyavastayum Buddhamatavum. The number of Buddhists is less than Jainists in Kerala. Kerala is also known for the educational and health care achievements apart from its universal literacy. According to Elamkulam Kunjan Pillai, the plates date back to AD 929 (Makaram 7, Kollavarsham 104). Plenty of radical scholars and organic intellectuals in India and Kerala are now working on Buddhism like Gail Omvedt. Buddhism and Jainism spread in Kerala around 3rd century A.D. Jainism continued to have strong hold for about 700 years in south Kerala region. Both these kings later abdicated their thrones. The armies of the northern empires of the Mauryas could not enter the lands of the Cheras, but Buddhism and Jainism did enter in a big way. Buddhist statues were broken and thrown into the ponds of the temple. The art, architecture and rituals of Kerala are well founded on the enlightened ethical aesthetics of Buddhism. Thrissur: Current/Tapasam, 2005. As Ambedkar and Dr K Sugatan in Kerala have observed, untouchability and caste had a dimension of religious persecution as well. According to historians Brahmanism came and converted the temples from 8th to 16th centuries. There are hundreds of places in Kerala having the names like Palli either affixed or suffixed with them. Required fields are marked *, Get notified on our updates by dropping your mail id below. This grass root level democracy and collective struggles of subaltern people are also a reminiscence of Buddhism that was the first missionary religion that welcomed women and outcastes to the mainstream community. Buddhism and Jainism came to south India as early as BC 3rd century and established the early Sramana civilization of Kerala that was casteless and democratic. All the minority religions in India and Kerala like Jews, Muslims and Christians still use the Pali word Pally to refer to their place of worship along with Jains and Buddhists in the south. The real culprit behind all the fascist pogroms and genocides in post independent India Vaishnavite poet and Perumal... The ideals of Buddha the Pali word Pally means a non Hindu of! Thrissur Jilla, Thrissur: Kerala Sahitya Academy, 2001 to AD 898 many ancient texts of.! Hindu temples in Kerala having the names like Palli either affixed or suffixed with them achievements from... Was established only buddhism in kerala history AD 8th century in South India and Kerala are modified Buddhist or Jain.! In other parts of the last 3 such regiments in the ancient Tamilakam or Tamil country was a treasure of! In Brahmi script in Tamil language [ 11 ], Quote: '' the plates were from. And genocides in post independent India the spread of Buddhism Bali still the... Tamil Brahmi inscriptions record merchants ’ patronage of Jain ascetics, untouchability and caste had a presence... Mangalacharana praising Buddha, Dharma, and Pandya countries Buddhist centres in Kerala, particularly around Kozhikode and Thalassery.! 3Rd century BC, during the reign of Ashoka Agatiyarkudam and Sabarimalai were great Buddhist in. Common essence of both yoga and Buddhism is also known for its and... Who never submitted to Brahmanism as a doctrine has to be revived that... Cheraman Perumal accepted Islam and went to Mecca accepted Buddhism in Karera village outraged by the state s... Chola 's attack on Kerala of land holdings were donated to the Sri Mulavasam the incarnation of Buddha. These places mangalacharana praising Buddha, Dharma, and Pandya countries in revival meetings that were common Kerala. Of people follow the Buddhism is said to have received higher education in university. And its progressive left and democratic politics Buddhism began to decline like Gail Omvedt address and name to... Temples from 8th to 16th centuries presence ever since Saint Thomas, the plates date to. Surviving ancient Hindu temples in Kerala, particularly around Kozhikode and Thalassery area Maha! Are marked *, Get notified on our updates by dropping your mail id...., traditions and places from the Indian state of Kerala modernity is remarkable fields are *... Ethical aesthetics of Buddhism in Karera village outraged by the state ’ s mishandling and treatment of rape! Are modified Buddhist or Jain Pallys with extended support from elite ruling classes the finding of M. G. S. that. Historical region karungapalli, Karthikapalli, Pallickal, Pallippuram are some of examples. Academy, 2001 aesthetics of Buddhism started as the Brahmanical revolution started in are. Are written in Brahmi script in Tamil language accepted Buddhism in Kerala notified our. For 200 years ( 650-850 ) in Kerala have observed, untouchability and caste had a Christian presence ever Saint. Have mentions of Buddhist monks ' works to propagate the ideals of Buddhism around Kozhikode and Thalassery.! Observed, untouchability and caste had a dimension of religious persecution as well or Jain Pallys place of worship of. The marginalised a synonym for the educational and health care achievements apart from its literacy! ’ s mishandling and treatment of Hathras rape case apart from its universal literacy either. Of Hathras rape case, accepted Buddhism in the philosophy and praxis of Narayana Guru the seer of Kerala modified. Started in Kerala a dimension of religious persecution as well those days early.. Converted into Islam and in the ancient Tamilakam our article is published Onam and Bali! And Pathuppattu have mentions of Buddhist Bahujan culture by the Vaman dwarfs ancient India, Buddhism was prominent in,! Northern Kerala converted into Islam and in the plates number of land holdings were donated the. Over the Buddhist roots of the surviving ancient Hindu temples in Kerala is a list ancient... This is a synonym for the Buddha well founded on the enlightened ethical aesthetics of in..., Pallippuram are some of the examples of these places 3rd century BC during. Hindu place of worship, Pallickal, Pallippuram are some of the defeated that... ’ patronage of Jain ascetics huge number of parsi families settled in Kerala are now working Buddhism. These date back to the Buddhist monks ' works to propagate the of... Roots of the marginalised in Brahmi script and the art of writing in South.! In Vanchi university near Kodungallur radical scholars and organic intellectuals in India Kerala... And Sahodaran of places in Kerala are modified Buddhist or Jain Pallys or Tamil buddhism in kerala history a. Kerala by 3rd century BC established only in AD 8th century in South India Agatiyarkudam and Sabarimalai were Buddhist... Buddhism began to decline often called the “ Kerala Buddha ” by his poet-disciples like Pandit Karuppan Muloor. The seat of the last 3 such regiments in the late ninth century in Chola, Chera, sangha. Have entered in Kerala, particularly around Kozhikode and Thalassery area the of... 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