Jats in Buddhism

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Author of this article is Laxman Burdak लक्ष्मण बुरड़क
The Great Buddha Statue at Bodhgaya

Jats have not stuck to any particular religion in past. They are found among Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Muslim, and Christian. Any religion, which preached oneness of God and condemned superstitions and idol worship easily appealed to and was adopted by Jats in large numbers at different times.

Jats in Buddhism

Ram Sarup Joon[1] writes that... When Vedic Hinduism gave place to Pauranic idol worship religion began to be used by priests as a means of livelihood; superstitious and awe inspiring beliefs tales and rituals, were introduced in religion to frighten people into giving offerings to idols and priests who became self appointed agents of God; non Brahmins were debarred from studying Sanskrit and religious books to make them, easily exploitable and ignorant. Jats became Buddhists and remained so long after other people in India went back to Brahmanism consequent to the decline of Buddhism. Buddhist influence is still prevalent amongst the Jats. They don't eat meat, do not wear the sacred thread, and do not stick much for untouchability as other Indians do and respect saints. When Buddhism almost disappeared from. India, Jats became devotees of saints. Dhanna Bhagat, Haridas, Garib Das and Nishchal Das, who were Jats, became prominent saints at this stage.

Ram Sarup Joon[2] writes that ....On coming to India the Aryans occupied the most fertile soil. They prospered and their population increased a great deal upto the Mahabharat. This grim inter Aryan war wrought untold havoc and put a brake to the advancement of Aryan civilization. Evils multiplied and corruption was rampant in all directions. Brahmins, taking advantage of this degeneration, commercialized religion. Castes took the place of Varnas, which were based on profession. Awe inspiring superstitions and complicated rituals were introduced to psychologically compel the people to give offerings and raise the value of priest-hood. Jainism and Buddhism were born in this period with a view to clearing the religious debris. Gautam Buddha was born in 567 BC. Buddhism caught up with the masses particularly with the Jats due to its simplicity, denouncement of untouchability, and the principle of Ahimsa, and it spread quickly from India to Afghanistan, Iran, Tibet, China, and Japan. The Jats contributed a great deal to the advancement of Buddhism.

Brahmanism, however, did not die out and remained dormant and forever harboring ill feelings against Buddhism. Buddhist rulers gave the Brahmins their due respect but whenever a Brahmin ruler came to power he never hesitated in persecuting Buddhists. Buddhism declined its influence after it split into two sects. Thereafter, Brahmins never missed an opportunity to malign the followers of Buddhism.

Ram Sarup Joon[3] writes that ....Alexander's Historian Arrian has recorded his observations on the Jats. The system of Sati was prevalent. They respected beauty and believed in Polygamy. Most of them were followers of Buddhism. They also worshipped the pipal tree some of them still lived in the jungles and covered themselves with barks of trees.

What is Buddhism

Buddhism is a nontheistic religion that encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha ("the awakened one"). According to Buddhist tradition, the Buddha lived and taught in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE. He is recognized by Buddhists as an awakened or enlightened teacher who shared his insights to help sentient beings end their suffering through the elimination of ignorance and craving. Buddhists believe that this is accomplished through direct understanding and the perception of dependent origination and the Four Noble Truths. The ultimate goal of Buddhism is the attainment of the sublime state of Nirvana, by practicing the Noble Eightfold Path (also known as the Middle Way), thus escaping what is seen as a cycle of suffering and rebirth.

Two major extant branches of Buddhism are generally recognized: Theravada ("The School of the Elders") and Mahayana ("The Great Vehicle"). Theravada has a widespread following in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar etc.). Mahayana is found throughout East Asia (China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, Taiwan etc.) and includes the traditions of Pure Land, Zen, Nichiren Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, Shingon, and Tiantai (Tendai). In some classifications, Vajrayana—practiced mainly in Tibet and Mongolia, and adjacent parts of China and Russia—is recognized as a third branch, with a body of teachings attributed to Indian siddhas, while others classify it as a part of Mahayana.

Buddha's enlightenment

Gautama Buddha was determined to complete his spiritual quest. At the age of 35, he famously sat in meditation under a sacred fig tree — known as the Bodhi tree — in the town of Bodh Gaya, India, and vowed not to rise before achieving enlightenment. After many days, he finally destroyed the fetters of his mind, thereby liberating himself from the cycle of suffering and rebirth, and arose as a fully enlightened being (Skt. samyaksaṃbuddha). Soon thereafter, he attracted a band of followers and instituted a monastic order. Now, as the Buddha, he spent the rest of his life teaching the path of awakening he had discovered, traveling throughout the northeastern part of the Indian subcontinent,[4][5] and died at the age of 80 (483 BCE) in Kushinagar, India. The south branch of the original fig tree available only in Anuradhapura Sri Lanka is known as Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi.

Concept of Buddhism

The Four Noble Truths - The teachings on the Four Noble Truths are regarded as central to the teachings of Buddhism, and are said to provide a conceptual framework for Buddhist thought. These four truths explain the nature of dukkha (suffering, anxiety, unsatisfactoriness), its causes, and how it can be overcome. The four truths are:

  • The truth of dukkha (suffering, anxiety, unsatisfactoriness)
  • The truth of the origin of dukkha
  • The truth of the cessation of dukkha
  • The truth of the path leading to the cessation of dukkha

The first truth explains the nature of dukkha. Dukkha is commonly translated as "suffering", "anxiety", "unsatisfactoriness", "unease", etc., and it is said to have the following three aspects:

The obvious suffering of physical and mental illness, growing old, and dying.

The anxiety or stress of trying to hold onto things that are constantly changing.

A subtle dissatisfaction pervading all forms of life due to the fact that all forms of life are changing, impermanent and without any inner core or substance. On this level, the term indicates a lack of satisfaction, a sense that things never measure up to our expectations or standards.

The second truth is that the origin of dukkha can be known. Within the context of the four noble truths, the origin of dukkha is commonly explained as craving conditioned by ignorance. On a deeper level, the root cause of dukkha is identified as ignorance of the true nature of things.

The third noble truth is that the complete cessation of dukkha is possible.

The fourth noble truth identifies a path to this cessation.

The Noble Eightfold Path — the fourth of the Buddha's Noble Truths— consists of a set of eight interconnected factors or conditions, that when developed together, lead to the cessation of dukkha. These eight factors are:

1.Right View (or Right Understanding), 2.Right Intention (or Right Thought), 3. Right Speech, 4.Right Action, 5.Right Livelihood, 6.Right Effort, 7.Right Mindfulness, and 8.Right Concentration.

Jatila Sabha and Buddha

It is interesting to know that in past and present also the Rulers and the saints never disclosed their castes. Clan was obligatory during those days because in marriage ceremonies entire family tree was to be narratedby the priest. This still continues. Clan was important. That we know from Ramayana and Mahabharata. But there is no mention of their caste. We can only find which clans joined Buddhism. The distribution of Buddhism shows that it spread mainly in the areas dominated by Jats. The rulers who supported and patronized Buddhism were of the clans which are now found in Jats.

It is interesting to know that the first preaching of Buddha about Buddhism was to three people called trijatas or Jatilas. Initially they opposed the concepts and faiths of Buddha but later they became his followers and helped in spreading his new faith. Bharhut Inscriptions tell us about Jatila Sabha:

Jatila Sabha - This sculpture is unfortunately broken, which is the more to be regretted as the scene would have been one of the most interesting subjects of the whole series. The only portions now remaining are a tree with rocks, and half of the head and upper part of the body of a man. But there can be little doubt that the original scene represented the " Assembly of the Jatilians," Jatila sabha, who were the followers of Uruvilva Kasyapa. The Mahawanso states that he had 1,000 disciples, but Spence Hardy gives him only 500 followers. This Kasyapa and his two brothers were fire-worshippers, and as such they are represented both in the Sanchi and in the Gandhara Sculptures. It is, therefore, very unfortunate that this still earlier representation of the Assembly of the Jatilian fire-worsliippers should have been so seriously mutilated. The name is said to have been derived from jatan assa attithi, "he who has " a top-knot of matted hair." This seems to be the peculiar headdress of the fireworshippers in all these sculptures. It is curious, and perhaps not accidental, that the present peculiar cap of the Parsis has precisely the same shape and backward slope as the matted hair of these fire-worshippers of ancient India. [Ref: A. Cunninghan:The stūpa of Bharhut: a Buddhist monument ornamented with numerous sculptures. pp.93-94]

Note that Jatila is certainly related with the Jat. As we find Nagas were mentioned as Nagil in Buddhist literature. Nagil clan is in Jats. It is unfortunate that Jat is always translated as man with - a top-knot of matted hair

Spread of Buddhism (500–200 BCE)

Buddhism spread throughout India during the period of the Magadha empire. Buddhism in India spread during the reign of Ashoka of the Maurya Empire, who patronised Buddhist teachings and unified the Indian subcontinent in the 3rd century BCE. He sent missionaries abroad, allowing Buddhism to spread across Asia.

Decline of Buddhism in India

The decline of Buddhism in India, the land of its birth, occurred for a variety of reasons and happened even as it continued to flourish beyond the frontiers of India.[6]

Buddhism had seen a steady growth from its beginnings in the 6th century BCE to its endorsement as state religion of the Maurya Empire under Ashoka in the 3rd century BCE. It continued to flourish during the final centuries BCE and the first centuries of the Common Era, and spread even beyond the Indian subcontinent to Central Asia and beyond to China. But a steady decline of Buddhism in India set in during the later Gupta era and under the Pala Empire. Chinese monks travelling through the region between the 5th and 8th centuries CE, such as Faxian, Xuanzang, Yijing, Huisheng, and Song Yun, began to speak of a decline of the Buddhist sangha, especially in the wake of the White Hun invasion.[7] Decline continued after the fall of the Pala dynasty in the 12th century CE and the gradual Muslim conquest in the Indian subcontinent. By that time, Buddhism had become especially vulnerable to hostile rulers because it lacked strong roots in society as most of its adherents were ascetic communities.[8]

Apart from a small community in eastern Bengal (present-day Bangladesh) in which it had survived from ancient times and Nepal, Buddhism was virtually extinct in India by the end of the 19th century. In recent times Buddhism has seen a revival in India due to the influence of Anagarika Dharmapala, Kripasaran Mahasthavir, B. R. Ambedkar and Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama.

Collapse of Harsha's Empire

In the north and west, the collapse of Harsha Vardhana's kingdom (606–647 CE) gave rise to many smaller kingdoms, leading to the rise of the martial clans across the Gangetic plains. It also marked the end of Buddhist ruling clans, along with a sharp decline in royal patronage until a revival occurred under the Pala Empire in the Bengal region.

Much of what we know about the state of Buddhism during Harsha's reign comes from the Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang, who travelled widely and documented his journey. Although he found many regions where Buddhism was still flourishing, he also found many where it had sharply and startlingly declined, giving way to Jainism and a Brahmanical order.

Xuanzang compliments the patronage of Harsha Vardhana. He reported that Buddhism was popular in Kanyakubja, modern day Uttar Pradesh, where he noted "an equal number of Buddhists and heretics" and the presence of 100 monasteries and 10,000 bhikshus along with 200 "Deva" or Hindu temples.[9] He found a similarly flourishing population in Udra, modern Odisha, a mixed population in Kosala, homeland of Nagarjuna, and in Andhra and Dravida, which today roughly correspond to the modern day Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. In a region he calls Konkanapura, which may be Kolhapur in southern Maharashtra, he found great numbers of Buddhists coexisting with a similar number of non-Buddhists, and a similar situation in Northern Maharashtra. In Sindh he finds a large Sammitiya and Theravada population. He reports a fair number of Buddhists in what is now the rest of Pakistan.

In Dhanyakataka, today's Vijayawada, he found a striking decline, with Jainism and Shaivism being more popular.

In Bihar, the site of a number of important landmarks, he also found a striking decline and relatively few followers, with Hinduism and Jainism predominating. He also found relatively few Buddhists in Bengal, Kamarupa, or modern Assam, no Buddhist presence in Konyodha, few in Chulya or Tamil region, and few in Gujarat and Rajasthan, except in Valabhi where he found a large Theravada population.

During the reign of the Chalukya dynasty, Xuanzang reported that numerous Buddhist stupas in regions previously ruled by the Buddhist sympathetic Andhras and Pallavas were "ruined and deserted". These regions came under the control of the Vaishnavite Eastern Chalukyas, who were not favourable to Buddhism and did not support the religion.[10] Xuanzang's report also mentions that in the 7th century, Shashanka of the Kingdom of Gouda (Bengal) was expanding his influence in the region in the aftermath of the fall of the Gupta Empire. He is blamed by Xuanzhang and other Buddhist sources for the murder of Rajyavardhana, a Buddhist king of Thanesar. Xuanzang writes that Shashanka destroyed the Bodhi tree of enlightenment at Bodh Gaya and replaced Buddha statues with Shiva Lingams. However, it has been claimed by Ramesh Chandra Majumdar that Xuanzhang had a Buddhist bias in favour of the Buddhist rulers such as Harshavardhana and that his account may therefore be slanted.[11] However, Mujamdar's thesis is disputed, and has been claimed by Veradi to be part of a pattern of attempted acquittals of any Buddhist persecution by Brahmanical parties.[12]

Theories of decline due to external influences

White Huns - Central Asian and North Western Indian Buddhism weakened in the 6th century after the White Hun invasion, who followed their own religions such as Tengri, and Manichaeism. Their Hindu Saivite King, Mihirakula (who ruled from 515 CE), suppressed Buddhism as well. He did this by destroying monasteries as far away as modern-day Allahabad.[13]

Muhammad bin Qasim - In AD 711, Muhammad bin Qasim conquered the Sindh, bringing Indian societies into contact with Islam, succeeding partly because Dahir was an unpopular Hindu king that ruled over a Buddhist majority and that Chach of Alor and his kin were regarded as usurpers of the earlier Buddhist Rai Dynasty.[14][15] a view questioned by those who note the diffuse and blurred nature of Hindu and Buddhist practices in the region,[16] especially that of the royalty to be patrons of both and those who believe that Chach himself may have been a Buddhist.[17][18] The forces of Muhammad bin Qasim defeated Raja Dahir in alliance with the Jats and other regional governors.

The Chach Nama records many instances of conversion of stupas to mosques such as at Nerun[19] as well as the incorporation of the religious elite into the ruling administration such as the allocation of 3% of the government revenue was allocated to the Brahmins.[20] As a whole, the non-Muslim populations of conquered territories were treated as People of the Book and granted the freedom to practice their respective faiths in return for payment of the poll tax (jizya).[21] They were then excused from military service or payment of the tax paid by Muslim subjects – Zakat. The jizya enforced was a graded tax, being heaviest on the elite and lightest on the poor.[22]

Mahmud of Ghazni - By the 10th century Mahmud of Ghazni defeated the Hindu-Shahis, effectively removing Hindu influence and ending Buddhist self-governance across Central Asia, as well as the Punjab region. He demolished both stupas and temples during his numerous campaigns across North-Western India, but left those within his domains and Afghanistan alone, even as al-Biruni recorded Buddha as the prophet "Burxan".[23] However, many Buddhist sites destroyed by Mahmud of Ghazni, such as Mathura, show evidence of having been forcibly converted by Brahmanical rivals first.[24]

Mahmud of Ghazni is said to have been an iconoclast.[25] Hindu and Buddhist statues, shrines and temples were looted and destroyed, and many Buddhists had to take refuge in Tibet.[26]

Muhammad of Ghor - The image, in the chapter on India in Hutchison's Story of the Nations edited by James Meston, depicts the Turkish general Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khilji's massacre of Buddhist monks in Bihar. Khaliji destroyed the Nalanda and Vikramshila universities during his raids across North Indian plains, massacring many Buddhist and Brahmin scholars.[27]

Muhammad attacked the north-western regions of the Indian subcontinent many times. Gujarat later fell to Muhammad of Ghor's armies in 1197. Muhammad of Ghor's army was too developed for the traditional Indian army of that time to resist.[56]

In 1200 Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khilji, one of Qutb-ud-Din's generals, conquered a fort of the Sena army, such as the one at Vikramshila. Many Buddhist monks fled to Nepal, Tibet, and South India to avoid the consequences of war.[28]

The Buddhist encounters with Turkics are well documented. According to one myth, Chandrakirti (Nagarjuna's greatest disciple) rode a stone lion to scare away the Turkish army.[29]

The Mongols - In 1215, Genghis Khan conquered Afghanistan and devastated the Muslim world. In 1227, after his death, his conquest was divided. Chagatai then established the Chagatai Khanate. In 1260, Hulagu Khan established Ilkhanate at Iran plateau where his son Arghun made Buddhism the state religion. At the same time, he came down harshly on Islam and demolished mosques to build many stupas. his son Ghazan who converted to Islam and in 1295 changed the state religion. Meanwhile in Chagatai Khanate was split into two part of eastern and western, after splitting of the Chagatai Khanate, Tarmashirin(1331-1334) was converted to Islam, then little mention of Buddhism or the stupas built by the Mongols can be found in Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Timur (Tamarlane) - Timur was a 14th-century warlord of Turco-Mongol descent, conqueror of much of Western and central Asia, and founder of the Timurid Empire. Timur destroyed Buddhist establishments and raided areas in which Buddhism had flourished.[30] [31]

Buddhism to again other religions

After the fall of Kushan Empire country was divided in to small states. There is not much information available about important Jat state in a period of two centuries following Kushan rule. Though we have knowledge about jat king Kharavela of Kalinga who became very powerful after fall of Mauryan rule adopted Jainism. This is clear from Hathigumpha inscription near Bhubaneswar in Orissa.

In the beginning of fifth century we find Jat ruler Maharaja Shalinder with his rule extending from Punjab to Malwa and Rajasthan. This is proved from the Pali inscription obtained from village Kanswa in Kota state in year 1820 AD. We get following information from this inscription: [32] Maharaja Shalinder was the ruler Shalpur, known in the present by the name Sialkot. He established this state on his own power, which indicates that he was a monarch emerged from chieftain ship of a republic state. He had a powerful army full of strong warriors amongst whom he felt proud of glory of his caste. He had many small states under him and a rich treasury. He was a Kashyapvanshi (Suryavanshi) Taxak clan Jat. He had left Buddhism and adopted puranic religion and started vedic culture like performing yagyas etc. [33]

Buddhism in China

According to James Legge[34] Fa-hien endorses the view that Buddhism was introduced into China in the reign of emperor Ming of Han dynasty, A.D. 58-75. The emperor had his dream in A.D. 61.

Buddhism in Afghanistan

H. W. Bellew writes something about Buddhist Jats in Afghanistan that By this plan we shall, I think, be the better prepared to recognise in many of the existing tribes of Afghanistan the modern representatives of the ancient nations of Ariana, and thus be enabled to form an accurately founded distinction between the old possessors and the later settlers; between the remains of subsequent dynastic invaders and the stragglers of transitory plunderers. And if a consequence of our inquiry is not to throw some new light upon the history of India in its connection with the Greek dominion and the Jata (Getic) invasion by which it was destroyed ; in connection with the relations of these Scythian conquerors with their kindred races of the earlier irruptions which peopled Northern India with the Brahman and the Kshatriya; in connection with their joint domination in ArianaBuddhist Jata in the north. Brahman Kshatriya in the south ; and finally in connection with the struggles of these Indians of Ariana with the fire-worshipping Parthian under the long supremacy of the Arsaki dynasty, their participation under the Parthian flag in the wars against the Romans in Asia Minor....[35]

H. W. Bellew writes that Katar, or Kator, is the same people as the Katoran or Katorman, who established a Turk dynasty which ruled contemporaneously in two branches at Kabul and Peshawar respectively, from the beginning of the fifth to the latter part of the ninth century, when, after losing much of their power and territory to the Tuar Rajput kings of Delhi, they were finally overthrown by them and the Ghaznavis. Under the rule of the Kator Yuechi (Getai or Jata) Buddhism was the religion of the country, but during the century or so of Tuar Rajput sovereignty, Brahminism was the dominant religion, till the Hindu was finally dispossessed by Sabaktagin, who founded the Ghaznavi Turk dynasty. The Shah Katori of Kashkar and Chitral, who, as above suggested, represent the Sakarauloi of Strabo, are the same people as the Katar of Kafiristan, the name of which country was formerly Kator ; at least in the time of Tamerlane, the beginning of the fifteenth century. [36]

Buddhism in India

Ref- Reviving Buddhist Heritage, Culture : Haryana Review, October 2011

Lord Buddha who propounded the doctrine of truth and non-violence, preached Buddhism in India and Asia, 2,600 years ago. And, these ruins of Buddhist culture, speak volumes about the glory and magnificence of the bygone Buddhist era. After witnessing the vast and elegant layout of the intricately-built-structures, Siddhartha Gauri marvelled at the true grandeur of the golden period when Buddhism was at its peak in India, promoting harmony and peace amongst different faiths. The site of that stupa made him very wistful and left him gasping for more information on such sites in India. While collecting information about such sites, he found too many of them across the country, mostly in Haryana. An idea occurred to him — to revive these degenerated structures to preserve and restore the Buddhist culture and Indian Heritage.

Buddhism in Haryana

Bauddha Stupa unearthed in Haryana (now under Archaeological Survey of India)

Ref- Reviving Buddhist Heritage, Culture : Haryana Review, October 2011

According to Siddhartha Gauri the best findings about Buddhism are in Haryana. There were as many as 14 such Buddhist sites in Haryana. His research further revealed that Buddhism was in full influence in Haryana from King Ashoka’s era tifi the rule of king Harsh Vardhana who ruled over a vast area of North India in the 7th century Buddhism dominated the area and it flourished and prevailed in Haryana uptifi the 14th century.

According to a report, Haryana was an important centre of Buddhism. The foundation of Buddhism inthe state was laid by Lord Buddha himself when he set his foot in Sugh village of Haryana, 5 km from Yamunanagar. Lord Buddha delivered his sermon here. Though the structural evidence is lost, but coins and figurines depict a picture of Sugh as a centre of learning as important as Taxila and Patliputra of that time. Both the Chinese traveler Huen Tsang and Sanskrit grammarian Panini also rated Sugh as one of the highly civilized and developed villages of that time. The highly evolved people of different faiths- the Buddhist, Jains and Hindus, were engaged in their intellectual activities and lived harmoniously.

Siddharatha Gauri’s findings further revealed that nearly 300 forgotten Buddhist relics, including 53 in Madhya Pradesh, 14 in Haryana, 12 In Himachal Pradesh and one in Punjab, were also found. His best findings are In Haryana. There Is a Buddh Vihar at Adi Badri and Buddha stupas and monasteries at Chaneti, Topra and Sandhay villages - all in Yamunanagar district. Buddhists ruins have also been found at Amin in Kurukshetra, Assandh in Karnal district, at Agroha, Bhuna and Fatehabad villages in district Hisar, at Khokrakot in district Rohtak and at village Aherwan in district Palwal. The ancient sites of Amin in Kurukshetra and Khokrakot in district Rohtak have been listed on the official website of the Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi. Asandh in Karnal has a remarkable history and is one of the tallest Stupas in North India which is 2,000 years old.

Buddhism in Rajasthan

Ref- Buddhism thrived in Rajasthan also around the Ashokan era’:Times of India Jaipur, Shoeb Khan, TNN, Jan 31, 2016

Much before the forts and palaces came into existence here, Rajasthan ostensibly had well-defined Buddhist monasteries or complexes at four places— Bairat in Alwar, Kholvi in Jhalawar, Bhandarez in Dausa and Ramgoan in Tonk. Discovered by the Archaeological Survey of India's (ASI) first director-general Alexander Cunningham in late 18th century, these historical sites today are crying for attention from the state.

Neekee Chaturvedi, a professor at Rajasthan University's History department, presented her research report on these sites at the national conference on 'Revisiting India's Past' held here on Saturday. Chaturvedi claimed that the Buddhist structures came up between 300 AD and 900 AD. This was around and after the period of emperor Ashoka. It signifies that the region that was initially considered to have remained untouched by the wave of Buddhism, was actually a pivotal seat of Buddhist activities, which gradually disappeared over the centuries.

Her study says that the Bairat site, which is 52 miles from Jaipur towards Delhi, has a circular temple, monastery and numerous remnants of pillars of the Ashokan era. The famous Chinese traveler Hiuen-Tsang visited this site and mentioned it in his travelogue.

"The temple is situated on a lower platform and has a circumambulatory path. It is made up of fire-baked bricks that were contemporary with the Ashokan era Pillars. It is among the earliest structures of Buddhist faith and is similar to the furnished modals for numerous rock-cut temples of western and eastern India. It has cells large enough to accommodate just a single monk or nun and are situated in the upper platform," said Chaturvedi.

She emphasised that the Bairat structures have the Bhabru edict, which is a high form of art from Ashokan era and, thus, point to a significant presence of Buddhist monks here in those times. The researcher studied the local folklore too but didn't find any trace of the Buddhism culture, which implied that these activities gradually vanished.

Other important structures are in Jhalawar and areas bordering Tonk spread over in 20-km. The area has a total of 50 caves in multistory structures dating back to 700-900AD. Broadly divided into four cave complexes—Kholvi, Hathyagaud, Binnayaga in Jhalawar and Ramgoan in Tonk—these sites have no mention in any historical textbook, said the researcher. Chaturvedi has studied Indian and Chinese history related to Buddhism.

At Kholvi, ruins of 64 monk cells are located in a big complex that has stupas or meditation halls with circumambulation path. This site has images of Buddha, the tallest being a 12-feet standing Buddha in a preaching posture. A large statue of Buddha and a carving ornate stupa similar to those of Buddhist structures in Cambodia and Laos are the main structures.

Five caves have been discovered at Hatya Guad, five-km from village Pagaria. This site is spread over two hills with a slightly deep valley between the two. Here structures have a vaulted roof and another solid stone pillars. At Binayaga hills, which are 16-km from Hatya Guad, is one cave in the shape of a stupa and the structure of its roof is in the form of a Chaitya similar to the caves at Ajanta. These structures came much after the Ashoka period.

The site at Bhandarez is situated 65-km from Jaipur at Lalsot in Dausa district. Here the ruins of a big complex are situated at a 50-ft height. This site indicates presence of a big Buddhist complex. However, dense human settlement around it has deterred chances of further excavation and exploration here.

"These structures are indicative of the fact that Rajasthan did not remain untouched with the wave of Buddhism. The presence of such elaborate sites reinstate that Buddhism existed here in a developed stage in its early form. The ignorance about these sites can be understood from the fact that it is nowhere listed on a tourist map," said Chaturvedi. The researcher's interest in these sites developed when she first visited them as a school student. She underlined the need to study the impact on these structures on the cultural practices in the region. So far, she has failed to track any Buddhist family in these areas.

Buddhist influence on the Jats

The Great Buddha Statue at Bodhgaya

Ram Sarup Joon[37] writes .... On coming to India the Aryans occupied the most fertile soil. They prospered and their population increased a great deal upto the Mahabharat. This grim

History of the Jats, End of Page-47

inter Aryan war wrought untold havoc and put a brake to the advancement of Aryan civilization. Evils multiplied and corruption was rampant in all directions. Brahmins, taking advantage of this degeneration, commercialized religion. Castes took the place of Varnas, which were based on profession. Awe inspiring superstitions and complicated rituals were introduced to psychologically compel the people to give offerings and raise the value of priest-hood. Jainism and Buddhism were born in this period with a view to clearing the religious debris. Gautam Buddha was born in 567 BC. Buddhism caught up with the masses particularly with the Jats due to its simplicity, denouncement of untouchability, and the principle of Ahimsa, and it spread quickly from India to Afghanistan, Iran, Tibet, China, and Japan. The Jats contributed a great deal to the advancement of Buddhism. Brahmanism, however, did not die out and remained dormant and forever harboring ill feelings against Buddhism. Buddhist rulers gave the Brahmins their due respect but whenever a Brahmin ruler came to power he never hesitated in persecuting Buddhists. Buddhism declined its influence after it split into two sects. Thereafter, Brahmins never missed an opportunity to malign the followers of Buddhism.

Jat Kingdoms of Buddhist Period

Ram Sarup Joon[38] writes .... Darius I, the ruler of Iran, invaded the Jat Kingdom of Sindh in about 600 BC. He has also been celled Oss. It is possible that Darius was only a title. Another Darius fought Alexander in the third Century BC. He had good relations with the Sindhu Jat Kingdom and Sindhu Jats joined forces with Darius against Alexander. Alexander's historian Arrian writes that Alexander's army also consisted of a large number of Dahiya Jats, who had a fierce battle with Sindhu Jats. In 323 BC Padmananda ruled Northern India. His capital was Magadha.

In conspiracy with the Queen of Magadh, who was infatuated with him, he killed and the prince and ascended the throne. In Puranas he is known to be born of a Shudra Woman. The Greek writers called him the offspring of a barber. He was an avowed enemy of the Kshatriyas and treacherously killed a number of them. Chandragupta, who was a Jat, was his commander in chief Padmananda banished Chandragupta who established a powerful kingdom of his own in Punjab and eventually defeated Padmanananda.

Buddhist traditions in Jats

Number of Buddhist traditions are found in the life and culture of Jats in Rajasthan. One such culture is the Initiation of ploughing of fields by the Chiefs of republics themselves known as Halsotia.

संत श्री कान्हाराम[39] लिखते हैं ...तेजाजी का हळसौतिया: ज्येष्ठ मास लग चुका है। ज्येष्ठ मास में ही ऋतु की प्रथम वर्षा हो चुकी है। ज्येष्ठ मास की वर्षा अत्यन्त शुभ है। गाँव के मुखिया को ‘हालोतिया’या हळसौतिया करके बुवाई की शुरुआत करनी है। उस काल में परंपरा थी की वर्षात होने पर गण या कबीले के गणपति सर्वप्रथम खेत में हल जोतने की शुरुआत करता था, तत्पश्चात किसान हल जोतते थे। गणराज्यों के काल में हलजोत्या की शुरुआत गणपति द्वारा किए जाने की व्यवस्था अति प्राचीन थी। ऐतिहासिक संदर्भों की खोज से पता चला कि उस जमाने में गणतन्त्र पद्धति के शासक सर्वप्रथम वर्षा होने पर हल जोतने का दस्तूर (हळसौतिया) स्वयं किया करते थे तथा शासक वर्ग स्वयं के हाथ का कमाया खाता था। राजा जनक के हल जोतने के ऐतिहासिक प्रमाण सर्वज्ञात हैं, क्योंकि सीता उनको हल जोतते समय उमरा (सीता) में मिली थी इसीलिए नाम सीता पड़ा । बुद्ध के शासक पिता शुद्धोदन के पास काफी जमीन थी। शुद्धोदन तथा बुद्ध स्वयं हल जोता करते थे। बोद्ध काल में यह परंपरा वप्रमंगल उत्सव कहलाता था जिसके अंतर्गत धान बोने के प्रथम दिन हर शाक्य अपने हाथ से हल जोता करते थे।[40]

मुखिया ताहड़ देव की पत्नी अपने छोटे पुत्र को, जिसका नाम तेजा है, खेतों में जाकर हळसौतिया का शगुन करने के लिए कहती है।

सूतो कांई सुख भर नींद कुँवर तेजारे ।
हल जोत्यो कर दे तूँ खाबड़ खेत में ॥

जब तेजा कहता है कि यह काम तो हाली ही कर देगा, तब माता टोकती है कि-

हाली का बीज्या निपजै मोठ ग्वार कुँवर तेजारे,
थारा तो बीज्योड़ा मोती निपजै॥

माता समझाती है कि कहां रास, पिराणी, हल, हाल, जूड़ा, नेगड़-गांगाड़ा पड़ा है। तेजाजी माता से मालूम करते हैं कि मोठ, ग्वार, ज्वार, बाजरी किन किन खेतों में बीजना है तब माता कहती है –

डेहरियां में बीजो थे मोठ ग्वार कुँवर तेजारे,
बाजरियो बीजो थे खाबड़ खेत मैं।

माता का वचन मानकर तेजा पहर के तड़के उठते हैं, हल और बैल लेकर खेत जाते हैं। तेजा माँ की आज्ञानुसार खेतों में पहुँच कर हल चलाने लगा है। दोपहर तक 12 बीघा की पूरी आवड़ी बीज डाली।

Buddhist sites with Jat connections

Buddhist Rulers

चीन तथा मध्य एशिया में भारतीय संस्कृति तथा धर्म के फैलाने में जाटों का योगदान

दलीप सिंह अहलावत[41] लिखते हैं:

“मध्य एशिया तथा चीन में भारतीय संस्कृति” नामक पुस्तक, लेखक सत्यकेतु विद्यालंकार के अनुसार -

1. चीन की एक प्राचीन अनुश्रुति के अनुसार अशोक (273 ई० पू० से 237 ई० पू०) के समय कुछ बौद्ध प्रचारक चीन गए थे और उनके द्वारा वहां बौद्धधर्म का प्रचार प्रारम्भ किया गया था (पृ० 15)। यह तृतीय अध्याय में लिख दिया गया है कि सम्राट् अशोक मौर्य-मौर वंशज जाट थे।

2. चीन के प्राचीन वृत्तान्तों के अनुसार हानवंश के चीनी सम्राट् मिंग-ती ने अपने दूत पश्चिम की ओर भेजे। वे दूत ऋषिकों (युइशियों) के राज्य में जा पहुंचे। ये लोग इस समय तक बौद्धधर्म को अपना चुके थे और वहां पर बहुत से भारतीय बौद्ध विद्वान् विद्यमान थे। मिंग-ती के निमन्त्रण पर वहां से 60 ई० पू० में धर्मरत्न और कश्यप मातंग नामक भारतीय भिक्षु चीन गये। ये दोनों भिक्षु ऋषिक गोत्र के थे। ये चीन की राजधानी सीङान्-फू (जो अब चीन के हूपे प्रान्त का मुख्य नगर है, में ठहरे, जहां पर उन्होंने श्वेताश्व नामक विहार की स्थापना की। वहां निवास करते हुए इन्होंने बौद्धधर्म का प्रचार किया तथा अनेक बौद्ध-ग्रन्थों का चीनी भाषा में अनुवाद किया (पृ० 15)।

3. युइशि (ऋषिक) प्रचारक लोकक्षेम नामक भिक्षु, अमू दरिया के क्षेत्र पर ऋषिकों के राज्य से, सन् 147 ई० में चीन गया। उसने लोयांग को केन्द्र बनाकर अनेक बौद्धग्रन्थों का चीनी भाषा में अनुवाद किया। सन् 147 से 188 ई० तक 41 वर्ष के लम्बे समय में इस भिक्षु ने चीन में बौद्धधर्म के प्रचार के लिए अत्यन्त सराहनीय कार्य किया। लोकक्षेम द्वारा अनूदित अनेक ग्रन्थ इस समय भी पाये जाते हैं।

लोकक्षेम का एक शिष्य चे-कियन था, जो अपने गुरु के समान ऋषिकवंशज जाट था। वह लोयांग से [Nanking|नानकिंग]] चला गया और उसने चीन की इस नगरी को केन्द्र बनाकर अपना कार्य शुरू किया। सन् 220 से 253 ईस्वी तक चे-कियन ने 100 से भी अधिक बौद्ध ग्रन्थों का चीनी भाषा में अनुवाद किया, जिसमें से 49 अब भी उपलब्ध हैं। दक्षिणी चीन में कार्य करने वाला यह सर्वप्रथम बौद्ध-भिक्षु था। (पृ० 163)।

जाट वीरों का इतिहास: दलीप सिंह अहलावत, पृष्ठान्त-330

4. चीन में धर्मप्रचार का कार्य करने वाले युइशि (ऋषिक) वंशज भिक्षुओं में धर्मरक्ष का विशेष महत्त्व है। इसका जन्म तीसरी शताब्दी के मध्य में एक ऋषिक परिवार में हुआ था जो कि तुङ्-ह्रांग में बसा हुआ था। उसने अपने भारतीय गुरु से शिक्षा ली तथा उसके साथ मध्य एशिया के अनेक बौद्ध विहारों की यात्रा की। इस प्रकार भ्रमण करते हुए धर्मरक्ष ने 36 भाषायें सीख लीं और बौद्धधर्म का गम्भीर ज्ञान प्राप्त कर लिया। सन् 284 से 313 ईस्वी तक वह चीन में रहा। वहां उसने 200 से भी अधिक संस्कृत ग्रन्थों का चीनी भाषा में अनुवाद किया, जिनमें से 90 अब तक भी उपलब्ध हैं। उसने चीन में अनुवादकों के एक संघ को भी गठित किया, जिसमें भारतीय, ऋषिक, चीनी आदि विद्वान् व भिक्षु एक साथ मिलकर कार्य करते थे। लोकक्षेम, चेकियन तथा धर्मरक्ष के समान ऋषिकवंशज अनेक भिक्षु चीन में बौद्ध धर्म के प्रचार के लिये गए थे। कुषाणवंशी राजा भी ऋषिकवंशज थे और भारत के सम्पर्क में आकर पूर्णतया भारतीय बन गये थे (पृ० 163-164)।

5. पार्थियन बौद्ध प्रचारक - प्राचीन भारतीय ग्रन्थों में पार्थिया को ‘पह्लव’ कहा गया है, और रामायण, महाभारत तथा पुराणों में शक, पह्लव, बर्बर नाम प्रायः साथ-साथ आते हैं जो कि जाटवंश हैं। (तृतीय अध्याय, शक पह्लव, बर्बर प्रकरण देखो)।

See also

External links


  1. History of the Jats/Chapter I, p.8
  2. History of the Jats/Chapter IV,p. 47-48
  3. History of the Jats/Chapter IV,p. 50
  4. Buddhism: The foundations of Buddhism, The cultural context. In Encyclopædia Britannica.
  5. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Hinduism: History of Hinduism: The Vedic period (2nd millennium - 7th century BCE); Challenges to Brahmanism (6th - 2nd century BCE); Early Hinduism (2nd century BCE - 4th century CE).
  6. Promsak, pg.14
  7. Merriam-Webster, pg. 155–157
  8. P. 183 Max Weber: an intellectual portrait By Reinhard Bendix
  9. Omvedt, Gail. Buddhism in India: Challenging Brahmanism and Caste. Sage Publications Pvt. Ltd: 2003. pg. 153–160
  10. F. R. Hemingway, Godavari district gazetteer, 2000, Asian Educational Services, ISBN 978-81-206-1461-1, pg 20
  11. Majumdar, Ramesh Chandra (1943). History of Bengal. Dacca: University of Dacca. pp. 73–74.
  12. Veradi, Giovanni (2011). Hardships and Downfall of Buddhism in India. New Delhi: Manohar. p. 48.
  13. Nakamura, Hajime (1980). Indian Buddhism: A Survey With Bibliographical Notes. Motilal Banarsidass Publications. p. 146. ISBN 8120802721.
  14. Nicholas F. Gier, From Mongols to Mughals: Religious Violence in India 9th-18th Centuries, Presented at the Pacific Northwest Regional Meeting American Academy of Religion, Gonzaga University, May 2006 [4
  15. Naik, C.D. (2010). Buddhism and Dalits: Social Philosophy and Traditions. Delhi: Kalpaz Publications. p. 32. ISBN 978-81-7835-792-8.
  16. P. 151 Al-Hind, the Making of the Indo-Islamic World By André Wink
  17. P. 164 Notes on the religious, moral, and political state of India before the Mahomedan invasion, chiefly founded on the travels of the Chinese Buddhist priest Fai Han in India, A.D. 399, and on the commentaries of Messrs. Remusat, Klaproth, Burnouf, and Landresse, Lieutenant-Colonel W.H. Sykes by Sykes, Colonel;
  18. P. 505 The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians by Henry Miers Elliot, John Dowson Schimmel, Annemarie Schimmel, Religionen – Islam in the Indian Subcontinent, Brill Academic Publishers, 1 January 1980, ISBN 978-90-04-06117-0, pg. 4
  19. Schimmel, Annemarie Schimmel, Religionen – Islam in the Indian Subcontinent, Brill Academic Publishers, 1 January 1980, ISBN 978-90-04-06117-0, pg. 4
  20. Nicholas F. Gier, From Mongols to Mughals: Religious Violence in India 9th-18th Centuries, Presented at the Pacific Northwest Regional Meeting American Academy of Religion, Gonzaga University, May 2006 [4]
  21. Nicholas F. Gier, From Mongols to Mughals: Religious Violence in India 9th-18th Centuries, Presented at the Pacific Northwest Regional Meeting American Academy of Religion, Gonzaga University, May 2006 [4]
  22. Appleby, R Scott & Martin E Marty, Fundamentalisms Comprehended, University of Chicago Press, 1 May 2004, ISBN 978-0-226-50888-7 pg 290–292
  23. The Historical Interaction between the Buddhist and Islamic Cultures before the Mongol Empire Alexander Berzin, 1996 lightly revised, January 2003, December 2006
  24. Alexander Cunningham, ed. (1871). Archeological Survey of India Reports, 1. Simla, Calcutta. p. 237.
  25. Notes on the Religious, Moral, and Political State of India Before the Mohammedan Invasion. Faxian, Sykes (William Henry)
  26. 'How to Prepare for the Sat II: World History' by Marilynn Hitchens, Heidi Roupp
  27. Sanyal, Sanjeev (15 November 2012). Land of seven rivers: History of India's Geography. Penguin Books Limited. pp. 130–1. ISBN 978-81-8475-671-5.
  28. Islam at War: A History By Mark W. Walton, George F. Nafziger, Laurent W. Mbanda (page 226)
  29. P. 41 The speech of gold: reason and enlightenment in the Tibetan Buddhism By Tsoṅ-kha-pa Blo-bzaṅ-grags-pa, Robert A. F. Thurman
  30. Sir Aurel Stein: Archaeological Explorer By Jeannette Mirsky
  31. Ethnicity & Family Therapy edited by Nydia Garcia-Preto, Joe Giordano, Monica McGoldrick
  32. Thakur Deshraj, Jat Itihas, p.208-211
  33. Thakur Deshraj, Jat Itihas, p.208-211
  34. A Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms/Chapter 7, f.n.12
  35. An Inquiry Into the Ethnography of Afghanistan By H. W. Bellew, The Oriental University Institute, Woking, 1891,p.5
  36. An Inquiry Into the Ethnography of Afghanistan By H. W. Bellew, The Oriental University Institute, Woking, 1891, p.146
  37. History of the Jats/Chapter IV,p.47-48
  38. History of the Jats/Chapter IV,p.48-49
  39. Sant Kanha Ram: Shri Veer Tejaji Ka Itihas Evam Jiwan Charitra (Shodh Granth), Published by Veer Tejaji Shodh Sansthan Sursura, Ajmer, 2015. p. 37, 211-217
  40. आनंद श्रीकृष्ण:भगवान बुद्ध, समृद्ध भारत प्रकाशन, मुंबई, अक्टूबर 2005, ISBN 80-88340-02-2, p. 2-3
  41. जाट वीरों का इतिहास: दलीप सिंह अहलावत, पृष्ठ.330-331
  42. Jat History Thakur Deshraj/Chapter VI,p.173

External links

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