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A Buddhist Foundation in Śārdīysa

A New Interpretation of the Schøyen Copper Scroll

Hans Bakker


The article adduces reasons in support of the view that the famous Schøyen Copper Scroll does not come from Afghanistan (Bactria), as maintained by its editor Gudrun Melzer, but belongs to the land south of the Hindu Kush. The donation of a Buddhist Stūpa, recorded in the scroll, was officially made by the Devaputra King of Tālagāna, which may have been a place in the Panjab. It is argued, however, that this pious foundation was organized in particular by his Queen, who is said to have been the daughter of the King of Sārada. The first person speaking in the last 7 verses of the inscription may be identified as this Queen of Tālagāna, who speaks of her homecountry, indicating that the donated Stūpa was erected in the land of Sārada. The village in which the Stūpa was erected is called Śārdīysa. This village, it is argued, can be identified with the present-day village of Śārdi in the Neelum Valley of Kashmir. This region of Kashmir was controlled by the Hūṇa (Alchon) king Mehama, under whose rule the foundation is said to have taken place. The Alchon kings Khīṅgīla and Toramāna may have been mentioned in the scroll on account of their control over Gandhāra and the Panjab, in which the donor institution of Tālagāna was situated. The fourth Alchon king mentioned in the scroll, Javūkha, probably reigned in the Swat Valley. These four Alchon kings formed a confederacy, well-known from their common coinage. The scroll evinces that they were involved in the patronage of Buddhism.

Obituary of Gerrit Jan Meulenbeld

Borne, 28 May 1928 * – Bedum, 26 March 2017 †

Hans Bakker

A Tide of Merit

Royal Donors, Tāmraparṇīya Monks, and the Buddha’s Awakening in 5th–6th-Century Āndhradeśa

Vincent Tournier


Stressing the importance of 5th–6th-century copper-plate charters connected to the Viṣṇukuṇḍin dynasty for the history of Buddhism in Āndhradeśa, this article demonstrates that, contrary to earlier scholarly assumptions, and despite the paucity of archeological evidence for Buddhist activity at that time, Buddhist lineages still benefitted from lavish donations by ruling families. This study consists of three parts: the first explores the representation of two Viṣṇukuṇḍin rulers as Buddhist kings, and shows how their portraits and their aspirations are permeated by the ideology of the Bodhisattvayāna. The second part examines one of the main recipients of royal donations, the Sthā̆vira/Theriya lineage of the Tāmraparṇīyas, already known from inscriptions issued under the previous Ikṣvāku dynasty. The analysis of these earlier records from Nagarjunakonda in light of little-studied copper plates shows that the Tāmraparṇīyas had a strong institutional presence in Āndhradeśa from the mid-3rd to the late 6th century. The lineage’s connections with Laṅkā and with other Theriya centres along the Bay of Bengal are delineated through a close examination of the terminology used in the inscriptions under scrutiny, in light of co-eval records, and especially of Pāli Vinaya literature and historical narratives. The last part of this article focuses on a poetic allusion to the episode of the Buddha’s victory over Māra included in the opening stanza of a grant issued by king Pr̥thivīśrīmūla. The evidence suggests that this record connects for the first time the water poured by Śākyamuni in his previous lives as a Bodhisattva with a flood that drove away Māra’s army from the seat of Awakening, a motif that grew—like a tide—and spread across Southeast Asia.

Brill's Encyclopedia of Sikhism, Volume 1

History, Literature, Society, Beyond Punjab


Edited by Knut A. Jacobsen, Gurinder Mann, Kristina Myrvold and Eleanor Nesbitt

Sikhism is one of the most important religious traditions of South Asian origin. Sikhs are historically connected to the Punjab region in South Asia, but their religious traditions are transnational and have a worldwide presence. The study of their history and traditions has become a significant field of scholarship and research, but no academic, authoritative, and up-to-date reference work exists. Brill’s Encyclopedia of Sikhism aims to make available in-depth critical scholarship on all the main aspects of the Sikh traditions in a number of original essays written by the world's foremost scholars on Sikhs and Sikh traditions.
The encyclopedia is thematic and seeks to present a balanced and impartial view of the Sikh traditions in all their multiplicity and as both historical and contemporary institutions. The articles, published in two volumes, focus on history, literature, and the rich social landscape of the Sikh community; their practices, places, arts, and performances; specialists and leadership; migration both within South Asia and beyond; and contemporary issues and relations.

India, Modernity and the Great Divergence

Mysore and Gujarat (17th to 19th C.)


Kaveh Yazdani

India, Modernity and the Great Divergence is an original and pioneering book about India’s transition towards modernity and the rise of the West. The work examines global entanglements alongside the internal dynamics of 17th to 19th century Mysore and Gujarat in comparison to other regions of Afro-Eurasia. It is an interdisciplinary survey that enriches our historical understanding of South Asia, ranging across the fascinating and intertwined worlds of modernizing rulers, wealthy merchants, curious scholars, utopian poets, industrious peasants and skilled artisans. Bringing together socio-economic and political structures, warfare, techno-scientific innovations, knowledge production and transfer of ideas, this book forces us to rethink the reasons behind the emergence of the modern world.

Antonio Panaino

The present article deals with the semantics of the stems aiiara- and asniia-, which occur in the framework of a particular liturgical formula (Y. 1,17; 2,17, etc.) together with three other designations of temporal ratu-s: one connected with the “month”, māhiia-, and the other two with the “year”, the first one (yāiriia-) concerning the seasonal periods and festivals (Gāhānbār-s), the second one (sarə δ a-) referring to the entirety of the year as a longer time period with its potential multiples. The first two terms, in their turn, express two different notions of the “day” as aiiar-/aiian- or as azan-/asn-. I will argue that aiiara- concerns the day in its complete duration (starting from the dawn as the beginning of the diurnal time), probably including the thirty days of the month (as single days or as a multiple of any day). The second word, asniia-, involves the internal divisions and, then, refers to the different gāh-periods. Finally, I shall demonstrate that this semantic difference is better understood in parallel with the logical and mathematic distinction between “discrete” and “continuous” units.