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India's Contribution to World Thought and Culture

India's Contribution to World Thought and Culture


Item Code: IDK845
Hardcover (Edition: 2003)

Vivekananda Kendra Prakashan Trust (Ramakrishna Mission)

Size: 11.6" X 9.0"
Pages: 721 (Illustrated Throughout in B/W)
Price: $100.00   Shipping Free - 4 to 6 days
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The present volume is a result of the resolve of the Swami Vivekananda Centenary Celebration and Vivekananda Rock Memorial Committee to publish a monumental Vivekananda Commemoration Volume on the occasion of the inauguration of the Vivekananda Rock Memorial at Kanyakumari. For carrying out the collection of articles, to edit them and finally to see them through the press a Vivekananda Commemoration Volume Publication Committee was formed under the auspices of the parent body. An Advisory Board was set up under the chairmanship of Prof. K.A. Nilakanta Sastri of Madras, with Dr. C. Sivaramamurti as the Vice-Chairman. Eminent scholars from all over India were represented in the Board. Similarly a committee of twenty Patrons of the Publication was formed under the Chairmanship of Shri S.K. Patil. The response to the Volume was world-wide, and we are fortunate in obtaining cooperation of luminaries of the scholarly world of Europe, America, Soviet Union and Asia as well as of eminent scholars from all over India to present a panorama of India's cultural pageant beyond her frontiers. His Holiness the Dalai Lame also honoured us by his contribution.

Swami Vivekananda being one among the many who carried India's thought beyond its frontiers, the Committee decided to remember, in this volume. India's projection in the outside world in various fields, temporal as well as spiritual, since the dawn of history. The Volume has, therefore, been titled "India's Contribution to World Thought and Culture".

The diffusion of India's cultural immensity over the vast expanses of Asia and other continents is a glorious epic of human achievement in the domain of thought and its expression in space and time.

Beyond the shimmering blue waters of Lake Baikal in the heart of Eastern Siberia lie monasteries studded with Indian images and silken scrolls of Tantric deities.

A little below lies the Mongolian people's Republic which has one of the richest treasures of translations of thousands of Sanskrit works, and rare icons of India's divinities like Mahakala, Kali, Ayushi, Tara-Devi, and so on.

From the Central Asian sands have been exhumed Sanskrit manuscripts, rare works of art, unique administrative documents in Prakrit, exquisite murals and objects of a high material culture – all imbued with the spirit and form of India.

In the Far East, the sprawling mainland of China has preserved a rich heritage of the art, literature and philosophy of India. Stories of the Mahabharata in the classical Japanese theatre, the art traditions of Ajanta at Horyuji Temples, or Sanskrit Mantras, all are ageless symbols of India's contribution to Japan's evolution.

The Tibetan books on medicine, astronomy, grammar, rhetorics and poetics are inspired by Indian works of similar description.

The skyline of temples in Bangkok, Sanskrit words in the Thai language, Ramayana as the supreme expression of Thai theatre, Shaiva ceremonies at the Royal Court – are parts of the stream that flows in the heart of Thailand from the deep of India's being. The enthralling stupa of Borobudur, the Shiva temple of Prambanan, the living presence of Hinduism in Bali, are some of the facets dynamics of our cultural spectrum in the isles of Indonesia.

The Volume also relates India's impact on European thought, Indian themes in European folklore, and the message of Sanatana Dharma (Universal Religion) to the modern man of Europe and America.

This Volume is a result of collaboration of several scholars from all parts of the world. But the moving spirit, invisible but ever active, ever inspiriting has been Shri Eknath Ranade, the Organising Secretary of the Vivekananda Rock Memorial Committee, and Publication Committee, whose constant readiness to fly from any distance of India to help with his wide experience and advice were always at the disposal of the editors. No detail has been trivial for him to solve the multiplicity of problems arising over the years.

The Volume details the dynamics of our cultural relations with Afghanistan, Central Asia, China, Korea, Japan, Nepal Tibet, Mongolia, Ceylon, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines Middle East, Africa, Europe and America. A section devoted to the tale of the construction of the Rock Memorial has been inserted after page 384. We considered it but meet to include the section as it was the completion of this memorial that provided an occasion and an cultural epos of India from the earliest period to its culmination in Swami Vivekananda is represented in this Volume.

In fine it may be mentioned that the volume aims at giving an overall idea of India's Contribution to World Thought and Culture both to the common intelligent reader and to the erudite scholar. A task like this is, indeed, difficult to perform. We therefore, decided to include a number of introductory and survey articles for the common reader and also to keep a few specialised articles for the well informed scholars.

Editors' grateful acknowledgements are due to many individuals and institutions without whose active help and support this volume would not have assumed this form.

We wish to express our sense of gratitude to the authors and publishers of the large number of books and articles from which our writers as well as the publishers have taken their illustrations. To our young promising scholars Sarvashri B. Datta. Pande, M. L. Sharma and Km. Chhaya Bhattacharya also we owe our thanks for giving us much help in the publication of this Volume.

Our indebtedness is also to Shri S.B. Deshaprabhu for preparing the layout of the Volume. Shri M.S. Mani for preparing line drawing illustrations, Prof. H. Hartel of the Museum fur Volkerkunde, West Berlin, for arranging colour photographs of well paintings from Kizil, Dr. M.S. Agrawal for colour photographs of Cambodian temples. Shri Darshan Lal and others for other colour photographs and Shri B.B. Datta for typing the manuscript. We also express our thanks to the Management, Times of India Press, Bombay, for giving us on loan the colour books of Plates IX and X and black-and-white blocks of Planets 88 to 91.

We shall be failing in our duty if we do not acknowledge the overnight work that Sarvashri B. L. Ganju, R. Srivastava, M.N. Kamath, P.N. Khanna, K. Singha, K.N. Jaychandran, J. Marathe and R.S. Wadhwa of Thomson Press had put in to print this Volume. We are equally grateful to the managers and workers of the Thomson Press, Faridabad and the Rational Art and Press Pvt. Ltd. Bombay, for the immense pains that they took in producing the Volume in a comparatively short time.

The idea of publishing the Vivekananda Commemoration Volume originated in connection with the construction of a Memorial Temple on the famous rock, off the coast of Kanya Kumari, sanctified by its association with Swami Vivekananda in one of the most crucial phases in his life, which proved to be a turning-point in his whole career.

It is impossible to comprehend fully the character and personality of a great soul like Vivekananda, but the great mission of spreading all over the world the essence of Hindu religion and culture must be regarded as one of the most important aspects of his life. For a long time it was believed, even by educated Indians, that unlike the missionaries of Buddhist, Christian and Islamic faiths no band of religious men ever went out of India to preach Hinduism in far off Foreign lands. Even Swami Vivekananda is reported to have observed in his reply to the Welcome Address at Pamban that "since the dawn of history, no missionary went out of India to propagate the Hindu doctrine and dogmas". But modern researches have proved beyond doubt that such a view is quite wrong. Attempt has been made to show in an article in this volume by Dr. S.P. Gupta that "the dispersal of Indian culture, at least in Soviet Central Asia, can be traced from the Early Stone Age which takes us back to about half a million years". But such studies of cultural contact between primitive peoples, being based almost solely on stone tools or other artifacts, can only give us very meager and vague ideas on the subject of what we properly recognize as human culture. Our definite knowledge of the spread of Indian culture in all its aspects, beyond India, beings from the third century B.C., and we are in a position to say that in the course of ages that culture was spread almost all over Asia, from Armenia to Japan, and from Eastern Siberia to Ceylon and islands of Indonesia; even further beyond, it left its impress upon other cultures.

The story of the spread of Buddhism since the time of Asoka, about the middle of the third century B.C., is well known. Far less known is the fact that Hinduism i.e. the Puranic form of Brahmanical religion, was also spread in all parts of Asia, and abundant traces of Hinduism and other aspects of Indian culture associated with it still remain in various regions of the continent. It would, perhaps, be a news to many that there was an Indian colony in the region of the Upper Euphrates river, to the west of Lake Van, as early as the second century B.C., and the temples of Hindu gods, like Krsna, erected there were destroyed by the Christian monk St. Gregory early in the fourth century A.D., defeating the Indians who stoutly resisted the iconoclastic fury of the Christians. It is hardly necessary to refer to the numerous magnificent remains of Hindu temples in Indo-China and Indonesia to prove the mature and extent of the missionary zeal of the Hindus in remote parts of Asia.

This great truth about Hinduism was hitherto ignored or obscured by the fact that there is no evidence of such missionary spirit of the Hindus during the last one thousand years or more. It was Swami Vivekananda who revived the old missionary spirit of Hinduism towards the close of the Nineteenth Century A.D.

This Commemoration Volume is primarily intended to bring home to the minds of all this long-forgotten, but very important, chapter in the history of Indian culture in general, and of Hinduism in particular, which has been rescued from oblivion by modern researches. Even a cursory glance at the Table of contents of this volume would show that this episode – an epoch-making discovery from the point of view of Indian culture – is the main thread which binds together the different articles it contains. In order to emphasize this aspect the articles have been classified under different countries outside India where either the religion and other elements of Indian culture were generally adopted by the people at large or the existing culture was greatly influenced and modified by that of India. Tibet, Central Asia, China, Japan, Burma, Indo-China and Indonesia formed very powerful strongholds of Indian culture, and several articles have been devoted to them. Nearer home, Afghanistan, Ceylon and Nepal have formed subjects of discussion, though the intimate relations between India's cultural contact with such cultural relations of India with Middle East, Europe and America.

These detailed accounts are preceded by a number of articles which give a broad survey, and may be regarded as a general review. Most of these describe India's cultural contact, not with specific countries but with wider stretches of regions, and discuss specific items of culture such as medical science, art and architecture, geographical nomenclature borrowed from India by other countries, etc. They also include subjects basically connected with the cultural contact between India and the outside world, such as shipping and maritime adventure, trading activities in or with foreign countries. Attention may be drawn once again to the fact that these articles conclusively prove that contrary to popular notion, not only religion and philosophy but various other aspects of Indian culture, specially art, literature and even technical sciences were spread to many foreign lands.

While this summery gives some ideas of the comprehensive nature of this volume and the general plan underlying it, the names of contributors would indicate the wide range of talents, not only from india, but also from other countries in Asia, Europe and America, whose knowledge has been laid under contribution for making to enable us to arrive at a definite conclusion or reasonable hypothesis.

In spite of these and probably a few other shortcomings that may be noticed in this big volume, it will, I hope, be generally conceded that it is a remarkable attempt to throw light from various points of view, on a very important aspect of Indian culture. As, in the case of individuals, their real greatness is to be judged, not so much by the wealth, knowledge or experience which they themselves possess, but by the extent to which these are applied towards the welfare and improvement of their fellow-countrymen, the greatness of nations may not unnaturally be measured by their contribution to the upliftment of other, particularly less developed or less fortunate, peoples. Judged by this standard of greatness the Indians may Justly rank with Greece, Rome, and China. This is no mean tribute and this volume may be regarded as a testimony to such greatness.


Arnold Tonybee on Sri Ramakrishnaxv
Ganesa Beyond the Indian Frontiers : M.K. Dhavalikar1
Religio-Cultural Emissaries from India : M.D. Khare17
Acaryas of Nalanda Abroad : B.N. Mishra23
Sanskrit Niti-Literature in "Greater India" : Ludwik456 Sternbach33
Indian Influence on the Geographical Names of South-east Asia : D.C. Sircar41
India's Contributions to the History of Science : B.V. Subharayappa47
The Expansion of Indian Medicine Abroad : Jean Filliozat67
Ancient Indian Maritime Ventures : K.S. Ramachandran71
Shipping in Ancient India : S.R. Rao83
Indian Shipping in Mediaeval Period : Lallanji Gopal108
The Impact of India on the architecture of South-east Asia : K.R. Srinivasan123
The Impact of Indian Tradition on the Coins of Alien Rulers of India : Nirmal Chandra Ghosh135
The Aryans : A Reappraisal of the Problems : B.K. Thapar147
Some Western Indologists and Indian Civilization : Kailash Chandra Varma165
Ramayana in Asia : Harish Kumar Chaturvedi181
Some Observations on Harappan Script : B.B. Lal189
Indian Scripts and Languages in Asian Countries : C. Sivaramamurti and Krishna Deva203
Hindu Sculptures in Ancient Afghanistan : P. Banerjee and R.C. Agrawala215
Buddhist Centres in Afghanistan : K.N. Dikshit229
Prehistoric Indian Cultures in Soviet Central Asia : S.P. Gupta239
On the Role of Central Asia in the Spread of Indian Cultural Influence : Pentti Aalto249
India and Soviet Central Asia : B.A. Litvinsky263
Some Aspects of Indian Culture in the Kharosthi Documents from Chinese Turkestan : R.C. Agarwala275
Hindu Deities in Central Asia : P. Banerjee281
India – A Major Source of Central Asian Art : Chhaya Bhattacharya289
The Spice and Silk Roads : Anil De Silva299
Parya : An Indo-Aryan Dialect in Central Asia : M.G. Panse305
Cultural Exchange between India, China, and Japan : Shiged Kamata315
Buddhist Contact of China : H. Sarkar325
Social Aspects of the Spread of Buddhism in China : Buddha Prakash333
Cultural Relations of India and Korea : Raghuvira341
Ajanta and Horyuji : J. Edward Jr.347
Dhyana in Japanese Art : Hugo Munsterberg359
Indian Influence on Japanese Stories : Hajme Nakamura363
Saiva Icons of Nepal : Brijendra Nath Sharma371
Section : Tale of the Vivekananda Rock Memorial Kanyakumarii-lii
Buddhist Art of Nepal : N.R. Banerjee385
India : The Home of Tibetan Learning: His Holiness The Fourteenth Dalailama389
Indo-Tibetan Cultural Relations : Ankul Chandra Banarjee393
Glimpse of Indian Culture in Tibet : L.L. Mehrotra, 401
Influence of Indian Philosophy on Mongolian Shamanism : Acad. Rinchen409
Hinduism in CeylonL : V.C. Srivastava413
Mahayana Cult in Ancient Ceylon : Diren K. Dohnanian423
A Historical Survey of the Elements of Hindu Culture in Burma : Upendra Thakur437
A Temple of Visnu in Burma : Usha R. Bhise445
Indian Influence in Siam : C.B. Pandey453
The Ramayana in Thailand : H.H. Prince Dhaninivat469
Campa – An Outpost of Indian Culture : M.N. Deshpande475
India and Laos : J.S. Nigam483
The Sanskrit Literature in Lava (Laos) : Raghu Vira487
Indian Cultural Heritage in Cambodia : B.R. Chatterji493
Hindu Epic and Purananic Traditions in South-east Asia : K.V. Sondara Rajan499
India, Malaya and Borneo – Two Millennia of Contacts and Cultural Synthesis : D. Devahuti509
The Javanese Brahmanda Purana : B. Dutta533
The Presence of Hinduism in Indonesia : Aspects and Problems : J. Gonda535
Sanskrit Texts and Indian Religion in Bali : T. Goudriaan555
A Survey of Paleographic Relations Between India and Philippines : Juan R. Francisco565
India's Contribution to Islamic Thought and Culture : N.N. Bhattacharya573
India's Contribution to the Arab Civilization : W.H. Siddiqi579
India in the Eyes of Early Muslim Scholars : Arjun Dev589
Guru Nanak's Travels in the Middle East : Surinder Singh Kohli597
India's Contacts with Africa from the Earliest Times:Amba Prasad601
Indian Religions and the West : Historical Perspectives : B.M. Pande615
The Pian of the Hindu Temple and its impact on the Baroque Church : Josi Pereira623
Indian Culture in Transbaikalian Siberia:Lokesh Chandra629
Red Indians or Asiomericans – Indian Settlers in Middle and South America : D.P. Singhal633
Section : Swami Vivekananda : Life and Mission
Swami Vivekananda : India's Emissary to the West : Swami Ranganathananda649
Swami Vivekananda on Education : T.S. Avinashilingam 677
Worship of The God in Man : Swami Gambhirananda685
Self-Renewal in Indian History and Swami Vivekananda : M.C. Joshi692
Portrait of Sankara : C. Sivaramamurti703
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