Showing posts with label Yaksa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Yaksa. Show all posts

Origin of Buddha Image

Today India is known for Idol Worship. All religions in India have in Form worship, either as symbols, letters, pictures or Idols. But this was not the case 2000Years ago. Any form of Form in Faith was not considered. In some places like Karnataka not even name of the dead Jain persons written on the Graves even until 400 AD. Hinduism , Jainism and Buddhism did not support gods in human form. So how did this extreme swing took place , from nothing everything in human forms. This explains the lack of Inscriptions, temples, Idols before 5th century BC. Classic study in this transformation is Buddhism. This was the religion at the prime when this transformation occurred. So Let us see how we got the Image of Buddha. Which will explain the transformation. Let us see if Image in Indian religion and the Origin of Buddha Image and associate controversies.

Vedic Hinduism.

Vedic religion says Absolute or Trancendental can be realized in diverse ways. Co-existence of Sakara(diety with Form) and Nirakara(Diety without Form) in the same household , with men with different Intellectual and moral denominations aspiring for spirituality in their respective ways. Kena Upanishad says man cannot comprehend God with his sense organs. That is God cannot be seen with Eyes. Svetasvatara upanishad says that Great one has not likeness to form. In Bhagavat Gita Arjuna asks Krishna in what forms and objects the Great one should be meditated. In response Krishna first Enumerated all phenomenal objects , all flora , all fauna and so on. Then Krishna gives Arjuna supernatural Eye , in which he sees entire universe, process of creation and process of destruction. Arjuna beholds God is identical with Cosmos. Later Supplements of Gita say God can be worshipped by Agni by Brahman, Devata(divinity) worshipped in the heart of Muni,Pratima(Image) is adored by men of Low intellect. While one whose sight is not limited can see God everywhere. Adi shankara preferred Formless and Ramanuja said he is prefers both Formless and With Form.


Jainism says In the theist world the loftiest entity is The God. It has thousands of names like Paramatma (the ultimate soul), Bhagavan (the most glorious one), Siddha (the liberated), Buddha (the enlightened), The God, etc.

In the Jain tradition there are two forms of this entity-

(1) The formless God or Siddha (the liberated) and

(2) The God with a form or Tirthankar / Arihant.

The Tirthankar is a detached individual who is the ultimate altruist and benefactor of not only mankind but every living being. He propagates the religious path and preaches about it for their benefit. His benevolent voice promotes happiness, peace, and infinite bliss for every being.In the Jain tradition there have been twenty-four Tirthankars during the current descending cycle of time, Bhagavan Rishabhdev being the first and Bhagavan Mahavir being the last. For every Jain these Tirthankars are the entities to be worshipped and revered. The ultimate goal of Jainism is to tread the path shown by them and acquire infinite powers and virtues.


Thervada ban on Buddharupa( Buddha Image) is well known. An old Disciple of Buddha Vakali was eager to see Buddha before he died. One day buddha came and said to him “ O vakkali why do you crave to see this body of impure matter, one who perceives Dharma Perceives me. One who perceives me perceives Dharma” On different occasions through dialogues and sermons Buddha spoke against adoration of his Rupakaya or Buddha Rupa.

What does faith say?

The Trinity Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism say that God is formless ,but it does not go against worship of forms , saying that is done by lower intellectuals. So the form is also present in Indian Dharma along with Formless, which is the basic or ultimate. Now let us see how Buddha Image developed.

Origin of Buddha Image

Buddhist followers remained faithful to Buddha teaching of non-worship of buddha Image. The first to break the rule King Udyana of Vatsa or Kausambi, who was very devoted, The story goes that he was worried that Buddha would not return. Buddha's disciple Maudgalyayana used magic to send an artist (some say 32 of them) up to heaven to capture the likeness of the Buddha in a 5-foot figure carved out of sandalwood. This image was so accurate and imbued with devotion, that when Shakyamuni returned, it rose up to greet him. The Buddha acknowledged then, the power of the rupa to inspire and to teach the dharma to future generations. This story is not accepted by most Buddhists. For Five centuries after Buddha until 1st century BC , Buddha was represented by Symbols. Until 1st century AD he was never represented in Human Form. Immediately following this period the Graeco-Buddhist or Indo-Hellenistic or Ghandara period presents us with enormous anthromorphic images. Immediately we have suggestions from western world that the images were introduction from west , particularly from Greece. The present Image developed after the 5th century AD. Our main debate of the article comes here, Was the Concept of Image of God came from West (Persia, Middle east , Greece, Rome , etc).

Image or Icon in Indian Religions – History Debate.

In the First two decades of this 20th century Western scholars like Albert Foucher and John Marshall has concluded that Image or Icon was not the characteristic of Indian religions till the advent of Persians , West Asians and Greek. This Western Idea was supported by Arya Samaj, Brahmo Samaj and Prarthana Samaj. They maintained that Worship of Image was un - Vedic, Un - Brahminical and was the later development in Puranic age. Thervada buddhist also accepted this theory.

Other Hindus who held Pratima(Likeness = Image) was an Indigenous element nothing was foreign. Kashiprasad Jaiswal and Anand Coomaraswamy contended that Rupa (form) is integral part of the Vedic religion. At this time Indus Valley civilzation was unearthed, Archeologist R.P chanda found earliest representation of Siva Pasupathi and Yogi in the Indus valley. Also scholars pointed to Tibetans traditions and showed that Image was used before Mauryas. Also aborignals(Not Aryan and Dravidian) like Veddas and Nagas have their dieties and symbols of worship. So the worship of symbols and dieties is not totally absent.

Image worship in India

  • Image worship as we have seen in the Formless debate was accepted and prevalent.

  • Images of Shiva, mother Goddess,Yogi and wide variety of Terrocotta statues representing Human and Animal like forms. in Indus valley have proved beyond doubt that Image worship was prevalent.

  • Aboriginal like Yaksha and Naga have dieties. We find numerous dieties in their settlements since earliest times. Which show that Idol worship was prevalent before vedic times(7000BC)

  • Sakya, the clan Buddha was born in, had its own Yaksha deity, the Yaksha Sakyavardhana, the benevolent guardian of Sakyas. As prevailed the custom, soon after his birth, the child Buddha was presented to Yaksha Sakyavardhana for child's long life and glory.

So from the above points the worshipping of Forms and images was widely prevalent and the Idea is not Import from west. Let us move to the next point. Was the Buddha image creation due to influence of the west.

Foreign Influence.

Foucher argued that the Buddha Image is a eurasian one or Greek one. Let us analyse the facts.Before the Gandhara buddhist images there were Mathura Buddhist Images which were Indian in look and Indigenous. So there is no question of Gandhara images being the first buddhist images. Infact Gandhara images are continuation of mathura Images. Let us see the if there is any influence of Greek or western on the Gandhara images. Let us see one by one


  • The Asanas are all Indian. The early art shows five sitting postions with hands showing mudras (Dharmachakra Mudra, Dhyna Mudra, Bhumisparsa Mudra, Varada mudra, Abhaya Mudra)

  • The Dress worn by Boddhisattvas are Indian.

  • Physical attributes: Protuberance(usnisa) on the crown is evident, urna or turf in the fine hair between the brows is evident, Fingers are webbed, The Ears are elongated by wearing the ear rings before monastic robes.

  • The Boddhisattvas represented in less rigid position holding attributes in the hands(vajra pani in Vajra, Padmapani by roselotus , Avalokitesvara by blue lotus, Maitreya Amrta Flask) These attributes can be held in any hand, but they are always held in Right hand by Indian Tradition.

  • The Dieties are either seated or Standing on traditional Indian lotus Flower.


All the Symbols used in the Art are indian such as bull, Sacred Tree,Mountain, River , many Solar ,Nandipada, Trishul, Swastik, Lotus , Bow and Arrow Etc. These are Hindu, Jain and Buddhist or Indian.

Art form

In Indian art (abstract) the emphasis is laid on the significance of the object not the appearance. In Greek art (naturalistic) the emphasis is laid on the object and its looks. Every art is a compromise between the abstract and naturalistic, but what we see in Gandhara and other Indian art is continuos concept of Abstract(whether one finds a sacred tree or Buddha Figure) , no swing from one style to another as seen during 19th century when there were wild swings to European art. The Gandhara artforms are infact reproduction of early mathura artforms.


The Technology , Craftsman were already present , when the need for buddha arise and they had no problem in making the images.


So we cannot say that the Buddha got the Image due to Western Influence. The Gandhara art shows lot of Influence of Hellenistic artform, but the Image is originally Indian. Hinduism , Jainism and Buddhism embodied accomodation of non-believers into their fold as they are , without losing anything. Unlike in Europe when pre-christian gods were banished once christianity took hold, Indian faith accepted aboriginal Yaksha and Naga dieties and symbols and absorbed them. This process continued and Buddhist and Jain elements were absorbed into Hindu fold. So the Image and Deity worship are essentially Indian , though they were not part of Hindu, Jain or Buddhist Dharma initially.


The origin of Buddha Image by Ananda K Coomaraswamy

Who are ancient Kambojas and their Land

There have been many controversies about the precise location of ancient Kamboja Mahajanapada or Kamboja country as mentioned in our ancient Sanskrit and Pali texts or which finds mention in the classical writings of the Greek, Roman, Chinese or Moslem writers. The footprints of Kambojas have been found in Iran, Bukhara, Balakh, Fargana, Sogdiana, Pamirs, Badakhshan, Hindukush, Kashmir, Kabol Valley (Paropamisadean region/Kaffirstan), Kandhar, Gazni, Sindh, Balochistan, Gujrat/Kathiawad, Mathura, Ayudhya, Tibet, Nepal, Assam, Bengal, Orissa, Andhra Pardesh, in South India, Sri Lanka, Indochina (Cambodia) etc. So the various scholars, Indian and foreign, have tried to locate their KAMBOJA country, in South India, Gujrat-Kathiwad, Sindh-Sauvir, Balauchistan, Nepal, Tibet, Assam, Kandhar/Gazni, Kaffirstan, Pamir/Badakshan as also in Central Asia, comprising southern parts of Russian and Chinese Turkestan, according as, where they had found the foot prints of the Kamboja people, during the phase of history under their study. But unfortunately, still, the scholars are not unanimous in their location of Ancient Kamboja Mahajanapada which stands mentioned numerously in our Sanskrrit and Pali Texts.

Says Dr Moti Chander : " The Kambojas were important people, but strange as it may look the Indologists are not at all unanimous in their location of this ancient country" (Geographical and Economic Studies in the Mahabharata Upayana Parva, JUPHS, Vol. XVI, Pt. II., p 42). Let us start to unfold the story of location and identification of Kamboja from the beginning.


Vayu Purana (V) [I 45.118], Brahmanda Purana (V) [ I, 2.16.49), Markandeya Purana [57.36] and Vamana Purana [13.40] etc describes the Kamboja tribes in the Udychya or Uttarapatha.

Markendya (58) [Markendya 58.30.32], Vishnu Dharmottara [I.9.6] mention them as tribes of south-west. Brahta Samhita also mentions them in the South-west near Gujarat/Sorasher (Brahta Samhita XIV, 17-19). Markendya (55/30-33) groups them with the Pahlavas, Sindhus and Sauviras and Vishnu Dharmottara groups them with Strirajya (Bahlika) and the Yavanas, it goes without saving that these texts refer to the countries of northg-west of India.

Later some time, when many clans of these tribes were located near Saurashtra/Gujarat (after 2nd c/1 ist c BC), they find mention in Garuda Purana (55.13) in Dakshinapatha.

Brahata Samhita (14/17-19) mentions them near Gujarat in south-west division in association with Sindhu SauvirSorashter Dravid etc.

In his Arathshastra, Brahaspati, has shown Kamboja as a great country, associated with the Dasrana country in south-west [IHQ., Vol XXVI-2, 1950, p 127].

Very interestingly, Agni Purana mentions two Kambojas...Kamboja and Kambhoja located somewhere in South and South west division (Dr J. L. Kamboj).

Rajvilas, a mediaeval age Text also associates Kamboja with SorashterGujarat and Kachch countries. [Rajbilas 1/112].

Balmiki Ramayana locates Kamboja in general in the Uttarapatha of Indian peninsula but does not give us its precise location. Per BALMIKI RAMAYANA, Sugariva figures as directing the monkeys to go to Uttarapatha, the lands of the Kambojas, Yavanas, Sakas and the Vardas (Pardasa?) (Ramayana Kishakanda Saraga, 43.12). Thus Ramayana places Saka, Kamboja Yavana etc tribes as neighbors in the extrem north beyond Surasena, Prasthala, Bharatas, Kurus and Madrakas.

Further, in Vashista-Vishwamitra war over Kamdhenu, which was probably fought over in Afghanistan, the Kambojas, Sakas, Yavanas etc tribes are again shown to have participated as allies or supporters of Vashista against Vishwamitra. As Sakas, Yavanas etc are the well known tribes of the Uttarapatha, their Associates, the Kambojas are also qualify to have been their Uttarapathian neighbors. All these tribes are shown as having been jointly `created by the divine powers of Kamdhenu' on special plea by Vashist. See below:

tasyA humbhAravAjjAtAH kAmbojA ravisaMnibhAH . Udhasastvatha sa~njAtAH pahlavAH shastrapANayaH .. 2..\ yonideshAchcha yavanaH shakR^iddeshAchchhakAstathA . romakUpeShu mechchhAshcha harItAH sakirAtakAH .. 3..\ (Ramayana 1/52-55).

Mahabharata also associates Kambojas with Sakas, Yavanas tribes at several places and also counts them amongst the Uttarapathian tribes:

Saka-Yavana-KAMBOJAstasta: Kasatrya Jatyah: Vrishaltam parigta brahmanahnamdrashnaat (MBH 13/33/22)

But in the following Shloka of Mahabharata, the Kambojas are shown as belonging to western region of India.

ShakAnAM pahlavAnA.n cha daradAnAM cha ye nRipAH. KAmbojA RiShikA ye cha pashchimAnUpakAshcha ye// (Udyogaparvam-4/15)

So much so, in Mahabharata war, the Saka, Kamboja and Yavana tribes had fought to gather under the joint command of Kamboja king Sudakshina Kamboj. See evidence below:

Viduymano vatain bahurup ivambuda:/ Sudakshinashach Kambojo Yavanaishach shakaistha// (MBH 5/19/23) This undoubtedly verifies the Kambojas to have been the neighbor and friends of Sakas/Yavanas and hence living somewhere in the Uttarapatha division of Ancient India. MUDRARAKHASA DRAMA (II.2).

Kambojas, Sakas etc have also been portrayed as the tribes of Uttarapatha in Mudrarakasha drama of Buddist texts and they are shown to have jointly formed core of the Chander Gupta Maurya's composite army of Uttarapathian warriors which had decisively defeated the Magadha dynasty of Nandas/Nandins. e.g.

Asti tava Shaka-Yavana-Kirata-Kamboja-Parsika-Bahlika parbhutibhi: Chankyamatipragrahittaishach Chander Gupt Parvateshvar Balairudadhibhiriv parchalitsalilaih: Samantad uprudham Kusumpuram (Mudrarakshasa II.2)

All these examples points out at fact that the Kambojas who were the allies and neighbors of the well-known Uttarapathian tribes like Sakas, Parthas, Yavanas etc were most probably also located in the Uttarapatha somewhere.

Ashoka's Rock edicts (R.E. V (Yona-Kamboj-Gamdharnam...), R.E. XIII (Yona-Kambojesu), & Shar-I-Kunha Inscriptions of Kandhar (Aramic/Greek version representing Yonas and Kambojas respectively) document some Kamboja population in Kandhar, and Kandhar/Kabul/Lamghan/Swat valley (testified by linguist traces) but it does not talk about the Kambojas of Central Asia..Obviously the people in mind in Asoka's rock edicts were the Paropamisadean Republican Kambojas who had crossed the Hindu Kush range and had occupied the Paropamisadean region (south of Hindukush) a little before times of Ashoka. The republican Asvakyan (Ashvak/Ashmak) and Asvayana (Asapas) Kambojas of the Puranic literature and Panini's Ashta-dhyai belong to this class.

In Dhammapada's commentary on Petuvathu, Dvarka is associated with Kamboja as its Capital or its important city. (ref: The Buddhist Concepts of Spirits, p 81, Dr B. C. Law). See evidence below:

"Yasa asthaya gachham Kambojam dhanharika/ ayam kamdado yakkho iyam yakham nayamasai// iyam yakkham gahetvan sadhuken pasham ya/ yanam aaropyatvaan khippam gaccham Davarkaan ti// [Buddhist Text Khudak Nikaya (P.T.S)]


Based on this evidence of Buddhist Jatakja, Dr. T. W. Rhys David locates Kamboja somewhere in Northern India (Uttarapatha) and fixes its Capital as Davarka. (Buddhist India, p 17).


Dr S. K. Aiyanger agrees with Dr. Rhys David that Davarka was the Capital of Kamboja and locates this Kamboja country in modern Sindh and Gujrat region with ancient Dvarvati or Dvarka located in Gujrat as its Capital But the Davarka of Dr T. W. Rhys David was located in Central Asia across the Oxus river (Ancient India, p 7).

Dr. P. N. Banerjee also locates his Kamboja Mahajanapada in modern Sindh and Gujrat and states Davarka as its Capital ( Public Administration in Ancient India, p 56).

Nagendra Nath also supposes that the ancient Kamboja was the same as Kambhey of Gujarat (Vager Jatya Itihaas (Bangla), Rajanya Kanda.


According Nepali Pt B. H. Hodgson, the name Kamboja desha applies to Tibet. This fact has also been supported by two MSS (No 7763, and 7777) described in the Catalogues of Sanskrit and Prakrit MSS in the library of India Office, Vol II., part II; History of Bengal, I 191, by Dr R. C. Majumdar, Distt Gazetteer (rajashahi), 1915, p 26, Some Historical Aspects of the Inscriptions of Bengal, p 342, f.n. 1 by Dr B. C. Sen).

According to French Indianist Alfred Foucher, "......the Kohistan, a mountainous area near Kabul might be the land of the Kambojas, of which we know very little, except that they were more Iranian than Indian and raised fine horses" .(La Vieille route de I'nde, p271, Dr Alfred Foucher)

But at another place , Dr Alfred Foucher states that according to Nepali traditions, the name Kamboja desha applies to Tibet. (Iconographie Buddhique, p 134).

Dr Charles Eliot also locates the Kamboja Mahajanapada of the Sanskrit and Palli texts in Tibet country. (Hinduism and Buddhism, Vol I, , p 268). In another volume of the same work, Charles Eliot calls them, an ambiguous race, who were perhaps the inhabitants of Tibet or its borderlands" (Hinduism and Buddhism,Vol III, p 6, fn 5).

Dr G. G. Gokhale locates ancient Kamboja in Tibet. (Ancient History of India 1952, by Dr G. G. Gokhale).

Also compare:

Dr V. A. Smith seems to locate Kamboja in Tibet or within the Hindukush mountains ranges. (Early History of India, Ed IV, p 193). Dr Smith further states that the ancient Kambojas are supposed to have spoken an Iranian tongue. (op. Cit, p 184, fn).

OR WAS ANCIENT KAMBOJA OF SANSKRIT/PALI TEXTS LOCATED IN INDO-CHINA (???). A CONFUSION AMONG SOME INVESTIGATORS: Cf: "Dr R. D. Banerjee refers to a KAMBOJA or KAMBODIA on the east side of Samatata , East Bengal.Vanglar Itihasa, Vol I, p 95). But can hardly be our Kamboja Mahajanapada which is invariably associated with Gandhara in the Uttarapatha of India" (Some Kasatrya Tribes of Ancient India,p 235 , Dr. B. C. Law)

Cf: A Tribute to Hinduism - Suvarnabhumi; "... the ruins of a metropolis hidden in the jungles of Cambodia (formerly known as KAMBOJA). One of the largest cities of the ancient world, Angkor was built by ... " [More Results From:]

Cf: "As the Hindu culture spread to far east, temples were built in His Honor in many places like Java, Champa ( Indo-China), KAMHOJA ( present day Cambodia) and in the adjoining areas of the now south east Asian countries."

Cf: "Myawaddy (from Amaravati), dvaravati (to be found in Thailand as well as here at one time), Ayuthia (from Ayoddhya or Ayujjha), Cambodia (from KAMBOJA) are some that come readily to mind. The name "Erawati is evidently one of them. Harvey himself provides the clue when he mentions that" `The name of the Irrawady . cf: "...The period in which Cambodia has permanent significance in the history of the world runs from the Tenth Century to the Fifteenth and is the era in which the Khmers, the native population, came under the cultural dominion of India, adopted the religions of both Hinduism and Buddhism, and accepted Sanskrit as the language of the educated ruling class, itself of Hindu or mixed Hindu and Khmer stock. The very name of Cambodia is Sanskrit (KAMBOJA). This era ends with the sack of Angkor Thom by the Siamese and the consequent decadence of the nation...". [by Professor Revilo P. Oliver (Liberty Bell, October 1988]

cf: ".....The surviving archeological evidences of this period are seen in the imposing ruins of Angkor Vat in Cambodia (KAMBHOJA of the ancient Sanskrit texts)..............................Even present-day names like Singapore (derived from the Sanskrit Simha Pura meaning Lion City) and Java (derived from the Sanskrit Yava Dwipa meaning (island of grain), remind us of Hindu influences over this part of the globe....".

cf: "Indians were avid travellers and settled in distant lands. The Cholas encouraged and organized expeditions through which the religion and culture of the land was carried beyond India's borders. The ancient name for Java is Yava Dvipa, the Island of Millet - the Indian word for millet is Java. Cambodia was once called KAMBHOJA, named after the Indian city in ancient Gandhara in today's Kabul region. The epic, Ramayana, is a part of mythology of Thailand and Indonesia, Balinese and Thai dance forms are of Indian origin///". Also look at the following: "... asia were ruled by kings of Indian descent, and had Indian names. If Kamboja was the ancient name for Kampuchea / Cambodia, what was knon in ancient times as ... "

COMMENT: Thus all the above investigators locate KAMBHOJA/KAMBOJA of ancient Sankrit Texts in Mekong Basin (=modern day Kambodia). But this is not the our Kamboja mahajanapada mentioned in our ancient Sanskrit/Biddhist texts.

A WAY OUT? "Kamboja, a country referred to by Emperor Asoka in his inscriptions, is generally believed to be to the west of India. It could, however, also be identical with the Cambodia of today, and it is conceivable that two Kambojas existed" [Dr Roger Bischoff]

Thus this investigator (Roger Bischoff) supposes two KAMBOJAS...One Kamboja on north of India mentioned in Ashoka's Rock Edicts while the second KAMBOJA was in the present day Kambodia/Cambodia in Mekong Basin in Indo-China. And Roger Bischoff is indeed right in his supposition.


Dr James Philip states that researcher Wilford always locates Kamboja in the mountains of Gazni in all his essays, but what is the basis of his fixation of Kamboja in Gazni is never clarified or explained (JASB., Vol VII, 1838, p 237).

".......The earlier settlements of the Kurus were situated, as Zimmer has shown, near Kamboja in the territory of Kashmir. (H. Zimmer, Altindisches Leben, p. 102)..................." This above Kamboja may refer either to the country adjoining the Dardas (Kamboja Country) or the Trans-Himalaya Kamboja neighbor of Uttara-Kurus/Uttara Madras of the Aitraya Brahmana (ParamaKamboja). ".............. Ancient Buddhist literature mentions 16 great republics (Mahajanpadas) of northern India, and Afghanistan (Gandhara) and Central Asia (Kamboja) are included in them......." This author puts the Kambojas in Central Asia.

".....While Magadha was establishing their way over northern India, the regions of west, Punjab, Sind and Afganistan were divided into many states. Kamboja and Gandhara are two of the sixteen Mahajanapadas mentioned in the Buddhist scriptures". This puts Kambojas somewhere in Pakistan Punjab.

"Much of the early history of the South Asian region that has been recorded comes from the painstaking effort to put together historical documents (such as traveler accounts), archeological evidence and the interpretation of literature and moral texts of the times. These accounts lead a student to scattered stories of the populations that lived in the region between Kamboja and Gandhara in the North (modern day Northern Pakistan and Southern Afghanistan), their encounters with the Greeks and the multiple "States" that were spread out all across the lower reaches of the Himalayas and the Gangetic plain , extending down to the Narmada and Godavari rivers further south. It is from within such a milieu of multiple "States" that the Mauryan empire emerged in the fourth century B.C." (B. Mathew)

According to Encylopedia Brittanica, the ancienr Kamboja adjoined Gandhara and was located in north Afganistan and Central asia. (look at map of Ancient India, Encylopedia Brittanica).

"The Kambojas were a native population in the WEST OF THE MAURYAN EMPIRE, speaking a language probably of `Iranian origin". (Observations made at the International seminar on early Buddhist art of Central Asia, Gandhara, India and Sri Lanka, Colombo, 1998).) This author places his Kamboja in the west but is not specific where in the west of the Mauryan Empire.

According to A. K. Warder, Kamboja was located in the extreme north west, the capital then was Dvaraka ( Indian Buddhism-A.Kwarder)

" Not only in Madagascar but also in various places of North India, from Kamboja in Afghanistan to Anga (along the vast Gangetic Plains which were then mostly covered with shal forest) by 6th to 10th centuries BC, the practice of human sacrifice was a common phenomenon................. (human sacrifice)"....

Leaving other things apart, this writer also places ancient Kamboja in Afghanistan.

"Kamboja is a country referred to by Emperor Asoka in his inscriptions. It is generally believed to be in the West of India. It could, however also be the Cambodia of today. It is also conceivable that two Kambojas existed" (BUDDHISM IN MYANMAR, A Short History by Dr Roger Bischoff).

Thus Dr Roger locates one of his KAMBOJAS IN WEST OF INDIA, but where is in the west??

"...........Kamboja and Gandhara were the outermost regions in the north-west India and they had by the fifth century BC already developed significant relations with the Persian Empire. Evidence exists of tributes being paid to Cyrus of Persia and armies recruited from the two regions battling against the Greeks......." . (B. Mathew) Here again the Kamboja is placed in the north-west in general.

Rodney Lingham in his article `THE TRUE ORIGIN OF ZOROASTRIANISM' writes about the kambojas: "The Kambojas were a people who lived in the upper reaches of the Indus valley in the present eastern Afghanistan, western Pakistan, or Rajauri Kashmir. The King `Vistashpa' may be the Iranian rendering of King "Vishwamitra", the Asuric-like Sage-King of ancient India. He was the King of the ancient Vedic-Land of `Kanyakubja', descending from the Lunar-Dynasty of Illa and Pauravas. This relates to the Kambojas, the people of Western India, Kashmir or Afghanistan". (THE TRUE ORIGIN OF ZOROASTRIANISM ;Rodney Lingham). Thus Rodney Lingham places the ancient Kamboja in Kashmir. ... be only a memory in India, just as the Hindu Communities of Gandhara and Kamboja are in present day Afghanistan. What is the reaction/observation of the ... Here the Kamnboja is located in Afghanistan. Kambojas are from West Punjab, Yavanas from Afghanistan and beyond (not necessarily the Greeks) while Dravidas refers probably to people from the southwest of India and the South.

Thus the Kamboja is placed in undivided Punjab here.

Dr Nando Lal Dev states that according to Dr Loh, the Shiaposh tribes of Hindukush are the descendents of the Kambojas and according to him Afghanistan or at least its north-east part constituted ancient Kamboja Mahajanapada. ((Geographical Dictionary of Ancient and Medieval India, p 87).

Dr Stein locates Kamboja in the eastern parts of Afghanistan (Note on Rajatarangini, Vol, IV, 165, p 136).

According to Dr McCrindle, ancient Kamboja was Afghanistan, the Kaofu or Kambu of Hiun Tsang (Alexander's Invasion of India, p 38). According to him, the name Afghanistan evidently evolved from Ashvaka or Ashvakayan or Assakenoi of the classical writers.( Megasthenes and Arrian, p 180; Alexander's Invasion of India, p 38). Thus, according to McCrindle, also the Ashvaks of the Paropamisadean region were the Kamboja people.

According to Dr H. M. Eliot, "The Sanskrit name for Kabol is Kamboj and this so similar to Kamboh (Kamboj) that on the authority of their own traditions, these people may safely be regarded to have been the ancient inhabitants of Kabol" (Supplementary Glossary, p 304).

Dr R. K. Mukkerjee places Kamboja in Afghanistan. He observes: "The horses ...had been recruitedc from various places which are thus named by Kautalya (II.30); Kamhoja (Afghanistan, the Kaofu /Kambu of Hiuen Tsong), Sindhus (Sindh), Aratta (Punjab), Vanayu (Arabia) Bahlika (Balkh)..............." (Chander Gupta Maurya and His times, Madras, 1943, p 280 Dr Mukerjee).

Dr V. A. Smith seems to locate Kamboja in Tibet or within the Hindukush mountains ranges. (Early History of India, Ed IV, p 193). Dr Smith further states that the ancient Kambojas are supposed to have spoken an Iranian tongue. (op. Cit, p 184, fn).

According to Dr Dr S. M. Ali, ancient Kambojas lived around Kunar river in N.W.F. India. According to him, the Puranas no where locate the Kambojas in the Sindh valley or its any parts... somewhere. The Puranas only talk about the Kamboja ganhas or sanghas (Kamboja Republics) of the Kambojas (Kambojana-cha-ye-ganahas). And this seems true because, their country Kamboj desh or Kamdesh or Kaffirstan was located on the northern of Kunar. Later, these people might have advanced further towards Kunar valley whereby we find their mention in the Puranas (The Geography of Ancient Puranas, p 143).

Accordingly, the book Multan-History and Architecture, by Ahmed Nabi, tells how the Sub-Continent was made up of as many as 16 political units or states in the 6th century BC. Out of these, Kamboja and Gandhara were two units, which covered the area now known as Pakistan. Kashmir and Takshasila formed part of the Gandhara kingdom. (The rest of the northern region including ancient Multan) is believed to have been part of Kamboja until it merged with the Achaemenian Empire. (ref: Multan-History and Architecture, by Ahmed Nabi; Humsafar PIA's inflight Megazine).

D. D. Kosambi identifies the ancient Kambojas as a farmer warrior tribe and locates them in north-west frontier country.

Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru locates the ancient Kamboja as a city located in Gandhara or in Kabol valley in Afganistan (Discovery of India, 1967, p 210 , J. L. Nehru).

"...Cambodia was once called Kambhoja, named after the Indian city (Kamboja) in ancient Gandhara in today's Kabul region......."

"The names that were given to these settlements were old Indian names. Thus Cambodia, as it is known now, was called Kambhoja, which was a well-known town in ancient India, as was Gandhara in (present day Afghanistan)".

Both the above authors locate their ancient Kamboja of the Sanskrit literature in West Punjab/Afghanistan but erroneously they indentify the Sanskrit Kamboja/Kambhoja as a `city' in Gandhara. These authors seem not to have done their home work well. According to Hari Krishan Devsare, ancient Kamboja was located in Pamir Badakshan in Central Asia: ".....In India, people have been using wool since prehistoric times. There is a prayer in Rigveda for the deity of shepherds, called 'Pashma', entreating the deity to make wool white and help in its knitting. In Mahabharata, it has been mentioned that when Pandavas performed 'Rajsuya Yagna', Yuddhisthir was presented woollen clothes having golden embroidery by Kambojs (people of Badakhan and Pameer)." Dr MADHAV DESHPANDE (Michigan State University, USA): Kambojas were from Iranian affinities. See also the text below from Deshpande:

`In addition there is also palatal s`' ' (hacek plus accent aigu on top)which developed from the equivalent of Vedic cy i.e. the famous Nirukta case of Kamboja (= East Iranian) s'avati for Young Avestan s`' 'auua(i)ti. ~ Vedic Cyavate'.

"...In any case, Kamboja in this context refers to the region of Eastern Iranian borderlands, which are referred to in Sanskrit texts like Yaaska's Nirukta....

Szavatir gatikarmaa eva bhaa.sito bhavati, vikaara enam aaryaa bha.sante zava iti.

`The verb 'zav' in the sense of going is used only in the region of Kamboja, the Aryas use only the noun zava- in the sense of a dead-body". The same passage occurs also in Patanjali's Mahabhasya. ...' .

Patanjali is effectively quoting from Yaaska's Nirukta and has statements identical with Yaaska. The statement is:

zavatir gatikarmaa eva bhaa.sito bhavati, vikaara enam aaryaa bha.sante zava iti"

`The verb 'zav' in the sense of 'going' is used only among the Kambojas. The same verb in the nominal form 'zava' is used by the Aaryas in the sense of 'transformation'." The reference in Patanjali's Mahaabhaa.sya is p. 9, in vol. 1 of Kielhorn's edition'.

Thus we see that Dr Madhava Deshpande identifies the Kambojas in East Iran.

Article by L. S. Thind