Kashmir : Our heritage | Edited by | Prof. K.L. Kalla | Part 3

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Our Heritage. Part 3


According to Kalhana, “Astrologer, doctor, councilor, teacher, Minister, purohit, ambassador, judge, clerk: none of them was without learning” (Rajtrangani, Book VI, Verse 13). Scholarship was liberally rewarded and scholars who were granted great fortunes and high honours proceeded to the Sabha in vehicles (Rajtrangani, Book V, verse 33). Sanskrit was introduced in the Valley by indo-Aryans, and it slowly became the language of religion and literature, with the coming of Buddhism in the Valley, in the time of Ashmoka, Buddhist literature and religious books were written in Sanskrit, while in India the same was done in Pali. Moreover, the city of Kuchha in Central Aisa, which was the headquarters of Kashmiri missionaries, got transferred into a great center of Sanskrit learning. Many Sanskrit manuscript which were written have been discovered in many parts of Central Asia. The only Buddhist manuscript in Sanskrit discovered in India, are those of Gilgit collection, which have been edited and translated into English by the Research Department of the J&K State. There was also ‘ a regular stream of pilgrims and scholars from Central Asia and China to study Sanskrit texts in Kashmir. Many Sanskrit manuscripts were reported in the libraries of temples and Viharas. Dr. George Buhler who visited Kashmir, in 1875 in search of manuscript, found that many Pandits, Traders and officials were ‘in possession of considerable collection of manuscript.’ (George Buhler, Poona Manuscripts, Catt 1875, 11, No: 143).


The valley of Kashmir has been a famous seat of learning (Sharda Peetha), besides being known as ‘Paradise on Earth’. Professor Dharmendra Nath Pal (1907) has been of the opinion that ‘the particular area in Asia which covers Kashmir and the Tibet tableau was the cradle of human race. Adelung, the father of comparative philosophy also, rendered Kashmir as ‘the cradle of mankind’, in the valley of Kashmir. In ancient times, Kashmir had, at least two big universities, one at Sharda, another at Chakdar (Bejbihara).


These were similar to those at Nalanda, mention is made Ajanta. In ancient literatures of Kashmir, mention is made of Vidya Matha, Vidyarathinam Matha, Shaiva Mathas, various schools and colleges of learning and Maittuka Gurus. According to Kalhana, numerous monasteries were built by the Buddhist monks and Pravarsena’s maternal uncle Jayandra. Here, Hiuen Tsang is known to have studied. The Vihara has been located by scholars at present day Jamia Masjid.