HINDUISM AND SANATAN DHARMA

Cosmos ,Sanatan Dharma.Ancient Hinduism science.

Vishnupur/Bishnupur in Burma-Ancient Aryan city

vishnupur

Vishnupur/Bishnupur was one of the earliest Aryan settlements in ancient Burma. Also known as BeikthanoMyo, Vishnu is “Beikthano” and “Myo” is city in modern Burmese. Vishnupur served as cultural and political capital of Burma between 200BC-600AD. Little of this ancient city exists today because of natural decay and human depredations. Archaeologists found ruins of structures of pillared halls, rectangular and circular base of temple like structures, monasteries; also home to numerous wooden structures which couldn’t survive. The city was enclosed by four tall brick walls, covering an area of over 2.8 square kilometers. Mandala and Sudarsana of Vedic/Hindu beliefs/cosmological significance adopted in city planning. The palace was centrally located facing East in the line of the heavenly city of Indra which is located on the peak of Mount Meru at the center of the universe; the palace of Indra is at the center of the city with the palaces of the lesser 32 gods arranged around it, a representation of the “Heaven of the Thirty-Three Gods”. Mandala and Sudarsana are related lord Vishnu, Vishnu-Mandala and Sudarshana Chakra. The Eastern gate of the palace had two typically Hindu type large statue of “Dwarpala” (door guardian). This city had 12 gates based on Mandala construction code. Well-fired bricks and patterns are Northern Indian type. Excavation also reveals Hindu characteristic silver coins bearing symbols of prosperity and good-luck, artifacts, inscription in Brahmmi script. Abundance of burial urns containing ashes and bones of cremated human bodies are found; this particular exclusive Vedic practice leaves no doubt that the dwellers of this city were Aryans. Other 12 such walled cities have also been excavated so far, Sri Ksetra, Binnaka, Halin, Hastinapur/Sankissapur, Arimardanapur are important.

From prehistoric time vast and fertile plains of Irawadi river of Burma attracted various races. Kshatriya (Aryan) adventurers from India were the first group to give a civilization to this land. Waves of Aryan migration before the Christian era (BCE) gave birth to several dynasties all across. Indians of other class: priests, traders, artists, engineers, sculptors, scientists, astrologers also followed. Not mere religion and culture, it was a large-scale transportation of Indian civilization in all its form, systems of philosophy, institution of kingship both Hindu and Buddhist, customary law, mythology, literature, art, music, urban planning, building technology, astronomy, astrology, writing system, calendar, medicine, agriculture, irrigation system etc. In the beginning they were true Indian states but as passing of time through reaction with the local needs they developed according their own genius and taste, although the family resemblance never lost that they owed to their common origin India. The land route of migration for North-Indian adventurers was always through Manipur and also from Manipur itself. Voyages from Orissa and Andhra colonised the delta of Irawadi. From thereon Aryans also penetrated further east founding independent kingdoms and colonies. Earliest Aryan settlement is not known yet, however certainly before the Christian era, before their arrival the land was thinly populated by primitive tribal groups, Aryan settlements finally enabled the natives to communicate and deal with outside world; enriching intellectual patrimony of humanity. Methods of Indian penetration were not by conquest rather always to have been peaceful. Burmese royal chronicle says, the first dynasty was founded by a North Indian Kshatriya prince Abhi Raja in 850BC, second dynasty was founded by Kshatriya prince Raja Dhwaja from Manipur in 550BC. Kshatriyas of Mauriyan dynasty (of Ashoka the great) entered Burma en-route Manipur. The term “Burma” is derived from Kshatriya title “Varma/Barma”, also known as “Brahmmadesh”. From 1300AD Kshatriyas began to lose their separate identity and gradually became ingredients of today’s population but not without leaving traces. Such was the force of the penetration of Kshatriyas that its legacy still persist: Sanskrit & Pali elements in the vocabulary of the local languages; the lunar-solar calendar, adoption of Dharmashastra and Manu-Samhita in their administrative and legal framework. The Harivamsa, the Ramayan, the Mahabharat, and the Puranas are the principal sources of inspiration for local literature. The Burmese poetry tradition of Niti (notably the Dharmaniti) also has Indian origin. The Ramayan is still remaining favorite theatrical play. Vedic/Hindu deities Indra (Thagyamin), Saraswati (Thuyathadi), Shiva (Paramizwa) Vishnu (Beikthano) still being worshipped by Buddhist Burmese. The traditional Burmese greeting is “Mingalaba” corrupted from of Sanskrit “Mangal” (auspiciousness). Traditional Burmese marriage conducted by Brahmman chanting Sanskrit mantras. Funerals are typically cremation. Traditions of kingship coronation ceremonies are Hindu not Buddhist. Burma was theater of revolutionary changes; without India its past would be almost unknown.

References:

History of Burma – A. Phayre
History of Burma – G.E. Harvey
Vaishali and the Indianization of Arakan – Noel F. Singer
Hindu Colonies in the far East – R.C. Majumdar
Brahmanism in South-East Asia – Dawee Daweewarn & Upendra Thakur
The Indianized States of Southeast Asia – G. Coedes.
Art and Architecture of Pagan – Paul Strachan
Early History of Manipur – W. Yumjao Singh
Dr. Richard M. Cooler (Prof. Northern Illinios University)
Indian Architecture – Percy Brown
A Companion to Sanskrit Literature – Sures Chandra Benerjee.

Key notes:

“Architecture of Burma is fundamentally Indian.”
– Percy Brown, Indian Architecture.

“The adoption of Indian concepts of city planning incorporated a belief in the efficacy of the world axis that connects the centermost point in a properly constructed Mandala city with the city of the Gods above in order to assure prosperity throughout the kingdom below”.
– Dr. Richard M. Cooler (Prof. Northern Illinios University).

“What the excavator finds in Burma is often Hindu rather than Buddhist. In some sculptures Buddha appears as an incarnation of Vishnu.”(p.7)
-G.E. Harvey, History of Burma.

“The civilizations of the Burmese and the Tibetans is derived from India.”
– Horace Hayman Wilson, professor of Sanskrit at Oxford University.

“There can be no doubt that the architects who planned and built the Ananda temple were Indians. Everything in this temple from Sikhara to the basement as well as the numerous stone sculptures found in its corridors and the terra-cotta…adoring its basement and terraces, bear the indubitable stamp of Indian genius and craftsmanship…In this sense, we may take it, therefore, that the Ananda, though built in the Burmese capital, is an Indian temple.”
– Charles Duroiselle, pioneer of Burmese Studies in France.

“Therefore, the Indianizaton of Burma and, particularly the adoption of art forms connected with Buddhism and Hinduism, was a peaceful and internally motivated process.”
– Dr. Richard M. Cooler (Prof. Northern Illinios University).

“The route by which Kshatriya princes arrived is indicated in the traditions as being through Manipur, which lies within the basin of Irawady.”(p.4)
“Indian princes spoke Sanskrit may be most reasonably assumed, although the latest compiled records have come to us in a Pali form.”(p.4)
– A. Phayre, History of Burma.

“……their (Burma) traditions, instead of harking back to China, refer to India…..Even their folk-lore is largely Hindu.”(p.6)
-G.E. Harvey, History of Burma.

“There can be no reasonable doubt that a great Aryan wave of very pure blood passed through Manipur into Burma in pre-historic time”
– Captain E. W. Dun, Gazetteer of Manipur.

“There are some authentic evidences to prove that sections of the Brahmmanas and Kshatriyas (representing ruling class) of “pure Aryan blood” from Northern India including Gangetic plains also settled in the valley of Manipur in the pre and post Christian era while passing through it (being the safest land-route) to Burma and other South-East Asian countries for spreading their religion, languages (Sanskrit and Pali) and culture by founding kingdoms and setting up colonies there.”(p.45)
– G.P. Singh, Historical Research into some Aspects of the Culture and Civilization of North East India.

“There exists a real Sanskrit literature in Burma written on paper like India with Nāgarī characters. These records are in the hands of the descendants of Hindu colonists who at different periods, some even before the spread of Buddhism in Burma, settled in this country… Burma deserves to be drawn within the circle of those countries where researches of Sanskrit records ought to be made.”
– Emmanuel Forchhammer.
.
”India and Burma are bound by the golden chains of tradition, religion and culture as our traditional history begins with King Abhi Raja.”
– U. Than Aung, former Burmese ambassador to India.

Somnath Singha

2 comments on “Vishnupur/Bishnupur in Burma-Ancient Aryan city

  1. Pingback: Aryan Kingdoms in Ancient Myanmar/Burma | HINDUISM AND SANATAN DHARMA

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