The subject of the consequences of fall of Buddhism is not really examined in all aspects by the Indian Scholars; whatever attempts have been made are limited to certain aspects. This is quite natural because of the dimensions involved in it. The area being vast, differing local conditions have different effects and different forms, in the attack on Buddhism and the procedure of its assimilation into Brahmanism. The declaration of the Buddha as an avatar of Vishnu had a tremendous impact on conversion, to make this conversion of Buddha into Vishnu more painless operation. This was the strategy of Brahmins to accept the Master for names sake and denounce the Doctrine. Also this was not accomplished in a day, and the time taken for this conversion also was so great, that the conversion was imperceptible. But it is not without having its scar marks. The origin of untouchability, rigidity of caste system, suppression of women in the Hindu society, various manipulations Brahmins had to do in their pantheon, various seemingly stupid injunctions, various rites, new development of the religious vratas, various inconceivable stories spread in the masses, the irrational thinking, and all that goes with it, had a method in madness. And that was to win the masses away from Buddhism, to strengthen the roots of chaturvarnya, and support the supremacy of Brahmins. What ensued was slavery for centuries, but the purpose of Brahmins was fulfilled. Even in slavery this class maintained its supremacy.
During the process which went on for centuries, many Buddhist shrines were converted for Brahmanical use. The purpose of this writing is to show that the great shrine of Tirupati was one of them, a claim which was not made by any previous author. Many ancillary subjects are discussed besides this main theme, and many new directions are shown for the scholars of tomorrow to pursue. Certain new claims have been made, e.g. the Rathas of Mahabalipuram are thought to be Buddhist, the Kalabharas are thought to be supporters of Buddhism, the traditional story of Alvaras describing the Murthi of Lord of Tirumalai is disputed, the evidence of Silappadhikaran is shown to be of no use, the importance of tonsure in Tirumalai is stressed and Rathayatra is shown as a Buddhist tradition. The importance of proxy image and the history of those times is stressed. The murthi is compared with other Vishnu images and the Buddhist images. The old history of people around the area traced and they are shown to be Buddhists. The tribal population was supporter of Buddhism as seen by Shankaracharya's destruction of Srisailam, a Buddhist centre of Chenchus, (a tribal community of that area) and also by traditional association of Jagannatha with tribal chiefs. Also it has been suggested that the institution of present day Devadasis is the indication of degradation of institution of Buddhist nuns. Lastly it has been shown that it is possible that Tirupati could be the Potalka of Huen Tsang.
No new facts are brought out, only a new interpretation is given to the facts already known to all. The facts are taken mainly from the four authors, acknowledged below, who wrote on Tirupati. None of them is biased in favour of Buddhism. They are all intimately connected with the Temple and are devotees of the Lord and are Vaisnavas by faith. The facts are so obvious to show that Tirumalai was a Buddhist shrine, that it is surprising how the scholars missed them. May be the possibility never occurred to them, at least they do not mention it, though in some writing a slight allusion could be traced.
Mostly secondary sources are used as it was felt that interpretations of other scholars would be more useful to the readers than my own. As far as possible the original quotations are given in detail even at the cost of making the writing more bulky. The word Tirupati is used rather loosely, sometimes as Tirupati on the Hills and sometimes as Tirupati on plains, but the context should make the meaning clear.
Points of Claim
The claim that Lord Venkatesvara was Buddhist shrine is based on the following grounds:
1. The Murthi itself is Buddhist, the weapons are provided at a later date. It does not conform with Vishnu Images, but is similar to Padmapani.
2. The area was inhabited by Tribal Buddhists.
3. The Murthi was not present in Mamulanar's time but the Shravana Festivals existed on the hill. The Shravana Festivals are traditionally a Buddhist phenomenon.
4. Traditionally "Mouni Guru" and "Self manifestation" were the devises used by the Brahmins for usurped Buddhist temples.
5. The list of earliest Vishnu Temples does not include Tirumalai, though temples a few miles away are included.
6. Tirumalai was unimportant temple for Hindus.
7. Mere praying by Alvaras as Vishnu does not make it a Vishnu image.
8. Tirumalai Tonsures are relics of Buddhist tradition.
9. The Rathayatra is a relic of Buddhist traditions.
10. The presence of Shudra's well inside temple denotes it being deity of lower castes.
11. The deity of lower castes had to be associated with Vishnu in the form of Almel Mangai though quite late.
12. The temple had to be renovated for making it agreeable to the Agama rules.
It was Khushwant Singh, during whose editorship of 'Illustrated Weekly of India', many articles were published on various social groups of India, during early seventies. That was the real depiction of the Indian Masses. One of those articles was on Tirupati Temple. That inspired me to undertake the study of Tirupati Temple.
The detailed information is obtained from the publications of T. T. D., the books by Dr. S. Krishnaswami Ayangar, T. K. T. Veera Raghavacharya and Dr. Ramesan and from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan's publication by P. Sitapati. I am extremely grateful to these authors.
I am highly indebted to the able guidance of Prof. B. L. Bhadke of Janata College of Education Chandrapur who gave very valuable suggestions, and to Principal I.T.Tembhare of Dr. Ambedkar College and late Prof.K. Patil of Dept. of History for their valuable inspiration. Very valuable suggestions were made by Prof. N. L. Sao of Siddhartha College, Bombay and Prof. B. K. Jha of Janata College of Education Chandrapur.
I am highly grateful to Shri V.J. Chaugule for his help in proof reading.
Though there have been costant demands for the book being translated into regional languages, it was not possible to do so for financial constraints. In 1998, however, the workers of local organizations voluntered to collect some amount as prepublication sale, for which, I must thank sarva sri Moon guruji, Dange, Gedam and many others. Similarly a couple of young typists sri Nale and Bujade volunteered to type out the Hindi MSS. Prof. Dharmik helped with proof reading and vetting. Ultimately, the Hindi edition was inagurated in August 1998 in Nagpur at the hands of BSP National President sri Kanshiram ji. This got exausted and second reprint became neccesary in 2000.
However, no translations are yet done in South Indian languages. For this the International Dalit Forum has been given all rights.
This is the Second English edition, that is being published as E-Book on Dalit Web sites. My thanks are due to these dedicated workers, who are painstakingly maintaining these web sites.
Many portions are revised and enlarged and the ambiguous points are clarified. However, the format is maintained, and the quotations are given in full, though it adds to size of the book. This was thought neccesary, as common people might find it difficult to get the original books.
Hope the readers like it.
Dr. K. Jamanadas
14th April 2001