Thursday, October 23, 2008
Discovery of "Tantric University" Baffles Archaeologists?
Hmmmm, I think perhaps something got lost in translation here. Why would archaeologists be "baffled" by this discovery, when the "university" itself was evidently well attested-to in Indian sources? From The Times of India Archaeologists baffled by tantric varsity 23 Oct 2008, 0232 hrs IST, Pranava K Chaudhary, TNN PATNA: The recent discovery of forgotten ancient tantric university - Oddantapuri Mahavihara near Biharsharif, district headquarters of Nalanda, has baffled archaeologists here. Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) claims to have discovered the location of this forgotten university which was set up in 730 AD somewhere near Biharsharif hill. "I have made frequent visits to the site which is located on Biharsharif hill to locate the exact location of the ancient tantric university," said superintending archaeologist, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) , Patna circle, P K Mishra. "On the basis of various ancient texts I found a settlement on the top of Biharsharif hillock," he said. Mishra told TOI: "At least a dozen-member ASI technical team, including archaeologists, would visit the site on Friday to authenticate existence of the university. On the basis of various ancient texts and records I have come to the conclusion that the univeristy is located somewhere around this site." A large number of seals, sealings and images of Buddhist and Hindu cult, were found at Biharsharif during 1910, Mishra said. They are preserved in the Indian Museum, Kolkata. During research, Mishra procured a model of Oddantapuri from Tibet. The model must have been imported from the original Oddantapuri, Mishra said. Interestingly, in 775 AD, the king of Tibet had established a `Sarmaya Vihara' on the model of Oddantapuri at Lhasa. It is also mentioned in the Rahul Sankritayana collection which is preserved in Patna Museum. The Tibet model of Oddantapuri is still alive, Mishra said. Ancient texts say that the tantric university was destroyed in 1199 AD when Turk Afghan Mohd Bakhtiar Khilji invaded it. Quoting various ancient texts, Mishra said that Gopala, the first king of Pala dynasty, founded a great monastery at Oddantapuri. Laksmana Sena was then the king of Bengal. "The discovery of Tantric university at Biharsharif as a major seat of learning would add a new dimension to the field of ancient Indian history. Already we have two ancient universities - Nalanda and Vikramshila in Bihar. Now a third university in Bihar would be a new dimension to the study of tantricism," Mishra said.