Rāma of Ancient Xinjiang, China.

The Story of Rāma in Ancient Xinjiang, China.
Ancient Indian Texts Call it Uttarakuru
Ancient Indian Texts Call Xinjiang 'Uttarakuru'

Ancient Khotan or modern Hotan is a major oasis town in southwestern Xinjiang,

Khotanese kings were Mahāyāna Buddhist but this sect incorporates Vedic and Tantric systems, with all the devas such as Indra, Śiva, Viṣṇu and Sarasvatī, and just places the Buddha at the head of the system . There was also Krishna worship in Khotan and we find the Rāma story in Khotanese language, of which there is also a Tibetan version.

The Buddhists put a spin on the Rāma story,  that has had immense power on the imagination of the people all over Asia.

The Khotanese Rāmāyaa is not the standard Rāma story. In it Daśaratha, who is called Sahasrabāhu (“thousand-armed”), fights with Paraśurāma and gets killed, and his sons Rāma and Lakmaa are saved by a queen. When they grow older they slay Paraśurāma in revenge and become masters of all Jambudvīpa.

Meanwhile, the Rākasas are ruled by Rāvaa (Daśagrīva).  A daughter is born to his chief queen and it is prophesied that she will be the cause of his ruin. So he orders the girl, Sītā, to be cast upon the great river in a box. A ihi chances upon the box and raises the girl lovingly. This is somewhat similar to the account in Adbhuta Rāmāyaa.

Later in the story, Rāma, Lakmaa and Sītā are in the forest and as the brothers leave to hunt, Lakmaa draws the magic circle around Sītā for protection. Daśagrīva sees this lovely woman from the air, and not knowing she is his own daughter, approaches her and persuades her to step out of the circle to abduct her.

There is war and Dasagriva is defeated.

But in the end Rāma doesn’t kill him.  In their variant, Rāvaa, after losing the war is spared his life, and becomes a worthy Buddhist to accord with the Lakāvatārasūtra, set in Lakā, in which the Buddha instructs Rāvaa.  

At the end of the story, the Buddha Śākyamuni is identified with Rāma and Maitreya with Lakmaa.

Europeans in recent centuries called the whole region Serindia, indicating the meeting place of China and India. The region northwest of Tibet, which is the part of Xinjiang below the Tian Shin Mountains, was Indic in culture and it was a thriving part of the Sanskritic world.



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