Friday, December 5, 2014

Ukkala, Utkarsha Kala, Uttarapatha & Ancient Orissa in Kashmir


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"......the land of "finest art" ....Utkarsha Kala....Utkala Kingdom (Oriya: ଉତ୍କଳ; Devnagari: उत्कल) was mentioned in the epic Mahabharata, with the names Utkala, Utpala, Okkal and Odra desha....Early Sanskrit Literature says "उत्कृष्ट कलायाः देशः यः सः उत्कलः ".Means the land which has excellent opulence of artists and art is called Utkala.....(Kala=Art .... Utkrishta=Excellent) of Utkrishta=Excellent-Kala=Art..........Narayan Miśra (2007). Annals and Antiquities of the Temple of Jagannātha. Sarup & Sons. p. 20.

"Ukkala (or Okkala) is the ancient name of Orissa. The Mahabharata mentions the Ukkalas several times in the lists of ancient tribes. But Ukkala of the Buddhist texts which is co-related with names like Asitanjana, Adhisthana, Pokkharavati and Kamsabhoga (said to be native country of caravan leaders Tapassu and Bhalluka, specifically placed in Uttarapatha), therefore, must be located not to the east but to the west of Prithudaka (or Pehova). The territory therefore, inevitably tends to get connected to Pali Pokkharavati (Sanskrit Pushkalavati), which is now known as Charasaddha and is located in north-west frontier province of Pakistan above the confluence of Swat and Kabul rivers.

"Ancient Buddhist and Hindu texts use Uttarapatha as the name of the northern part of Jambudvipa, one of the "continents" in Hindu mythology......The name is derived from the Sanskrit terms uttara, for north, and patha, for road. Initially, the term Uttarapatha referred to the northern high road, the main trade route that followed along the river Ganges, crossed the Indo-Gangetic watershed, ran through the Punjab to Taxila (Gandhara) and further to Zariaspa or Balkh (Bactria) in Central Asia....According to Buddhist texts, Kamboja and Gandhara, two of the sixteen Mahajanapadas or great nations referred to in the Anguttara Nikaya and Chulla-Niddesa belonged to the Uttarapatha."

"The Kavyamimamsa further lists the Sakas, Vokkanas, Hunas, Kambojas, Keikayas, Bahlikas (Bactrians), Pahlavas, Lampakas, Kulutas, Tanganas, Tusharas, Turushakas (Turks), Barbaras among the tribes of Uttarapatha.....The Mahabharata, at several places, also says that the Kambojas, Sakas, Gandharas, Yavanas, Darunas, Barbaras and Khashas were the tribes of Uttarapatha."

"...The Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang who visited India in 1st half of 7th century A.D. has spoken about two places as belonging to Tapassu and Bhallika in the Balkh region..... In the 7th century A.D. the Chinese Pilgrim, Hiuen Tsang (Yuan Chwang) places their homeland in the northwest, identifying two cities north and west of Balkh......Xuanzang crossed the Tien Shan Mountains and descended to the Issyk-Kul lake in what is now the Republic of Kyrghyzstan. He traveled capital of Tashkent and the city of Samarkand and then through the Iron Gates to Bactria (modern Afghanistan). He visited the city of Balkh, where there were many famous relics of the Buddha. Xuanzang arrived in Bamian. He traveled down the Kabul River through the city of Peshawar to Taxila (now ruins near the Pakistani capital of Islamabad). Xuanzang then went to Srinigar, the capital of Kashmir.....Setting out again to the south, Xuanzang crossed a spur of the Pamir Mountains and passed through the famous Iron Gates. Continuing southward, he reached the Amu Darya and Termez, where he encountered a community of more than a thousand Buddhist monks."

"Some writers locate Kamsabhoga in Bahlika (Bactria), while others identify Asitanjana with Pokkharavati (Sanskrit Pushkalavat) and locate it to the north of river Kabul and to the south of Hindukush mountain range in the Gandhara-Kamboja area.

"Theragatha Commentary (Vol i.48) informs that the birthplace or residence of Tapassu and Bhalluka (or Bhaliya) was Pokkharavati in Ukkala. The sons of the caravan leader (Satthavaha) started journey from Pokkharavati and their destination was Rajagaha (Rajagriha), and according to the Jataka, they on their way to Majjhimadesa (middle India), where they had met and offered food to the Buddha and become his first lay devotees

"Tapassu and Bhallika, the first two disciples of Buddha. There are two stupas over their relics. As per a popular legend, Buddhism was introduced in Balkh by Bhallika, one of the first two disciples of Buddha....He was a merchant of the region and had come to Bodhgaya. First Vihara at Balkh was built for Bhallika when he returned home after becoming a Buddhist monk.

"Tapassu and Bhallika.... [Tapassu] and his friend, Bhalluka (Bhalliya), while on their way to Rajagaha, saw the Buddha at the foot of the Rajayatana tree, in the eighth week after the Enlightenment. Urged by a deity, who had been their relation [their mother], they offered the Buddha rice-cakes and honey in a bowl provided by the Four Regent Gods. They became the first lay disciples of the Buddha, and their formula of Refuge contained no reference to the Sangha.....According to the Theragatha Commentary, Tapassu and Bhalluka were brothers, sons of a caravan leader of Pokkharavati. Some time later they visited the Buddha at Rajagaha, where he preached to them; Tapassu, thereupon, became a Sotapanna, while Bhaluka entered the Order and became an arahant...."....

"Kamsabhoga (or Kamsabhoja) was the name of an ancient country said to be located in the Uttarapatha division of ancient India with its capital being Asitañjana, where king Mahākamsa and his successors of the Kamsavamsa race ruled. Name Kamsabhoga finds mention in the Buddhist traditions only. The Kamsavamsa dynasty was destroyed by the sons of Devagabbha and Upasagara known in the Buddhist texts as Andhakavenhudasaputta.....Location of Kamsabhoga or Kamsa country and its capital Asitanjana has not been satisfactorily accomplished. Some writers locate Kamsabhoga in Bahlika (Bactria), while others identify Asitanjana with Pokkharavati (Sanskrit Pushkalavat) and locate it to the north of river Kabul and to the south of Hindukush mountain range in the Gandhara-Kamboja area. Still others identify Kamsabhoga with Mathura country in Uttar Pradesh but since Kamsabhoga of the Pali texts is said to be located in Uttarapatha, its identification and location in Mathura probably is not correct.."....Urban Centres and Urbanisation as Reflected in the Pāli Vinaya and Sutta Piṭakas, 1990, p 121, K. T. S. Sarao; Calcutta Sanskrit College Research Series, 1969

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"Kamsabhoga and Bahilika country......In Kamsabhoga, the prefix 'Kamsa'- implies that the country was noted for its Bronze or copper. If this is correct, then Kamsabhoga may have been so-called because it was noted for its copper or Bronze metal. According Professor Lokesh Chandra, Kamsa or Kamsabhoga country is identified with the area now known as Balkh; and the country got its name after the metal Kamsa (or Bronze) for being the place of its origin. He further suggests that Bhallika is a kind of copper enumerated under the eight kinds of Pisakalohani or the metals coming from the Pisaca country, as described in the Vibhaga Athakatha. He further suggests that Bhallika became the name of a metal after the town Bahlika or Balkh. It is also suggested that 'Bhalluka' or 'Bhallika', the name of younger brother of Tapassu may have derived from Bhahlika or Bahlika (Balkh).".....Bhāratī: Bulletin of the College of Indology, 1983, p 92, Banaras Hindu University College of Indology, Banaras Hindu University Dept. of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology - Indo-Aryan philology; History of Buddhism in Afghanistan, 1889

"Okkala, Utkala, Ukkala .......The people of Okkalajanapada (MA.ii.894); mentioned also in the Apadana (ii.359) in a list of tribes..... Ukkala......A district (janapada) in the region identified with Orissa (CAG., p.733). The merchants Tapassu and Bhalluka were on the way from Ukkala, when a certain deva, an erstwhile relative of theirs, advised them to visit the Buddha at Rajayatanamula, near Uruvela, and to offer food to him......Utkala: Utkala was a part of Kalinga in some parts of Mahabharata. Karna is mentioned to have conquered kingdom of Utkala among others. But, according to other texts like Raghuvasma and Brahma Purana, they were separate kingdoms.There are several views regarding the etymology of the name. Utkala may have meant northern (uttara) part of Kalinga or ut-Kalinga.Utkala desha (country or land) may have meant the land of "finest art" (utkarsha kala).There are also other arguments regarding the origin of the name....."

"Based on the account of the Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang, who visited in AD 644, it seems that in later times Kapisa was part of a kingdom ruled by a Buddhist kshatriya king holding sway over ten neighboring states, including Lampaka, Nagarahara, Gandhara, and Banu...Hiuen Tsang further writes that the king of Kapisa is Kshatriya by caste. He is of shrewd character (nature) and being brave and determined, he has brought into subjection the neighboring countries, some ten of which he rules....Hiuen Tsang clearly addresses the ruler of Kapisa/Kabul, whom he had personally met, as devout Buddhist and a Kshatriya and not a Tu-kiue/Tu-kue (Turk) "......Si-Yu-KI V1: Buddhist Records of the Western World, Edition 2006, p 54-55, Hiuen Tsiang....Hiuen Tsang who visited Kapisa in 644 AD calls it Kai-pi-shi(h)..... . Hiuen Tsang talks of Shen breed of horses from Kapiśa (Kai-pi-shi). There is also a reference to Chinese emperor Tai-Tsung being presented with excellent breed of horses in 637 AD by an envoy from Chi-pin (Kapisa). Further evidence from Hiuen Tsang shows that Kai-pi-shi produced all kind of cereals, many kinds of fruits, and a scented root called Yu-kin, probably khus or vetiver. The people used woollen and fur clothes and gold, silver and copper coins. Objects of merchandise from all parts were found here."

"The Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang......Further east he passed through Kunduz, is a city in northern Afghanistan, where he stayed for some time to witness the funeral rites of Prince Tardu, who had been poisoned. Here he met the monk Dharmasimha, and on the advice of the late Tardu made the trip westward to Balkh (modern day Afghanistan), to see the Buddhist sites and relics, especially the Nava Vihara Buddhist monastery, or Nawbahar, which he described as the westernmost monastic institution in the world. Here Xuanzang also found over 3,000 Theravada monks, including Prajnakara, a monk with whom Xuanzang studied Theravada scriptures. He acquired the important Mahāvibhāṣa text here, which he later translated into Chinese. Prajnakara then accompanied the party southward to Bamyan, where Xuanzang met the king and saw many Theravada monasteries, in addition to the two large Bamyan Buddhas carved out of the rockface. The party then resumed their travel eastward, crossing the Shibar pass and descending to the regional capital of Kapisi (about 60 km north of modern capital Kabul), which sported over 100 monasteries and 6,000 monks, mostly Mahayana. This was part of the fabled old land of Gandhara, the ancient kingdom Mahajanapada. Xuanzang took part in a religious debate here, and demonstrated his knowledge of many Buddhist sects. Here he also met the first Jains and Hindus of his journey. He pushed on to Jalalabad and Laghman, where he considered himself to have reached India. The year was 630."


John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….December 2014


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