Monday, January 24, 2011

Rediscovery of the Silao (Maha Kassapa) Sculpture


An important event in the story of  The Buddha, The Dhamma and The Sangha is the meeting between the Buddha and Maha Kassapa


An inscription on a broken sculpture was discovered by a team of explorers near Silao  (25° 25’ 57 N, 85° 5’ 17 E) in 1934. Published in Epigraphica Indica, Vol XXV, the sculpture (pictured below) was thought to be lost to the world. But based on the picture of the sculpture, the inscription and its translation, we have taken on the challenge to rediscover this piece of history.


The Picture of the Broken Sculpture as Published in Epigraphica Indica
The Impression of the Inscription




The Translation of the Inscription

We discussed the matter with Bhola and Vijay Singh, residents of Silao. Together we went to Mamasthan, a place of worship among the local people. It is situated 500 m northeast of Silao. A team of South-East Asian pilgrims visited the site some 20 years ago and deemed that this could be the place of the historic meeting mentioned in Buddhist Literature between the Buddha and the Maha Kassapa. But when asked about the sculpture mentioned in the Epigraphia Indica, Bhola and Vijay had no idea of the whereabouts of the sculpture.  They had never heard about any such sculpture ever found.
Vijay Singh and Bhola at Mamasthan

With our first attempt yielding no clues, we then decided to visit all the places of worship in the SilaoVillage where the historical collectives are safely kept. After visiting a couple of places to no avail, we reached Mahadevsthan near the house of Rakesh. The Mahadevsthan has many sculptures collected from nearby places and among this collection in one corner was the historic piece of art that will help in the revival of  the ancient Buddhist Pilgrimage.


The Picture of the Broken Sculpture as Published in Epigraphica Indica
The historic piece of sculpture waiting to be rediscovered























Other antiquities of Mahadevsthan


Community members from the Silao Village

Rakesh, whose forefathers were landlords who built Mahadevsthan, informed us about this ancient house where all these sculpture were found and how they came to be at the Mahadevsthan.

Ancient house of Rakesh
This is just first piece of the jigsaw puzzle, and the next is to locate the place where where the team who visited in 1934 found this image. To do this, pictures of this sculpture need to be circulated around the area in order to reach village elders, who may provide the key to solving this puzzle. At present, the community is very happy with this discovery and hope that this will help in reviving the lost glory of the place.
The elated community members



2 comments:

Mount Kailash said...

A marvelous, fascinating and very moving post! I really enjoyed reading and seeing your photos! Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

Thanks,

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Suma Banerjee said...

thank u for sharing valuable pics
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