Posted on: 29 April 2013

Decline and end of NALANDA

Evidence in literature suggests that in 1193, the Nalanda University was sacked by the fanatic BAKHTIYAR KHILJI, a Turk. Muslim conquest in India is seen by scholars as one of the reasons of the decline of Buddhism in India. The Persian historian MINHAJ-I-SIRAJ, in his chronicle the TABAQAT-I-NASIRI, reported that thousands of monks were burned alive and thousands beheaded as Khilji tried his best to uproot Buddhism the burning of the library continued for several months and "smoke from the burning manuscripts hung for days like a dark pall over the low hills."

The last throne-holder of Nalanda, Shakyashribhadra, fled to Tibet in 1204 CE at the invitation of the Tibetan translator Tropu Lotsawa (Khro-phu Lo-tsa-ba Byams-pa dpal). In Tibet, he started an ordination lineage of the Mulasarvastivadin lineage to complement the two existing ones.

When the Tibetan translator Chag Lotsawa (Chag Lo-tsa-ba, 1197–1264) visited the site in 1235, he found it damaged and looted, with a 90-year-old teacher, Rahula Shribhadra, instructing a class of about 70 students. During Chag Lotsawa's time there an incursion by Turkish soldiers caused the remaining students to flee. Despite all this, "remnants of the debilitated Buddhist community continued to struggle on under scarce resources until c. 1400 CE when Chagalaraja was reportedly the last king to have patronized Nalanda."

D.C. Ahir in his book 'Buddhism Declined in India : How and Why? - B. R. Publishing (2005)' considers the destruction of the temples, monasteries, centres of learning at Nalanda and northern India to be responsible for the demise of ancient Indian scientific thought in mathematics, astronomy, alchemy, and anatomy.

Source: Wiki

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Nalanda university..

What we lost then has left its mark on the present.

>> onsiders the destruction of the temples, monasteries, centres of learning at Nalanda and northern India to be responsible for the demise of ancient Indian scientific thought in mathematics, astronomy, alchemy, and anatomy. Massive genocide, destruction of crops, burning of cities and other such acts are known to have such accidental side effects.

I was reading about Nalanda yesterday today you posted about it. What a coincidence!!!

Even after so much of destruction they could not wipe away Buddhism n truth.

Nalanda will grow again...

Wow, 1193!! Muslim invaders burning and killing, not much has changed.

History would have been completely different if this event had not happened

islam ki vichardhara aisa hi hai sadiyo se tabah kar rahe hai abi waqt hai hindustaniyo jaago

Actually Islam does not preach violence and specially not the burning of books/manuscripts/knowledge! Why the first word revealed was Iqra-Read. Please do not confuse politics with religion...b

Bakhtiyar Khilji was like all kings, interested only in wealth & power, no wonder Islam does not propergate kingship!!

Same could be said about the Christians when they burnt the libraries of Spain!!


In history muslim attacked non-muslim monuments and destroyed them....

Its sad , always , to read about end of nalanda

If you look from the perspective of Hindu philosophy, the Maha Kaal does not discriminate. Everybody and everything is destroyed and revived again in another form. Nothing is permanent in the Universe.

Only the ignorant and the fools cry over historical tragedies. The wise learn from them the transience of everything in the world.

I do not think that this one loss can be attributed to Maha Kaal; further more, Maha Kaal is not the only destroyer in the world. Merely the final one. Further more rationalizing loss as philosophy is to miss the root of philosophy esp Hindu philosophy. Hindu philosophy does not preach fatalism.

This is a lesson which Muslims have to learn. That their religion has frequently been used for political purposes.

More like Muslim Kings attacked non-Muslim monuments to loot and plunder in the name of Islam. It was a classic use of religion for political and selfish purposes. Something which every organized religion is susceptible to.

Pehle apna dharm jaan lijiye phir logon ko jagaiyega.

This is a touchy topic I agree! But we are trying to explore history as it happened or purported to have happened based on the available literature. It is of course silly to blame religions.

This is not fatalism. This is accepting the truth. Maha Kaal is not the only destroyer in the world? I don't understand what it means.

Well Sir, since you are the final and sole custodian of truth, you have an undeniably upper hand in such matters. Please carry on.

There is nothing touchy in this if people learn to stop blaming the past for their present problems.

And as far as the Hinduism I practice, it does not teach to be vengeful or hateful.

Yes Sir, you are now also the sole arbiter of Hinduism, apart from truth. Shall we anoint you the final prophet? Or do you want to gather some more faithfuls before that? =============================== Since I am sure sarcasm will be lost on you, let me say in simple words, YOUR philosophy != Hindu philosophy just because you are notionally born in a Hindu family. Hindu philosophy is the sum total of all the Indian ways and thoughts and means and the primary schools. In fact your philosophy does not fit into any of the prior schools of Hindu philosophy. It is merely YOUR philosophy, and to call it Hindu philosophy because you happen to be born into a Hindu family is to suffer from delusions of grandeur. Of course you are free to prove me wrong by quoting which schools and traditions that agree with you, I shall be glad to offer contradicting evidence. This of course does not mean that you can not hold your philosophy, just dont attribute it to Hindu philosophy.

No one singe Group of people can equal Islamists in destruction of people, monuments, cultures and Heritages.. Just take a look at pre-Islamic Persia and China, nay, the entire Arabia, including Jordan and Syria. The biggest havoc no doubt occurred in Greater India.

I wonder what was the reason khilji destroyed the university after looting it!!! Shows the totally debauched and insular perspectives.

I'm somewhat relieved to see this post. The British Library Board's version, which RBSI shared yesterday, certainly veered to an extreme of denialism out of a misplaced sense of political correctness: "...Muslim influence in the area became stronger and Nalanda was abandoned by Buddhists."(!) Uh, that's one way of putting it. Of course, one has to distinguish between the religions themselves and the human beings who claim to be followers of those religions, who unfortunately often behave in ways most unbecoming of the traditions they claim to represent. It does no good, however, to deny history.

Another similar example is Imperial Library of Constantinople. Middle eastern religions are not open to new ideas.

As if there is something called Hindu Philosophy! "Hinduism" contains countless philosophical thoughts, some of them contradicting and some of them complementing each other. Hinduism is a name given by people outside of the subcontinent for different cultural practices and philosophical thoughts existed in the Indian subcontinents. Peace!

It is not only in case if buddhasim or hindusim or Christianity ,whenever any Muslim ruller has sptead his kingdom , brings with him suvh a caos and destruction which i and anyone had not to prove but is true .if anyone try to mislead the viewers he must be driven by his goals which are comon in them

I am a Buddhist n to us enlightenment is most important. We can't live in the past and I respect n appreciate Mohamad Siddiqui's comments.

Lets face the facts as they are. It is history and it says that this has happened due to a particular community. And it is only with Nalanda but fact is that this has happened in many places over a period of time. (Somanadh for ex) So lets learn the facts first brush up our data and then argue

The decline of Buddhism in India started after the establishment of the Gupta dynasty when Brahmanism started violently replacing the Buddhist faith. The period witnessed much destruction of Buddhist monuments which were replaced with Vaishnavite temples. By the time the Turkish invasion took place, Buddhism was confined only in some regions. The sack of Nalanda was just the last nail. For this you may consult any respectable book of history.

guys this is not about whether he was a muslim king or a hindu king.. he was just an evil king who wanted to display his power or whatever.. that's all there's to it.. don't tag religion to this..

as a student of ANCIENT INDIAN HISTORY I can only say that..khilji made nalanda completely it is the main point of discussion.after that his discendants faught against turks,is it important?yes,they faught bravely,but did they reconstruct nalanda?after muslim invasion in india the scientific and literal growth was fully stopped.can you deny it?sasanka was not hostile about buddhism...see r.c.majumder and jadunath sircar.moreover brahmanism faught against buddhism philosophically,not as khilji.please dont make history changed.ALEXANDER also burnt avestan scripts,but he didnt killed monks,so avesta was reconstructed from the memories of thd monks.but khilji was not so great as ALEXANDER.

Dear All, Everywhere in the wolrd , history is full of such acts where the powerful have crushed the weak. A religionist killed B will go on..... There is no doubt that the act of Bakhtiar Khilji was barbaric , inhuman anti-Islamic and shameful his acts are confirmed by the accounts written by Muslim historians as well. Nonetheless , the advent of Muslims in India -ruthless as you may call it- cannot be blamed entirely for the disappearance of Buddhism from India. Hinduism, after all, not only survived but thrived after the Muslim Dominance for more than 700 years . By the time of Muslim conquest, the separate identity of Buddhism had subsided and it resided primarily in its great monasteries and universities. Once these were destroyed and the educated monks killed or migrated , Buddhism had lost the core of its identity. There was a time when Buddhists were chased, persecuted by the Brahmans and their supported Kings brutally and this was so much so volatile that Jains, Hinudism and Buddhism were badly upfront each other to overpower each one of them. Well before the destruction of Nalanda and Vikramsila , the cream of India's learned monks had joined an exodus to Tibet , China , Southeast Asia and Japan. This exodus began in the early 8th Century. This exodus was triggered by the persecution of Buddhists by the Indian Kings. Buddhists texts such as DIVYAVADANA categorically blames Pushamitra's attack on Mauryas and reflects the declining influence of Buddhist at imperial court and Buddhists were persecuted by Sungas as well. There is another story where a gold coin was offered as an award for the head of a monk is related in ASHOKAVADANA. According to RAJATARANGINI , Mihirakula killed three crores of human beings and did not show mercy even to his own person. He was the exterminator of Buddhist Monasteries in Ki-Pin and Broke the sacred Bowl of Buddha and murdered the 23rd Patriarch by name Simha .( Sutra of Lotus flower face - Watters). King Sudhanvan of Ujjaini ordered the slaughter of Buddhists all over the county. The seal of Toramana, Huna KIng, found in the ruins of Ghositarama monastery at Kaushambi indicates the the Buddhists monasteries were destroyed by the Hunas. Huna Kings were Saivas and they patronized Brahmans and they persecuted Buddhists so much they thousands of Indian refugees (perseucted by Brahmans ) were found tere. Sasanka, the King of Gauda ( Bengal) a brahman by caste and Saiva by faith, murdered the Rajyavardhana of Thanesvar ( Thansesar) who was a Parama-Saugata ( Buddhist). He hated Buddists so deeply that he exterminated the monks in the entire Kusinagara region as a result the entire system of Buddhisms was uprooted there. He threw into ganga a sacred stone bearing the foot-prints of Buddha and cut down the tree at Gaya down to the roots and burned what remained. . He removed a Buddha image from a temple east of the Bodhi Tree and replaced it by that of Siva. ( See Huan Tsangs details ) So everyone who had power and was instigated by their religious guides , has barbarously persecuted ,butchered other coreligionists be it any one….This has been the rage of history not a single religions is to be blamed for this. There are two things , Old history has been dumped and relatively the modern history is much in the fore and well known to us . secondly Bad Achha , Badnam bura……….. Regards Khalid Bin Umar

@ Pramanjan Roy Please read your history books once again! And dont depend on wikipedia!

And ask your authorities when did Buddhism decline and how it was pushed in the south east asia...

To all those who are of the opinion that Islam ought to be excluded from the blame for the destruction of (in this case, the Nalanda Library) important monuments, simply look for parallels of such acts by other religions. And then, look for parallels by Islam. It will be a disproportionate comparison in favour of Islam. Its record of destruction of monuments, of entire cultures and religions is simply astonishing (The Prophet himself broke 360 idols in Kabba!). Look at Persia, Arabia, Syria - how they were overrun. India, in comparison managed to survive and hence we try to think of a pleasant-sounding scenario in which destructive acts were only committed by 'some' evil men who just 'happened' to belong to a certain religion. What a farce!

what this is pictre?

Mohammad Siddiqui: I see the validity of your point. None of us know how the events of history really took place. We are also aware that history has always been used as a weapon for propaganda...then as now. Our intention at RBSI is to present various versions of history from as many credible sources as possible and try to understand history for oneself. This is not an easy method but definitely one worth trying. None of the posts here are the last fact they pose as a catalyst to revisit for a greater study bolstered by the various arguments posted here...such as yours for example. But you have to understand that destruction took place on a monumental scale in India by muslim invaders which is a verifiable fact. And one has be mature enough to also understand that it was also ancient history and has nothing to do with majority of the muslims of the present. This has to be mentioned repeatedly by all to bring in balance and perspective.

Just a point - I believe the Shaolin monks also successfully defended against Mongols on more than one occasion.

same thing happened in Alexandria.such a waste of good thought!

Barbaric Islamic invaders could attack and defeat the peace loving Buddhists easily. Afghanistan at the time of Islamic invasion was a Buddhist stronghold. Buddhists were not prepared for a military onslaught from barbarians. Even though there used be wars between Hindu / Jain / Budhist kings, they used to strictly follow code of conduct in a war as per hindu dharma and civilians were left alone and therefore only the king was defeated not his religion. But Islamic onslaught ruined the civil property and culture of the land completely.

For me ----one of the saddest chapters of history. a huge loss in terms of destruction of a knowledge repository

Even Christians destroyed so many local cultures and killed so many indigenous people in the countries they subjugated, even though their teachings proclaim tolerance, non-violence and loving one's neigbour... Men could always distort any teaching, even the most non violent, to justify the evil in their hearts...

Bouddh dharma teaches only PEACE, & OBEY ALL IN UNIVERSE .

Shashanka Gowda , Yes. He was intolerant. But Pushyamitra Sunga....the very notion that he intolerant is widely disputed now. The traditional sources Ashokavadana and Divyavadana are buddhist books of legend written two centuries after Pushyamitra. This could be because he came to power by killing Maurya Brihadrata who patronized buddhism. An epigraph by Sungas on Barhut stupa proves otherwise.

I'll suggest you to read translation of account of muslim rulers themselve. You'll come closer to truth how they did it all only for the cause of Islam not for wealth as propagated by historians.

I'll suggest you to read original translation of account of muslim rulers themselve. You'll come closer to truth how they did it all only for the cause of Islam not for wealth as propagated by historians. Wealth was just a reward for Zehad. Read Tuzuk i Babari, Minhaj i Siraz, Akbarnama,'ll wash out your confusion.

My dear Abhoshek those who read translations often get misled. I have read the originals. You can read some modern works on the topic rather than Majumdar ir Sarkar who are now considered outdated. Also try to read history with an open mind not with preconcieved ideas. Also read on Gupta and post Gupta periods then dorm your opinions. Communal approaches does not take one too far!

Sir, I'm not saying to read secondary sources. I said to read from primary sources of muslim chronicler(s). I've read them which lead me to conclude white washing of history. I've not seen any single rebuttal from eminent historians saying that records are false.. They rant that this is communal that is communal. Please, rebut if data given here is wrong. Don't call me communal. Let scientific process go on and rebut it proving that factual records don't exist.

Yes that is what i also said: I hv read these primary sources in original and did not depend on translations.

Did you know that prior to the modern period the term 'Hindu' did not stand for a religious community but meant indegenous community? That during the Sultanate the term stood for revenue collecting classes? That as late as Nadir Shahs invasion Hindu was not a communal term? The persian king called the mughals ' hinduaan i kalimago' ie those hindus who recite kalima? That in 1857 Rani Jhansi & Nana phadnis were called ghazis & mujahids (terms which otherwise hv rel connotation). The tr. of the texts by colonial translators hv not done justice, they simply played with our rel predelictions and made us fight?

Thans for presenting a balanced picture.

actions like this cause echo in the future for further future genocides in many destruction the bad people under the false banner of islam destroyed many civilizations no doubt abt it but i wish this dont harm muslims who believe in humanism & believe in all religions equally but i also understand that today also under the banner of islam religious fanaticism is still growing day by day which is increasing hatred in people with other beliefs i only wish that a muslim could only understand his responsibility & what burden they are accumulating over their shoulders & only pray this wont cost to fair muslims in future

Alexandria was by Christians

To Our Muslim friends. We did not need outsiders to fight for oppressed people in India and Outsiders did not need to destroy temples and Universities to help oppressed people. As time passed oppressed people would have fought for their rights as blacks fought for their rights in America. If Muslims believe in equality why there is no democracy in Muslim countries? Why people have no rights to practice their own religions in those countries? I admire their passion for art though.

Muslims did establish a great library in Cordova. Who destroyed that?