Posted on: 17 February 2015

Religions in the Kushan Empire
By J. Harmatta, B. N. Puri, L. Lelekov, S. Humayun and D. C. Sircar

Extract from the book:
History of Civilizations of Central Asia
The development of sedentary and nomadic civilizations: 700 B.C. to A.D. 250
Published by UNESCO - 1994

The spread of Indian religions also began under Graeco-Bactrian rulers at this period. According to the testimony of the Greek and Aramaic versions of the rock edicts of As ́oka (see Chapter 16), the beginning of Buddhist missions to Bactria dates back to the third cen- tury b.c. The spread of Buddhism and Brahmanism was due to Indian merchants and crafts- men emigrating to the great centres of Graeco-Bactria (see Chapter 17 and the inscription of the potter Punyamitra from Begram). The Greeks were also open to Indian religious ideas as is attested by the pillar inscription of Heliodoros, the ambassador of King Antialcidas who became a worshipper of Vishnu and erected the Garuda pillar with an inscription in Bra ̄hm ̄ı in honour of Vishnu at Besnagar.

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The Gift of Anathapindada, Kushan period, 2nd–3rd century
Pakistan, ancient region of Gandhara
Schist with traces of gold foil.

The identification of the subject of this relief as the Gift of Anathapindada is by no means certain. The presence at the far left of the figure holding a waterpot suggests that a gift is about to be made, as a donor traditionally poured water over the hands of a recipient to seal a gift. However, determining the overall meaning depends on identification of the objects in the bowl being proffered to the Buddha. Sudatta, called Anathapindada (the Incomparable Almsgiver), was the richest merchant of the town of Shravasti (in Kosala). He met the Buddha at Rajagriha and proposed to donate money in order to buy land for a monastery in Shravasti. The amount of the payment exacted from Anathapindada was calculated by covering the grounds of the park to be purchased with gold coins. The identification of the objects in the bowl as coins is speculative, and the precise scene in the life of the Buddha that is represented is therefore unclear.

© The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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Thanks a lot RBSI for highlighting kushan empire & its religious era

Heliodorus Pillar of 113 BCE at Besnagar, Vidisha, M.P., with a fisher folk crowd doing "Khambaba" worship, 2 months back. See more here ( )

other site artefacts - roman wine leaf motif + tribal motif

Thank you, very much!