History & Culture

Evolution of different religions in Kashmir

Vikramaditya Tribhuvanmalla Mankha, who wrote the famous Srikanthacanta, is also the author of a Sanskrit dictionary Soma-deva who may be described as one of the founders of fiction and whose work has reached the remotest corners of the world in one form or another, wrote his famous Kathasantasagara in the 1 lth century A D. Kshemendra also made notable contribution to fable literature with his Brihatkathamanjan. In historical literature the name of Kalhana stands out He was followed by Jonaraja, Srivara, Prajyabhatta and Suka Similarly in medicine Kashmir contributed a lot with the writings of Dribhabhatta and Udbhatta

The monistic philosophy of Kashmir Saivism differs so fundamentally from the other systems of Saivism that Madhavacharya in his Sarva-darsana-sangraha does not include it under Saiva-darsana but deals with it as Pratyabijna-darsana Kashmir Saivism, known as Trika-sastra is so called because it explains three modes of knowledge of Reality, viz non-dual (abheda), non-dual-cum-dual (bhedabheda), and dual (bheda) Its literature is voluminous and a number of saints, philosophers and writers have contributed to explain and elucidate its doctrine and dogma Kashmir Saivism has now attracted the attention of theologians and scholars in the rest of India and abroad and has become an object of intensive study

About two thousand years or more ago, Kashmir was a great centre of Buddhism and some of the Buddhist Councils were held there. Kashmir became a high school of Mahayana Buddhism during the time of Kaniska and after, and attracted scholars and pilgrims from distant lands who studied the Buddhist texts at the feet of learned Pandits of Kashmir. Kashmiri missionaries travelled to far off places m China, Tibet and South-East Asia to propagate the Buddhist religion there. The most famous of these was the great scholar and philosopher, Kumarajiva.

By the beginning of the 13th century, Kashmir was gradually influenced by the preachings of numerous Islamic teachers Happily for the new religion it found a fertile soil there to grow and expand in. The shackles of caste had already been broken by the teachings of Buddhism and the general mass of people were slowly but surely converted to the new faith by the Sufi derveshes who entered the Valley in large numbers from Persia and Central Asia.

 

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