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Adi Shankara didn't drive Buddhists out of India: Prof Ramachandra Rao

Adi Shankara didn't drive Buddhists out of India: Prof Ramachandra Rao

Publication: The Free Press Journal
Date: June 12, 2000

Renowned indologist Prof S K Ramachandra Rao has ridiculed the 'pernicious theory' advanced by British historians that Adi Sankaracharya, the first in the lineage of the three Acharyas, drove Buddhists out of India, reports PTI.

Inaugurating a two-day national seminar on 'Contribution of Sanskrit study to epigraphy and archaeology' here on Saturday, the renowned scholar said it was historian Vincent Smith who gave rise to the lie that the 8th Century Acharya drove Buddhism out of India.

"If one cared to study the Sanskrit inscriptions of the period, nowhere any reference to attack on Buddhism was made. Acharya attacked Vedic orthodoxy. In fact, in south of Kerala the land where Sankaracharya was born, in an inscription found partly in Tamil and mostly Sanskrit, a reference was made to a land being donated to Buddhist shrine", he said.

Stressing the need to reconstruct history and make necessary corrections in the light of epigraphic findings, Prof Rao called upon the Indian historians not to become mere 'Manasa Putras' of British colonists.

Focussing on the importance of the study of epigraphy, he said epigraphy was the backbone of archaeology. By means of this, the reconstruction of 7000-year-old history of India was possible. Except China, no other country had such a long history of civilisation, he said.

Mysore University Vice-Chancellor Prof S K Hegde presided. Dr A V Narasimha, former professor of Ancient History and Archaeology, opened an exhibition on epigraphy.

Prof M A Lakshmi Tatachar, director, Academy of Sanskrit Research, was the chief guest.

The national seminar is being organised by the Mysore University and union ministry of human resource development. Dr K V Ramesh, director, Oriental Research Institute, said scholars from all over the country were participating in the seminar, being organised as part of the Sanskrit year.

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