Explain the nature of Greater India.
The Greater India was not a geographical entity, but a cultural and religious phenomenon, established through Hindu rulers and Buddhist messengers. It was exceptionally dominant in the island nations of south-east Asia and present-day nations of Indian sub-continent. For example,
a) SRI-LANKA: While the earliest mention of Sri-Lanka is made in Valmiki’s Ramayana, it is well know that Emperor Ashoka sent his daughter, Sanghamitra and son Mahendra, to the Lanka kingdom for the spread of Buddhism. Consequently, Buddhism became a protected religion in the small island. There was also the spread of Pali language and Brahmi script. This is an example of integration by spread of Buddhism.
b) CAMBODIA (KAMBOJ): In 1st Century AD, an Indian named Kaudinya founded his kingdom in Kamboj. He helped to bring civilisation and culture to the people. Later, Chola rulers helped to spread Sanskrit, philosophy, literature and astronomy to the area. Mainly, Angkor Vat and Angkor Thom were built by descendants of Jai Verma. One can find idols of shiva, Lakshmi, Ganesh and several Hindu Gods in Cambodia. This is an example of integration by spread of Hinduism.
c) BALI: Hindu kingdoms established here during the early centuries. Shiva and Vishnu were worshipped and both Hinduism and Buddhism were dominant.
d) INDONESIA: Earlier known as Sumatra, Vijay dynasty ruled here from 4th to 7th century AD. This was a Hindu dynasty, which had close links with Rajendra Chola I of South India. Shrivijay, a city in Indonesia, remains a major centre of Indian culture and civilisation
e) THAILAND: During the ancient times, Thailand was known as Syam. Hinduism and Mahayana Buddhism were widely prevalent in the area. Buddhist temples and viharas were built, Pali language was taught and the architecture and sculpture of region had an Indian taste.
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