Vedic Contributions in the Orient
By Stephen Knapp
This is an overview of the Vedic contributions in the Orient, and is written to inspire more confidence in the people who follow the Vedic tradition, and to then be more assertive in protecting it.
Bharatvarsha’s beginnings go back to a very long way in time and it is almost certain that the results or influence that is seen today around the world, in the main, were not achieved by military expeditions or conquest, but by peaceful trading and religious teaching, and thereby all the more permanent. This is especially the case when it is generally seen that people who are forced to change cultures or religions often divert to something else as soon as the opportunity arises. But here you can still see much of the Vedic influence that still hangs on in various regions of the world, in the east in this case.
For example, Philip Rawson writes about how Vedic culture can be recognized throughout Southeast Asia. He says, "The culture of India has been one of the world’s most powerful civilizing forces. Countries of the Far East, including China, Korea, Japan, Tibet, and Mongolia owe much of what is best in their own cultures to the inspiration of ideas imported from India. The West, too, has its own debts. But the members of that circle of civilization beyond Burma scattered around the Gulf of Siam and Java sea, virtually owe their very existence to the creative influence of Indian ideas. Among the tribal peoples of Southeast Asia these formative ideas took root, and blossomed. No conquest or invasion, no forced conversion imposed (upon) them. They were adopted because the people saw they were good and that they could use them" (Rawson, Philip, The Art of Southeast Asia: Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Burma, Java, & Bali, New York, Thames and Hudson, Inc. 1990, p. 7-8.)
Evidence of the Vedic influence can be found in many areas of the Asian Southeast, as Nehru writes, "From the first century of the Christian era onwards wave after wave of Indian colonists spread east and southeast, reaching Ceylon, Burma, Malaya, Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Siam, Cambodia, and Indo-China. Some of them managed to reach Formosa, the Philippine islands and Celebes. Even as far as Madagascar the current language is Indonesian with a mixture of Sanskrit words." (Nehru, Jawaharlal, The Discovery of India, Calcutta, The Signet Press, 1946, p. 202)
Nehru continues: "Indian civilization took root especially in the countries of southeast Asia and the evidence for this can be found all over the place today. There were great centres of Sanskrit learning in Champa, Angkor, Srivijaya, Majapahit, and other places. The names of the rulers of various states and empires that arose are purely Indian and Sanskrit. This doesn’t mean they were pure Indian, but it does mean that they were Indianized. State ceremonies were Indian and conducted in Sanskrit. All the officers of the state bear old Sanskrit titles, and some of these titles and designations have been continued up till now, not only Thailand but in the Moslem states of Malaya." (Ibid., p. 207)
Jagat K. Motwani, Ph.D., writes (in India Reborn, 2012, p. 244): "According to Nehru (Discovery of India, 1946, p. 205), the greatest of these states [in Southeast Asia] was the Salendra Empire, or the empire of Sri Vijaya, which became the dominant power both on sea and land in whole of Malaysia by the eighth century. At the height of its power it included Malaya, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Sumatra, part of Java, Borneo, Celebes, the Philippines, and a part of Formosa, and probably exercised suzerainty over Cambodia and Champa (Annam), which was a Buddhist Empire. A great ruler, Jayavarman, united the small states in the ninth century and built up the Cambodian Empire with its capital at Angkor. The Cambodian state lasted for nearly four hundred years under the succession of great rulers like Jayavarman, Yashovarman, Indravarman and Suryavarman (all four were Hindus)."
As explained by Upendra Thakur, "In addition to Buddhist remains found in large numbers in various parts of Burma, Hindu images have also been discovered over a wide area, including Vishnu, Ganesh and Brahma at Hmawza; Vishnu, Garuda and Hanuman at Mergui, and Surya, Durga and Vishnu in Arakan, as well as symbolical coins and terracotta tablets with Hindu objects on them. Again, in the village of Kalagangon nearby, were found the remains of a linga 1/4 inch high, showing that Shaivism existed side by side with Buddhism. In another mound of Hmawza were discovered Bodhisattvas in Pala style, which are later in date but similar to those well known from Bodhgaya of the ninth to tenth century CE. Thus, it is clear that from the fifth to the eighth or ninth century CE, all the three types of religion were practiced in Burma and both Buddhism and Hinduism existed peacefully side by side." (Thakur, Upendra, A Historical Survey of the Elements of Hindu Culture in Burma, India’s Contribution to World Thought and Culture, Vivekananda Kendra Prakashan Trust, Chennai, India 1970, p.439.)
As we look around Myanmar, though it is permeated with Buddhism now, we can see other remnants of the Vedic culture that still has a little influence in the region. For example, in the city center of Yangon, in the Botatuang Paya Buddhist temple, on the grounds is a nat pavilion which contains the images of Thurathadi, which is the Vedic image of Saraswati, the goddess of learning, and of Thagyamin, which is the Vedic Indra, king of heaven, and in Myanmar is the king of all nat, or spirit beings who can either protect or harm humans. So some of the Vedic divinities are still held within the tradition of the nat, or the Myanmar acceptance of spirit beings that are sometimes still worshiped for various purposes. The tradition of the nat is part of the pre-Buddhist custom of the area.
Bagan (Pagan) is known for its 3000 or more Buddhist temples that crowd its plains, which make for some wonderful photographs. During the temple building that went on in Bagan, in the 11th to the 13th centuries, was the transition of the region from the Vedic traditions to Mahayana Buddhism. However, the Vedic influence still exists. Inside one of its tallest temples is beautifully decorated with frescos and topped with gilded pinnacles. You can see a mixture herein of both Vedic and Buddhist deities along with local nat spirits in the nooks.
In Bagan is also the Nat Hlaung Kyaung, the last remaining Vedic temple in the town. A sign dates this temple back to the 11th century, yet others say it was built in 931 by Taunghthugyi. This means it was built about a century before the southern school of Buddhism came to Bagan. It is also explained that King Anawrahta stored all non-Buddhist images, especially the nat spirits, as he tried to enforce Buddhism over the land.
It was built in the form of a sanctuary tower. It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is decorated with the ten avataras in stone figures, Buddha being the ninth, though these are in disrepair. Herein we can also see how Buddhists in Burma adopted the Vedic style of building.
The mandapa is no longer in existence, but you can see evidence of it in the two large holes at the entrance. The mandapa or the porch rested on two large beams which were fixed in the two large holes. The outer plaster has peeled off, and the shikhara has undergone repairs.
When Col. Henry Yule first visited the Nat Hlaung Kyaung, he came across two stone images which were lying on the corridor floor. One of them was standing and the other seated. The standing one is an image of Shiva, now placed in the Ananda Museum in Bagan. The seated one is that of Vishnu riding on Garuda. It is four feet high and has found its way to the Berlin Museum. This may have been the central or main image of the temple. Vishnu is crowned by a beautiful kirita flanked by fluttering scarves on two sides. In His upper hands He holds the disc and conch respectively. (Bhise, Usha R., A Temple of Vishnu in Burma, India’s Contribution to World Thought and Culture, Vivekananda Kendra Prakashan Trust, Chennai, India 1970, p.449.)
Thailand was once known as Siam. On July 20th, 1948, the Siamese constituent assembly voted to change the name of Siam to Thailand, the change would come into effect the following year. Of course, Siam was a derivative of Shyam, which is a name for Krishna, meaning the color of dark blue, the complexion of Lord Krishna.
Evidence shows that it was at least by 380 BCE when the Iron Age communities in central Thailand had already opened trade relations with India. The Sa Huynh people of coastal Vietnam were highly competent navigators, and had arrived in that region by 500 BCE. A writing system was in a script resembling that of the Hu, who were in turn influenced by India. (Higham, Charles, The Civilization of Angkor, Phoenix, London, 2001, p.23-4.)
Sanskrit words are still very much in the Thai language. C. B. Pandey explains the influence in the language of Thailand. "The Thai language has 18 vowels and 23 consonants, specially in Northern Thai. ... Indian cultural impact in Siam has left a deep-rooted influence on the language of the country. ‘Anyone visiting the country today’, says S. R. Sehgal, ‘would be amazed by the multitude of words in every-day speech which are derivatives from Sanskrit.’ (Sehgal, Dr. S. R., Sanskritistic Culture in South East Asia, in Sanskriti, Vol. III (English), p. 474.)
Anyone listening to the radio broadcasts of these countries will be struck by the frequent occurrence of these words. It is in the Thai language that we have more Sanskrit elements. The Sanskrit words have undergone such phonetic changes that at times it is rather difficult to notice their Sanskrit origin.
"A few examples of Sanskrit words will not be out of place. A popular word for greeting in Thailand is Sabayadi Khap which has its origin in the Sanskrit word Svasti, which finds mention as early as the Rig Veda. The word vela is used in the same sense of time as in India. The leader of the Buddhist monks blesses the devotees with the words Sukhi Hotu, ‘may you be happy.’ The words for wedding in Thailand and Laos is viviha. The illustrations can be multiplied. Thus we see that there are thousands of Sanskrit words which are adopted by the Thai people without any phonetic modifications." (Pandey, C. B., Indian Influence in Siam, India’s Contribution to World Thought and Culture, Vivekananda Kendra Prakashan Trust, Chennai, India 1970, p.465.)
Vedic festivals like Dusherra, the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana, are still observed in Thailand. They still hold honor for Lord Vishnu, Narayana, Mahadeva and other Vedic divinities. The Ramayana and Mahabharata and other Sanskrit texts have formed the basis of outstanding literature in Thailand. The Ramayana in Thailand is known as Rama-Akhyan or Ramakien, in which akhya is Sanskrit for "rendition of the story." Knowledge of this was as essential for a cultured Siamese as Homer was for a European. The epics and Puranas of India were the basis of much inspiration for all of Southeast Asia, and the theme for classical theater, Shadow theater, and marionette shows. This influence can still be seen in Siamese dance, drama, and music. (Shah, Niranjan, Kings of Thailand Bear the Title of Rama, India Tribune, January 1, 2005.)
The name of the Thailand city of Ayutthaya, the ancient capital a few hours north of Bangkok, is known for its many temples. The name is derived after the name Ayodhya, the capital of the kingdom and birthplace of Lord Rama in India. And the Kings of Thailand still call themselves Rama along with their own Thai names. Rama is also found on the expressway connecting Bangkok to the international airport. Plus, the Bangkok airport has the display of the Vedic story of the devas and demons churning the ocean for the nectar of immortality, as described in the Puranas, which certainly shows their high regard for their Vedic connections.
It is suggested that many of the elements of India or Vedic culture were incorporated into the Khmer civilization at an early stage, even back from 2000 to 1000 BCE, because of the Indian traders who were active along the southern coast of what is now Cambodia. This included various implements for farming as well as numbers, writing, art, and literature, such as the Ream Ker or the Ramayana, which had a tremendous influence. The worship of Vishnu and Shiva was also adopted. They had also took up the Indic traditions of administration, architecture, court ceremony, economy, and the Cambodian New Year coincided with the start of the Vedic solar calendar.
This is barely the tip of how Cambodia has always had a close link with India and Vedic culture. The amazing temples of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom are testimony to that and show much deeper areas of Vedic influence. Most people know about these temples, which are built as a microcosm of the Vedic universe, which displays all kinds of depictions of the knowledge inherited from India. One of the most noted panels is on the east side of the third gallery which displays the Devas and Asuras churning the ocean of milk for the nectar of immortality, a story right out of the Vedic Puranas.
Angkor Wat is a true wonder of the world. Historian Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru wrote: "Let it be said immediately that Angkor, as it stands, ranks as chief wonder of the world today." To explain a little about it, it occupies about 500 acres surrounded on all four sides by a wall and an enclosed water tank. The causeways, flanked by enormous naga and lion statues, represent rainbows. The temple is 65 meters tall, made up of three platforms, progressively smaller, with covered galleries defining the borders, and is a replica of the cosmos. The first level contains 1200 square meters of carved sandstone galleries illustrating scenes from the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranic stories. (Shah, Niranjan, The Largest Hindu Temple is in Cambodia, India Tribune, January 29, 2005.)
We can only get an idea of the greatness of Angkor Wat from what we see of it today. It is truly an amazing temple, but from the descriptions described by Charles Higham, we can only guess at how much greater it was years ago. He describes it as follows: "Angkor Wat today is but a pale reflection of its former state. Traces of gilded stucco survive on the central tower, and a Japanese visitor in the early seventeenth century noted gilding over the stone bas-reliefs. It must in its heyday have literally been a golden temple. A 4-meter-high statue of Vishnu, which might have once been located in the central sanctuary tower, is still to be seen in the western entrance building. It remains venerated to this day." (Higham, Charles, The Civilization of Angkor, Phoenix, London, 2001, p. 115.)
From the 1st to 6th centuries CE, Vietnam was part of the Indianised kingdom of Funan, as it was called by the Chinese. The Funan people produced remarkable art and constructed an elaborate system of canals which were used for both transportation and the irrigation of wet rice agriculture. In mid-6th century, Funan was attacked by the pre-Angkorian Kingdom of Chenla, which gradually absorbed the territory of Funan into its own. Later, the area would be called Champa.
The name Champa is clearly Indian, whether it was named after the capital of the Anga country in the lower Ganges Valley, or after the Chola capital of the same name. The influence is obvious. (Shah, Niranjan, Ancient Indianization of Vietnam, India Tribune, October 16, 2004.)
Like Funan, it became influenced by the Vedic culture through continued commercial relations with India and the immigration of Indian literature and priests. Sanskrit was used as a sacred language, and the Vedic influence dominated art and agriculture, as is evidenced by the ruins of a Cham city in the province of Quang Nam, and the collection of Cham art in the museum of Danang. Brilliant examples of Cham sculpture can be seen in the Cham Museum, which exhibits numerous Vedic artifacts that have been found in the region, some of which go back more than a thousand years from the Champa period. These include sculptures of Shiva, Vishnu, Ganesh, Brahma, Nandi, and others.
As reported by Pamod Kumar, in June 2013, Vietnam’s prime minister officially identified 30 National Treasures of Integral Import to the Nation. The report from Vietnam features images of Vishnu and Surya, but especially an exquisite and very ancient sculpture of Lord Vishnu. According to a press release from the Communist Party of Vietnam’s Central Committee (CPVCC) the Vishnu sculpture is described as a "Vishnu stone head from Oc Eo culture, dated back 4,000-3,500 years." This would make it the oldest Vedic artifact in the world. Recently the Government of Vietnam, despite its official Communist doctrine, has developed many programs and projects highlighting Vietnam’s ancient religious heritage. This discovery of a 4,000 to 3,500 year old Vishnu sculpture is truly historic and it sheds new light upon our understanding of the history of not only Hinduism but of the entire world.
The fact is there are no other "officially" recognized Vedic artifacts that have been dated back to such an early date. This would make Vietnam home to the world’s most ancient Vedic artifact. While there are indeed many other ancient artifacts that represent the same deity, they are not presented in the "Indic" tradition and cannot be directly recognized as the Vishnu of the Indic Vaishnava tradition.
The 4000-3500 year old Vietnamese Vishnu sculpture is part of an exhibit featuring some of Vietnam’s most ancient artifacts. It was discovered in the region of Southern Vietnam’s Mekong Delta. The Mekong River is named after the Ganges River (Ma Ganga) of India.
The significance of this discovery cannot be overestimated. The entire history of Hinduism and Vedic culture, as taught in the academic institutions of the world, has been built upon a false construct. According to mainstream academia, Vedic "religion" or Hinduism did not exist until the alleged "Aryans" invaded India circa 1500 BCE. An even later date is given to Vaishnavism which is speculated to have been derived from animist Sun worship. Yet here we have a highly evolved art form depicting Lord Vishnu in the Far South East region of Asia dated to somewhere between 2000 BCE to 1500 BCE.
This completely undermines the entire historic timeline developed by mainstream academia in regards to the development of both Vedic/Hindu civilization and Indian history. The region of modern India has always been the epicenter of High Vedic/Hindu Civilization and culture. No one anywhere has ever suggested the region of modern Vietnam to be the origin of Hindu civilization, yet it is in Vietnam that we now have the world’s most ancient example of Indic style Vedic Vaishnava art. Thus it stands to reason that if Vedic Vaishnava art, culture and religion flourished 4000 years ago in prehistoric Vietnam, it was undoubtedly flourishing in ancient India as well.
Once again science and archeology have confirmed the Vedic conclusion. As the Vedic literature states, 5000 years ago India was home to a highly evolved and advanced civilization. This civilization was centered on its sacred traditions. The worship of the Supreme Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva, Lakshmi, and Durga was widespread and in fact spanned the entire globe.
These traditions presented themselves in diverse manners, as seen in modern India, yet among this diversity was a commonality based upon the authority of the Vedic scriptures and traditions. The recognizably Indic forms of the Vedic traditions spanned the globe from the Philippines to the Middle East and Siberia to Australia. Yet the same Divinities were worshiped and the same traditions were practiced throughout the world.
Perhaps today, as India itself is reeling under the onslaught of enforced "secularism" and as Hinduism has been relegated to the realm of just one of many religions (rather than being recognized as the heart and soul of India), we are fortunate that the former Hindu lands of Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, and Kampuchea are leading the way towards the reclamation of our ancient Vedic heritage. (http://www.speakingtree.in/spiritual-blogs/seekers/mysticism/4-000-year-old-vishnu-statue-discovered-in-vietnam)
Also reported in Hinduism Today, April/May/June, 2014, page 37.
Vedic cultural influence went well beyond Bali, which shows many aspects of Vedic influence, and also reached the Philippines. Alfred L. Kroeber, a leading American anthropologist, wrote in Peoples of the Philippines: "There is no tribe in Philippines, no matter how primitive and remote, in whose culture today, elements of Indian origin cannot be traced."
Filipino historian Gregorio F. Zaide describes in Philippine Political and Cultural History: "Basically Malay (Indian) in might, Hinduistic in culture, and Buddhistic in religion."
American archeologist Henry Otley Beyer, a dedicated scholar on the Philippine civilization, carried out a series of remarkable excavations in the late 1920s at Novaliches in the Philippines. His work was systematic and concluded that all the artifacts found, including a large quantity of pottery, iron implements and weapons such as knives and axes, glass beads and bangles, and beads of semiprecious stones, such as carnelian, agate and amethyst, were brought to the Philippines from India over a long period of trade, well before the beginnings of the Christian era. He confirmed this by saying: "India has most profoundly affected the Philippine civilization." (Shah, Niranjan, India’s Influence in Philippines, India Tribune, August 28, 2004.)
It is hard to say when India started to spread its influence in Indonesia, but evidence shows it was no later than the 2nd or 3rd century BCE. (Francisco, Juan R., A Survey of Palaeographic Relations Between India and the Philippines, India’s Contribution to World Thought and Culture, Vivekananda Kendra Prakashan Trust, Chennai, India 1970, p.565.) The spread of Vedic culture was caused and stimulated by the trade expeditions which were organized from the subcontinent. Indonesian princes accepted the religious and cultural notions of the voyagers and began to invite Brahmanas to their courts. Afterwards the Vedic culture spread among the upper classes of Indonesian society. (Goudriaan, T., Sanskrit Texts and Indian Religion in Bali, India’s Contribution to World Thought and Culture, Vivekananda Kendra Prakashan Trust, Chennai, India 1970, p.563.)
The whole area of Indonesia, namely Java, Sumatra, Burma, Sukarta, Bali, Champa, Malaya, and up into Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam are countries that had all been ruled by Hindu or Buddhist kings. The earliest seems to be Java back in the first century CE, starting with King Devavarman, based on the inscriptions that have been found in the area. Relations between ancient India and Java seems to have been quite close, and inscriptions indicate that in 850 CE the Sailendra kings of Java created an endowment for the Nalanda University. Temples built in Java are quite similar in style to those of South India, along with often having panels of sculpted impressions from the Ramayana and Mahabharata on the temples. East of Jakarta you can find three temples dedicated to Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Even the Indonesian currency notes has carried the image of Ganesh on them, and Ganesh, known as Vinayaka, is still worshiped in many places there. Much more of the Vedic influence in Indonesia would still be present if not for the devastation by the Muslims and European colonialists. Now it is a major Muslim area, but many Indonesian Muslims do not find it strange to name their children with Sanskrit-based names. (Kapur, Kamlesh, Portraits of a Nation: History of India, Sterling Publishers, Private Limited, 2010, pages 444-45.)
Indonesian dance and music are also of Vedic origin, and still hold much of its influence. Names of both persons and cities and towns bear names of Vedic or Sanskrit origins. The language itself is a dialect of Sanskrit known as Bahasha. Of 25,500 entries in the 1982 dictionary of Kawi, 12,500 are Sanskrit loan words. Even the Indonesian flag is called Dwi-Varna (two colors) which is Sanskrit. The cardinal points of the Indonesian Constitution are also designed in accordance with the Sanskrit word Panchshila.
In this regard, Wilhelm Von Humbolt, German Indologist, Prussian Minister of Education, the founder of the science of general linguistics wrote: "Kawi language is Javanese and contains a number of Sanskrit loan words, which prove the literary and political superiority of the Hindus. The historical background has the emigration of Brahmins, who brought the Mahabharata, the Ramayana and other works of Sanskrit literature." He also showed that no Prakrit words are found in Old Javanese, and, thus, he deduced from this that the Indian immigrants must have come to Java at a time long ago before the more recent Indian language had separated from Sanskrit.
Modern Indonesia, sometimes called Nusantara, especially Bali, is another ancient center of Vedic culture and civilization. The name of the island of Bali was once Balidvipa, which goes back well over 1000 years. It is accepted that this is in connection with Bali Maharaja, the warrior king and devotee of Lord Vishnu from ancient times. Vamanadeva was the form of Lord Vishnu who Bali surrendered to, and Vamanadeva is the name of one of the great historical royal dynasties of Bali.
Contact between India and Indonesia go back many hundreds of years. In fact, pepper plants, which are originally from India, were found in Indonesian food as early as 600 BCE. Cotton was also brought from India by the 2nd century BCE. So trading and cultural exchanges were taking place from that time. It was a natural transition and an attraction to the Vedic culture by the people of Java, Sumatra, and Kalimantan, who adopted the Vedic customs. Some Indian traders built new Vedic temples, and even brought in priests, monks and teachers. Then later, the local leaders continued the practices. In fact, local rulers began to use Indian titles like Raja or Maharaja, or add the royal suffix of varman (protector) to their names. The major Indonesian states, from the 5th century to the 15th, were all Vedic or Buddhist.
Throughout Bali you will find Vedic and Sanskrit names, especially for the capitals of the provinces. Regarding other forms of Vedic evidence that still exist today, the Indonesian coat of arms, the Garuda Panchasila, is also derived from Javanese Vedic elements. Indonesia’s National airline is named Garuda Airlines, Garuda being Lord Vishnu’s carrier. Also, the Nation chose Indonesia to be the name for their new Nation over the native name of Nusantara (Entire Islands) in recognition of their ancient links with Mother India. Furthermore, the modern capital of Indonesia, Jakarta, features a magnificent sculpture of Partha Sarathi Krishna and Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. This shows the immense popularity and respect for Hindu culture that can still be found amongst the people of Indonesia. Plus, according to the Parisada Hindu Dharma Indonesia, a Hindu revival movement, the Indonesian Hindu population is closer to 18 million rather than the 6 million claimed by the Government.
It is known that China in India and in Indian ancient texts like the Puranas was known as Cina, and the residents were also known as Cinas or Chinas. The genealogists of China and Tartary declare that they were descendants of Indian Kings. The Kiratas and Chinas moved out of India towards the East, beyond the Himalayas, and founded colonies there. The Kshatriyas or warrior classes from India first inhabited the area of China. These settlers were originally inhabitants of the Vedic lands, such as Sapta Sindhu, which included Kashmir, Ladakha, Tibet, and the Punjab of ancient India. From then on, ancient India had continuous contact with China. The Manusmriti mentions that when the Chinas, Kiratas and other communities became decreasingly Vedic (Manu-samhita, 10, 43-44), they were pressured to leave the Vedic lands. However, in the Mahabharata period, they brought gifts to the Pandava king Yudhisthir at his coronation. Also, a king of Assam is mentioned in the Mahabharata as having an army of Kiratas and Chinas, of yellow color. (Shah, Niranjan, Indian Origins of Ancient Civilizations, International Vedic Vision, Sand Point, New York, 2012, p.105.)
Herein it is clear that connections between China and India go back thousands of years. From the Vedic literature, we see that the Mahabharata mentions China in a few places, such as when the people brought presents to the Rajasuya ritual of the Pandavas. In the Sabha Parva, the Cinas appear with the Kiratas among the armies of King Bhagadatta of Pragjyotisa or Assam. China is also mentioned in the Arthasastra and the Manusrmiti.
In the Vana Parva of the Mahabharata, the Pandava brothers are said to have crossed the country of the Cinas in course of their trek through the Himalayan territory north of Badrinath and reached the realm of the Kirata king Subahu. The Cinas are brought into relations with the Himalayan people (Haimavatas) in the Sabha Parva of the Mahabharata also. The land of the Haimavatas is likely to be Himavantappadesha of the Pali texts, which is identified with Tibet or Nepal.
In the Shingon pantheon of Japan, we can also recognize a large number of Vedic gods. These include Shoten sama (Ganesh), Taishaku (Indra), Katen (Agni, the Vedic fire god), Emma-o (Yama, the Vedic god of death and the afterlife), Benzaiten or Benton (Sarasvati, the Vedic goddess of learning), Suiten (Varuna), Futen (Vayu), Ishana, Bonten (Brahma), Jiten (Prithvi), Nitten and Gatten (Surya the Vedic sun god and Chandra the Vedic moon god), and many others. "Though most of the deities are venerated only as forming part of Mandara [mountain], some of them such as Shoten sama, Emma-o, Suiten and Benten are popular objects of worship and have temples dedicated to them." (Eliot, Sir Charles, Japanese Buddhism, London, 1935, p.355) Therefore, the worship of their interpretation of the Vedic deities continues to this day.
According to author Hisashi Nakamura, there is no country in the world other than Japan where students are learning a rudimentary knowledge of Sanskrit language. (Shah, Niranjan, India’s Influence in Americas, China, Greece and Southeast, India Tribune, December 4, 2004.)
Even today, 15 miles from the heart of Tokyo is a Vedic temple of Indra with two figures of Hanuman guarding the image. Large crowds also visit the temple of Saraswati. Fudo is another form of the terrible form of Shiva, wherein he possesses a third eye, a trident, and a lasso of snakes. You can still recognize Vedic deities of Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu, Lakshmi, Durga, Ganesh, and others in the temple at Kyoto, Nara, Miyajima, and other places. Nara was a center of Sanskrit learning in 700 CE and earlier. In some Japanese temples, very ancient Sanskrit manuscripts are preserved intact, some of which are much older than those preserved in India. (Shah, Niranjan, India’s Influence in Americas, China, Greece and Southeast, India Tribune, December 4, 2004.)
Much more of this kind of information can be found in my books "Proof of Vedic Culture’s Global Existence," and "Mysteries of the Ancient Vedic Empire: Recognizing Vedic Contributions to Other Cultures Around the World," as well as "Advancements of Ancient India’s Vedic Culture."