Buddhism and Christianity
of the ancient religions, flourished in India in about fifth
About 2000 years back
Pali, the language, gained popularity. In fact, Pali had
a big role in the spread of this religion. Most of the Buddha's
teachings as we know were through Pali. Pali
is a Middle Indo-Aryan language of North Indian origin. It is also
known as Magadhi, although it was spoken, or at least well understood,
in almost the whole of Northern India in the Buddha's time. Pali
language is called "the language of mankind's philosophy".
This is because it has the most voluminous literature on religion
and philosophy in the entire world. Pali is a written language,
but it has no special script. Although trade-links were developed
first, Buddhist monks and Kings' emissaries throughout the region
developed its use. It was the "Lingua Franca" of the Buddhist
countries of south and south-east Asia for well over a thousand
subsequently developed its own Pali literature and chronicles.
It is sonorous, rhythmic, mellifluous and pleasing to hear,
especially when chanted properly by monks and is kept alive
by Buddhist scholars, monks and devotees of Buddhism.
As we know from
historic records that a huge collection of Pali literature,
mainly Buddha's invaluable teachings, were kept in the library
of the ancient Nalanda University in Bihar India. Legends
say that a fire destroyed all those precious scripts and thus,
Pali literary works received a very big setback in the middle
ages. However, much Later, a version of these valuable works
were retrieved from Ceylon, all written in Sinhalese script
and these works were then translated and rewritten in Roman
script, thus restoring an invaluable wealth of knowledge.
Pali was so popular,
that it was also spoken in Tibet, an adjoining country of India.
In fact, many historic events of that time have been recorded in
Pali language. One such interesting finding was made by the Russian
doctor Nicolas Notovich, in1887 when he came across a rare written
record in Pali language, the Himis manuscripts, which revealed that
Jesus had been to India. These ancient documents were viewed later
by Nicholas Roerih and Swami Abhedananda, a disciple of Shri Ramakrishna.
As the Bible has no accountability of the whereabouts of Jesus after
he was crucified, this evidence revealed significant information
on the lost years of Jesus. It is widely speculated that Jesus during
this period had been to Srinagar in the happy valley of Kashmir
in India and had been living there in one of the Tibetan monasteries.
Some say that the reminiscence of this "Healer" still
persists there in the form of "Isaih-e-malam" i.e. a pain
Pali is one of the
richest languages which records social evolution in India and also
other parts of the world. This language can thus unravel a wealth
of historic information so far unknown to us. Considering the varied
applicability of this ancient language, Pali certainly merits more
Author: On an over-the-tea chat with Shri Ashim Kumar Mukherjee,
who has been teaching Pali language for more than 37 years. His
keen interest in nature led him to scale great heights of the Himalayas.
His passion for mountaineering led to the establishment of The Himalayan
association in 1960 in Kolkata. Later on in 1968 this association
formed the Council of Himalayan Exploration and Research and conducted
many important Himalayan expeditions unveiling a wealth of rich
information. Presently, the eighty year old retired teacher is residing
at his house at central kolkata. Email: