Shravasti

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Shravasti (IAST: Śrāvastī; Pali: Sāvatthī) was a city of ancient India and one of the six largest cities in India during Gautama Buddha's lifetime. The city was located in the fertile Gangetic plains in the present-day district of the same name, Shravasti, that belongs to Devipatan division of Uttar Pradesh near Balrampur, some 170 kilometres (106 mi) north-east of Lucknow. Earlier, it was a part of the Bahraich district, but the latter was split due to administrative reasons.

Shravasti is located near the West Rapti River and is closely associated with the life of Gautama Buddha, who is believed to have spent 24 Chaturmases here. Age-old stupas, majestic viharas and several temples near the village of "Sahet-Mahet" establish Buddha's association with Shravasti. It is said that the Vedic period king, Shravasta, founded this town.

Shravasti was the capital of the Kosala Kingdom during 6th century BCE to 6th century CE. This prosperous trading centre was well known for its religious associations. Sobhanath temple is believed to be the birthplace of the Tirthankara Sambhavanath in Jainism, making Shravasti an important center for Jains as well. According to Nagarjuna, the city had a population of 900,000 in 5th century BCE and it even overshadowed Magadha's capital, Rajgir.

Quotes[edit]

  • “The ruined Jain temple situated in the western portion of MaheTh… derives the name ‘Sobhnãth’ from Sambhavanãtha, the third TîrthaMkara, who is believed to have been born at Šrãvastî… “Let us now turn our attention to the western-most part of Sobhnãth ruins. It is crowned by a domed edifice, apparently a Muslim tomb of the Pathãn period… “These remains are raised on a platform, 30’ square, built mostly of broken bricks including carved ones… This platform, no doubt, represents the plinth of the last Jain temple which was destroyed by the Muhammadan conquerors… It will be seen from the plan that the enclosure of the tomb overlaps this square platform. The tomb proper stands on a mass of debris which is probably the remains of the ruined shrine…
    • Archaeological Survey of India, Annual Report 1907-08, p. 113-126. Quoted from Shourie, A., & Goel, S. R. (1990). Hindu temples: What happened to them. [1]
  • Coming to the ruins of a Buddhist monastery in the same complex, the archaeologist proceeds: “In the 23rd cell, which I identify with the store-room, I found half-buried in the floor a big earthen jar… This must have been used for storage of corn… “This cell is connected with a find which is certainly the most notable discovery of the season. I refer to an inscribed copper-plate of Govindachandra of Kanauj… The charter was issued from Vãrãnasî on Monday, the full moon day of ÃshãDha Sam. 1186, which… corresponds to the 23rd of June, 1130. The inscription records the grant of six villages to the ‘Community of Buddhist friars of whom Buddhabhattãraka is the chief and foremost, residing in the great convent of the holy Jetavana,’ and is of a paramount importance, in as much as it conclusively settles the identification of MaheTh with the city of Šrãvastî…”
    • Archaeological Survey of India, Annual Report 1907-08, p. 113-126. Quoted from Shourie, A., & Goel, S. R. (1990). Hindu temples: What happened to them. [2]
  • He describes as follows some of the sculptures unearthed at SrAvastI: “S.1. Statuette in grey stone… of Buddha seated cross-legged in the teaching attitude on a conventional lotus. The head, breast and fore-arms as well as the sides of the sculpture are broken. “S.2. Lower portion… of a blue schist image of Avalokitešvara in the sportive attitude (lîlãsana) on a lotus seat. “S. 3. Image… of Avalokitešvara seated in ardhaparyanka attitude on a conventional lotus… The head and left arms of the main figure are missing.”
    • Archaeological Survey of India, Annual Report 1907-08, p. 113-126. Quoted from Shourie, A., & Goel, S. R. (1990). Hindu temples: What happened to them. [3]

External links[edit]

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