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Vaishnavism in antiquity: Heliodorus

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani_at_be.com)
Date: Tue Jan 20 1998 - 13:56:06 PST

Submitted on behalf of 

  Tirumanjanam Kannan
  c/o ranga@sybase.com

---------

I am from Srirangam and an extensive traveller visiting
Vaishnava centres.

While on a tour in Madhya Pradesh, near Bhopal in India,
I visited the Udayagiri caves in Vidisha District.  I have
videotaped my visit to this place.

A stone pillar known locally as "khamb baba" is being
worshipped.  The Archaeological Survey of India has inscribed
its history on a white marble slab. It reads as follows:

    History of This Pillar
    ----------------------

    This column is locally called KHAMB BABA.  It bears
    two inscriptions in Brahmi characters and Prakrit
    language.
 
    One of these inscriptions records that the column was
    set up as a Garuda Pillar in honour of God Vasudeva
    (Vishnu) by Heliodorus, a Greek inhabitant of Taxila
    (Takshasila), who had come to the court of 
    Bhagashadra, king of central India, as an ambassador
    from ANTIALCIDOS, an Indo-Bactrian king of the Punjab.
    Heliodorus had evidently adopted Hinduism as he has
    styled himself a BHAGAVATA, i.e., a follower of the
    Vaishnava sect.

    The approximate date of the column is 150 B.C.


The exact location of this pillar is near the Udayagiri
caves, 30 miles past Sanchi stupa as you proceed from
Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India.

				vENum dAsan,
				Koil Tirumanjanam Kannan