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ONE of the decisive struggles of all human history was that which took place long ago between Buddhism and Hinduism for control of India, and its results are still being seen in the evolution of the Asian peoples. This struggle was epic, prolonged, filled with incident and drama, and yet it has figured very little in written history. If we say that the great Emperor Asoka, in the third century B.C., represents the triumph of Buddhism, and the Gupta dynasty around 400 A.D. the reviving triumph of Hinduism (or Brahmanism) we get about 700 years of a Buddhist India enlightening the whole of the East. What is more likely is that Buddhism continued to flourish in India, although not as the religion of the state, until about 1,000 A.D., at which period it had become extinct in the land of its birth and lived on, henceforth, only in the countries farther east.
There is nothing quite like this in the long story of man's development. The Lord Buddha arose in northern India around 500 B.C. as an ethical reformer, a rationalist and what some writers (H. G. Wells among them) have called an atheist. He swept away caste, ritual, superstitions and privileges of all sorts. To him there was little that was good in traditional Hinduism. He was, of course, Hindu, of the princely or warrior caste (i.e. not a Brahmin) and his followers during his own lifetime were all Hindus. And yet his great permanent following, the Buddhist world of today, is found in China and Japan, Tibet, Siam, Indo-China and Burma. Of the 340,000,000 or so people in India today only a handful are Buddhists, and these are to be found only in the mountain regions, toward Tibet, or on the borders of Burma. The mass of the Hindu people reverted, after their thousand years of Buddhism, to the many gods and rites of their forefathers.
It might be the first impression of the foreigner in India that Buddhism had, in fact, left no trace of its passing. The Hindu temples and Hindu sculpture, in all their extravagance of form, seem to have no relation to the austerity of the Buddha. And yet if sufficient effort is made, there are to be seen in India Buddhist monuments of the greatest beauty, which all the wars and disasters of a thousand years have scarcely impaired. These are the visible evidences of the Buddhist centuries, the footprints of vanished time. They remind the beholder of how different the whole history of Asia might have been if this great Buddhist culture had not been swept away--if India had remained Buddhist, that is, holding Asia together with bonds more powerful than any mere political doctrine could be. And such are the ironies of time that today, when Asian countries feel themselves threatened with Communist conquest, something like a revived emphasis on Buddhist culture is taking place throughout the area. It is strongest in Burma and other countries of Southeast Asia, but even in India, which is no longer Buddhist at all, the signs of this emphasis are apparent. The relics of the Buddha's two disciples Mogallana and Sariputta were returned to India last year from London, and received with royal honors. They are now in Burma, being revered by the populace (they stayed in Ceylon a year, too), but sometime this year they will probably be restored to the temple platform at Sanchi, in the State of Bhopal, whence the British took them a hundred years ago. These bits of dust are probably the oldest relics in existence, for the stupa in which they were found at Sanchi in 1851 bore inscriptions of the time of Asoka. No Buddhist doubts that they are the actual dust of the Buddha's favorite disciples, which indeed they very well might be.
Those who saw photographs or newsreels of the inauguration of the first President of the Republic of India (January 26, 1950) must have noticed that the throne in which the President sat--the throne inherited from the British--was dominated by a figure of the Lord Buddha standing just behind it. This Buddha, which comes from Muttra in north India, was already in that room (the Throne Room or Durbar Hall) as a part of the National Museum which is now coming into existence in the former palace of the viceroys. By some happy inspiration it was decided to leave the Muttra Buddha where it was on Republic Day, although the rest of the sculptures and paintings were removed for the ceremonies. Thus the Republic came into being under the protective aura of a great piece of ancient sculpture which, to much of Asia, connotes the blessing of the Lord Buddha.
The Buddhist masterpieces are those at Sanchi, in the State of Bhopal, and at Ellora and Ajanta in Hyderabad. At Sanchi there are 32 stupas of all sizes in the immediate area. The Great Stupa with its platform and surrounding buildings is a work from which it is fair to say that all other stupas, dagobas and pagodas in Asia seem to derive. It took about 600 years to construct in its present shape. The Emperor Asoka, the Mauryan monarch who became a Buddhist and took nearly all India with him into that faith, built the first structure in the third century B.C. It was, according to reliable indications, about half the size of the present dome. A stupa--which can be of any size--is a sort of funeral tumulus or mound built to protect relics of the Buddha himself or his saints or disciples. It is in fact a heap of rubble, sometimes enclosed in brick or stone, with the precious relics deposited somewhere near the center or top. Very early in Buddhism the structure of a stupa became conventionalized: it had to have an umbrella (the sign of royalty) at the summit, and it had to have at least two railings around the bottom and top to permit of circumambulation. In addition, it had four gateways, north, south, east and west, in which the skill of the artist's hand was given full liberty on all the subjects associated with Buddhist legend.
This simple structure is seen in its original purity at Sanchi. The great dome is almost a hemisphere; its railings are massive and simple; its four gateways are among the most remarkable ancient monuments to be seen anywhere. When one has seen Sanchi one begins to understand how the stupa (or "tope" as the British called it in the nineteenth century) developed into all the various dagoba and pagoda forms which are seen throughout the Buddhist world. Even in Japan, which is so far away and received Buddhism so much later, the gateways of Sanchi can be detected, as they can also be in Ceylon, Siam, China and Indo-China. This is, therefore, a sort of normative or prototypical monument foreshadowing many centuries of Buddhist development.
But even if it were not so--even, that is, if Sanchi had had no offspring--it still would be a singularly beautiful and impressive work of art. To begin with, the imagination is staggered when we observe that these stones are simply balanced one upon the other, with no kind of cement or other aid except that of simple proportion to keep them standing. Furthermore, the numerous unknown artists who worked on the four gateways treated their sandstone material as if it were wood, giving it those curves and carpentry forms which have ever since characterized the pagoda. The amount of work involved is difficult to contemplate, but what is even more difficult to understand is how such a structure, which in common sense ought to fall down in a short time, should have survived practically intact for more than 2000 years.
The grandeur of the Great Stupa is hard to convey in words because it does not have that heaven-storming quality which evokes eloquence (as, for example, in the case of Gothic cathedrals or the temples at Karnak in Egypt). It is, in fact, classic in its simplicity and restraint. I have seen Buddhist stupas which look like rubbish-heaps and nothing else. This one also, perhaps, is a heap of rubble in essence, but it has form in the very grandest sense--form as the Parthenon has form. It seems balanced, poised, in a way which one feels to be true of only a very few works which man has produced on this earth.
Some of this self-contained, self-sufficient, classical formality, this completeness without reference to anything else, may be due to the tranquil beauty of the platform on which the Great Stupa stands against the immemorial blue of the Indian sky. There is no village here, there are no guides or beggars or priests and there are no interruptions. The Archaeological Department of the State of Bhopal has kept the great platform clear and clean. The flat-topped hill on which it stands is only about 300 feet high but it is very suitable for a place of sanctuary. The Great Stupa, which of course was built to contain some relic of Buddha himself, has other buildings around it, including two or three of remarkable interest, but it is the indisputable center and sovereign of the whole area. This centrality may have arisen only by accident during the passage of the centuries, as some neighboring buildings decayed or crumbled to dust and the miraculous stupa remained, but however it happened it is today a fact.
And then, of course when one begins to examine in detail the carving of the gateways, upon which innumerable artists lavished their best work for centuries, the quality of the monument becomes even more remarkable. These stone carvings have none of the exaggeration or grotesquerie of later Hindu work. They tell stories of the Buddha's life, his renunciation of the world, his temptations, his enlightenment and triumph, with a realism and earthiness which emerge in startling truth from the ancient stone. The quality of the work is unsurpassed in its own kind. A subject which has been treated by one artist may be treated on another gateway by another artist, and it is fascinating to see how they differ--and how a sort of competition seems to have arisen among them. There is a flying figure (female) on one gateway, that to the south, which seems to be a sort of ancestor of all the twisted, large-hipped female figures of later Hindu art--but what a difference! This lady really seems to fly in the air, and her sinuous curve is by no means grotesque.
And in the immediate neighborhood of the Great Stupa are at least three buildings which in any other place would excite the greatest interest. One is the ruin of a chaitya, a Buddhist chapel or church with noble columns; another is a small temple which looks astonishingly Greek; a third is the smaller stupa in which the relics of the disciples Mogallana and Sariputta were found by Cunningham in 1851. The chaitya is a ruin--a "skeleton" as Sir John Marshall called it--but the outlines can still be seen, and as it occupies the highest place on the platform its effect, in that light and climate, is great. (It may be worthy of remark, since many Westerners do not know it, that the Buddhist chaitya in the centuries before Christ exhibited all the main characteristics of a Christian church with nave, altar and aisles; this seems to be mere coincidence and nothing more, since there is no way in which one can imagine the Christians having seen Buddhist churches.)
The little temple which reminds us of Athens is nothing much: a porch, some pillars. But here, too, as in some of the decoration of the Great Stupa, there is the suggestion of a foreign influence. It is possible that Persians and Greeks, or Indian arists who had studied with Persians and Greeks, worked in this place. It is also possible that similar conditions produced similar results, without any direct influence, as Sir John Marshall, the original discoverer and restorer of Sanchi, was prepared to believe. He said that Sanchi was produced in a great renaissance period of the Indian empire (under the Guptas) in which the psychological situation of most artists was much the same as that of the artist in Greece or, a thousand years later, in Italy.
Sanchi leaves upon the mind an impression of the might of Buddhism in those far-off, almost forgotten centuries. Indian history suffers from a terrible imprecision of chronology, as well as from partisan and legend-ridden records. But it is possible for us to see in these carven stones the plain evidence that Buddhism once was supreme here, that mighty churches, monasteries and reliquaries could dominate the whole plain of central India, and that the teaching of the Lord Buddha, the precept of the absolute equality of all creatures, once reached the Indian heart.
And even the austerity of early Buddhism is apparent here, in spite of the richness of the carvings. For example, the Lord Buddha himself is nowhere represented. There is not one effigy of him in the whole of Sanchi. Instead, whenever it is necessary to show that he was present--in the carvings which tell Buddhist stories, that is--he is indicated by a tree (the Tree of Enlightenment) or by an umbrella or even, sometimes, by his own footsteps carved in the stone. The devout are supposed to imagine for themselves what was the form of the Enlightened One as he sat underneath that tree, beneath that umbrella, or after he had made those footprints.
The caves of Ellora and Ajanta, in the State of Hyderabad, share with Sanchi the supreme interest among early Buddhist works of art. They come from the same dawn-time, the centuries in which India was the center of the Buddhist world. Caves hewn out of the solid rock of the hillsides were fairly common through western, west central and south central India during those Buddhist centuries and just afterward. There are caves near Bombay; there are others near Nasik; their uses, either as monasteries (viharas) or churches (chaityas) are similar everywhere. They seem to range, also, from about the third century B.C. to the seventh or eighth A.D. The testimony they bear to the patience and industry of innumerable Buddhist artists, workmen and sheer muscle-workers is impressive in the highest degree. Sometimes the rocky hill was excavated from above (as at Ellora) and sometimes from the side (as at Ajanta), but however it was done it was a labor not only of love, but of unexampled vision and humility. For the fact is that hardly anybody who began such a work could have hoped to live until it was anywhere near finished; one generation dotted the i's and crossed the t's for another; it was a sort of entailed and interwoven enterprise, from generation to generation, over about 800 years.
Ellora is all sculpture and rock-hewn architecture; Ajanta, which was similarly hewn out in just about the same centuries, has the added glory of some frescoes which are probably the oldest, as they are among the most beautiful, in the whole world.
The caves at Ajanta and Ellora are in a crescent against the hillside, but the hill at Ellora was a slope and that at Ajanta was a cliff; consequently there is a difference in the work which was spent upon them. Ellora was dug out from above, and, since it was a slope, has courtyards and anterooms to practically every cave; Ajanta was attacked boldly from the side of the cliff and does not have so many such approaches. The caves of Ellora give peculiarly valuable evidence of the rise and fall of Buddhism in India. There are 12 primitive Buddhist caves, starting with the severest kind of cave-dwelling for monks, and progessing steadily, visibly, obviously, toward a Hinduistic elaboration and polytheism. It is clear that the first Buddhist monks who dug their caves here would have been horrified at any representation of the Lord Buddha, or at any carved or sculptured reference to the many gods of Hinduism. Buddha's teaching in this respect was quite explicit; he did not regard God (or gods) as a proper subject for the speculation and imaginative efforts of mere men. In his system of thought all inquiry was welcome; no authority was imposed; every person who wished to know or at least to think was encouraged to do so; but on all those ultimate or final questions of divinity which have always been the delight of Hindu philosophy he was mute. Consequently his first followers, and those who followed on for two or three hundred years, lived barely, simply, ascetically, devoted to meditation and (when possible) good works, without visible objects for their worship and without marked temples, churches, altars or images upon which to concentrate.
The power of this singularly pure and elevated religion comes out at us starkly in the early caves at Ellora. Here we can imagine, without much difficulty, what must have been the life of the anchorite in that time before the Christian era. But as we go on from cave to cave the shape of all things changes, at first gradually, then with more emphasis, and finally with a rush. The old gods come back. It seems to be a fundamental truth of human nature, these ancient stones assure us, that mankind cannot get along without some form, shape or effigy to worship, some stories to stir the imagination, something incredible to believe. At first we see (in the Buddhist caves themselves after the earliest period) that the Lord Buddha, who was so much against such practices, has become an object of worship: his figure in numerous forms, young and old, becomes the chief ornament of every shrine. And then, after the fifth or sixth cave, we see the Hindu gods also creeping back--at first Sarasvati, the goddess of learning, and then this one or that; the river Ganges as a goddess, or Shiva of the four arms, or some attribute or symbol of these Hindu deities. Shiva, for example, has a number of symbols (the trident, the conch-shell) as have Vishnu and others. We see with a sort of reluctant astonishment that these symbols of the older religion creep into Buddhism and are imperishably recorded here in the unchanging rock. Even the phallic symbol, the Shiva-linga, returns at last and marks (at about 650 A.D.) the end of Buddhism in India.
But then, as if to reward us for having perceived the high points of the long drama, Hinduism returns with such a rush as to leave us quite breathless. I know of nothing in the whole tremendous sweep of Hindu art which can equal the Kailash temple at Ellora. This is a temple to Shiva, carved straight out of the solid rock, with all the rush and extravagance, exuberant vitality and reckless imagination which characterize the Hindu religious genius. We had already seen Shiva coming back--three preceding caves were definitely Hindu, not Buddhist--but nothing really prepares you for the overwhelming tumult of the Kailash Temple. It is a tumult, yes, but a tumult under control, for these men who worked on the Kailash carvings a thousand years ago were artists of the first quality. Here are elephants, tigers, monkeys; here are Himalayan heights and jungle depths; here are gods, goddesses, heroes and demons, performing impossible feats, equipped with impossible powers. We are far indeed from the cold reason, the austerity and calm, of Buddhist days. Shiva is destroying devils all over the place; legends of every sort start out from the conquered rock; hardly a god or a goddess seems able to get along with less than four arms, and some have more, as some have several heads. The lush and jungly pantheism of the Hindu dawn have returned again, and we feel at Kailash--as nowhere else I have seen--how Buddhism was vanquished at last and came to its end in India, because it was too pure, too high and too cold for a people swarming in myth and akin to the steaming earth.
At the caves of Ajanta, which are also in a semicircle and built during just about the same centuries, the same process is seen: Buddhism in its youth and in its prime, vanishing at last under the return of the old gods and old practices. But at Ajanta the return of Hinduism is not signalized by any such great masterpiece as the Kailash Temple of Ellora. On the contrary: the Buddhist works are supreme here, and when Buddhism in a sense dies out, fades away, the Hindu return is in the nature of an anticlimax. This also is historically true: Ajanta and Ellora thus complement each other as historical evidence, just as they do aesthetically.
The treasure of Ajanta, which makes it unique in the world, is the wall-paintings in some of the caves. These have been world-famous for a long time now, and learned publications have dealt with them extensively. It was not until after 1920, however, that the Nizam of Hyderabad had them systematically inspected, cleaned and restored, employing for that purpose two Italian experts, Professor Lorenzo Cecconi and Count Orsini. The results--in Cave No. 1 at any rate--are startling. We have here a series of frescoes of the most vivid quality in a medium which normally does not withstand the assault of time very well. These pictures, from various hands, date from about 500 A.D. and it must be confessed that they are fresher than a great many famous western frescoes of a thousand years later. Anybody who has seen the work of Michelangelo at the altar of the Sistine Chapel in Rome (the Last Judgment) during recent years knows that it is doomed, that nothing can save it from disappearance. The Last Supper of Leonardo da Vinci, in the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Florence, has been practically invisible for a great many years (never in my lifetime has it been possible to see it properly). But here we see scenes from the life of Buddha with a freshness and clarity which defy time, and cause us to wonder. Perhaps the climate, perhaps the formation of the caves themselves, have made it possible for such very old bits of wall-painting to survive. In any case, here they are, and to the best of my knowledge and belief no such works of arts of this kind are to be found elsewhere on the planet.
The scenes are many--stories from the Jataka, which is to say Buddha's previous incarnations; stories from the historical Buddha's own life; stories from the lives of Bodhisattvas, or the almost-Buddhas who abound in later Buddhism. Perhaps the most famous of the figures, seen in many reproductions, is of the Bodhisattva known as Padmapani (lotus-water). There is a celebrated scene of the Lord Buddha, after his prolonged suffering, austerities and enlightenment, returning to his native palace and looking upon his wife and his son Rahula. The old familiar stories of his mother's dream (a sort of Annunciation) and his own youth, with palace scenes, dancers and the like, are repeated, along with the tale of his departure by night from his native city, Kapilavastu, for the jungle where he spent his prolonged penance.
Although several of the other caves contain treasurable items, the hand of time has not fallen so lightly--all is fragmentary, flawed or dimly visible. The caves are electrically illuminated nowadays, but during the days I spent there the generator had failed and we saw the interiors by means of sun-reflectors. This was, in all likelihood, the way the artists originally worked inside the caves. That is, an attendant outside the door holds a big reflector (now a looking-glass, but it must have been burnished metal of some kind in the fifth century) so that the sun hits it and shines a bright light upon the part of the wall under examination. This kind of light, which is sunlight but with an especially brilliant and unexpected quality, seems to me in all probability the best way to see the frescoes, since they were painted in that way.
The contest between Buddhism and Brahmanism, as we have remarked before, ended with the complete triumph of the Brahmins. But there was a complicating factor which operated to the advantage of the Brahmins and against the Buddhists. That was the rage of the earliest Moslem conquerors against Buddhists and Buddhism. Apparently large numbers of Buddhist priests or monks (bhikkus) fled before the Mohammedan conquerors and retreated to the mountains, toward Tibet, leaving the Buddhist remnants in India with no priesthood to direct them. This made it relatively easy for the Brahmins remaining in India to pick up the pieces and reform a Hindu world in which caste returned to its supremacy with the Brahmins at the top. Considerable destruction of Buddhist works of art must also have taken place during these wars of conquest, as well as by the usual process (familar in all countries) by which old stones are utilized for new buildings, old holy places pillaged to supply the material for new ones.
I have spoken so far only of the fixed sites, the Sanchi Stupa and the caves of Ellora and Ajanta. But the Indian Buddhist drama is also vividly displayed at the site and the museum at Sarnath, near Benares, and in the Amarávati carvings in the Government Museum at Madras. Sarnath was the site of the Deer Park where the Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon--that fundamental document of Buddhism, known as the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. He had been a wandering ascetic for years in the forest (having renounced the world and its pleasures, as well as the throne of his fathers) and had come through all sorts of austerities to his Enlightenment under the tree at Gaya. Thereafter he was sure, and it was apparent to him that austerities as such were useless. He made his way to Sarnath, where, at a mound which is shown as the original site and may well be, he made the first sermon and founded the Buddhist order of monks.
There probably was some kind of Buddhist monastery here from the very earliest date. The immense monastery of which all the ground-plan has now been cleared dates from about 200 years after Buddha's death, in the time of the Emperor Asoka, but it no doubt represents the imperial beneficence improving on what was already there. Asoka's pillar still stands, in three sections, at the center of this vihara or monastery--the pillar which has been taken as the symbol of the Indian Republic for stamps, coins and seals. Its famous capital, made of three lions rampant, has been moved to the Sarnath Museum nearby, where the beholder to this day marvels at not only the carving itself but at the extremely high, marble-like polish which the Mauryan artists were able to give to their hard sandstone.
And down at Madras, the metropolis of the south, are to be seen some further evidences of the heights reached by Indian Buddhism. These are the stone carvings brought from the ancient seacoast city of Amarávati, now obliterated by time. The stupa there must have been as great a monument as Sanchi, or even greater, when it was intact. A small model of it is shown in the museum to give the visitor some idea of how these carvings fitted in. These are from the same centuries--the oldest ones being contemporary with Asoka--and the carvings tell many of the same stories. But among them, and perhaps the most beautiful of all, are some medallions which tell no story at all--which simply repeat, with a delicacy and variety unsurpassed in this medium, aspects of the lotus blossom and the Wheel of the Law. Again the material is sandstone and again it looks like marble--so much like marble that it really does not matter much which it is.
Amarávati was a completely Buddhist city founded under Asoka and must have been a port of consequence in its day. According to some of the stories, it was from there that Asoka's son departed on the mission to Ceylon which made of that island a Buddhist stronghold, as it is today. But though we know little enough of Amarávati, the carvings we see are quite enough to convince us that in this ancient and almost forgotten city there flourished a culture which must have been equal to the highest. For centuries India was the center of the Buddhist world, which is to say the center of all the cultivated part of Asia. Some hints or suggestions of a similar position for modern India have been apparent in the past three years. These are based, not upon any system of belief uniting Asia (for no such exists) but upon the fact that a reviving Asian nationalism, or that part of it which is not dominated by the Communists, looks to India as the reasonable and independent leader. Even in this, however, a part has been played by Buddhism, the dominant belief of Southeast Asia, and to India's historic part in its origins.
Why did Buddhism go out of India altogether? I have given what I think is the main answer--that it was too cold and pure and high for this steaming earth. It occurs to many during these present years that Mahatma Gandhi was, of all modern men, the one who most resembles the Lord Buddha in his mode of thought and action. Gandhi was himself extremely aware of Buddha's teaching and was one of the foremost among modern Hindus in reminding his people of it. The small temple to Buddha in Delhi, built as an adjunct to the modern Birla Temple, was put up at Gandhi's wish and was dedicated by him. Is it possible, we wonder, that Gandhi's teaching will have the same fate as Buddha's--will go somewhere out of the land of its birth and be, perhaps, almost forgotten there?
Something is taking place which is not at all unlike the process undergone by Buddhism. That is, a species of deification of Gandhi goes on, and is in fact well advanced, accompanied by a disregard for much of what he wished to teach his people. This is just what happened to Buddha, except that in those ancient days it took centuries instead of years. Buddha, who had no use for images, became himself the reigning image of innumerable temples; there is a famous one in China which has 2000 Buddhas in it. His dislike for ritual has been long forgotten, even in the Buddhist countries, and in modern India it is fair to say that not one element in his teaching has remained. Some of the phenomena we see in India suggest that Mahatma Gandhi's laborious life may produce a not dissimilar result-- that he will be revered almost to the brink of adoration, and, so far as practice is concerned, ignored. In the single matter of communalism, the division and subdivision of the Indian people, things seem to have reverted again to where they were 25 or 30 years ago, as if Gandhi's patient and indefatigable efforts had never been made.
It is too soon, much too soon, to give rein to any such speculation. But the coming and going of Buddhism in this immense country, its rise and fall as we see them in the visible remains, inevitably put our minds on to the scale of history's larger movements, across continents and across centuries. There is abundant material for reflection, when we consider the quality of the Buddhist influence in Asia: it is an "impondérable," of course, but there can be hardly any doubt that it counts more than political elements which seem important in Western eyes. India is Holy Land to the devout Buddhists of Tibet, Siam, Burma and Indo-China, as well as of China and Japan. The places I have described are places of pilgrimage and have been so for twenty-odd centuries. Even the Chinese Communists have been forced--or think themselves forced--to recognize the power of the Buddhist faith in Asia. They have providentially in their hands the new Panchen Lama (or Tashi Lama), a boy of 13, whom the stars, signs and portents selected this past year to incarnate his august destiny. It would not be proper to suggest that Mao Tse-tung's government had any effect upon the operation of the stars, signs and portents, but in any case it is convenient for Mao Tse-tung that the Panchen Lama was chosen by the supernal powers at a spot well within the corner of Tibet which has long been occupied by Chinese troops. That child, as it happens, is regarded by many Tibetans as being of higher spiritual filiation than the other child at Lhasa, the Dalai Lama. The Chinese Communists, with their eyes on the huge high plateau of Tibet, a natural airfield half the year round, have not scorned to adulterate their dialectical materialism with a good sound dose of respect for the Buddhist cosmogony.
Amongst all the "ifs of history," as we consider these facts, one of the most impressive is that which arises naturally in the mind: what might have been Asia's history if India had remained Buddhist? We look and wonder.