The Gonda Foundation and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences cordially invite you to the 24th Gonda Lecture by Hans Bakker, Project Curator at the British Museum and Gonda Professor Emeritus of Sanskrit and the History of Hinduism & Indian Philosophy at the University of Groningen.
The period 484 – 534 was a violent and perturbing one, in which the Gupta Empire crumbled and the political map of northern India was redrawn. At the same time, state-sponsored devotion to Viṣṇu gave way to royal worship of Śiva. The deadly confrontation ‘with rude and cruel kings of the present Kali age, who delight in viciousness’ gave rise to a resilient spirit that found expression in art, religion and Sanskrit literature.
Two columns are emblematic of this period. The dvaja-stambha in Eran was erected in 484, during the reign of Budhagupta, and supports the device of Viṣṇu, Garuḍa, corresponding with the imperial standard. The second column, the victory pillar (raṇastambha) of King Yaśodharman, was found 2.5 km south of Mandasor. This column, dated around 534, contains an inscription revealing that the patron deity of the dynasty is Śūlapāṇi (Śiva-wielding-the-lance).
The 24th Gonda Lecture by Hans Bakker will explore the causes of the political and religious changes that took place, the relationships between them, and the role that invading Hunnic tribes may have played.