Heliodorus Pillar of Vidisha


Heliodorus Pillar of Vidisha

ancient city of Vidisha

In the ancient city of Vidisha, near Besnagar, in Madhya Pradesh, stands the Heliodorus Pillar. It was erected by Heliodorus, the ambassador of Indo Greek ruler Antialcidas of Taxila to the court of Shunga ruler Bhagabhadra, in 113 BC. It is the earliest known inscription relating to Vaishnavism in India.

This pillar was dedicated by Heliodorus to Vasudeva, an avatar of Lord Vishnu. It was installed Infront of a temple of Vasudeva and was surmounted by a sculpture of Garuda at the top of the capital. Garuda the mythical bird is the vehicle mount of Vishnu. This sculpture is now lost. The lower part of the capital consists of the inverted lotus design similar to Ashokan Pillars.

There are two inscriptions on the pillar under the middle decorative band. They are written in Prakrit language using Brahmi script. The Inscriptions contain the following text “This Garuda-pillar of Vasudeva, the god of gods, was constructed here by Heliodora, the Bhagavata, son of Diya, of Takhkhasila, the Greek ambassador who came from the Great King Amtalikita to King Kasiputra Bhagabhadra, the Savior, prospering in (his) fourteenth regnal year. (These?) three steps to immortality, when correctly followed, lead to heaven: control, generosity, and attention” Based on pillar evidence it has been suggested that Heliodorus was one of the earliest Westerners on record to convert to Vaishnavism whose evidence has survived

Source : Facebook/The Wonder That Was India

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