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How did Buddhism catch on in South India? Episode 7 of Echoes of India explores the life of the Andhra teacher Nagarjuna, called a "Second Buddha", his fascinating philosophy of "zeroness", and the ancient South Indian dynasty who built Roman-style theatres in the 2nd century CE.
As the Shaka-Satavahana wars came to a devastating end, Sanskrit began to flower as a language of philosophy and religion. Nagarjuna would use its grammatical properties to develop a radical new philosophy that infused new life into 2nd century Buddhism. But by this time, the 800-year-old religion would find itself confronted by a new cultural challenge.
Voice Credits & Notes Below.
Voice Credits (in order of appearance):
The Sthaviravadin - Manoj Kewalramani
The Sautantrika - Asawari Ghatage
Nagarjuna - Pranay Kotasthane
I am much obliged to Dr. Mekhola Gomes, who is doing some of the most exciting work on the early Deccan. She very graciously provided fascinating material on the Ikshvakus and has a chapter on them coming out soon. "Decentring the King: Kinship, Identity and Power in the Ikṣvāku Kingdom.” In The Social Worlds of Premodern Transactions: Perspectives from Epigraphy and History. Edited by Mekhola Gomes, Digvijay Singh, and Meera Visvanathan. Delhi: Primus Books. In Press.
My primary source on Nagarjuna was the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy at https://www.iep.utm.edu/nagarjun/
On the destruction of Amaravati's patronage networks - see Shimada, Akira. Early Buddhist Architecture in Context: The Great Stūpa at Amarāvatī (ca. 300 BCE-300 CE). Brill, 2012.
On Nagarjunakonda - see Willis, Michael, and Shimada, Akira ed. Amaravati-the Art of an Early Buddhist Monument in Context. British Museum Press, 2017. This delightful work is available online at https://www.britishmuseum.org/pdf/207_Amaravati.pdf