Summary of my work
In February 2018 I visited the Stupa of Sanchi. It is a Buddhist monument with outstanding relief sculptures from the 1st century BC to the 2nd century AD, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Thousands of tourists come from all over the world to see this place.
Sanchi, however, causes confusion.
Why was the stupa built here?
Scientists give different reasons for this location. But the main reason is much easier. On the hill archaeologists have found prehistoric rock paintings and microlitical tools.This hill is and has always been a "force-place". For no other reasons, they decided to build the stupa on it.
Because the hill was overbuilt and the stones for the construction of the stupa were taken everywhere from the hill, the traces of the past have been blurred.
If you look at the gates, you can see the same motif on the top architrave from the outside on the West Gate, the North Gate and the East Gate. There is another one on the South Gate!
Was this building authentically restored? Are all parts at their right place?
Sanchi was discovered by English archaeologists in the 19th century and around 1880 the south gate was restored. In 1918, the English archaeologist, Sir John Marshall, wrote his book about this site. His twenty years of research work must be recognized. He did an excellent job in Sanchi.
John Marshall says: the top and bottom architraves of the South Gate were inadvertently restored reversed.
The motif we do we find today on the inside of the top architrave at the South Gate, is the outside motif! This motif is the same as on all other gates of the top of the frontsites! But this information you can not find on an informationpanel.
The South Gate, top architrave outside today: which motif can be seen? You can see a woman standing on a lotus bloom. To the right and left side of this figure are two elephants. John Marshall writes: It is Maya, the mother of Buddha. The same motif we find reduced on all gates. At the east gate, this act is clearly depicted: the two elephants have pitchers in their trunks. They pour water over the woman.
In a footnote, John Marshall says: an archaeologist, M. Foucher, had come to believe that it is Maya, and he continues: the elephants represent the serpent deities who poured water over the mother at birth, instead of pouring water over the newborn, and he claims: this picture represents the birth.
This thought is completely constructed!
In the legend is told, that when the Buddha was born, the serpent deities poured cold and warm water over the newborn.
Who is the woman with the elephants?
Sanchi belonged to the Kingdom of Malwa. This kingdom was named after the goddess Lakshmi (Malwa is "part of Lakshmi's dwelling") and next to the goddess are the two elephants pouring water over her, it is Gaja-Lakshmi (or the elephant Lakshmi). It is quite clear that the visual presence of the goddess of this area had a blessing effect. She belongs to this landscape.
In front of the north gate we find a metal orientation panel. At the place where the Gaja-Lakshmi can be seen, you read: "Birth". All tourists read "Birth", look at the picture, do not ask further and take the misunderstanding home.
In books by Indian professors, this misinterpretation has long been corrected. Why does this panel remain unchanged at the time of the cognition of 1883? Is this panel itself a keepsake?
I read a lot of books about Sanchi, I watched websites and movies on the internet. The pictures are mostly beautiful, the texts often questionable.
I am convinced that the whole building is based on an overall concept. This overall concept must be find in the arrangement of the images. What pictures appear on the pillars, what on the architraves, are they placed on the front or the backside and which gate do they belong to? The cardinal directions of the gateways are groundbreaking (In the legend of Buddha is described how Siddharta (Buddha) makes four exits from the city of Kapilavastu. He makes these in the four cardinal directions. What he experienced is related to the cardinal directions.). Than must be tested the front and back sides of the gates, as "outside" and "inside". The Buddha legend, the Jatakas and other ancient writings will be present in this picture book.
I took my first steps. There may be more to follow soon. I hope I will also find contacts to exchange views.