The Oneness of Creation

Cosmopolitan India in Ancient Times



A film by Benoy K Behl

Produced by Government of India,

Ministry of External Affairs.

Unbelievable but true !


Since earliest historic times, the kings and the people of India presented a unique and fascinating culture.  We find from the 3rd century BC onwards, a fluid spiritual tradition in which members of the same family freely worshipped and patronized different faiths.  It is remarkable to see  that at least the first six hundred years of art with Buddhist themes was ALL created under the rule of kings who worshipped Hindu deities. The well-known and greatest Buddhist art of the world – the Sanchi Stupa’s sculpted gateways, the hundreds of Buddhist caves in Western India, scores of stupas in the Krishna Valley – were all made in the rule of Hindu kings !

Text Box: Sanchi Toranas, 1st century AD
This most significant Buddhist art was created under the rule of the Satavahana kings, who personally revered Hindu deities. The first 600 years of surviving art with Buddhist themes was all made under the rule of Hindu kings.





The Oneness of Creation

Cosmopolitan India in Medieval Times


No religious divisions !


In the late 16th century, Emperor Akbar created a universal faith ‘Din-I-Ilahi’. Hindus, Jainas, Parsis and Christians were invited to a special house of worship. Here, the beliefs of all faiths were freely discussed.  In Akbar’s rule, the Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata were translated into Persian. Magnificent illustrated manuscripts of these translations were produced by his court painters.  Akbar’s contemporary Sultan Adil Shah II of Bijapur was another great philosopher king. Though born a Muslim, he wore a necklace of rudraksha beads, in the manner of a Hindu ascetic. In his autobiography, the Sultan says that he is the SON OF GANESHA, the Hindu deity. 

Text Box: Ibrahim Rauza, Bijapur
This is tomb of Sultan Ibrahim Adil Shah II, who called himself “the son of Ganesha”.