King Udayana Religious Financial Reformer of Ancient Bali

In ancient India, legendary King Udayana was a king of the city of Kaushambi in the north-central India as well as a patron of Shakyamuni Buddha. The Buddhist scripture Samyutta Nikaya records Udayana’s conversion to Buddhism after his visit to the monk Pindola Bharadvaja. Two fourth-century plays by the ancient Indian poet Bhasa, the Svapnavasavadattam and Pratijnayaugandharayana, depict Udayana as a romantic hero, with his legend central to the theme of the plays. A Chinese translation of Ekottaragama Sutra, by monk Dharamanandi in 385 AD, tells about the sadness of King Udayana. He was left behind by the Buddha who had temporarily traveled to heaven. As a dedication to his beloved teacher, King Udayana commissioned a life size statue created in likeness of the Buddha.

Sculpture of Buddha preaching (c second century), Indian Museum, Kolkata. (Jacklee/ CC BY-SA 4.0)

Sculpture of Buddha preaching (c second century), Indian Museum, Kolkata. ( Jacklee/ CC BY-SA 4.0 )

Later, a fifth-century AD collection of Buddhist tales called 冥祥記 ( Mingxiang ji , Signs from the Unseen Realm ) by scholar-official Wang Yan recalls a tale of Emperor Ming of the Eastern Han Dynasty who dreamed about a divine man. This divine man was gold-colored, standing over 20 feet (six meters) in height with a halo around his head. When the emperor later told this dream to his courtiers, one of his them recognized this “divine man” as a deity in India. The emperor then sent an embassy to India who returned with the statue of the Buddha commissioned by King Udayana, which had been completed during the Buddha’s and King Udayana’s lifetimes.

Gunung Kawi. Ancient carved in the stone temple with royal Udayana tombs. Bali, Indonesia ( galitskaya /Adobe Stock)

Gunung Kawi. Ancient carved in the stone temple with royal Udayana tombs. Bali, Indonesia (  galitskaya /Adobe Stock)

King Udayana The Golden Age Of Bali

Hundreds of years later, in the small island of Bali in the 10th century, lived another King Udayana. Belonging to the Warmadewa dynasty, the earliest dynasty in Bali, King Udayana’s rule saw the prosperity of his people through consistent market strategies and trade relations, as well as a rich diversity in the agricultural sector, which led to abundant harvests. King Udayana introduced innovative accounting practices such as coins printed in gold and silver plates, as local currency. To this day, Udayana’s name is associated with Bali’s past greatness.

King Udayana ‘s reign is regarded as the Golden Age of Bali. He united Bali with the nearby island of Nusa Tenggara and extended his influence to East Java through his marriage to the Javanese princess Mahendradatta


Like this Preview and want to read on? You can! JOIN US THERE  with easy, instant access  ) and see what you’re missing!! All Premium articles are available in full, with immediate access.

For the price of a cup of coffee, you get this and all the other great benefits at Ancient Origins Premium. And – each time you support AO Premium, you support independent thought and writing.

Martini Fisher is an Ancient Historian and author of many books, including  ”Time Maps: Gods, Kings and Prophets”  | Check out

Top Image : Pura Ulun Danu Bratan at Bali, Indonesia ( zephyr_p/ Adobe stock )

By Martini Fisher

You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress | Designed by: Premium WordPress Themes | Thanks to Themes Gallery, Bromoney and Wordpress Themes