Gods and Coins

There are more animals and immortals depicted on coins than Gods.  Yet religion is the oldest culture in the world. Deities depicted on coins are construed by some pious people as effacing the value of their gods. Coins are a part of everyday life for everybody, and religious coins can also be a reminder to the presence god in daily life. In a puritan’s sense the use of religious coins in monetary transactions could mean that god looks over honesty and integrity when his image is used. Another reason for the issue of gold coins may have been to prevent counterfeit by the common and less wealthy people.

Kanishka-G66-CNGThe Hindu religious coins have been issued since at least nearly 2000 years ago, first by the Kushan kings of India in Greco-Roman style. Often made of SHIVA & PARVATIgold they are an expression of the power and pomp of the kings when it comes to religion. The high value of these coins has been one of the reasons for being preserved in such pristine condition, but unfortunately they are far and rare. The Shiva and Nandi coin of the Kushan kings of Indo-Greek Empire originating in Bactria (the present Afghanistan, Peshawar and Pakistan) is not only an example of exquisite expression in Hindu Art but also the earliest known specific depiction of Shiva and his sacred vehicle.  It is notable that the first ever mortal figure of Buddha (Bodo) was by Kanishka I or Kanishka the Great who was the emperor of the Indo-Greek Kushan Kingdom in 127–151 AD.

RAMANTAKAThe God Rama and his consort Sita in the celebrated epic Ramayana are venerated not only in the temples and sculptures but on the coins too. Rama’s messenger Hahnuman who finds Sita held in captivity in Lanka by Ravana is also not

HANUMANforgotten in coins.

jain coinIt is an experience to hold these ancient coins in your hands today. If you do not have the previlege, all is not lost. You can still view them at the museums.

Hinduism on Coins, Gods in your hands 

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