Contrary to existing historiography of early medieval religions, which often deals Vajrayana Buddhism as a declinig and degenerated religion confined to monastic complex only, the book argues that Vajrayana Buddhism was an instrumental and social religion. Working on social conography, the author uses iconography, epigraphic and textual sources to show that Buddhism made vertical and horizontal expansion in Orissa in early medieval period. As a social, instrumental relifion, it innevated numental religion, it innovated numerous deities, introduced new rituals for laities, wore litanies in praises of Buddhist gods and goddesses and imbuded deities with instrumental fumctions. But these changes occurred within the evolving normative tradition of Buddhism itself. These changes in Buddhism occurred at a time when brahmanical religions were expanding in Orissa.
The book makes copious documentation of religious sites from archaeological and epigraphic sources tod argue that poly-religiosity defines the relifious landscapes of early medieval Orissa, and then, it goes on to explain the drelations between brahmanical religions and Buddhism. In the process, it analyses the sipport base of Buddhism, nature of monastic complex and various markers of support base. The book also explores the continued Indian connection in Southeast Asian Buddhism after 7th century AD.