I had an comment on Origen and Buddhism which I had to disallow as too far off-topic. But it contained an interesting assertion, which I reproduce here:
Pythagoras, for example, who handed down and was influenced by certain concepts, was himself heavily influenced by Egyptians and the Buddhists in India, as he stayed there and was taught at the feet of Buddhists, hence his belief in the soul’s transmigration – karma;…
Now the amount I know about the life of Pythagoras is pretty slim! But this sounds like the sort of thing we might investigate. A search in Google for Pythagoras and India brings up a certain amount, all of it dodgy-looking.
What ancient sources do we have? Well, a bunch of late writers, it seems.
Porphyry wrote a life of Pythagoras, which formed part of his lost History of Philosophy, but is preserved. I’d forgotten doing so, but it seems that I have it online here. However the word “India” does not appear in it. He did go to Egypt, tho, in the days of the 26th Dynasty, the Saite period.
Diogenes Laertius Lives of the philosophers included Pythagoras, and that portion is here. This too does not mention India, as far as I could see.
Apuleius, in his Apology, mentions here:
But that is not really very much!
Iamblichus also wrote a life of Pythagoras, which was translated by Thomas Taylor, the 19th century English Platonist. Lots of copies for sale; not many online and searchable! So I’ve not been able to check this.
Is there any ancient source that says Pythagoras went to India?