Historical story

Chapter-16 - Buddhism and its impact on Indian culture (a)

Last updated:2022-07-25

O bhikkhus, walk as a self-light. You go to your own shelter. Don't look for someone else's support. Make only religion your lamp. Take refuge in religion only.

-Mahatma Buddha.

Gautam Buddha, also known as Shakya Muni and Mahatma Buddha, was the leader of the second religious revolution against Brahmanism in the 6th century AD. His childhood name was Siddhartha. His father, Suddhodana, was the head of the Shakya Republic. The republic of the Shakyas was situated on the north-eastern border of India in the foothills of the Himalayas, with Kapilvastu as its capital.

Birth of Siddhartha

Between Kapilvastu and Devdah, 8 miles west of the present Nautanwa station, there is a place called Rukminadei. There in that period Lumbini A village named According to Buddhist sources, 563 years before Christ, the king of Kapilvastu Shuddhodana Queen of the Mayadevi Was coming to her father's house that on the way to Lumbini forest full moon of Vaishakh month The queen gave birth to a child. This boy's name is Siddharth kept.

Siddhartha's Childhood

A week after the birth of Siddhartha, his mother Mayadevi passed away. Therefore Siddhartha was brought up by his aunt and mother Prajapati. Siddhartha was thoughtful, compassionate and reclusive since childhood. Seeing the sufferings of disease, old age and death in the world, his heart was filled with compassion for the suffering human beings.

Siddharth's married life

Father Shuddhodan got Siddhartha Kshatriya education and at the age of sixteen he married Yashodhara, the beautiful princess of the king named Dandapani. Siddhartha's mind could not be engaged in family and worldly things. They were indifferent to these things.

King Shuddhodhana made different prasads for Siddhartha according to each season and provided material of opulence and enjoyment in each prasad according to different seasons. Siddhartha also had a son from his married life, who was named Rahul. Even after enjoying the pleasures of household life for about 12 years, Siddhartha's mind could not be engaged in worldly tendencies.

Grand Extermination

At the age of about 29, Siddhartha decided to leave his home in search of knowledge. In one night, sitting on his horse, he went 30 yojanas away. On the banks of the Anoma river near Gorakhpur, he took off his royal clothes and ornaments and became a sanyasi by cutting off his bun with a sword. Thus he renounced the royal pleasures and family. This event is called 'Mahabhinishkraman' in Buddhism and literature.

In search of truth and knowledge

After becoming a sannyasi, Buddha became absorbed in austerity and spiritual practice. First of all he went to an ascetic named Aalakalam of Vaishali to acquire knowledge, but there his thirst for knowledge could not be quenched. After this he went to the Brahmin Udrak Ramput of Rajgriha. From these two gurus, Siddhartha learned to practice yoga and to be in samadhi, but this did not satisfy him.

So he went to the forest of Uruvela and got absorbed in penance. Here he also met five Brahmin monks like Kaudilya etc. Along with these brahmin companions, he started doing severe penance at Uruvela. Siddhartha did penance after eating sesame and rice, but later he completely abandoned the diet, due to which his body dried up. While doing penance, Siddhartha passed 6 years but did not get success in sadhna.

It is a popular belief that one day some women of the city came out singing songs from the side where Siddhartha was doing penance. There was a song of women in his ear, whose meaning was as follows- 'Don't let loose the strings of the veena. Leaving them loose will not produce a melodious tone, but do not tighten the strings of the veena so much that they break.'

The ascetic Siddhartha pondered over the sentiments of the song in his heart and realized that yoga practice can be accomplished only by regular diet. Excess of anything is not right, so one should follow the middle path. So he started eating again. Seeing this change in Siddhartha, his five brahmin companions left him as misguided and left him and went to Sarnath.

attainment of wisdom

Siddhartha was not disturbed by the departure of fellow ascetics and decided to meditate. He sat in a meditative state under a peepal tree. After being meditated for seven days, when Siddhartha sat to meditate on the night of Vaisakh Purnima, he realized. He had a vision of the truth. Since then he came to be known as Buddha or Gautam Buddha. This incident of enlightenment in the life of Buddha 'Sambodhi' It's called.

At that time Buddha was 35 years old. The tree under which he attained enlightenment is called 'Bodhi-tree' where did it go. The place where this incident took place is 'Bodhgaya' called Even after this incident, Mahatma Buddha remained under the Bodhi-tree for four weeks and kept on contemplating the nature of religion.

Majjhim Pratipada

Buddha adopted the middle path of spiritual practice and preached this. According to this path, getting entangled in sex-lust i.e. subject-objection and causing pain to the body by doing intense penance, both are useless. This is called the middle path or 'Majjim Pratipada' called.

Turning the Dharma-Chakra

After attaining enlightenment, Mahatma Buddha first preached his knowledge to two Banjaras named Tapasyu and Mallik in Bodh Gaya. After this, Buddha left Bodh Gaya and reached Sarnath with the aim of taking his knowledge and ideas to the general public. Here he found the five Brahmin companions who had left him. Buddha initiated them in the form of their knowledge, religion.

This event in the history of Buddhism 'Dharma-chakra turning' and those five disciples 'Panchvargiya' Called From here Mahatma Buddha went to Kashi and started spreading his knowledge there. When the number of Buddha's disciples increased, he established a sangha and laid down rules of conduct for them.

With the help of this Sangh, Mahatma Buddha continued to propagate his religion for about 45 years. They roamed in the districts of Anga, Magadha, Vajji, Kaushal, Kashi, Malla, Shakya, Koliya, Vatsa, Surasena etc. They used to stay in one place only during the rainy season. He had a special love for Rajgriha and Sravasti. In his teachings, he adopted the language of the people and benefited from his teachings to the human society, keeping away from the feeling of caste, creed and high and low. At the request of his disciple Anand, he accepted the initiation of Buddhism to women also.


Living in this way, BC In 544, at the age of 80, Gautam Buddha sacrificed his body at Kushinara near Gorakhpur. Buddhists consider the incident of Buddha's renunciation 'Mahaparinirvana' it is said. His last exhortation was- 'O monks, you wander in the form of self-light and go to your own shelter. Don't look for someone else's support. Make only religion your lamp. Take refuge only in religion.'

Religion based on moral life

During the time of Buddha, people used to have fierce debates on the subjects of soul-Parmatma, world-afterlife, sin-virtue, and salvation etc. Mahatma Buddha did not get into these controversies. He did not answer these questions and exhorted man to lead a life based on morality. He did not consider the world and human life to be false. He did not get into the dispute whether the world and man are immortal or mortal, limited or limitless! Jiva and body are one or different.

When someone asked him to answer these questions, he remained silent. He exhorted to adopt a practical approach considering life as it is. He gave such an ethical explanation of his religion that Buddhism, in the view of some scholars, was not really a religion but a mere ethics.

Basically Buddhism is not a separate philosophy because Buddha did not express his views on questions of divine existence, soul, salvation, reincarnation etc. Whatever is known as Buddhist philosophy today is the development after the death of Mahatma Buddha. Buddhism is not even a spiritual science, because Buddha did not even express his views on the subject related to creation.

His religion was a practical religion. He was the means of progress of man. He is the subject of life and brings nirvana in this life. He is a very rationalist, there is no place for superstitions in him and his basis is the welfare of mankind.