Buddha Traveled Holy Haryana

Over two thousand years ago, Gautama Buddha is believed to have journeyed for years across the Indian sub-continent. Tracing his travels through Haryana, the state’s archaeology department has brought together hitherto unknown information, of the sites and places, which the Buddha touched with his presence.

Buddha traveled the length to deliver his profound and enlightening discourses. He is believed to have delivered these at Thullak and Kamasdamma, identified by historians as Thanesar and Kaithal or Kamoda, situated almost 15 kilometres away from Thanesar on the road to Pehowa.

Initially, Buddha’s association with Haryana was considered to be limited to these two towns. The Dipvamsa (oldest surviving historical record of Sri Lanka) refers to Buddha’s visit to a city in the Kuru kingdom, where he received alms on the bank of the Anottata Lake, which is believed to be the present Brahma Sarovar in Kurukshetra. “Ancient Buddhist texts, however, also refer to Buddha’s long journey from Hastinapura to Gandhara via Rohitaka, Mahangara and Srughna. Of these places, Rohitaka is undoubtedly the modern Rohtak and Srughana has been correctly identified with Sugh near Jagadhri. What we, however, discovered was that several places which historians mention can be traced to the trail that Buddha walked in Haryana. For example there was a flourishing kingdom at Srughana or present day Sugh.

Imperial Gazetteer of India mentions Sugh village in Jagadhari district of Punjab. Srughana is mentioned by Chinese pilgrim Heun Tsang as a capital of a kingdom and a seat of considerable learning, both Buddhistic and Brahmanical kingdom extended to mountains in the north, Ganges in the west and Yamuna passing through it. General Cunningham states though the place is almost in the ruins, it was as suggested by coins to the Mughal conquest. It was spread over a circuit of 3 and quarter miles.  It is situated on almost spur of land, surrounded on all sides by bed of old Yamuna river.

 Pillars and remnants of stupas found in Hisar, Hathin, Bhuna, Chaneti, Jhajjar and Karnal are vital links to the Buddha’s trail

Heun Tsang describes in detail three Buddhist monasteries with more than 700 Hinanayists at Thanesar. He records details of a stupa built by King Ashoka which is 300 feet high. The remains of this stupa still exist in a neglected and dilapidated state on the elevated ground between the Brahma Sarovar and the Kurukshetra University.

Hieun Tsang refers to tens of stupas in this area alone. An Ashokan stupa situated about 5 kilometres north-west of Sugh has been discovered at Chaneti and it may well have been one of the stupas referred to by the Chinese pilgrim. Its shape resembles the Shashpur and Sharamarajika stupa of Taxila and its remains indicate that it must have been big. This stupa had recently been restored by the department in collaboration with the Archaeological Survey of India. Remains of a Kushana monastery also have been excavated to the south-west of the Sugh and it may have been one of the five sangharamas referred to by Hieun Tsang.

The remains of a Kushana stupa has been discovered at Asandh in Karnal district. Locally it is known as jasarasandh ka tila. This stupa must originally have been a huge structure as it still rises to a height of more than 25 metres. It is similar in shape to the Dhamekh stupa in Sarnath. It is adorned with Buddhist images. It has still not been excavated.

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Vidurashwatha: The forgotten Jalianwalla of South

Temple in the village

Just like April 13, 1919 is etched in the minds of Indians for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, April 25, 1938 is one day that the people of Vidurashwatha village in Karnataka find hard to forget.

Vidurashwatha, a nondescript village in the Kolar district of the state. It gets its name from a banyan tree (ficus religiosa) said to have been planted by Vidura. Vidura is known for being staunch supporter of truth. When all the great men like Bhishama, Dronacharya sat helpless and looked on mutely the excesses of Duryodhana, he was the one to protest and chastised these elders to do something to stop Duryodhana’s excesses. He sided with truth and earned the wrath of Duryodhana.

Banyan trees are considered very auspicious throughout India. Siddhartha became Buddha while meditating under the Bodhi tree which was a Banyan tree. The tree belongs to fig family. It is a very long lasting tree.

However, the village has more than just its mythological inheritance to be proud of. It was here, 75 years ago, that a freedom movement was bravely fought and brutally suppressed.

At a time when India’s freedom struggle was at its peak, a group of villagers, taking out a peaceful procession, were indiscriminately fired at by the police – a massacre that sent a chilling reminder of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre that had happened just 19 years ago, proving that British here did not had any qualms about what they did. No repentance and repeated the crime again.

The group was headed towards a maidan (ground) near the village temple for a non-violent flag Satyagraha. However, as they congregated and rent the air with cries of Vande Mataram, the police opened indiscriminate fire killing 10 people.

Gautam Buddha

The founder of Buddhism, the religion practiced by millions in this world. Hindu religion considers him as an avatar of Vishnu. Born to Mahamaya the chief wife of King Suddhodhana of Sakyas. His mother had a dream in which she was carried by demigods to divine lake called Anavatapa in Himalayas. She was bathed by heavenly guardians. A great white elephant holding a lotus in his trunk came and entered her side. The dream was interpreted by king’s astrologers that a child would be born to her who shall either become a great emperor or a great teacher. Other interpreted the dream that the boy will see four sad events and decide to renunciate the world’s wealth and luxuries and riches.

picture of a wallpainting in a Laotian temple,...
picture of a wallpainting in a Laotian temple, depicting the Bodhisattva Gautama (Buddha-to-be) undertaking extreme ascetic practices before his enlightenment. A god is overseeing his striving, and providing some spiritual protection. The five monks in the background are his future ‘five first disciples’, after Buddha attained Full Enlightenment. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He was born as Siddhartha and Gautam was his Gotra. When he was born he immediately stood up and walked 5 steps and declared that this is his last birth. King was worried and tried every means to keep the boy away from all the events that can pain the boy and make him take up the path of renunciation. He married his cousin Yashodhara in a contest showing great skills and strength.

As the destiny would have it, he happened to see the four events predicted by the astrologer. First was when he saw an aged man in last stages of infirmity and decrepitude- actually the God himself in the disguise. Siddhartha asked his charioteer Channa who was this repulsive man. Channa explained that everyone who is born has to pass to this state. Then he saw very sick man, then a dead man which was the last straw to break his resolve and last one was a ascetic in red robes with peaceful face.

He returned to his palace and was in great pains. Even the news of the birth of his son Rahul did not bring any peace to his mind. That night he left his home with Channa and his dear horse Kanthaka and on reaching the forest cut off his flowing hair and removed his jewelery and robes and gave it to Channa to give it all to his father. The horse died instantly on parting with his master.

Then for years he wandered here and there. He practiced great penances and tortured his body and was reduced to a skeleton. He realized that this is not leading him anywhere. He began begging for food and regained some strength. He sat under a Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya and a village girl Sujata gave him rice boiled in the milk. He partook them and bathed and for next 49 days sat in meditation and at the end truth was revealed to him and he became Buddha.

After initial reluctance he started spreading his peace message and made so many people his disciples and many Kings who could not appease the Brahmins as they did not belong to warrior caste patronized Buddha. He toured all the North India from one end to another. He also converted his father, son Rahul to Buddhism and allowed his mother and other women to become Buddhist nuns.

Buddha in Bodh Gaya, India.
Buddha in Bodh Gaya, India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When his end was near, he knew it and told his followers not to continue with the process of new successor. As was his nature, he would beg one house and whatever they gave him never refused. He was given contaminated pork meat by Chunda the smith. He ate it and was attacked by dysentery. He moved to Kusinagara and left this world there.

What is Peace?

It has been days I have felt peace and tranquility of mind. In fact it seems that I am living in a state oblivious of my state of mind. Neither do I ever feel that I am calm, neither do I feel very much excited.

What is peace after all? Some say it the state of mind when your body is in agreement with mind. There is no struggle between two of them. They seem to merge into one another. In the turbulent state of mind, mind it seems is detached from the body and hovering outside. Body and mind are completely out of sync.

My state of mind is not what Buddha advocated. The middle path. In the state advocated by Buddha, there is peace of mind. Mind is unaffected overly neither by moments of happiness nor by sorrows. It is most difficult to control the feeling  which comes when we are elated. We like the world to know that I am happy. When we are unhappy we seek the sympathizers.

What colour is the peace? Some say it is white while others say it is green. Pigeons are symbols of white colored peace while woods are the green colored peace. But pigeons though they don’t seem to harm others, supposed to be innocent and easy target for birds of prey, are very aggressive in the company of their ilk. They will fight with each other to scare away the weaker from the food. They seem to be deeply involved in the procreation. Their droppings are very corrosive and contain an enzyme. If they fall on the cars they can damage the paint of car if not removed timely. But the enzyme has been used in the tanneries to make the softest leather as the enzyme decomposes any flesh clinging on the hide. In fact, in Fez in Morocco, famous for the best leather in the world, droppings are in great demand.

Whatever the season, I always find the male pigeons dancing around the females wooing them for copulation. Woods as such seem to be beautiful from a distance. Enter into them and you will have to struggle to keep yourself safe from the animals harbored in them. There are woods which are so dense that even the sun rays find it difficult to penetrate.

Peace is in our minds, it comes from within. It is the way we perceive the world. Perceptions are different for different people.  Even the way we see around us depends upon whether we are happy or sad. During many moods, sometimes a thing which interested us greatly once holds no interest at a later time. Sometimes emotions seem to be cyclic in nature. We are interested in a particular thing, then lose interest in it and again some events happen which recreate the interest again.

You can be at peace with yourself, if you don’t have high desires and take the life as it comes.