|About Lord Buddha
|In the sixth century before the Christian era, religion
was forgotten in India. The lofty teachings of the Vedas were thrown
into the background. There was much priest craft everywhere. The insincere
priests traded on religion. They duped the people in a variety of
ways and amassed wealth for themselves. They were quite irreligious.
In the name of religion, people followed in the footsteps of the cruel
priests and performed meaningless rituals. They killed innocent dumb
animals and did various sacrifices. The country was in dire need of
a reformer of Buddha's type. At such a critical period, when there
were cruelty, degeneration and unrighteousness everywhere, reformer
Buddha was born to put down priestcraft and animal sacrifices, to
save the people and disseminate the message of equality, unity and
cosmic love everywhere. Buddha's father was Suddhodana, king of the
Sakhyas. Buddha's mother was named Maya. Buddha was born in B.C. 560
and died at the age of eighty in B.C. 480. The place of his birth
was a grove known as Lumbini, near the city of Kapilavastu, at the
foot of Mount Palpa in the Himalayan ranges within Nepal. This small
city Kapilavastu stood on the bank of the little river Rohini, some
hundred miles north-east of the city of Varnasi. As the time drew
nigh for Buddha to enter the world, the gods themselves prepared the
way before him with celestial portents and signs.
|Flowers bloomed and gentle rains fell, although out
of season; heavenly music was heard, delicious scents filled the air.
The body of the child bore at birth the thirty-two auspicious marks
(Mahavyanjana) which indicated his future greatness, besides secondary
marks (Anuvyanjana) in large numbers. Maya died seven days after her
son's birth. The child was brought up by Maya's sister Mahaprajapati,
who became its foster-mother.