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Birth of Buddha

 

During sixth century B.C. in the one of the non-monarchical state viz. Kapilvatsu was ruled by Sakyas and at the time of birth of Siddharth Gautam it was the turn of Suddhodana to be the King of Kapilvastu.  The King Suddhodana was married to a beautiful Koliyan Princes named Maha Maya. Maha Maya’s father’s name was Anjana and mothers’s name was Sulakshana. Anjana was a Koliya and was residing in the village Devadaha. The king Suddhodana was a man of great military prowess. When Suddhodana had shown his martial powers he was allowed to take a second wife and he chose Mahaprajapati. She was the elder sister of Mahamaya. Suddhodana was a wealthy person. The lands he held were very extensive and the retinue under him was very large. He employed, it is said, one thousand ploughs to furrow the land he owned. Suddhodana lived quite a luxurious life and had many palaces.

 

One full moon night, Queen Maha Maya had a dream. In her dreams she saw that the four world-guardians raised her as she was sleeping on her bed and carried her to the tableland of the Himalayas, placed her under a great Sal Tree and stood on one side. The wives of the four world-guardians then approached and took her to the lake Mansarovar. They bathed her, robed her in a dress, anointed her with perfumes and decked her with flowers in a manner fit to meet some divinity. Then a Bodhisatta, by name Sumedha, appeared before her saying, “I have decided to take my last and final birth on this earth, will you consent to be my mother?" She said, "Yes, with great pleasure." At this moment Queen Maha Maya awoke. Next morning Maha Maya told her dream to Suddhodana.  King Suddhodana invited the scholars from his kingdom to interpret the dream. The Scholars said: “Be not anxious. You will have a son, and if he leads a householder's life he will become a universal monarch, and if he leaves his home and goes forth into a homeless state, and becomes a Sanyasi, he will become a Buddha, a dispeller of illusions in the world." Bearing the Bodhisatta in her womb like oil in a vessel for ten lunar months, Mahamaya, as her time of delivery was coming nearer, desired to go to her parents' home for delivery. Mahamaya, on her way to Devadaha, had to pass through a pleasure-grove of Sal trees and other trees, flowering and non-flowering. It was known as the Lumbini Grove.  As the rath I e. palanquin was passing through it, the whole Lumbini Grove seemed like the heavenly Cittalata grove or like a banqueting pavilion adorned for a mighty king. From the roots to the tips of the branches the trees were loaded with fruits, flowers and numberless bees of the fine colours, uttering curious sounds, and flocks of various kinds of birds, singing sweet melodies. Witnessing the scene, there arose a desire in the heart of Mahamaya for halting and sporting therein for a while. Accordingly she told the couriers to take her in the sal-grove and wait there. Mahamaya alighted from her palanquin and walked up to the foot of a Royal Sal Tree. A pleasant wind, not too strong, was blowing and the boughs of the trees were heaving up and down and Mahamaya felt like catching one of them. Luckily one of the boughs heaved down sufficiently low to enable her to catch it. So she rose on her toes and caught the bough. Immediately she was lifted up by its upward movement and being shaken, she felt the pangs of childbirth. While holding the branch of the Sal Tree she was delivered of a son in a standing position. The child was born in the year 563 b.c. on the Vaishakha Purnima day. Queen Maha Maya decided to return to Kapilvastu along with newly born child. 

 

On the fifth day, the King Suddodana invited wise men from his kingdom to witness the naming ceremony and to suggest a good name for the newly born Prince. After examining the birth marks of the prince the wise men predicated that “The Prince will become a very great teacher in this world. If he chose to rule he will be king of kings. If he chooses a religious life then he will become the Wisest – the Buddha”. One of the Scholar person said “The prince will be a Buddha and nothing else”.  Then the gathered wise-men gave the prince name as SIDDHARTH meaning “Wish-Fulfilled”. His clan Name was Gautama. Popularly, therefore, he was  called as Siddharth Gautama. 

 

On the seventh day from the birth the Prince Siddharth’s mother died. Queen Maha Maya before dying entrusted the responsibility of her son Siddhartha to her sister Maha Prajapati Gotami, who was also wife of King Suddhodana.

 

Prince Siddharth grew up in the company of his younger brother Nanda (Son of Maha Prajapati Gotami) and cousins. At the age of eight Prince Siddharth started his education.

 

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