Buddha Jayanti: Siddhartha Gautam’s Birthday, the Origin of Buddhism, and the Celebration of Self-realization!
Buddha Jayanti is the birthday of Lord Gautam Buddha. It is the precious day for both Hindu and Buddhist in the world. On this occasion, people celebrate the life of Lord Buddha: his birth, Enlightenment, and Mahaparinirvana (Death). Buddha Jayanti is also known as Buddha Purnima, as Purnima means full moon day in Sanskrit. Jayanti means birthday in Sanskrit. It is celebrated on the day of full moon in the month of Baisakh (April-May) according to the lunar calendar.
Buddha’s Birth: Myth/ Reality and the Morning Light
The western Terai of Nepal in Lumbini is the place where Prince Siddhartha (known as Buddha) was born. A belief also exists that Buddha walked seven steps immediately after his birth and uttered a timeless message to all humanity. It is believed that this happened in the beautiful sal grove, which is now the focal point of the Lumbini garden area.
Maya Devi the queen of Shakya king Suddhodhana of Kapilvastu, gave birth to Prince Siddhartha while passing through the Lumbini garden, on the day of Baishakh Purnima ( full moon day of May) in 543 B.C. The queen is believed to have taken bath in pushkarini (the scared pond) and taken the support of a tree branch in anticipation of the delivery, before giving birth to the little infant, who went to become the Buddha.
Buddha Jayanti: The Celebration of Enlightenment
Gautam Buddha is another name given to him, though his birth name is prince Siddharth Gautam. Buddha means awakened one and he also goes by the name Shakyamuni. It is said in the Buddhist scriptures that when he was born he took seven steps (On his each step it is said that a lotus flower appeared for him to stand on) immediately after his birth, raised a finger in the air saying he was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu and that this will be his final birth.
At the age of thirty-five, he attained enlightenment (Nirvana) underneath of Bodhi tree at Bodhgaya. He delivered his first sermon at Sarnath, India. At the age of eighty, He died at Kushinagar, India.
Buddha Jayanti: Historical Background
After Buddha’s death, his works and contribution were not formally acknowledged until in 1926 A.D. Jagatman Vaidya who is also known as Dharmaditya Dharmacharya reintroduced celebrating Gautam Buddha’s contribution in the form of Buddha Jayanti in the year 1926 A.D.
In 1950 after the first-ever conference of world fellowship of the Buddhists, it was declared by all involved that the Buddha Purnima would be celebrated as the national holiday and also would be celebrated worldwide in his honor for his contribution to humanity.
Following the spirit of the conference, in 1952, the king of Nepal, Tribhuvan Shah, declared a national holiday in Nepal on this day. Later, another king Mahendra banned all animal sacrifices at least on the sacred day of Buddha Purnima. The practice is quite voluntary these days.
In the Kathmandu Valley, the Buddhists as well as pilgrims from abroad, honor Buddha at the two great stupas Swayambhunath, Boudhanath and the largely Buddhist city of Patan.
Buddha Jayanti: The Celebration of Contribution!
Buddha Jayanti is popularly celebrated by the Buddhists as well as even the Hindus and the follower of the other religions because not just to mark his birthday or his enlightenment, or salvation. Rather, the celebration is the honor for his teachings of non-violence, altruism, self-realization, and the practical ways of the eight-fold paths of sorrow removals. His teachings sound more relevant in the present day of global contact, intercultural communication, and the prospective clash and misunderstanding created due to the emphasis on individualism and materialism.