Gautama Buddha : Journey from a Prince to Lord Buddha


Gautama Buddha is one of the few people who have influenced many generations of people across the globe with his life and preachings. He was the founder of a religion later named after him as Buddhism. He is also known as Bodhisattva, Tathagata, Shakyamuni. Gautama Buddha was born as Prince Siddhartha at a place called Lumbini in present day Nepal in a small kingdom called kapilvastu more than 2550 years ago.

Gautama Buddha
Lord Buddha in meditational positions

He lived between 563 BC to 483 BC. His father was leader shuddhodhana of shakya clan, who ruled kapilvastu at that time. It is said that his mother Mahamayadevi died within a week of giving birth to him. Siddhartha was raised well by his aunt Mahaprajapati Gautami thereafter. It was long predicted by astrologers at that time that the prince would become ascetic. To defy this prediction his father kept Prince inside the palace and showed him only the luxurious aspect of life. This continued for a long and he was later married to a beautiful princess yashodahara.

He had a son named Rahul. However, King Suddodhana could not stop fate any longer as one day Siddhartha desired to visit his kingdom and told his charioteer to drive him out of palace. During this visit, he saw a sick, an old man and a dead body. These were the realities of life about which he was unaware of until now. He saw the sufferings and pain of human life and tried to explore the reasons and solutions for the same.

Gautama Buddha
The Sacred fig tree (Bodhi-Vriksha) and Mahabodhi temple at Bodh-gaya

These happenings perturbed him a lot and he became too desperate to know the truth of life and decided to leave the palace at midnight when his family was in deep slumber. He thereafter searched for the inner truth through visiting several places in present day Nepal and India and meeting various saints and practicing fast, rigorous bodily pain. He later denunciated these methods as he could not find the supreme truth he was searching.

He sat in deep meditation under a fig tree at a place called Gaya and felt the divine light within himself and realized the supreme truth and became enlightened (Buddha). After realization of truth he gave his first preaching at a place called, Sarnath. Lord Buddha instructed his followers to follow right path to get freedom from life’s miseries. He directed his disciples to practice non-violence and to show solace to all. He breathed his last (Mahaprainirvana) at a place called Kushinagar.

There are many stories based on earlier lives of Gautama Buddha known as Jataka tales and is a vivid collection of moral and inspirational stories. According to poet Jayadeva, Lord Gautama Buddha was one of the re-incarnations of Lord Vishnu-the Hindu God. At first, the Buddhism spread to many Asian countries and now is one of the major global religions. According to Tibetan Buddhism practices, Dalai Lama is re-incarnation of Lord Buddha and regarded as Living Buddha.

Many places presently situated in Eastern Indian states, Bihar and Uttar pradesh are sacred for Buddhists as these cities are directly linked with Lord Gautama Buddha himself. These places are the part of Buddhist circle as sites where Lord stayed or visited one or several times.


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