PRESENT KAPILESWARA OF ODISHA IS THE THEN KAPILA VASTU OF KALINGA
Dr. Gourishankar Tripathy
For the intellectual ferment and the spiritual unrest 6th Century B.C. was remarkable. In India we had Mahavira and Goutam Buddha, in Greece Parmenides and impedocies, in China Laotzu and Confucius and in Iran Zarathustra during this period. Many new points of view had been developed during that period through many remarkable teachers who had worked upon their inheritance.
In the life of Buddha three important events are connected with the Purnima of Vaishakha. They are – Birth, enlightenment and Parinirvan. In the Buddhist Calendar Vaishakha Purnima is most important sacred day. Independent system of chronology had been followed by different schools of Buddhism.
According to many Buddha Deba took his birth at Kapilavastu in the then Kalinga which is the present Kapileswara near Lingaraj Temple in Bhubaneswar. The KABYA SAKYA – SRAMAN presents a short account of Buddha’s life for the readers interested in the life of Goutam Buddha which is controversial till today particularly so far as his birth place is concerned.
Sidhartha Goutam Buddha was the son of a minor ruler of Kapilavastu of the then Lumbini in Kalinga. He led a sheltered life, where the miseries of the mundane world were hidden. His wife was Yashodhara and had a son by name Rahul. He grew up in luxury. As per the legend goes on four occasions he went out of his place. In the first place he met an old man on the way. By seeing him he felt that he was subject to frailties of age. Secondly he met a sick man and felt he was liable to sickness. Thirdly he met a corpse and realized he was subject to death. Lastly he met an ascetic having a peaceful countenance. He was much impressed and attracted towards the ascetic who had adopted the traditional way of the seekers of religious truth. To gain liberation from the bondage of life and death the Sanyasi gave up his mundane life. This had been learnt by Goutam from the Sanyashi.
The sight of the Sanyashi impressed Buddha very strongly with stronger conviction as he saw him healthy in body and very cheerful in mind with the pursuit of Swa Dharma which makes man independent of the fleeting pleasures of the world. In order to devote to a religious life Goutam had decided to renounce the world. For meditating on human suffering he gave up his home, wife, child and parents for good and fled into the forest with the garb and habits of a mendicant to find out the causes and the means by which it could be over come.
In the study of most abstruse doctrines of religion, he spent a few years of his mendicant life in the Ashrams of the then Gurus. He suffered severest austerities by reducing himself to the verge of skeleton with a view to attain to the knowledge of truth mortifying the flesh. Without having attained the wisdom that he sought for he came very near to death. Suddenly he realized the true state of affairs and gave up ascetic practices and resumed to normal life as usual. In the water of river Niranjana he refreshed himself and accepted milk pudding offered by Sujata. Gradually he gained bodily health and mental vigour. In a state of deepest and most profound meditation under the shade of a Buddhi tree he spent about seven weeks. During that period of meditation he attained enlightenment in one night towards the dawn. Buddha refers to himself in the third person as Tathagata after the enlightenment. The knowledge he had gained wished to preach as he had arrived at the truth of life. As mendicant he travelled from place to place and touched the lives of hundreds. They were high and low, under the spell of the princes and peasants of his great personality many were after him. The joy of renunciation and the need for simplicity and equality had been taught by him throughout his life.
He passed away at the age of eighty, on his way to Kusinagra. He prepared a bed for himself between two trees in a grove of Sala trees, on the banks of the river Hiranyavati. He gently consoled his disciple Anand who was with him. “The doctrine that has been preached to you all is the master now – and you are not alone”.
He entered into Supreme Nirvana when his spirit sank into the depth of mystic absorption, as his consciousness of individuality ceased with the disappearance of his conception of all worldly thoughts.
For some it is a puzzling problem to find out the real and exact birth place of Buddha. Near the Tarai Region of Nepal in the dense forest of Himalaya Buddha was born according to some historians in accordance with the inscription found in 1896. Just after 32 years i.e. in 1928 another inscription was discovered in the present Kapileswar near Lingaraj temple of Bhubaneswar engraved by Chandasoka after his victory on Kalinga in 261 B.C.
Scholars through out the world have been trying to solve this puzzling problem till to day as to which is the real birth place of Buddha but to no gain.
Cunningham in his “Ancient Geography of India” depicted clearly that Tarai inscription is not at all related to the name Kapilavastu nor the word Kapil also. Famous historian V.A. Smith challenges the statement of Dr. Fuhrer when he said that Buddha was born near the village Padaria in Nepal. That is a wild region from where the Pillar was discovered which was proclaimed by Dr. Fuhrer to be rumindei.
The term Rumindei is completely unknown in this connection. It seems it is a forgery of the name by Dr. Fuhrer. Later on Dr. Fuhrer has admitted that there was no such name like Rumindei.
In his book, “The life of Buddha” the renowned historian of England Edward J.Thomas had clearly said that the Jatakas and Lalita Vistara described the words of Buddha himself in this connection which are as follows:
Buddha himself had said that he was born in the “Majjhima Desha” of Jambu Dwipa. This Majjhima desha is the central part of India which can never be Nepal. Besides until the 6th Century A.D. Buddhism had not been adopted in Nepal which has been proved already. Hence it is quite sane on our part to focus our attention on Kapileswara in Bhubaneswar only.
In accordance with Tripitaka, Lumbini was a small estate with its Capital at Kapilavastu, in the then Kalinga. In the course of time Lumbini has become Limbei and Kapilavastu has become Kapileswar which is situated towards the south of the present Lingaraj Temple in Bhubaneswar. The rock edict discovered at Kapileswar corroborates the statement of Tripitaka along with the Kalinga War. Moreover the name of the scribe in the said inscription along with the mention of the era of Buddha help us to reach in a genuine conclusion.
After the advent of Adi Sankaracharya in the then India, Buddhism was completely rooted out from Lumbini in Kalinga which is the birth place of Buddha. Hallowed in memory of Buddha the then Kapilavastu or the present Kapileswara is one of the places recognized by the scholars out of the 4 places prominently centered round by Goutam Buddha in his life. Goutam was enlightened in the north and the wheel of Dharma and the tooth episode all happened in the north only. Hence it was quite natural for the people to think about his birth place to be in the north only. Due to the repentance of Chandasoka after the Kalinga War Goutam became celebrated and renowned world wide as the emperor Ashok adopted Buddhism and preached the same through the established mechanism he had in the hand.
In any Buddhist literature there is no mention relating to history or geography concerning the so called Kapilavastu in Nepal except that of Tarai inscription discovered there in 1896. Proper attention has not been given by the historians to the inscription discovered at Kapileswara in 1928 relating to the birth place of Goutam Buddha which is to be discussed.
None the less the following discussions have been made on the matter.
a) On 24.08.1928 the news regarding Kapileswar inscription had been published in the daily “The Asha” with the help of local journalist Sri. Bhagaban Pati in Oriya Language.
b) in July 1928 an article has been published by Mr. Haran Chandra Chakaldar of Calcutta University in the magazine “The Prabashi” on the matter in Bengali Language. Again in October 1928 without carrying a thorough study of the inscription an article had been published by historian Sri Rama Prasada Chand in the Bengali magazine the “Prabashi” doubting the genuineness of this inscription on Kapileswar. But his opinion had been refuted in 1929 by Sri S. N. Mitra in the volume – v in the India Historical journal. The famous lexicographer Sri Gopal Ch. Praharaj gave an account of this inscription in his famous Purna Chandra Bhasha Kosha in page 5832 part-V.
c) In 1959 Buddhism in Odisha had been published written by Dr. N.K. Sahoo, the then Professor of Sambalpur University who was a noted Historian where in an account of this inscription had been given. “It is quite amazing to note that an inscription has been discovered from Kapileswar which contains the same subject matter as found in the Tarai Pillar inscription. The scripts of it belong to the time of Ashok and a script writer named “Chundraya” had written them. He had signed his name in Kharostri script. From his inscription it is found that Buddha Dev was born in ODISHA (vide Page 1-2)”.
d) Pandit Vinayak Mishra one of the eminent historians of ODISHA and the retired professor of ODIA of the Calcutta university has written in 1962. “Kapileswara of Bhubaneswar is definitely the birth place of Buddhadev due to the discovery of the stone inscription of 1928 containing the birth account of Buddha there. There is no evidence of the presence of Sankhya school of thought of Kapil in the past in Nepal. So Kapileswara can more appropriately be taken as the birth place of Buddha only.
e) An eminent epigraphist of Bengal by name Dr. D.C. Sircar has mentioned about the Kapileswara edict in his works. (Appendix-I, spurious epigraphs-Indian Epigraphy – PP- 436-438). “He has argued that some people (most probably ODIAS) have forged the Kapileswara plate from Tarai plate by taking help of the facsimile found in the Buddhist and Bengali text books for college students. And that is also not much earlier than 1928”. “He has also alleged that some “uncritical Oriya writers” have claimed Buddha to have been born in Orissa, taking in to view the Kapileswara plate to be a genuine one. But three outsiders of Orissa, namely, Mr. Birendranath Roy, Mr. Haran Chandra Chakaldar and the editor of the Prabashi (Bengali) drew pupils attention towards the 1928 plate first. So Oriyas could have never forged the plate to make Buddha their own. Even in 1929, Mr. S.N. Mitra author, eminent historian has proved strongly that Kapileswar plate belongs to Asokan period undoubtedly (vide Indian historical quaterly – Vol-V- 1929). Mr. Mitra is not an Oriya. He is a Bengali.
f) On 25th Jan 1976 in Times of India an article had been published on the matter referring to Kapileswara rock edict. On the same subject another writer Sri Srivastava also published in the illustrated weekly, that certain photographs had been taken from the ex-cavaton of padaria as Kapilvastu. “The seal scribed with ‘Om Devputra Bihara Kapilvastu Bhiksu Sankasa” alleged to have been recovered from that place relates to the 5th Century A.D. Because the Bhikshus kept it concealed in such an inaccessible place after the Original birth place was damaged. That could never be the place of Sudhodan surrounded by paddy fields”.
g) Dr. P.K. Parija, the former vice-chancelloe of the Utkal University says “although I am not a historian, yet one must have fascination in deciding the historical fact of such an epoch making event like Buddha’s birth. Hence I am also interested from the evidences put-forth by Sri. C. Mohapatra regarding the birth place of Buddha, I am quite sure that Buddha was born in Kapileswara village of Bhubaneswara”.
h) Sri Chakradhara Mohapatra a noted scholar of Odisha, in his book the real birth place of Buddha, published in 1977 by Grantha Mandira, Cuttack, had narrated his scholarly thoughts on the matter which are mostly as follows:
1. After 12 years of Kalinga war Ashok came to Kalinga in order to worship Buddha Deba. In the secluded stupa he had inaugurated the installation of the inscribed vase containing the sacred relics of Buddha, before starting the Car Festival. As the replica of the original vase he got decorated an earthen vase filled with water in order to install it inside the car with great reverence. The installation ceremony was conducted with much pump and grandeur under the cover of thousands of umbrellas accompanied by gorgeous music of different kinds to suit the occasion. The Mallas who were in-charge of the sacred relics of Buddha deba, were also in-charge of the Car festival. Later on they were identified as Mallias who are now found in Kapileswara. The Car moved in the same path in which Goutam had paced forward to attain enlightenment. The people forgot their sufferings and all miseries they had under gone in the Kalinga war having darshan of the earthen vase thinking to be the living remnant of their respected and beloved Buddha Deba. This car festival or Ratha Yatra came to be known as Ashokastami Ratha Yatra since then.
2. Up to the Mausima house every year on that particular day the car was proceeding from the beginning even though more than two thousand years had passed. Midnight worship started after the Car reached at the destination and the earthen vase containing water was immersed in a tank within the last part of the night secretly. The Car was dismantled after the immersion Ceremony of the Vase. Hence it is called the non returning car. Some scholars attach this episode to the Rukmini Rath driven by Bhagaban Sri Krushna to Dwaraka with his beloved wife Rukmini. According to some other scholars this indicates that Buddha died in an alien place and did not return to his place of birth. The tank is there where the immersion Ceremony is conducted every year is known as Ashoka Jhara which is still in Bhubaneswar in the vicinity of Mausima Temple.
3. Goutami Prajabati is the Mausima of Goutam Buddha. She left Kapilavastu the present Kapileswar out of sorrow and misery after the death of her husband Sudhodana and went out in a pilgrimage. She remained in the then Pithunda which is now known as Puri in a house. This house is known as Mauseema Ghara at present. At that time pithunda was the centre of Jainism and the jinasana was being worshiped by the Jains and local people till Chanda Ashok took Jinasana to Magadha by force as a war trophy after the Kalinga war in 261 B.C. It is not known from many sources whether the parents of Buddha were the followers of Buddhism, but it was gopa wife of Buddha and their son Rahul adopted to Buddhism. Some religious Buddist books had included their names as Buddhists perhaps keeping in mind to spread Buddhism.
4. In Bada Danda of Puri there is an image of Mauseema made out of Black stone erected in a standing posture on a lotus base in the Mauseema temple. The image has two prolonged hands and two legs. But the original face of the image is covered by another bigger sized face made of Gummi substance resembling that of Subhadra. It is for the researchers to find out the real fact on the matter. A brahmin of Kaundinya clan was appointed as Pujaka of this Deity. This Deity called Arghaseni by the worshippers of Lord Jaganath. She is called Seni as she was the daughter in law of Sakya Dynasty. As her hands are long she is called Arghaseni.
5. Goutami prajabati returned to Kapilavastu to her residence after completing 12 years of pilgrimage in Pithunda. But unfortunately she did not find peace in her palace. So she decided to stay in a separate house known as Mauseema Ghara at present. After wards the road trodded by her was named as Mauseema Danda which is still in the mouths of all in Bhubaneswar. On that road Chandasoka had started first the Ratha Yatra which is proved by the supporting evidences at hand, that it became a continuous memorable Yatra of the deity every year on that particular date, following the same tradition without any change. In the Hindu Mythology neither Siba nor Vishnu had their Mausees at all who had been worshipped by any where in the world. Hence this Ashokastami Rathayatra at Bhubaneswar and Car Festival in Puri had the Buddhist origin connecting the visit to the Mauseema Temple at both the places for Shiva and Jaganath respectively. Moreover Ashoka Astami Yatra has an inner connection with the car festival of Puri which is to be focused and discussed by scholars.
6. After conducting Rath Yatra at the then Kapilavastu which is known as Kapileswar at present, Chandasoka had a trip to Charitra port of the then Kalinga which was a very famous port in the whole world at that point of time. A statue of Buddha was built by Kalingas at Charitra Port and installed the same in a temple called Mayadevi Temple which is now existing in a dilapidated condition behind the present temple at Konark which was known as Konakmana at that time. For the purpose of worship Ashok perhaps went there to Charitra port and got the temple renovated. The importance of the port had been described by Ptolemy in his book in a very nice manner. Inside the campus of the temple of Jaganath this statue of Buddha is kept in a smaller temple which is known as Dharmaraj or Indra Temple. Image of Mayadevi, mother of Buddha is worshiped there by the side of Buddha at present.
7. We had five famous ports at that time. In the north we had Tamralipti and in the south Vishakha which is now in Andra Pradeh as Vishakhapattnam. In the middle of these two important ports we had Charitra, Pithunda and Dantapura.
8. By the foot of the Khandagiri hills the famous river Rohini was passing through at that time originating from Andharua region which is nearer to present Bhubaneswar and the then Kapila Vastu, known as Kapileswar at present. This river Rohini was flowing through Chandaka, a part of which is the Utkal University Campus now. Near the south eastern Railway Howrah-Chennai line, in the vicinity of the present Kuakhai river, one portion of the Rohini river has already become a corn field for which enough evidence is available ready at hand. In the corn field a very old bridge of stone can be found just like Atharnala Bridge of Puri on the way from Cuttack to Bhubaneswar, on the left side of the Highway. At that time Kuakhai river was not there. The river Rohini was passing through this Bridge and at Puri fell into the Sea at Banki Muhana being an obstacle for Car festival because it was passing through Puri town dividing the Bada danda into two parts. The sand of this river is very famous as Saradha Bali. During the Ganga Dynasty up-to the period of Bhanudeb-1 there was six raths during the Car festival, but Bhanudev-1 took much care with the help of his people in filling the river with soil and used three cars. The mouth of river Rohini was filled with soil (Vide Madala Panji, Page-3). Pandita Krupasindhu Mishra in his Utkal Itihash depicted in page 119 about this matter.
9. One of the portions of Rohini is now known as Lahenia or Lahunia. Buddhist scriptures prescribed a sacred bath in river Rohini. A portion of Rohini River can be seen now near Bhubaneswar which was utilized for irrigating corn fields in the Lumbini region with Kapila Vastu as capital by both Sakyas and kolyas.
10. Seed sowing ceremony or BAPRAMANGALA was celebrated every year in the leadership of Sudhodana, the king of Sakyas which had been written in the Nidana Katha of the Jatakas. With much joy and jubilation the idol of gods were put on a Viman carried by human beings on their shoulders in the well decorated streets up-to the fields with people, putting on new clothes, garments by having garlands, sandal paste etc. The king himself was tilling the land at first with golden plough after the ceremony. Then only all others were tilling the land and celebrating the seed sowing ceremony. Cultivation was one of the main professions of the King and his subjects at that time to eke out their livelihood. Goutam Buddha was very well acquainted with paddy and paddy fields for the production of scented rice which is never cultivated in Nepal or in Tarai region of Nepal at all.
11. Every year the seed sowing ceremony is celebrated in Orissa as described in Buddhist literature in the Akshaya Trutiya on the 3rd day of the bright fortnight of Baishakha corresponding to the month of April and May. This festival is still in practice in Bhubaneswar as well as in Kapileswara and this is in vogue throughout Orissa. From this day cultivation starts for the production of paddy. In any part of India except Orissa, this festival is not seen at all nor in Nepal also. Lumbini region of ODISHA contains a vast patch of paddy fields till today even though some portions have been concretized by buildings now-a-days.
12. The Sakyas and Kolios were much interested in producing scented rice to eat. Suddhodan was the father of Goutam Buddha. Literally one who likes pure rice is known as Suddhodana. Sinhayuna was the grand father of Goutam Buddha, who had five sons. The names of his sons were given in a manner that every name is related to rice only. The names of his five sons were as follows:
i) Suddhodana – Literally means who likes pure rice.
ii) Amitodana – Literally means who likes unmeasured rice.
iii) Dhautodana – Literally means who likes washed rice.
iv) Suklodan – Literally means who likes white rice.
v) Sukhodana – Literally means who likes fine rice.
13. The then Kalinga or the present Odisha is famous for rice. Offering of Mahaprasad or rice offering to Lord Jaganath, Lord Lingaraj and Lord Ananta Bashudeba is famous in the world. The traditional and cultural heritage of Odias are to have washed water rice. In the Konak-mana temple at Charitra port rice was offered first by Brahmadutta to deity. Till Konark temple was destroyed it was a practice in that place. It seems from the Buddist thought and heritage, this type of rites had been started. In the temple of present Kapileswar this rite is still in Vogue. Hence the seed sowing ceremony was a peculiarity of Kalinga which has become the most traditional heritage of the present State of Odisha and hence Sudhodana was a man of Kalinga only.
In the vicinity of Konark temple a big kitchen was unearthed which bear an evidence that cooked rice was offered to Aditya Bishnu as Prasada. It was being described in Baishnaba Lilamruta that khiri prasad was much relished by the Bhaktas at Konark Temple.
14. To the daughter of his maternal uncle Goutam Buddha married. In the then Kalinga this was a traditional custom and it is still in vogue in the southern part of Odisha. This is an age old custom of the priest of Jaganath Temple. Many Odia Kings and Khatriyas are used to this custom also. Among the Karanas and Bhramins to some extent this system is in vogue at present in ODISHA.
15. In order to excel the sculpture of Jaganath Temple in the 13th century A.D. Nara Singha Deba-1, the Gajapati King of Odisha of Ganga Dynasty built the world famous Konark temple which is known as Black Pagoda. Aditya Bishnu was worshipped in that temple. According to the tradition vast Nabagraha images had been engraved in one stone by the king Narasinghs Dev now being worshipped in a museum. To keep the words of his mother and in memory of her sun worship, the king established Aditya Vishnu.
16. Konakmana or Konak Dev had been worshipped in Mayadevi temple is not the Aditya Vishnu, when we take the relevant matters into consideration. This Konakmana is Buddha. After the destruction of Mayadevi temple the Konak Dev had been brought to Puri with revival of Shaivism and Vaishnavism. The dense forest region of Nepal cannot be taken as the place of Konakmana Buddha in the absence of the Konakmana image and the Stupa.
17. Inside the precincts of Jaganath Temple the image of Konak Dev can easily be found in the Indra Temple. But the real image of Konakmana is hidden which is the image of Buddha kept behind the image of Sun God. The temple which is known as the Indra temple is also called Dharma Raja temple. Dharma raj is no other than Buddha written in Tripitaka page-193, (CHAKKAVATTI DHAMMIKO DHARAMMARAJA). The assumption of Visan Swarupa regarding this image is quite correct as the same matter has been depicted in METTASUTTAM SUTTAPITAKA – KHUDDAKA – NIKAYA –SUTTANIPATA – SUTTANIPATA PP 353, 357 & 358 and Page 14 (Dighanikaya)
18. On a higher elevation is seen the image of Surya Narayan and behind the stone background of this figure is seen the beautiful image of a mutilated Buddha in sitting posture with several curved designs all in black stone which is in Padmasana in Bhumi Sparsha Mudra without Aruna the emblem of Sun god. This image has got a crown and ear ring adorned with a necklace, two hands are broken. Over the crown there is an umbrella. In the two upper angles of the image there are two bidyadharies with halo round the head. In the likeness of a prince Buddha was worshipped in the then Kalinga but not as a god at all.
847, Kapil Prasad
P.O.- Sundar Pada