Buddha's Relics from Kapilavastu
|K. M. Srivastava
|Agam Kala Prakashan, Delhi
|168 (Throughout B/W Illustrations)
|9.00 X 6.00 inch
Buddha's corporal Relics are an objet of great adoration and worship for buddhist all around the world. According to Maha parinibbanasutta Buddha directed his chief disciple Ananda to construct stupa, over his relics after cremation, at the crossing of four highways in the same fashion as the stupa of a universal king. Of the eight places where a stupta was erected over his corporal relics soon after the Maha parinirvana of the Lord, one was at Kapilavastu where Gautama had spent the first twenty-nine years of his life before renouncing the world for the emancipation of humanity at large. Sakyas, the community to which he belonged had the privilege of enshrining their one-eighth share of the relics in this stupa after holding a befitting ceremony. Like many Buddhist sites the whereabouts of Kapilavastu were also lost to posterity after the extinction of the religion from the country of its birth over eight hundred years ago.
The book Contains an interesting account of the work which led to the discovery of the relics in the stupa at Piprahwa in Basti district of Utter Pradesh. Sealings with the legend Kapilavastu, found in Excavations at the site, clinched the issue of identification as well, besides establishing that the stupa which yielded the relics was, in the first instance, constructed by the Sakyas over their one-eighth share.
The Corporeal relics were carried to Sri Lanka for exposition and worship under a cultural pact with the Government of India. An account of the journey to Sri Lanka, the divinely honour received by the relics and the depth of faith and ovation reflected in the mile-long queue of the people waiting patiently in the scorching sun for their own turn is an additional attraction of the book.
Born on twenty first September 1927 at Allahabad, Shri K.M. Sriastava hails from Basti district of Utter Pradesh. He obtained the degree of Master of Arts in History from Allahabad University in 1949 and was appointed in the Archaeological Survey of India in 1952 after undergoing training. Shri Srivastava has conducted excavations at many important sites like lothal and Rangpur (both in Gujarat), Kalibangan (Rajasthan), Burzahom (Kashmir) etc. He visited United Arab Republic in the 1962 as one of the members of a team to salvage the antiquities of Nubia from the area to be submerged on account of the construction of Aswan Dam.
The identification of the lost site of Kapilavastu is the greatest achievement of Shri Srivastava's life. Standing as a landmark in history it has received world-wide acclaim. As director (Expedition Abroad) he was deputed by the Government of India to Kampuchea as the leader of a nine member term in 1982 to prepare a comprehensive Project report on the preservation of the temple of Angkor Wat. The work has been considered to be of outstanding merit. Again, Shri Srivastava visited Bahrain in 1984 as the leader of a thirteen member team to undertake excavations. He has published several books like Kapilavastu, Community Movement in Proto-historic India and New Era of Indian Archaeology, Besides contributing a large number of articles in research Journals.
Work is worship is a well-known precept. Very difficult, however, it is to translate the same into practice and set an example. Forces of an evil nature always act with determination against any dedicated work, particularly when the same happens to be pious as well. Ancient literature of India is replete with instances of bitter struggle between those working with recognised ideals and others possessing an altogether destructive mind. A man whose power of judgement and reasoning has not reached a stage of maturity may feel that he is not expected to do anything in the world, because everything is divinely arranged. He would rather feel inclined to look on as a silent spectator and leisurely enjoy, if possible, in the actions and manifestations of God. This is certainly not the way in which a truly enlightened person thinks and behaves. On the other hand,a man with sound judgement, who has a proper estimate of his own faculties, nature, allotted place and function in this cosmic play of the Supreme Spirit, never thinks of evading his duties and living an idle life, never loses enthusiasm in the performance of the works, which are in his view divinely allotted to him. He cannot afford to deprive himself of the serene joy of voluntarily and intelligently participating in the Divine play with a sense of freedom and love. It is his privilege as a man to do freely, consciously, with love, admiration and reverence for the Divine Player, what he would otherwise be compelled to do slavishly under the pressure of the forces of the world. **Contents and Sample Pages**
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