This book is first of its kind which presents a comprehensive study of the heritage of Buddhism in India. Beginning with the Buddha, it presents biographical sketches of all the Buddhist kings, saints and scholars and missionary monks, who enriched Buddhism during its glorious epoch in India. It further presents a study of about 700 inscriptions, which have survived at the three great stupas: Amaravati, Bharhut and Sanchi, and in the Buddhist caves in Maharashtra. The records of Fahian and Hiuen Tsang, the Chinese Pilgrims, have also been analysed in order to assess the popularity of Buddhism in ancient India. The disappearance of Buddhism from India, the land of its birth, development and highest achievements, is such a perplexing problem that no two opinions agree. The author throws new light on the reasons that led to the decline and disappearance of Buddhism from India. According to him, the reasons were external rather than internal.
After telling the bewildering story of triumph and tragedy of Buddhism in India, the author surveys the Buddhist literature in Pali and Sanskrit, and also traces Buddhisms contribution to language and literature. The next chapter gives an insight into the glorious Buddhist art, which survives today in situ at some sacred spots and in Buddhist caves in India. A survey of the major archaeological museums is also presented. This is followed by a comparative study of Buddhism and three other religions: Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, tracing minutely the impact of Buddhist thought and practices on these religions. Lastly, he author identifies the Buddhist symbols, which have been adopted as National Symbols by modern India. The present status of Buddhism and Buddhists in modern India has also been highlighted.
With all this information, based on the available authentic sources, the book could well serve as a standard reference work for scholars and other readers alike.