ABOUT THE BOOK:
The book on Lord Buddha is remarkable not only for the depiction of Buddha's time and place of birth but also for tryng to demolish the imperial design of Max Miillar and other western researchers through his inclusive, explosive and irrefutable facts by quoting extensively from historical and archival records. Through Dr. Pradhan's illustrations he exposes the hollowness of the westerners agreements and brings home hidden and chilling facts about Buddha.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dr. Nagendra Nath Pradhan is acclaimed as an authority on religious and philosophical literature. His critical analysis of the works of Gangadhar Meher, Dinakrushna Das and Jayadev, Geet Govind and other 15 books are trend setters. His insightful, exhaustive and impeccably research accounts have been revealed in his pioneering work on the long forgotten Saraswati River and Vedic Civilization. He is considered as a doyen of "Nirguna Sahitya" and the Odisha Text Book Bureau and the Odisha Sahitya Academy have published his books on "NIRGUNA SAHITYA".
Dr. Nagendra Nath Pradhan was born in 1936, was educated at Revenshaw College and got his D. Litt. as the youngest scholar of Utkal University. He was the H.O.D. of Odia Literature, Department of Regional College of Education (Now RIE of N.C.E.R.T) Bhubaneswar: He has successfully supervised 20 scholars for their Ph.D. and D. Litt. research. He has travelled extensively in India and delivered talks on the emerging trends and initiative methodologies in education and research; especially in Buddhist studies and on the lost river Saraswati, which gave birth and nourished Vedic Civilization.
Buddha as a historical person had been forgotten in India in course of long past, but remained ever immortal as god head and invoked as the ninth incarnation of the supreme Lord Visnu. In the Asian Buddhist countries Buddha is ever revered as the supreme Lord of the universe and his images are worshipped with offerings and recital of devotional songs in the Buddhist shrines. Buddhist scriptures are preserved in those countries and his teachings are most significant for the people. Though the stories relating to his life pattern or the places associated with his birth and death etc. are not of much concern for his followers, still it appears from the literature that the monks in later time were very much anxious to know about it and had created several legendary stories relating to his ancestry and birth place. Towards the end of eighteenth century the western orientalist coming to know that Buddhism is the religion of about one third of the world's population and Buddha was born in India, became curious to know about Buddha's time while searching for the history of India. Sir William Jones the pioneer of Indological studies was informed of Buddha's time by a Chinese scholar Giorgi. Then he enquired from the Brahmins, and he expressed what he thought in 1787, in following paragraph.
"The Brahmans universally speak of Buddha with all the malignity of an intolerant spirit, yet the most orthodox among them consider Buddha as an incarnation of Vishnu, this is a contradiction, had to be reconciled. Unless we cut the knot, instead of untying it, by supposing with Giorgi, that there were two Buddhas, the younger of whom established a new religion which gave great offence in India, and was introduced into China in the first century of our era. . . . May we not reconcile the singular difference of opinion among the Hindus as to the time of Buddha's appearance, by supposing that they have confounded the two Buddhas, the first of whom was born a few years before the close of the last age and the second when above a thousand years of the present age had elapsed" (The works of Sir William Jones, vol. IV, p. 17-20 by Lord Teigmouth London 1807).
Already stated that Buddha was completely forgotten and his age was obscured in his own place of birth in India in course of long past, under the sever conditions of horrible natural calamities and long period of barbaric brutalities of foreign invaders and their extreme repressive rule over Vedic Indian people. People became extremely timid and fearful lost all their memories of past. Hence the speculations gave rise to legends about Buddha's time and place of birth among the later Buddhists which got recorded in Buddhist literature composed over thousand years after Buddha. For the anti Vedic views of the Buddhists there were sharp reactions and their doctrines were strongly refuted and rejected by the Vedic scholars. The Buddhists could not thrive in India losing popular support, so naturally there is no information available about Buddha and the date or place of his birth in Vedic tradition.
Thanks to the toil some efforts of the western orientalist, who strived hard to construct the chronological history of India. The time of Buddha though was corollary for some historians of that time, but for others it was the base to determine Indian chronology.
Since the time of Sir William Jones the scholars came to know about different dates of Buddha prevailed in different countries, but they could not find any clue to arrive at a consensus. About thirty years after Sir William Jones in 1837 George Tumour for the first time procured and brought out the Ceylonese Pali chronicle `Mahavamsa' from which he got the clue to determine the date of Buddha, as it is recorded in that work that Buddha had his Nirvana, 218 years before Asoka's consecration.
Since that time till the present, controversy continues on the question of the date of Asoka and for determining the date of Buddha, which has remained unresolved, in spite of much advancement in indoloical researches.
The fixation of correct date of Buddha is of great interest not only in the context of Indian history but in the wider contest of world history. For discovering Buddha as a historical person, determining his time from the obscure past, it is indispensible to investigate scientifically and interpret rationally whatever datas available. With such intellectual efforts one may be successful in bringing Buddha from obscurity to history with definite date or a probable period nearest to accuracy. But irrational interpretation with prejudiced mindset leads to endless controversies and rise of dogmatic views. With the advancement of science, we at present time feel that the correct determination of Buddha's time and chronological history of India has suffered mostly, from intense religious prejudice and scepticism and on the other hand from a strong political bias. The indigenous source materials of the puranic literature were disbelieved and frequently declared false and fictions, by the early orientalists for their personal religious beliefs, and they relied on foreign sources as true. But those foreign source materials were forcefully interpreted with political motive in order to advance the colonial interest in India. It is our clear reading now in twenty-first century.