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Life and Teachings of Gautam Buddh, Mahavir and Jagadguru Adi Shankracharya Class 6 History Chapter 5 Notes
The 6th century BC is said to be the period of social change in India. There were many evils in the society of that time. After that, many religious sects emerged in India. Among these, Buddhism and Jainism were the most well known sects.
Gautam Buddh was the founder of Buddhism. His early name was Siddharth. He was born in 567 BC on the day of Vaishakh Purnima in Lumbini, Nepal. His father, Shuddhodhan, was a king. His mother’s name was Mahamaya. His mother died seven days after his birth. He was brought up by Mahamaya’s younger sister, Prajapati Gautami. That is why Siddharth is also called Gautam. When Gautam Buddh’s birth ceremony was held, the then famous astrologer Asit made a prophecy that this child would either become a great king or a great mentor.
After a formal education, he was married to Princess Yashodhara at the age of 16. He started living with Yashodhara in a palace built by his father according to the seasons, where his son Rahul was born. But, all these things could not bind Siddharth in worldly attachment and illusion.
- One day, on his way to the city, he saw four different scenes. In the first scene, he saw an old man. On asking the charioteer, he was told that everyone grows old. On seeing a patient in the second scene, he was told that people are afflicted with diseases.
- On seeing a funeral procession in the third scene, the charioteer told that death is inevitable. Seeing these scenes, he felt that there is nothing in the world except sorrow.
- In the fourth scene, he saw a sadhu who was singing blissfully. The charioteer told him that he is engaged in attaining knowledge by leaving the world.
- At the age of 29, leaving his wife and son and all the pleasures, he left home at midnight, and went to the forests to attain knowledge.
- Name – Sidharth Gautam Buddh
- Birth – 567 BC at Lumbini, Nepal
- Father’s Name – Shuddhodhan
- Mother’s Name – Mahamaya
- Upbringing – Prajapati Gautami
- Marriage – Princess Yashodhara
- Son – Rahul
After leaving the house, Siddharth reached Rajgrih. There, he received instructions from two scholars named Alar Kalam and Udrak, but his mind was not satisfied. After that, he decided to do severe penance, due to which his body became very weak. This experience forced him to consider penance as meaningless. At this time, taking milk from a girl named Sujata, he left the path of penance. He started towards Gaya, meditated there under a peepal tree (Mahabodhi tree). After 8 days of samadhi, at the age of 35, on the full moon night of Vaishakh month, he attained true knowledge, due to which he was called Buddh (knowledgeable). He first reached Sarnath, near Banaras, and gave his first sermon to his five companions who had left him at Gaya. This event is called Dharmachakra Pravartan.
Mahatma Buddh’s teachings —
Four noble truths
- The world is the home of sorrows.
- Some kind of desire is the cause of all miseries.
- Cravings should be controlled so that we can be saved from sorrow.
- There is eight-fold path to remove worldly sorrows. These are called the eightfold path or the middle path.
Ashtanga Marga (Eightfold Path)
The Ashta Marga is also known as the middle path. The basis of Buddhism is the eight-fold path and by following this path, all the problems of man can be solved. There are eight ideal rules in the eight-fold path following which one can attain Nirvana (knowledge)..
- Right Karma: One’s actions should be pure. It should inspire all humanity.
- Right Thoughts: The thoughts of all human beings should be true. They should stay away from worldly evils and useless customs.
- Right Livelihood: Not to do any direct or indirect harmful
- business. Right Effort: Trying to improve oneself.
- Right Memory: Trying to acquire the mental ability to see with clear knowledge.
- Right Meditation: One should focus his attention on leading a pure and simple life.
- Right Faith: One should have the true belief that by giving up desires, suffering can end. He should not deviate from the eightfold path.
- Right Samadhi: Attainment of Nirvana.
Belief in theory of Karma
Buddh used to say that each person is the creator of his own destiny. As he works, so does he reap the fruits.
Rebirth : According to Buddh, until man’s craving and lust end, man will take birth again in the world.
Non- violence : Mahatma Buddh thought that man should have love and sympathy for all living beings, i.e., man, creatures, birds and animals.
Disbelief in Yagyas and sacrifices : Mahatma Buddh has described yagyas and sacrifices as superstition and hypocrisy. His statement was that the actions of a person can not be changed with yagyas.
Distrust in Vedas and Sanskrit : Buddh believed that merely reading religious texts in the Sanskrit language does not yield results. He preached his teachings in the folk language Pali.
Distrust in the caste system : Buddh believed that man can become low or high according to his deeds and not by birth.
On the basis of the above description, it can be said that Buddhism rose in a situation when many evils had spread in Indian society and religion. People were tired of the rigidity of the Vedic religion and were in search of a simpler religion. On this occasion, Mahatma Buddh provided relief to Indian society through his simple teachings. Influenced by the simple teachings of Mahatma Buddh, a large number of people converted to Buddhism.
Mahavir Swami was the founder of Jainism. The original name of Mahavir Swami was Vardhaman. Lord Mahavir was born in 599 BC in Kundgram of the Vaishali (Bihar) republic. According to Jainism, the first Tirthankar was Rishabhdev and the 23rd Tirthankar was Parshvanath. Mahavir Swami’s mother’s name was Trishala. His father’s name was King Siddharth. His wife’s name was Yashoda. The daughter’s name was Priyadarshini. Vardhaman was very brave since childhood.
He saved the life of his companion from a huge dragon. Again he saved the life of his friends by subduing the mad elephant. Hence Vardhaman was called Mahavir.
Renunciation and attainment of knowledge
At the age of 30, after taking permission from brother Nandi Vardhan, he left the house. He caused many kinds of suffering to the body while doing penance. After 12 years of continuous penance, he attained enlightenment in Jarimbik village (Bihar) under a sal tree on the banks of the river Rijupalika.
Initially he was known as Kavalin (Kaivalya), and later on he was called Jin (conqueror), and later Jain, because of his victory over his senses.
Teachings of Mahavir
Mahavir Swami’s teachings were in Prakrit language so that people could understand them easily. Mahavir Swami’s opposed the evils spread in society through his teachings. Due to evils, the development of society was being hindered. His main teachings are the following:
Triratna (Three Jewels) : According to Mahavir Swami, to save oneself from sins, three ideal rules should be adopted in life; these were called Triratna, and these three jewels were:
- True faith
- True knowledge
- True conduct
Five great vows
Mahavir Swami used to emphasise the five Mahavratas, or great vows, and recommended them :
- Non-stealing : One should not steal the belongings of others.
- Non-violence: Non- violence is the ultimate religion of every person; no one should commit violence with mind and body.
- No hoarding: A person should not store more money than necessary.
- Truth: Mahavir Swami emphasised always speaking the truth, He emphasised speaking such words that do not spread bitterness.
- Brahmacharya : One should stay away from desires; a true brahmachari is one who neither thinks about lust, nor talks about it.
Fasting and penance –
In Jainism, a lot of emphasis has been laid on fasting and austerity, due to which evil tendencies are suppressed and a person becomes free from the bondage of karma.
Disbelief in God
Mahavir Swami did not believe in the existence of God. He did not accept the doctrine of Hinduism that the universe was created by God.
Disbelief in Yagya and sacrifice
In Jainism, rituals like yagya and sacrifice are opposed.
Disbelief in the purity of Vedas and Sanskrit
According to Jainism, Vedas are not the storehouse of divine knowledge. According to him, there is no contribution of Vedas and Sanskrit language in attaining salvation.
Protest against caste system
Mahavir Swami did not believe in the caste system. He believed that all castes are equal.
Belief in the existence of the soul
Jainism accepts the existence of the soul. According to it, the soul is immortal, the soul has knowledge, and it experiences happiness and sorrow.
Different names of Mahavir
- Kaivalya (alone or solitary)
- Jin (conqueror of the senses)
- Nirgrantha (free from worldly bondage)
- Arhat (reverend)
Mahavir Swami believed in rebirth. According to Mahavir Swami, karma and rebirth go hand in hand.
Eighteen types of sins have been mentioned in Jainism which lead a man to his downfall, these are:
- Possessive- ness
- Discord blame
- False vision
One should avoid all these sins.
After 30 years of continuous preaching, he died in 527 BC at a place called Pava in Rajagriha. At that time, he was 72 years old. Then the number of his followers was in the thousands.
Mahavir Swami was the 24th Tirthankar of Jainism. He gave a new direction to Jainism. Jainism became very popular during his time. Due to his simple teachings, a large number of people adopted Jainism.
Adi Guru Shankaracharya
Adi Shankaracharya was born at a time when there were many sects like Buddhism and Jainism. All of them criticised the basic concepts of Sanatan Dharma, the Ashram system, and the Varna system. As a result, Sanatan Dharma was in decline.
Adi Shankaracharya was born in the village of Kaladi in the state of Kerala, South India. His father’s name was Shiva Guru Bhakt and his mother’s name was Aryaamba. His father died when he was 3 years old. He was very brilliant and talented. At the age of 6, he had become a pundit, and at the age of 8, he had taken sannyas.
His mother did not allow him to become a sannyasi; then one day a crocodile caught the foot of Shankaracharya on the bank of the river, then taking advantage of the time, Shankaracharya said to his mother, “Mother, allow me to take sannyas, otherwise this crocodile will eat me”. His mother ordered him to become a sannyasi and also rescued him from the crocodile. Thus he became a sannyasi at the age of eight, but his mother took assurance from him that he would do her last rites. He also fulfilled this assurance.
He took his early education from Guru Gobind Bhagavadpad, whose ashram was at the site of Omkareshwar on the banks of the Narmada, Staying there for 3 years, he obtained Brahmavidya. His teachers were also amazed by his extraordinary talent and considered him an incarnation of Shiva. By the order of the Guru, he wrote a commentary on the Brahmasutra and then went to Kashi
Even before Shankaracharya, many Vedic sages had given the principle of Monotheism (Advaita). According to it, Jiva and Brahma are one. This is what is called monotheism. According to ‘Brahma Satyam Jagat Mithya’ (Brahma is true and the world is an illusion), the soul that pervades the body is the truth, which has been there in the past, present and will be in the future also.
Path of devotion
Shankaracharya also preached Bhakti. He believed that God can be attained through love and spiritual practice and love is the true knowledge. He said, “Bhaj Govindam Bhaj Govindam Bhaj Govindam Moodh Mate”, that is, recite the name of God.
Path of Karma
He had unwavering faith in karma. Even after becoming a sannyasi in his childhood, he performed the last rites of his mother like a householder.
Unity of sects
He united all the ideologies of Hinduism and divided them into five parts, which include Vaishnav, Shaiv, Surya, Shakta and Ganapati sects. It was given the name of Panchdev worship, from the point of view of yog, he connected the relation of these five gods with the five elements of fire, earth, air, water, sky. The Indian people divided into different sects were tied in the thread of unity.
He also promoted yog practise a lot, it’s effect is visible on the saints like Gorakhnath, Kabir, Nanak etc.
Integration of monks
Acharya ji also divided various sages in India into 10 parts. Among them were Giri, Puri, Aranya, Bharati, Van, Parvat, Sagar, Tirtha, Ashram and Saraswati.
Establishment of four monasteries
A type of religious forts were established in the four corners of India, which are as follows:
- Jyotirmuth located in Kedarnath, Badrinath, north India (Uttarakhand)
- Sringeri Muth located in Rameswaram, south India (Karnataka)
- Govardhan Muth located in Jagannathpuri, eastern India (Odisha)
- Sharda Muth located in Dwarka, western India (Gujarat)