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The Hitopadesha is a remarkable compilation of short stories. Composed by Narayana Pandit, Hitopadesha had its origin around a thousand years ago. Hitopadesh tales are written in Sanskrit and reader-friendly way, which also contributed to the success of this best seller after ‘Bhagwad Gita’ in India. 

The term ‘Hitopadesha’ is a joint effort of two terms, ‘Hita’ (welfare/ benefit) and ‘Upadesha’ (advice/ counsel). As the term suggests, the Hitopadesha is a collection of tales that counsel and advice for the welfare and benefit of everyone. Imparting morals and knowledge, Hitopadesha is one amongst the most widely read Sanskrit book in India. Here will be posted popular stories from Hitopadesha. 


Once upon a time, there lived a Tiger in a forest. With the passing years, he became too old to hunt. One day, the Tiger was walking by the side of a lake and suddenly, a gold bangle came across his sight. Quickly he picked up the bangle and thought that he could use it as an allure to catch someone. As he was under the thought process, a traveler happened to pass through the opposite side of the lake.

The Tiger instantly thought to himself, “What a delicious meal he would make?” He planned a scheme to attract the traveler. He held the bangle in his paw making it visible to the traveler and said, “Would you like to take this gold bangle. I don’t require it”. At once, the traveler wanted to take the bangle, but he hesitated to go near the Tiger. He knew that it was risky, yet he sought the Gold Bangle. He planned to be cautious, so he asked the Tiger, “How can I believe you? I know you are a beast and would kill me”.

The Clever Tiger innocently said, “Listen Traveler, in my youth, I was wicked unquestionably, but now I have changed myself. With the advice of a Sanyasi, I have left all evil. Now I am all alone in this world and have engaged myself in kind deeds. Moreover, I have grown old. I have no teeth and my claws are blunt. So, there is no need to fear from me”. The traveler’s was taken in by this smart talk and his love for gold soon overcame his fear of the Tiger. He jumped into the lake to wade across the Tiger. 

But as per the plan of the Tiger, he got trapped in the marsh. On seeing this, the Tiger consoled him and said, “Oh! You need not worry. I’ll help you”. Gradually he came towards the traveler and seized him. As the traveler was being dragged out, onto the bank, he thought to himself, “Oh! This beast's talk of saintliness took me in totally. A beast is always a beast. If only I had not let my greed overcome my reason, I could be alive”. However, it was too late; the Tiger killed the traveler and ate him up. Like this, the traveler became victim of greed and Tiger was successful in his evil plan. 

Moral: Greed never goes unpunished.

Courtesy: culturalindia.net



Rakhal (Later Brahmananda)

October 16, 1882

It was Monday, a few days before the Durga Puja, the festival of the Divine Mother.  Sri Ramakrishna was in a very happy state of mind, for Narendra was with him.  Narendra had brought two or three young members of the Brahmo Samaj to the temple garden.  Besides these, Rakhal, Ramlal, Hazra, and M. were with the Master.  

Narendra (Later Vivekananda)
Narendra had his midday meal with Sri Ramakrishna.  Afterwards a temporary bed was made on the floor of the Master's room so that the disciples might rest awhile.  A mat was spread, over which was placed a quilt covered with a white sheet.  A few cushions and pillows completed the simple bed.  Like a child, the Master sat near Narendranath on the bed.  He talked with the devotees in great delight.  With a radiant smile lighting his face, and his eyes fixed on Narendra, he was giving them various spiritual teachings, interspersing these with incidents from his own life. 

MASTER: "After I had experienced samādhi, my mind craved intensely to hear only about God.  I would always search for places where they were reciting or explaining the sacred books, such as the Bhagavata, the Mahabharata, and the Adhyātma Rāmāyana.  I used to go to Krishnakishore to hear him read the Adhyātma Rāmāyana. 

Krishnakishore's faith:
"What tremendous faith Krishnakishore had! Once, while at Vrindāvan, he felt thirsty and went to a well.  Near it he saw a man standing.  On being asked to draw a little water for him, the man said: 'I belong to a low caste, sir.  You are a brahmin.  How can I draw water for you?' Krishnakishore said: 'Take the name of Śiva.  By repeating His holy name you will make yourself pure.' The low-caste man did as he was told, and Krishnakishore, orthodox brahmin that he was, drank that water.  What tremendous faith!

"Once a holy man came to the bank of the Ganges and lived near the bathing-ghat at Ariadaha, not far from Dakshineswar.  We thought of paying him a visit.  I said to Haladhāri: 'Krishnakishore and I are going to see a holy man.  Will you come with us?' Haladhāri replied, 'What is the use of seeing a mere human body, which is no better than a cage of clay?' Haladhāri was a student of the Gita and Vedanta philosophy, and therefore referred to the holy man as a mere 'cage of clay'.  I repeated this to Krishnakishore.  With great anger he said: 'How impudent of Haladhāri to make such a remark! How can he ridicule as a "cage of clay" the body of a man who constantly thinks of God, who meditates on Rama, and has renounced all for the sake of the Lord? Doesn't he know that such a man is the embodiment of Spirit?' He was so upset by Haladhāri's remarks that he would turn his face away from him whenever he met him in the temple garden, and stopped speaking to him. 

"Once Krishnakishore asked me, 'Why have you cast off the sacred thread?' In those days of God-vision I felt as if I were passing through the great storm of Āświn, and everything had blown away from me.  No trace of my old self was left.  I lost all consciousness of the world.  I could hardly keep my cloth on my body, not to speak of the sacred thread! I said to Krishnakishore, 'Ah, you will understand if you ever happen to be as intoxicated with God as I was.'

"And it actually came to pass.  He too passed through a God-intoxicated state, when he would repeat only the word 'Om' and shut himself up alone in his room.  His relatives thought he was actually mad, and called in a physician.  Ram Kaviraj of Natagore came to see him.  Krishnakishore said to the physician, 'Cure me, sir, of my malady, if you please, but not of my Om.' (All laugh.)
"One day I went to see him and found him in a pensive mood.  When I asked him about it, he said: 'The tax-collector was here.  He threatened to dispose of my brass pots, my cups, and my few utensils, if I didn't pay the tax; so I am worried.' I said: 'But why should you worry about it? Let him take away your pots and pans.  Let him arrest your body even.  How will that affect you? For your nature is that of Kha!' (Narendra and the others laugh.) He used to say to me that he was the Spirit, all-pervading as the sky.  He had got that idea from the Adhyātma Rāmāyana.  I used to tease him now and then, addressing him as 'Kha'.  Therefore I said to him that day, with a smile: 'You are Kha.  Taxes cannot move you!'

Master's outspokenness:
"In that state of God-intoxication I used to speak out my mind to all.  I was no respecter of persons.  Even to men of position I was not afraid to speak the truth. 

"One day Jatindra came to the garden of Jadu Mallick.  I was there too.  I asked him: 'What is the duty of man? Isn't it our duty to think of God?' Jatindra replied: 'We are worldly people.  How is it possible for us to achieve liberation? Even King Yudhisthira had to have a vision of hell.' This made me very angry.  I said to him: 'What sort of man are you? Of all the incidents of Yudhisthira's life, you remember only his seeing hell.  You don't remember his truthfulness, his forbearance, his patience, his discrimination, his dispassion, his devotion to God.' I was about to say many more things, when Hriday stopped my mouth.  After a little while Jatindra left the place, saying he had some other business to attend to. 

"Many days later I went with Captain to see Rājā Sourindra Tagore.  As soon as I met him, I said, 'I can't address you as "Rājā", or by any such title, for I should be telling a lie.' He talked to me a few minutes, but even so our conversation was interrupted by the frequent visits of Europeans and others.  A man of rajasic temperament, Sourindra was naturally busy with many things.  Jatindra his eldest brother, had been told of my coming, but he sent word that he had a pain in his throat and couldn't go out. 

"One day, in that state of divine intoxication, I went to the bathing-ghat on the Ganges at Baranagore.  There I saw Jaya Mukherji repeating the name of God; but his mind was on something else.  I went up and slapped him twice on the cheeks. 

Rani Rasmani
"At one time Rani Rasmani (see Picture) was staying in the temple garden.  She came to the shrine of the Divine Mother, as she frequently did when I worshipped Kāli, and asked me to sing a song or two.  On this occasion, while I was singing, I noticed she was sorting the flowers for worship absent-mindedly.  At once I slapped her on the cheeks.  She became quite embarrassed and sat there with folded hands. 

"Alarmed at this state of mind myself, I said to my cousin Haladhāri: 'Just see my nature! How can I get rid of it?' After praying to the Divine Mother for some time with great yearning, I was able to shake off this habit. 

His anguish at worldly talk:
Mathur Babu
"When one gets into such a state of mind, one doesn't enjoy any conversation but that about God.  I used to weep when I heard people talk about worldly matters.  When I accompanied Mathur Babu (see picture) on a pilgrimage, we spent a few days in Benares at Raja Babu's house.  One day I was seated in the drawing-room with Mathur Babu, Raja Babu, and others.  Hearing them talk about various worldly things, such as their business losses and so forth, I wept bitterly and said to the Divine Mother: 'Mother, where have You brought me? I was much better off in the temple garden at Dakshineswar.  Here I am in a place where I must bear about "woman and gold".  But at Dakshineswar I could avoid it.' "

The Master asked the devotees, especially Narendra, to rest awhile, and he himself lay down on the smaller couch. 

His ecstasy in Kirtan:
Late in the afternoon Narendra sang.  Rakhal, Lātu, M., Hazra, and Priya, Narendra's Brahmo friend, were present.  The singing was accompanied by the drum: 

Meditate, O my mind, on the Lord Hari,
The Stainless One, Pure Spirit through and through.
How peerless is the light that in Him shines!
How soul-bewitching is His wondrous form!
How dear is He to all His devotees!

After this song Narendra sang:
Oh, when will dawn for me that day of blessedness
When He who is all Good, all Beauty, and all Truth,
Will light the inmost shrine of my heart?
When shall I sink at last, ever beholding Him,
Into that Ocean of Delight?
Lord, as Infinite Wisdom Thou shalt enter my soul,
And my unquiet mind, made speechless by Thy sight,
Will find a haven at Thy feet.
In my heart's firmament, O Lord, Thou wilt arise
As Blissful Immortality;
And as, when the chakora beholds the rising moon,
It sports about for very joy,
So, too, shall I be filled with heavenly happiness
When Thou appearest unto me. 
Thou One without a Second, all Peace, the King of Kings!
At Thy beloved feet I shall renounce my life
And so at last shall gain life's goal;
1 shall enjoy the bliss of heaven while yet on earth!
Where else is a boon so rare bestowed?
Then shall I see Thy glory, pure and untouched by stain;
As darkness flees from 1ight, so will my darkest sins
Desert me at Thy dawn's approach.
Kindle in me, O Lord, the blazing fire of faith
To be the pole-star of my life;
O Succour of the weak, fulfil my one desire!
Then shall I bathe both day and night
In the boundless bliss of Thy Love, and utterly forget
Myself, O Lord, attaining Thee. 

Narendra sang again:
With beaming face chant the sweet name of God
Till in your heart the nectar overflows.
Drink of it ceaselessly and share it with all!
If ever your heart runs dry, parched by the flames
Of worldly desire, chant the sweet name of God,
And heavenly love will moisten your arid soul. 
Be sure, O mind, you never forget to chant
His holy name: when danger stares in your face,
Call on Him, your Father Compassionate;
With His name's thunder, snap the fetters of sin!
Come, let us fulfil our hearts' desires
By drinking deep of Everlasting Joy,
Made one with Him in Love's pure ecstasy. 
Now Narendra and the devotees began to sing kirtan, accompanied by the drum and cymbals.  They moved round and round the Master as they sang:
Immerse yourself for evermore, O mind,
In Him who is Pure Knowledge and Pure Bliss. 

Next they sang:
Oh, when will dawn for me that day of blessedness
When He who is all Good, all Beauty, and all Truth
Will light the inmost shrine of my heart?
At last Narendra himself was playing on the drums, and he sang with the Master, full of joy: 
With beaming face chant the sweet name of God 

When the music was over, Sri Ramakrishna held Narendra in his arms a long time and said, "You have made us so happy today!" The flood-gate of the Master's heart was open so wide, that night, that he could hardly contain himself for joy.  It was eight o'clock in the evening.  Intoxicated with divine love, he paced the long verandah north of his room.  Now and then he could be heard talking to the Divine Mother.  Suddenly he said in an excited voice, "What can you do to me?" Was the Master hinting that maya was helpless before him, since he had the Divine Mother for his support?

SOURCE: The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna



The Panchatantra is a legendary collection of Indian short stories that counsel and advice for the welfare and benefit of everyone.  

Powerful King Amar Shakthi of Mahilaropya, in South India, is a wise governor and a well loved philanthropist. He worries about his three ignorant sons Bahu Shakthi, Ugra Shakthi, Ananta Shakthi who have no interest in learning.He requests 80 year old sage Vishnu Sharma to make them shrewd and able administrators within 6 months.

Vishnu Sharma takes up challenge of preparing his three ignorant wards to face any problem in life with confidence. He declines the king's offer of 100 grants of land, and accompanies his disciples to his hermitage.

The etymology of term ‘Panchatantra’ suggests that it is a combination of two words, ‘Pancha’ (five) and ‘Tantra’ (practice/ principle). So, the five principles or practices illustrated by Panchatantra are ‘Mitra Bhedha’ (Loss of Friends), ‘Mitra Laabha’ (Gaining Friends), ‘Suhrudbheda’ (Causing discord between Friends), ‘Vigraha’ (Separation) and ‘Sandhi’ (Union). 

STORY-1: The Brahmin's Gift

Once, there lived a pious Brahmin in a small village, by the name of Mitra Sharma. He used to perform religious rituals. On one occasion, he was rewarded with a goat for his services by a wealthy man. The Brahmin was happy to get a goat as the reward. He happily slung the goat over his shoulder and began the journey towards his home.

On the way, three cheats (Thugs) saw the Brahmin taking the goat. All of them were lazy and wanted to cheat the Brahmin so that they could take away the goat. They said,” This goat will make a delicious meal for all of us. Let's somehow get it”. They discussed the matter amongst themselves and devised a plan to get the goat by befooling the Brahmin. After deciding the plan, they got separated from one another and took different hiding positions at three different places on the way of the Brahmin.

As soon as, the Brahmin arrived at a lonely place, one of the cheats came out of his hiding place and asked Brahmin in a shocking manner, “Sir, what are you doing? I don't understand why a pious man like you needs to carry a dog on his shoulders?" The Brahmin was surprised to hear such words. He screamed, “Can't you see? It's not a dog but a goat, you stupid fool". The cheat replied,” Sir, I beg your pardon. I told you what I saw. I am sorry, if you don’t believe it.” The Brahmin was annoyed at the discrepancy, but started his journey once again.

The Brahmin had barely walked a distance, when another cheat came out of his hiding place and asked the Brahmin, “Sir, why do you carry a dead calf on your shoulders? You seem to be a wise person. Such an act is pure stupidity on your part." The Brahmin yelled, "What? How can you mistake a living goat for a dead calf?" The second cheat replied, ""Sir, you seem to be highly mistaken in this regard. Either you don’t know how does goat look like or you are doing it knowingly. I just told you what I saw. Thank you". The second cheat went away smiling. The Brahmin got confused, but continued to walk further.

Again the Brahmin had covered a little distance when the third cheat met him. The third cheat asked laughingly, "Sir, why do you carry a donkey on your shoulders? It makes you a laughing stock”. Hearing the words of the third thug, the Brahmin became really worried. He started thinking, “Is it really not a goat? Is it some kind of a ghost?"
He thought that the animal he was carrying on his shoulders might really be some sort of a ghost, because it transformed itself from goat into a dog, from dog into a dead calf and from dead calf into a donkey. The Brahmin got frightened to such an extent that he hurled the goat on the roadside and ran away. The three tricksters laughed at the gullible Brahmin. They caught the goat and were happy to feast on it.
Moral: One should not be carried away by what others say

COURTESY: www.culturalindia.net



Seeing God everywhere:
Sri Ramakrishana
MASTER: "But this is not possible without intense love of God.  One sees nothing but God everywhere when one loves Him with great intensity.  It is like a person with jaundice, who sees everything yellow.   Then one feels, 'I am verily He'. 

"A drunkard, deeply intoxicated, says, 'Verily I am Kāli!' The gopis, intoxicated with love, exclaimed, 'Verily I am Krishna!'

"One who thinks of God, day and night, beholds Him everywhere.  It is like a man's seeing flames on all sides after he has gazed fixedly at one flame for some time."

"But that isn't the real flame", flashed through M.'s mind. 

Sri Ramakrishna, who could read a man's inmost thought, said: "One doesn't lose consciousness by thinking of Him who is all Spirit, all Consciousness.  Shivanath once remarked that too much thinking about God confounds the brain.  Thereupon I said to him, 'How can one become unconscious by thinking of Consciousness?' "

M: "Yes, sir, I realize that.  It isn't like thinking of an unreal object.  How can a man lose his intelligence if he always fixes his mind on Him whose very nature is eternal Intelligence?"

MASTER (with pleasure): "It is through God's grace that you understand that.  The doubts of the mind will not disappear without His grace.  Doubts do not disappear without Self-realization. 

"But one need not fear anything if one has received the grace of God.  It is rather easy for a child to stumble if he holds his father's hand; but there can be no such fear if the father holds the child's hand.  A man does not have to suffer any more if God, in His grace, removes his doubts and reveals Himself to him.  But this grace descends upon him only after he has prayed to God with intense yearning of heart and practised spiritual discipline.  The mother feels compassion for her child when she sees him running about breathlessly.  She has been hiding herself; now she appears before the child."

"But why should God make us run about?" thought M

Immediately Sri Ramakrishna said: "It is His will that we should run about a little.  Then it is great fun.  God has created the world in play, as it were.  This is called Mahamaya, the Great Illusion.  Therefore one must take refuge in the Divine Mother, the Cosmic Power Itself.  It is She who has bound us with the shackles of illusion.  The realization of God is possible only when those shackles are severed."

Worship of the Divine Mother:
The Master continued: "One must propitiate the Divine Mother, the Primal Energy, in order to obtain God's grace.  God Himself is Mahamaya, who deludes the world with Her illusion and conjures up the magic of creation, preservation, and destruction.  She has spread this veil of ignorance before our eyes.  We can go into the inner chamber only when She lets us pass through the door.  Living outside, we see only outer objects, but not that Eternal Being, Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute.  Therefore it is stated in the purna that deities like Brahma praised Mahamaya for the destruction of the demons Madhu and Kaitabha. 

"Śakti alone is the root of the universe.  That Primal Energy has two aspects: vidyā and avidyā.  Avidyā deludes.  Avidyā conjures up 'woman and gold', which casts the spell.  Vidyā begets devotion, kindness, wisdom, and love, which lead one to God.  This avidyā must be propitiated, and that is the purpose of the rites of Śakti worship. 

"The devotee assumes various attitudes toward Śakti in order to propitiate Her: the attitude of a handmaid, a 'hero', or a child.  A hero's attitude is to please Her even as a man pleases a woman through intercourse. 

"The worship of Śakti is extremely difficult.  It is no joke.  I passed two years as the handmaid and companion of the Divine Mother.  But my natural attitude has always been that of a child toward its mother.  I regard the breasts of any woman as those of my own mother. 

Master's attitude toward women:
"Women are, all of them, the veritable images of Śakti.  In northwest India the bride holds a knife in her hand at the time of marriage; in Bengal, a nut-cutter.  The meaning is that the bridegroom, with the help of the bride, who is the embodiment of the Divine Power, will sever the bondage of illusion.  This is the 'heroic' attitude.  I never worshipped the Divine Mother that way.  My attitude toward Her is that of a child toward its mother. 

"The bride is the very embodiment of Śakti.  Haven't you noticed, at the marriage ceremony, how the groom sits behind like an idiot? But the bride - she is so bold!

His love for Narendra:
Narendra (Vivekananda)
"After attaining God one forgets His external splendour; the glories of His creation.  One doesn't think of God's glories after one has seen Him.  The devotee, once immersed in God's Bliss, doesn't calculate any more about outer things.  When I see Narendra (Swami Vivekananda), I don't need to ask him: 'What's your name? Where do you live?' Where is the time for such questions? Once a man asked Hanuman which day of the fortnight it was.  'Brother,' said Hanuman, 'I don't know anything of the day of the week, or the fortnight, or the position of the stars.  I think of Rama alone.' "

SOURCE: The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishana



Today is Buddha Purnima or Buddha Jayanthi. Buddha means "enlightened one" - someone who is completely free from all faults and mental obstructions. The word Purnima means a full moon day. This day is a thrice blessed day. Lord Buddha is considered by the Hindus as the ninth avatar (incarnation) of Vishnu (Preserver in the Hindu Holy Trinity of Creator-Preserver-Destroyer).

According to Buddhist tradition, Buddha, after his previous incarnation as Santos Kumar, was living in paradise. He was asked by the gods to take rebirth as a human being for the salvation of the world and to show human beings as well as the gods the road to bliss. He considered the gods' request and, on the day of the full moon in Asadh (mid-June-mid-July), he entered his mother's womb through a dream. He was born on the following auspicious Baisakhi purnima.

Gautam Buddha or Siddhartha was born in 563 BC to King Suddhodhana, the king of Lumbini in Nepal and his wife Mayadevi. Siddhartha was prophesied by the royal astrologer to become either a famous emperor or a world-renowned ascetic. The father, anxious that his son should not take to the thorny path of a recluse, took extraordinary precautions to avoid every situation which would provoke such thoughts in his son's mind.

Siddhartha grew of age without ever knowing what misery or sorrow was. At the age of 16, he married a girl named Yashodhara and after a few years they had a son who was named Rahul. One day the prince desired to see the city. The King ordered that the city should be all gay and grand, so that everywhere his son would meet with only pleasing sights. However, an old and crippled man by the roadside happened to catch Siddhartha's eye.

It was a sight never witnessed before by the prince: a sunken face, a toothless mouth, all the limbs emaciated, the whole body bent and walking with extreme difficulty. The innocent prince asked who that creature was. Chenna, the charioteer, replied that he was a human being who had become old. To further enquiries of Siddhartha, Chenna informed that the old man was of fine shape in his young age and that every human being had to become like him after the youthful days are past. The perturbed prince returned to the palace, deeply engrossed in anxious thoughts.

King Shuddhodana, in order to cheer up his spirits, again ordered for his son's procession in the capital, but on subsequent rounds, Siddhartha came across a sick man and a corpse being carried to the funeral ground. Again it was Chenna, the charioteer, who explained that human beings were prone to illness and that death inevitably awaited man at the end. As luck would have it, on his final round, Siddhartha saw a person, his face beaming with job and tranquility, and heard from Chenna that he was an ascetic who had triumphed over the worldly temptations, fears and sorrows and attained the highest bliss of life.

And that clinched the thoughts of the young prince. He was then hardly twenty-nine. In that full bloom of youth, in the midnight of a full-moon day, he bade good-bye to his dear parents, his beloved wife Yashodhara and sweet little child Rahul and all the royal pleasures and luxuries, and departed to the forest to seek for himself answers for the riddles of human misery.

For seven long years, Siddhartha roamed in the jungles, underwent severe austerities and finally, on the Vaishaakha Poornima Day, the supreme light of Realization dawned on him. He thereafter became Buddha, the Enlightened One. When he was an itinerant monk, he was called Gautama and now he became popular as Gautama Buddha.

Gautam Buddha was not a god and the philosophy of Buddhism does not entail any theistic world-view. Buddha Gaya where he attained his supreme enlightenment has to this day remained one of the most sanctified places of pilgrimage for the entire Hindu World.

Significance of Buddha Jayanti:
Buddha Purnima is celebrated to commemorate the three most important events in the life of Lord Buddha viz., his birth in 623 BC, his enlightenment or attainment of wisdom through meditation in 558 BC and his attainment of Nirvana or freedom from the cycles of life and death at the age of 80 in 483 BC.

teachings of the Buddha:
According to the Buddhism, sorrow and desire are the main cause of all the evil and suffering of this world. The teachings of the Buddha are solely to liberate human beings from the misery and sufferings of life. Lord Buddha advocated the Eightfold Path consisting of precepts like right conduct, right motive, right speech, right effort, right resolve, right livelihood, right attention and right meditation to gain mastery over suffering. It is only after following this path one can reach the ultimate aim of Nirvana. Nirvana is the transcendental state of complete liberation.

Lord Buddha travelled far and wide teaching hundreds of followers. Even after death his disciples continued to spread his teachings. The Mauryan Emperor Ashoka espoused the Buddhism in the 3rd century B.C. and helped in spreading it far and wide. As days passed, the effect of Lord Buddha's teachings not only influenced the Hindu people in general but contributed decisively in elevating spiritually several races spreading over a vast region of the globe, including areas such as the present-day Syria, Egypt, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Brahmadesh, Siam, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Annam, China, Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Malaya, China, Korea, Japan, Tibet and Khotan in Central Asia.

Sarnath and Bodhgaya [see pictures] are two of the most important pilgrimage centres for the Buddhists. Besides Sarnath and Bodhgaya, the Buddha Purnima is also celebrated with religious fervor at Kushinagar and other parts of India and the world.

LORD Buddha's love for the poor:
Buddha's overflowing love for the downtrodden and destitute acted as one of the greatest factors for social harmony and justice to the weaker sections in the society. Once Lord Buddha had camped in the kingdom of Bindusara. The king - a disciple of Lord Buddha - honored his Guru with chariots-loads of royal presents and offerings. The other disciples also, many of them rich, made offerings to the best of their ability. At the end, an old and poor woman trekked slowly to the presence of Lord Buddha, offered a small pomegranate and collapsed at his feet, Lord Buddha ordered the bell of honor to be rung in her name for that day, to the utter surprise of the king and his subjects.
SOURCES:  festivals.tajonline.com; festivals.iloveindia.com