How Buddha resolved the problem of water scarcity between 2 kingdoms ?

There was a situation of war between the two states regarding the water of a river. How did Buddha deal with this problem and why is this incident so relevant even in the present circumstances?

In general, water scarcity or water crisis makes us feel that this is a modern problem, and this problem is limited to some big metropolitan cities, to some extent it is okay to think so, but water problem has always been there and due to man’s greed, jealousy, fake pride, this problem has become even worse.

Similarly, around the time of Buddha, there was a violent dispute between two provinces regarding the usage of the water of a river.

The manner in which Buddha settled this dispute between the two states over the water of the river is equally relevant today.

About 2600 years ago from today. The boundaries of two major kingdoms used to meet at what is presently the Indo-Nepal border.

These two major kingdoms were Sakya and Koliya.

Rohini river used to flow between Sakya and Koliya kingdom. In this way, the geographical division of both the states was done by the Rohini river only. The relations between the two states were very good.

Current geographical location of Rohini river

The Rohini River originates from the hills of the Shivalik Mountains in the Kapilvastu Districts of the Lumbini region of Nepal and enters the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, flowing southwards. It joins the Rapti river near Gorakhpur inside the border of India, which joins Ghaghra and Ghaghra goes ahead and meets the Ganges river.

Drought and conflict between the states.

The residents of both the states used the water of the Rohini river in their daily life. Once it did not rain for many days, as a result of which there was a severe famine, both the states also had to face the shortage of water.

The farmers of both the states depended on the water of the Rohini river for agriculture.
Due to lack of rain, water was not available in abundance in the Rohini river that year. At the time of rice planting, (Rice was the major crop of both the states). The farmers of both the states wanted to use the water as much as they possibly could, as a result, the farmers of both the states started showing their desire to use the water of the river by building dams in their respective borders.

People who had been living together for generations became enemies of each other due to lack of water. People on both sides wanted water. In the beginning, the farmers of both the states said bad things to each other, there was a round of accusations and counter-accusations between them, then a lot of ill-will was generated by the use of abusive language.

One day there was a fight between the farmers on both sides after listening to each other. Many farmers of both the states were injured in the conflict over the rights to the water of the Rohini river. The conflict increased so much that first the police of both the states and then later the army had to be deployed.

Relations between the two states had become extremely tense. An armed conflict could break out between the two states at any time.

Arrival of Buddha and solution to the problem

Buddha came to know about this incident, he immediately went to meet the kings of both the states to solve this problem.

Both the states were important to Buddha. Sakya region was the homeland of Buddha, while Buddha’s mother and wife Yashodhara both came from Koliya region.

After meeting the members of the royal family of both the countries, Buddha also met the officials, farmers of both the states and took stock of the real situation. Buddha came to this conclusion after thoroughly understanding the problem:-

@ At the root of the problem is water scarcity. The people of both the states can overcome this shortcoming with mutual understanding.

@To deal with this problem long term measures were needed which was possible only with the efforts of the ruling class of both the states.

@Buddha found that corrupt politics and arbitrary behavior of officials had made the problem worse.


Buddha explained to the rulers of both the states that life is more precious than water. Buddha said that the lack of water had fanned the flames of anger and hatred among the people of the two kingdoms and this led to war. Had hatred and anger been kept under control, this unfortunate situation would not have arisen.

Buddha suggested the rulers of both the states to sit down and look forward for negotiations. Buddha also suggested the farmers of both the states to face this difficult time together. Buddha suggested equal distribution of water to the farmers of both the states, which was happily accepted by the people and rulers of both the states.

Buddha was highly respected both by the ruling class of the state and the public, so soon peace was established with the efforts of Buddha and warm and cordial relations were again established between the two states.



At present the whole world is suffering this water crisis. There is a situation of conflict between many countries regarding the distribution of water. Within countries, conflicts have also seen between provinces, or between cities and villages regarding the distribution of water.

Instead of solving this problem together, the ruling class escapes from its duty by inciting anger and hatred among the general public. People blinded by hatred do not even try to solve the root problem. If Buddha’s words are heeded, then undoubtedly it is possible to get rid of the world’s water crisis. Remember that Buddha’s teachings are also based on experience instead of pure idealism and public welfare is his one and only goal.


What is the significance of the four lions depicted in the National Emblem of India? What teachings of Gautam Buddha do these represent? Why did Emperor Ashoka get the statue of these four lions built on the top of the Ashoka pillar? Today, even after almost 2600 years, the embodiment of Buddha’s teachings is a unique example of the richness of the Indian culture.

Recently a controversy has arisen over the “Lion Capital”, the national emblem of India.

The reason for this controversy was the replica of the LionCapital to be installed on top of the newly constructed building of the Parliament of India.

Highlights of the Lion Capital statue to be installed on the roof of the new Parliament building

@ The Lion Capital statue to be installed on the roof of the newly built Parliament House is a replica of the original statue located in the museum of Sarnath, Varanasi.

@ The replica to be installed on the roof of the Parliament House is made of bronze and weighs 16,000 kg. The total height of this replica is 6.5 meters.

@ The replica was made by 100 artisans over a period 9 months. This statue is completely hand made, no machine has been used in its construction.

The controversy behind this statue-:

Major opposition parties mainly Congress and Communist Party are attacking the ruling party over this statue. These political parties say that in the construction of this statue, the four lions have been shown as aggressive, whereas in the Lion Capital statue at Sarnath, the four lions have been shown calm and majestic.

Some people say that these lions seem to be violent and man-eaters.

This dispute increased so much that some people went to the court, well the court rejected this petition, but many people are still angry about this incident.

At first glance, it seems that because of being associated with Buddhism, these four lions must have been depicted with a calm nature in the Original statue.

Are the four lions actually depicted as calm & majestic in the original statue located in the Sarnath Museum?

Close up of Lion Capital in Sarnath Museum. (Wikimedia commons )

In fact, even in the original Lion Capital, the four lions are depicted in an aggressive posture.

All four lion’s mouths are open, sharp teeth, their tongue flapping, protruding veins, heavy mane, their claws sticking out (It is worth noting that lion’s claws are retractable and they come out of their paws only when hunting.) It becomes clear at the very first sight itself that all the four lions are depicted in an aggressive posture.

Now an important question arises here.

There is a lot of emphasis on non-violence in Buddhism, then why are the lions depicted in an aggressive posture in the Lion Capital ?

Along with this it becomes necessary to find answers to some more questions.

@ What does the Lion Capital built by Emperor Ashoka on the top of the pillar symbolize?

@ What teachings of Buddha did Emperor Ashoka consider as the basis for the construction of the Ashoka Pillar?

To answer these questions, we must turn to Buddhist literature and Lion Capital. Fortunately, all of these sources are available in abundance.



A teaching of the Buddha was named the Sutra of the Lion’s Roar by his disciple Ananda. Buddha had emphasized the need of Buddhist organization(known as SANGHA, a BUDDHIST COMMUNITY) under this and highlighted the importance of organization.

SANGHA : Monastic community of bhikkhu (monks )and bhikkuni (nuns) Buddha described Sangha as the community that supports one along the path.

Buddha explained this importance of Sangha by giving the example of rice that joint effort is better than single effort, just as a rice grain has the natural tendency to turn into a rice plant, but for this to happen some other Factors are also required such as: sunlight, soil, water, air etc.

Similarly, a person can also try to attain enlightenment all by himself, but with the help of other people, his/her path becomes easier, so association is necessary for attaining knowledge. According to Buddha, by concerted effort under the Sangha, the wall of ignorance crumbles in the same way as darkness with the advent of light.

After explaining the importance of the Sangha, Buddha described the Sangha as powerful as a lion roaming in the jungle.
According to Buddha, The lion is the king of the jungle, when he comes out of his cave, the message of his arrival spreads in all four directions.
When the lion roars before the hunt, fear prevails in all the animals and all the creatures start hiding.
Birds start flying high on hearing the lion’s roar, crocodiles start searching the depth of water, foxes hide in burrows, even the majestic elephants which are decorated with precious jewels, equipped with golden canopies start running away from the roar.

Sangha is the proclamation of the path of enlightenment like the roar of a lion in the jungle. Buddha says that Sangha is like the roar of a lion. All false ideas and misconceptions lurking in some corner are replaced with the ideas and concerted effort of the Sangh.

The teachings of the Buddha, known as the Sutra of the Lion Roaring, make it clear that the lion that the Buddha portrayed the Sangha as, was a majestic and aggressive one.

Now another question arises as to why did Emperor Ashoka get Buddha’s sermons depicting Sangha like a lion installed on the top of the pillars in the form of idols at Sarnath and some other places?

Not only did Buddha give the first sermon in Varanasi Sarnath, but he also gave the concept of the Buddhist Sangha here and established the Sangha. Later, a huge Buddhist monastery was also established here.

The great Chinese traveler Hieun Tsang, during his visit to India, mentioned the residence of 1500 monks and nuns in this huge Buddhist monastery.

In 1905, during the excavation of Sarnath, the ruins of the Ashoka Pillar were found. A picture from that period shows the Lion Capital, and the section of the pillar bearing Emperor Ashoka’s edict. Presently the top of the pillar is located in the Sarnath Museum and the fragments of the pillar are located in a glass show case among the Sarnath Ruins.

Ashoka Pillar Fragments and the warning of Emperor Ashoka can be seen in Sarnath.

English translation of Emperor Ashoka’s warning It is mentioned by Mr. F.O Oertal. The credit for the archaeological excavations of Sarnath in 1905 and the discovery of the Ashoka pillar goes to Mr. F.O Oertal.

Thus saith the beloved of the Gods announced in the Order of Monks and in the Order of Nuns. The Church (Baudh- Math)is not to be divided But whosoever, monk or nun, shall break up the Church, shall be made to dwell white garments and dwell in a place which is not a residence for the clergy. Thus must this edict be announced in the Order of Monks and in the Order of Nuns…………………

Key points of Emperor Ashoka’s warning

Emperor Ashoka was very upset and worried about the rising trend of rebellion in the Sangha. In order to convey his point clearly to the Buddhist monks and nuns, the emperor got his warning inscribed on a pillar.

The top of the pillar reflects Gautam Buddha’s description of the Sangha as a lion and reflects the majestic qualities of the lion, certainly for this reason, Emperor Ashoka built the Lion Capital on the top of the pillar.

Observing the teachings of Buddha himself in the Buddhist literature and the warning of Emperor Ashoka, which is still inscribed on the Ashoka Pillar and the top of the pillar kept in the museum of Sarnath, there is no doubt that the Lion Capital’s lions are majestic. Depicted in an aggressive and virtuous posture.

If you want to find out the significance of the Ashoka pillar, the carved figure of other animals on the lion capital, the wheel with 32 spokes, the wheel with 24 spokes and the base like a lotus flower? You can check out this blog post that I wrote earlier—–