Lord Buddha attained enlightenment after years of rigorous meditation under a Peepal tree on the banks of the Niranjana River. Immediately after attaining enlightenment he came to Kashi to deliver his first sermon.
@ Why did Lord Buddha come to Kashi immediately after attaining enlightenment?
@ Why did Lord Buddha choose Kashi to deliver his first sermon?
Some of the principal reasons why Buddha chose Kashi, are as follows.
@ Buddha had come to Kashi many times before and he was well aware of the nature of the people of Kashi.
Kashi was never an unknown city to Buddha.
Even before Gautam Buddha incarnated on Earth, Kashi was a very important city on social, economic and cultural backgrounds.
Many changes in the Hindu religion started from Kashi.
New practices were started by many Chakravarti kings (The title of Chakravarti Samrat was given to those kings who brought epoch-making changes in the society).only after performing Yagya in Kashi, King Prithu is one of the examples of such kings.
According to Hindu beliefs, Prithu was the first king of India and he performed many yagyas in the Sarnath region of Kashi. It is notable that Buddha’s first sermon is also known as Dharma Chakra Parivartan and Buddha was a prince before leaving home.
BUDDHA DIDN’T FIND A ‘NEW RELIGION’, BUDDHISM WAS INSTEAD A MOVEMENT .
Buddha never said that he was the founder of a different religion named Buddhism.
He is never even portrayed as the father of Buddhism in Buddhist literature.
It becomes quite clear from these facts that Buddha was not laying the foundation of any new religion, but was leading a movement against the evil practices of Hinduism. Buddhism was actually a movement against religious evils.
Buddha tried to remove as many evils as he possibly could from Hinduism which had developed along with time in Hinduism.
Preaching Buddha-5th century CE-Sandstone-Sarnath
The only goal of Buddha was the welfare of as many people as possible. About 600 years before the birth of Christ, Buddha had developed these wonderful ideas of everyone’s well being and dedicated his whole life for public welfare.
This was probably the world’s first movement to remove social inequality and injustice.
Buddhism is also considered to be the first missionary religion which was based on the teachings of Buddha and not in opposition to any other religion.
In the past, many movements inspired by the betterment of Hindu religion and the spirit of public welfare, efforts for religious reform had already taken place in Kashi before, and so this might be one of the reason why Buddha chose Kashi for giving his sermon.
CAPITAL OF ALL KNOWLEDGE
SARV VIDYA KI RAJDHANI
Kashi has always been a city of learning. Since ancient times, it has been considered the capital of all knowledge.
Even before the advent of Buddha, some new places of learning had developed or were developing in India and were posing a challenge to Kashi, but still the people of Kashi didn’t lose their love for knowledge and were open to new ideas. This is another reason why Buddha chose Kashi to sow the seeds of his thoughts.
CULTURAL CAPITAL OF INDIA
Kashi is a sacred place for all Hindu cults, Shaiva, Vaishnava, Snake worship, Nag worship, Gandharva worship, Prakriti worship etc. and for this reason people from all places of the country used to gather here in Kashi.
Buddha could have quickly and easily propagated his teachings to all parts of the country through the people who came to Kashi from different parts of the country if he delivered his sermon here . This is another good reason why Buddha chose Kashi for TURNING THE WHEEL OF DHARMA.
GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION OF KASHI
In ancient India, almost all the major routes of North India used to pass through Kashi, not only this, almost all the major cities of India were settled on the banks of the rivers, due to which Kashi was well connected with all means of transport.
When Buddha urged Buddhist monks to go far for the propagation of his teachings, Kashi’s better transportation facility helped Buddhist monks a lot in spreading Buddha’s teachings.
VARANASI AS THE FINANCIAL CAPITAL OF INDIA
The advanced trade of Kashi is mentioned in almost all the literature available before Buddha. All the businesses of that period were flourishing in Kashi. Kashi’s textile business had no match.
Cotton was produced very well in the rural areas of Kashi and the muslin of Kashi was world-famous.
The clothes in which Egyptian mummies were wrapped were made in India only and it is quite possible that they were made right here in Kashi itself.
RAJGHAT ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE( archaeological remains dating as old as 800 BCE to 18 century CE.)
A large number of foreign coins and seals have been found in Rajghat, the oldest area of Varanasi. Such a large number of foreign coins is a strong indication that even before Buddha, a large number of foreign traders used to reside in Kashi.
The message of Buddha soon spread beyond the country’s borders through these merchants. The first sermon given to Buddha’s first five disciples in Kashi soon spread to almost entire Asia including China, and Japan.
Foreign traders must have also made a huge contribution in the propagation of the teachings of Buddha. Taking into account all of these facts it becomes quite clear that Kashi was rather an ideal choice for Buddha to deliver his sermon.