9 June 2014 - QA 13

Gurudev, these days there is a sitcom being shown about Lord Buddha on the TV. In that, they have shown that the King of Magadha (a kingdom in ancient India) and his Vedic priests had plotted a conspiracy against Lord Buddha. Can you please tell how true this is?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:

See, it is quite possible that they may have conspired against Lord Buddha. But at the same time, many Brahmins also became the disciples of Lord Buddha. And if you watch or read further, you will come to know that his own brother and some of his disciples actually tried to attack him as well.
The people who make these sitcoms actually add more drama and extra spice to these stories to make them popular and increase the viewership, and to also kindle some emotions within you. But there is absolutely no need for you to believe these stories as they are portrayed.
Many times the directors and producers show the epic and historical battles by distorting many facts. So it is very difficult to say what part of the show is genuinely true, and what is just make-believe.

It has been more than 2500 years since Lord Buddha walked the earth. There have been so many versions and tales written about His life and his nature, time and again. It is very difficult to comment upon how much of what is shown on TV is true, and how much of it is just imagination.

Some people have written these things out of ignorance and little knowledge. In some Hindu scriptures like the Mahabharata, it has been written that it is a great fortune to die under the foot of an elephant. In some, it is forbidden to enter a Jain temple.
The Jain temples have been made very beautifully, with a lot of decoration, carvings and sculptures of Lord Mahavira, and were very attractive to those who visited them.

The idols were decorated with different jewels and precious stones, and people visiting the temple would make various kinds of offerings. People naturally would get attracted to these temples and visit them. To discourage this, someone out of ignorance added to the texts of the scriptures that it is better to die by falling under an elephant’s foot than to visit a Jain temple. These are all baseless things.

Similarly in Buddhism, it is preached not revere Lord Shiva. The Buddhists pray to Lord Avalokiteshwara instead.
The Buddhists have created replicas of the male and female demigods that we have in Hinduism, with very similar forms and imagery, but with different names.
Some people have even shown in paintings that the demigods in Buddhism have vanquished the deities revered in Hinduism by defeating them in battle. By making up such false stories, they conspired to make one religion go against the other; to establish it’s supremacy over the other. But these kind of gimmicks did not last for long because people are very intelligent and found out the truth.
There were such harmonious relations between the Hindus and Jains, and there was never any disparity between Hinduism and Buddhism in the past also. Even though some people did try to create an atmosphere of conflict, but they never succeeded. Why is this so? Since the ancient times, there has been such strength and stability in the Vedic tradition which has always helped in bringing people together so that everyone moves forward and makes progress together.