Also celebrated as Vesak Purnima, Buddha Purnima is commemorated as the full-moon day when Gautama Buddha was born, attained enlightenment, and passed away. On all the three events in Bhagavan Buddha's life, the common link was the bright full-moon shining in the vast sky.
It is said that, due to his spiritual prowess, he had consciously shed his body in Kushinagar as a realized being. According to the Gregorian calendar, Buddha Purnima 2021 will fall on May 26, and this will be completing 2,582 years of Buddha’s spiritual legacy on our planet.
This Indian festival holds great importance in both Hinduism and Buddhism. Yes, according to Hindu texts, Lord Buddha is considered to be the ninth Avatar of Lord Vishnu himself. Thus, at the Buddha Purnima festival, many temples across India worship Lord Vishnu by reciting Vishnu Sahasranama.
Lumbini, which is in Nepal, is regarded as the birthplace of Bhagavan Buddha. He was born as a prince in the 5th or 6th century BC, but as soon as he realized the truth of human life and how fragile it was, he decided to seek answers. The desire to know whatever was beyond the circle of life and death changed his life completely.
Due to this burning curiosity to know life, Gautama, at the age of 29, left all the affluent luxuries of his palace life to begin his quest for enlightenment and seeking God. It is believed that many years later while meditating under a Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, he became enlightened and became Buddha.
The festival is also known as Satyavrat Purnima in Hinduism. There is an interesting story as to how it got this name.
It happened that one day Lord Krishna asked one of his closest friends, Sudama to keep a fast. As Sudama shared a deep bond of affection with Lord Krishna, he happily agreed despite his deteriorating financial and health condition.
Miraculously, as soon as he observed the fast, Sudama’s financial and health condition improved. He himself couldn't believe it but finally understood that it was the divine Maya of his friend Lord Krishna. Since then, it is believed that fasting on this day can help a person overcome issues related to health and finance.
On this day, the devotees gather for religious discourses and sermons in the temples, locally. Group meditations are conducted and prayers and chanting are done under the Bodhi tree (in Bodh Gaya).
In Sarnath, a great fair takes place where the relics of Lord Buddha are carried out in a procession. In Delhi, the National Museum displays the mortal remains of Lord Buddha for public viewing which is a fascinating fact in itself.
In Sikkim, Buddha Purnima is celebrated as Saga Dawa, where the monks take out a procession, carrying the Holy Book of Tsuklakhang Palace Monastery amid the beating of drums and blowing of horns. The air smells of fragrant incense. At various monasteries, folk dance performances also take place.
There are many Buddhists who visit the temples to listen to monk preachings about the ancient Buddhist verses. However, some temples also display the statue of Baby Buddha, placed in a basin filled with water and decorated flowers. The devotees who come to the temple pour water over the statue, symbolizing new beginnings. People also offer incense, flowers, and fruits to the statue.
Sarnath in Varanasi is a spiritually active place and is a must-visit for any person of religious inclination. It is located at an approximate distance of 847, 675, 1,517, 1,860 km from Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Bengaluru respectively. Here is how you can reach Sarnath by the following means of transportation.
By Air. The Varanasi Airport is the closest to Sarnath. It is well-connected to many Indian cities. After deboarding your flight, you will need to cover the remaining distance by a cab or some other means of local transportation.
By Train. However, you can also plan on traveling here by train. For this, you will have to deboard at the Sarnath Railway Station and take a cab or some other means of public transport to reach your destination.
By Road. Planning a trip to Sarnath by road can be a memorable experience as well. However, depending on your convenience and budget you can either hire a cab, bus or take your own vehicle. Nothing beats the fun of traveling in your own car and at your own pace.
You can plan your trip and create your own route to the city with Adotrip’s technically driven circuit planner. Click here.