Book Review: 'Siddhartha The Boy Who Became The Buddha'
Aapo Deepo Bhava i.e Be Your Light was a homily which was uttered by one of the greatest monks, Gautam Buddha. As Buddha left for his heavenly abode centuries back, it was a difficult acquiescence for his followers to leave his holiness and move into this materialistic world, without the physical presence of their Spiritual Guru.
This void was balanced by all the citizens of the then Magadha, Vaishali, Shakya, Koliya, Bulaya, Pava and Vehta by not letting their spirits mourn for the passing away of one of the greatest souls but by being joie de vivre, they tried welcoming the Buddha way of life. Their guide was Aapo Deepo Bhava i.e Be your Light.
Born as a monarch, Buddha left all the luxury of the world to become one of the epitomes of sacrifice, a preacher of selflessness and eloquence and a seeker of spirituality. Buddha or the Awakened One was most probably born between the 6th to 4th Century BCE near Kapilavastu, Shakya Clan. His mother was Mahamaya as mentioned in the book, ‘Siddhartha, The Boy Who Became The Buddha’ by Advait Kottary.
The author Advait Kottary has written the book in such a way that a vivid reader, can feel the joy and pain of Mahamaya, the sadness and the dutifulness of sister Prajapati, the ego and helpness of a father Shuddhodana, the frustration and the desperation of brother Devdutt, the love and sacrifice of the princess Yashodhara and the innocence of Rahula.
In order to stop Siddhartha take on the path of renunciation, his father tried to shield him from exposure to the ills of this world including sickness, death and old age. However when Siddhartha was exposed to the various ailing of human life on his way outside the palace, he went out in search of answers which were constantly thronging him. Buddha's life was full of struggles and renunciation.
The initial thought after reading the book is about one’s feeling of scintillation of higher purpose which has the ability to vanquish evil within any humans. Such is the beautiful eloquence of thoughts expressed by the writer that even beliefs seemed to get emaciated in sunya (Zero).
The knowledge of Buddha’s life, his thoughts, his pains, his struggles, his search for answers and his preaching's, all multiply the essence of humanity and love for living beings. It was said that after his death, Buddha instructed his followers to cremate his body and then to distribute the relics amongst his various followers, which were to enshrine them in hemispherical reliquaries called Stupas. It is said that more than a century later after the death of Buddha, the mighty King Ashoka distributed the relics in 84,000 stupas.
The book has hopes for all. Starting from Ajaatshatru, Amrapali, Devdutt, Angulimaal and many other humans found a hope to live a life with meaning. Advait’s description of the negative thoughts which emerged in Ajaatshatru, Devdutt, Angulimaal all vanished, when they understood the preaching of Gautam Buddha.
Buddha’s enlightenment had many challenges. Some of the scriptures and other documents echo that Gautam Buddha on a full moon night probably in the month of May, met with a demon named Mara, who used violence, sensual pleasures and mockery to stop Buddha from attaining enlightenment. It is said that in Buddhist cosmology, Mara signifies ‘Unskillfulness’ and which leads to the death of a ‘spiritual life’. Hence in Buddhism, Mara is represented and personified through negative qualities, which is found in the human ego and the psychic thoughts. In another story, it was said that in desperation, Mara challenged the prince’s right to occupy the spot of earth, upon which he sat, claiming that it belonged to him. It was said that Buddha touched the Earth and asked the Goddess of the planet to confirm that a great gift that he had made as Prince Vessantara in his previous life had earned him the right to sit beneath the tree. The Goddess confirmed and Mara left.
Though the book didn't mention much about the ways Buddha got enlightenment, the book brings out beautifully the essence of His Holiness, Gautam Buddha, his life and his sacrifices.
Advait Kottary is a wonderful writer and anyone who reads this book is likely to fall in love with his writings. His message through this book will let us think again and again about patience and the ways to achieve the same in today’s world. Patience and Peace is the necessity, which is lacking in today’s fast moving generation. Reading this book is a wonderful journey by itself.
Buddha's Compassion is something which I felt from the heart after reading the book and his words still echo in my mind: ‘Aapo Deepo Bhava’ that is ‘Be Your Light’.
I read the book and if I have to rate the book on 10 Stars and 10 being the highest, I will give the book 9 stars.
(Please Note: The above are my own personal thoughts based on reading this book. Your views, facts, and opinions after reading the book may differ)
This is all from me in this short article. Hope you have liked my personal thoughts and opinions. Please share your views or comments on the Book Review and Recommendation of the book, 'Siddhartha The Boy Who Became The Buddha’ written by Advait Kottary.
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Mainak Majumdar (He/Him)