Asvaghosa’s Buddhacarita: A Study

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Item Code: NAH166
Author: Nripendra Nath Sarma
Language: English
Edition: 2003
ISBN: 818679140X
Pages: 180
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 8.5 inch x 5.5 inch
Weight 320 gm
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Book Description

About the Book

This work is my Ph. D. thesis. I have done a critical study of the Buddhacarita which is the most famous work amongst works of Asvaghosa the Buddhist poet and philospher. Apart from the literary point of view, it has also importance from Various other points of view. This work has historical importance and it also gives a description about the life and activities of Gautama Buddha along with the buddhist philosophy. Besides, we may also know the socio-political and cultural history of the time. Therefore, I have made ceitical study of this work in critical and comparative lines and I hope, this book will be useful for students and researchers.

About the Author

Dr. Nripendra Nath Sarma, M.A. (Sanskrit), Sahitya Sastri, Kavyatirtha is the principal, Nalbari Sanskrit College, Nalbari (Assam). He has contributed a number of articles in various journals, souvenirs, books on felicitation, seminars and conferences in English, Sanskrit and Assamese. Dr. Sarma has already jointly compiled with Dr. B.K. Deva Goswami the work, “The Descriptive Catalogue of Sanskrit Manuscript” , preserved at the Kamrup Sanskrit Sanjibani Sabha Library, Nalbari (Assam). He is now a member of the Assam Sanskrit Association, Assam Sanskrit Board, Guwahati, Assam. He was a secretary of the Kamrup Sanskrit Sanjibani Sabha, Nalbari for last twenty four years. At present, he is serving as the working president of the Sabha. In this way, he is associated with many cultural and educational institutions.


I have the pleasure to go through the doctoral thesis to be published under the title “Asvaghosa’s Buddhacarita: A study” of Dr. Nripendra Nath Sarma, M.A., Ph. D. Sahitya Shastri, Kavyatirtha, Principal. Nalbari Sanskrit College. Nalbari, The Work is an attempt to highlight the different aspects of the Buddhacarita, the magnum opus of the great Buddhist writer. The Buddhacarita, a poem in Sanskrit occupies a prominent place in Buddhist and Sanskrit literature. Without the study of the Buddhacarita, the knowledge about the life and philosophy of Lord Buddha cannot be thought of complete. Asvaghosa, a pre-Kalidasian poet has been successful in delineating the life of Lord Buddha. With its poetic beauty and literary merit the Buddhacarita receives attention from the readers.

Dr. Sarma deserves appreciation for intelligently taking this great Buddhist work for his doctoral degree. The work of Dr. Sarma is a sincere effort to critically study different aspects of the original work of Asvaghosa. Dr. Sarma has discussed carefully the topics of the Buddhacarita in five chapters dealing with general Introduction. Rasa, Guna, Alamkara, poetic demerits, life of Buddha, philosophical ideas and socio- cultural aspects. In simple but correct language, Dr. Sarma presents his critical and thoughtful study. The work of Dr. Sarma will definitely, as I believe and understand, help the readers understand the life and philosophy of Lord Buddha and as such the work of Dr. Sarma will receive attention and appreciation from them and only then the endeavour of Dr. Sarma can be thought of successful and meaningful.


I came to be interested in the Buddhist literature since my college life. Later on, I joined as a lecturer of Kavya in the Nalbari Sanskrit College and I approached Acharya Manoranjan Shastri, then Principal of the college for a suitable subject for research. He advised me to make a critical study of Asvaghosa’s Buddhacorita: Finally with the endorsement of my revered supervisor Professor Dr. A. K. Goswami, Head of the Department of Sanskrit, Gauhali University, I decided to make a comprehensive study of the work. The Buddhacarita is the celebrated poetical work (Kavya) attributed to Asvaghosa. the most outstanding Buddhist poet and philosopher in the Sanskrit literature.

He is supposed to have been a contemporary of king Kaniska, the greatest king of the Kushana dynasty of the 1st century A.D. The Buddhacarita, has two parts. Each part, is divided into fourteen cantos. In the 1st part, the life of Gautama Buddha since his birth till his enlightenment is described. The part two is devoted to the description of his return to Kapilavastu, propagation of his doctrines and his nirvana. Amongst the works of Asvaghosa, Buddhacarita comes to be all the more famous because of its biographical. philosophical, social and political contents. It has also made great influence on literature, culture and history of the Indian society. The work deserves to be critically studied respect of its literary, biographical and philosophical aspects. The socio-political and cultural information available in the work also need to be studied in depth.

As directed by my supervisor, I have presented in this a study of the Buddhacarita as far as possible, in comprehensive and comparative way. My labour will be amply rewarded if the work comes to be of interest and utility for the readers and researchers of the Buddhist literature.

As I conclude. I am really conscious of the probable short -comings in this work.



  Preface ix
  Acknowledgement xi
  Scheme of Transliteration xiii
  Abbreviation xiv
  A Note on the mode of Presentation xvi
Chapter I : Introduction 46753
Chapter II : Examination of the poetic Aspect 29-36
Chapter III : Study of the Biographical Aspects 77-94
Chapter IV : Study of the Philosophical Aspects 95-108
Chapter V : Study of the Socio-cultural Aspects 109-150
  Custom and Manners 128
  Food and Drink 129
  Bibliography 151-156
  Index 157-160


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