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In the sixth century before the Christian era, religion was forgotten in India. The lofty teachings of the Vedas were thrown into the background. There was much priest craft everywhere. The insincere priests traded on religion. They duped the people in a variety of ways and amassed wealth for themselves. They were irreligious to say the least. In the name of religion, people followed in the footsteps of these cruel priests and performed meaningless rituals. They killed animals and performed various sacrifices. The country was in great need of a reformer. At such a critical period, when there were cruelty, degeneration, and unrighteousness everywhere, a reformer was to be born to save the people, and disseminate the message of equality, unity and cosmic love everywhere. Buddha was born in 560 B.C. and died at the age of eighty in 480 B.C. . Buddha's father was Suddhodana, king of the Sakhyas. Buddha's mother was named Maya. The place of his birth was a grove known as Lumbini, near the city of Kapilavastu, at the foot of Mount Palpa in the Himalayan ranges within Nepal. This small city Kapilavastu, stood on the bank of the little river Rohini, about a hundred miles north-east of the city of Varnasi. As the time grew near for Buddha to enter the world, the gods themselves prepared the way before him with celestial portents and signs. Flowers bloomed and gentle rains fell although out of season. Heavenly music was heard, and delicious scents filled the air. On the body of the child bore at birth, were thirty-two auspicious marks (Mahavyanjana) which indicated his future greatness, besides secondary marks (Anuvyanjana) in large numbers. Guatama’s mother Maya died seven days after her son's birth. He was brought up by his aunt Mahaprajapati, who became his foster- mother. On the birth of the child Siddhartha, astrologers made predictions to his father Suddhodana. "The child, on attaining manhood, would become either a universal monarch (Chakravarti), or abandoning house and home, would assume the robe of a monk and become a Buddha, a perfectly enlightened soul, for the salvation of mankind". Then the king said: "What shall my son see to make him retire from the world?" The astrologer replied: "Four signs". "What four?" asked the king. "A decrepit old man, a diseased man, a dead man and a monk - these four will make the prince retire from the world" replied the astrologers.

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