Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Royal patronage was always been the umbrella under which art, culture and new schools of thoughts flourished. Religions also found the benefaction of royalty a must in order to strengthen their roots and spread far and wide. Throughout history there are ample examples that prove that king’s allegiance often made or broke a religion.

Ardra Kalama offered the Gautama, the monk, leadership of his school since he was aware of Gautama’s immediacy with king Bimbisara and there are many other incidents in the religious texts where religions tried to align themselves to the court and the leader for mutual growth and religions prosperity. While the Buddhist commentaries suggest that Bimbisara and Ajatsatru aligned with Buddhism at the same time Jain literature mention a similar claim of these kings’ being their patrons.

The association was always in the shared interest of both royalty and the religious teachings; the religion has the capability to reach deep down in to people’s life than a royal decree could and this soft influence on the opinions of the masses always attracted kings’ to seek the help of priests and saints while also getting invaluable knowledge and leaning on their wisdom to make wise decisions. Bimbisara frequently visited Griddhkuta for counseling with the Buddha about effective management of his estates while Bimbisara was always on a look out to spread Buddha’s teachings.

Family tree of Bimbisara

Bimbisara first patronized Buddha’s teachings and then helped it establish as a religion. Many of the members
of the Bimbisara’s Family continued their association with Buddha and later after his Mahaparinirvana with the teachings that were referred to as Buddhism. While few chose to be lay members and many others joined the order as Monk and as per the literature few even became accomplished monks and attained arhanthood.
Impact of the Buddha’s teachings was very profound and many prince, princess and queens took refuge in the Dhamma. Queen Khema was drawn towards Buddha’s teaching through Bimbisara, her husband and soon she left the luxury of the palace to join the nuns order.

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