Let me start with a story first, which I am sure most of you have not heard of. This story is about “the man who destroyed the Nalanda /Vikramshila University” (1193 CE).
This lunatic Islamic Turk was the warlord of Muhammad Ghori’s army, who invaded India in late 12th century, betrayed and killed Prithviraj Chauhan and finally marched towards the Magadha (today’s Bihar) and burnt the most beautiful building/complex in the world of that time i.e. Ancient Buddhist Nalanda University.
This “tiny” step of burning some university located at some small campus, marked “a giant” historical event in a 1500 years old history of Buddhism in India. Buddhism was born and flourished heavily in India since 500 BC and continued to be alive till 1193 AD.
Nalanda University was established by Kumaragupta of magnificent ancient Gupta Empire in 450 AD. It had the protection and patronage of Guptas, Harshvardhana, Palas and Senas for no lesser than 800 long years, until this man did put his step on the holy land of Magadha.
When he entered the Nalanda campus after slaying the security guard at gate of university, he saw thousands of students from many countries living there. Some of them were meditating in the campus ground beneath the trees. Without any delay, he took his sword in his hand and mercilessly began to slaughter each and every single non-Muslim that was present in that campus including the Oldest monk of Nalanda who was maintaining the ancient university for more than 40 years.
After the mass slaughter, he ignited the library of the university which was rich with the vast source of all kind of knowledge that could be available on the mother Earth at that time, with not less than 30 million scriptures. Historians claim that it took 3 and half months to burn that library completely.
This man was none other than “Bakhtiyar Khilji”!!
And this devastation of Nalanda marked the final breath of Buddhism on the holy land of India. Buddhism could never rise at that peak in India. And after this destruction, many Muslim rulers ruled over India, who either converted or slaughtered the remaining followers of Buddhism.
So, in nut and shell, the Islamic rulers killed the Buddhism in India in a day wise process like a slow poison.
Buddhism in India:
Gautama Buddha also known as Siddhartha Gautama or simply the Buddha, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. He is believed to have lived and taught mostly in the eastern part of ancient India sometime between the sixth and fourth centuries BC.
He was born to a King but chose to lead a simple religious life rather than living the lavish life he had. He left back his personal life and his new born son in order to attain enlightenment. He spent his whole life in teaching and preaching Buddhism to people.
Gautama taught a middle way between sensual indulgence and the severe asceticism found in the Sramana movement common in his region. He later taught throughout other regions of eastern India such as Magadha and Kosala.
Gautama is the primary figure in Buddhism. He is recognized by Buddhists as an enlightened teacher who attained full Buddhahood and shared his insights to help sentient beings end rebirth and suffering. Accounts of his life, discourses, and monastic rules are believed by Buddhists to have been summarized after his death and memorized by his followers. Various collections of teachings attributed to him were passed down by oral tradition and first committed to writing about 400 years later.
Hindus respect Buddha. Buddha is even seen as an “avatar”. He is one of their own. The reason is that Hindus do not feel the need for a demarcation to other views. They are the least dogmatic of all and have the most profound philosophy as a solid basis for the manifold ways of connecting with the all-pervading Divinity for which they have many different names.
Hindus don’t feel the need to pledge that they only follow one particular human being. They are free to choose what suits them best to connect with the Divine, which the Vedas claim is one’s innermost essence. No need to identify with only one strand of the many possible helpful strands.