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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (R)

Mayadevi (मायादेवी) was the birth mother of Gautama Buddha, the sage on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. She was sister of Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī, the first Buddhist nun ordained by the Buddha.[1][2]


Life of Maya

Māyā married King Śuddhodana (Pāli: Suddhodana), the ruler of the Śākya clan of Kapilvastu. She was the daughter of King Śuddhodhana's uncle and therefore his cousin; her father was king of Devadaha.

Māyā and King Suddhodhana did not have children for twenty years into their marriage. According to legend, one full moon night, sleeping in the palace, the queen had a vivid dream. She felt herself being carried away by four devas (spirits) to Lake Anotatta in the Himalayas. After bathing her in the lake, the devas clothed her in heavenly cloths, anointed her with perfumes, and bedecked her with divine flowers. Soon after a white elephant, holding a white lotus flower in its trunk, appeared and went round her three times, entering her womb through her right side. Finally the elephant disappeared and the queen awoke, knowing she had been delivered an important message, as the elephant is a symbol of greatness.

Birth of Buddha

According to Buddhist tradition, the Buddha-to-be was residing as a bodhisattva in the Tuṣita heaven, and decided to take the shape of a white elephant to be reborn on Earth for the last time. Māyā gave birth to Siddharta c. 563 BCE. The pregnancy lasted ten lunar months. Following custom, the Queen returned to her own home for the birth. On the way, she stepped down from her palanquin to have a walk under the Sal tree (Shorea robusta), often confused with the Ashoka tree (Saraca asoca), in the beautiful flower garden of Lumbini Park, Lumbini Zone, Nepal. Maya Devi was delighted by the park and gave birth standing while holding onto a sal branch. Legend has it that Prince Siddhārtha emerged from her right side. It was the eighth day of April. Some accounts say she gave him his first bath in the Puskarini pond in Lumbini Zone. But legend has it that devas caused it to rain to wash the newborn baby. He was later named Siddhārtha, "He who has accomplished his goals" or "The accomplished goal".

Scholars generally agree that most Buddhist literature holds that Maya died seven days after the birth of Buddha, and was then reborn in the Tusita Heaven. Seven years after the Buddha's enlightenment, she came down to visit Tavatimsa Heaven, where the Buddha later preached the Abhidharma to her.[3] Her sister Prajāpatī (Pāli: Pajāpatī or Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī) became the child's foster mother.

After Siddhartha had attained Enlightenment and become the Buddha, he visited his mother in heaven for three months to pay respects and to teach the Dharma.

In Buddhist tradition Maya died soon after the birth of Buddha, generally said to be seven days afterwards, and came to life again in a Hindu-Buddhist heaven, a pattern that is said to be followed in the births of all Buddhas. Thus Maya did not raise her son who was instead raised by his maternal aunt Mahapajapati Gotami. Maya would, however, on occasion descend from Heaven to give advice to her son.[4]

Māyā means "illusion" in Sanskrit. Māyā is also called Mahāmāyā ("Great Māyā") and Māyādevī ("Queen Māyā"). In Tibetan she is called Gyutrulma and in Japanese is known as Maya-bunin (摩耶夫人). Also Sinhalese known as මහාමායා දේවී (Mahāmāyā Dēvi).



विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर[5] ने लेख किया है ...देवदह (AS, p.447) महावंश 2, 9 में उल्लिखित शाक्य राजा 'देवदह' की राजधानी थी। यह नगर गौतम बुद्ध की माता मायादेवी का पितृस्थान था। देवदह ज़िला बस्ती, उत्तर प्रदेश के उत्तर में नेपाल की सीमा के अंतर्गत और लुंबिनी या वर्तमान रुमिनीदेई के पास ही स्थित रहा होगा। कपिलवस्तु से देवदह जाते समय मार्ग में ही लुंबिनी वन में मायादेवी ने पुत्र को जन्म दिया था। मायादेवी के पितृकुल के शाक्यों की कुल-रीति के अनुसार इनकी कन्याओं के पहले पुत्र का जन्म पितृगृह में ही होता था. कुल-रीति के अनुसार ही मायादेवी बालक के जन्म के पूर्व देवदह जा रही थी। मायादेवी के पिता कोलिय गणराज्य के मुख्य थे। 'गोरखपुर विश्वविद्यालय' के प्राध्यापक श्री सी.डी. चटर्जी ने 'देवदह' का अभिज्ञान गोरखपुर की फरेंदा तहसील के अंतर्गत 'बनरसकला' नामक स्थान से किया है।

In Mahabharata

Mahamaya (महामाया) in Mahabharata (IX.44.39)

Shalya Parva, Mahabharata/Book IX Chapter 44 describes the Kings and clans who joined the ceremony for investing Kartikeya with the status of generalissimo. Mahamaya (महामाया) is mentioned in Mahabharata (IX.44.39). [6]....Pushan gave him, O Bharata, two companions, Palitaka and Kalika, both endued with great powers of illusion (Mahamaya).

External links


  1. Buddhist Goddesses of India by Miranda Shaw (Oct 16, 2006) ISBN 0-691-12758-1 pages 45-46
  2. History of Buddhist Thought by E. J. Thomas (Dec 1, 2000) ISBN 81-206-1095-4 pages
  3. "Māyā".
  4. Buddhist Goddesses of India by Miranda Shaw (Oct 16, 2006) ISBN 0-691-12758-1 pages 45-46
  5. Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.447
  6. पालितकं कालिकं च महामायाविनाव उभौ, पूषा च पार्षथौ पराथात कार्त्तिकेयाय भारत (IX.44.39)