Rajagaha, aka: Rājagaha; 5 Definition(s)
Rajagaha means something in Buddhism, Pali, the history of ancient India. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.
Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)
A city, the capital of Magadha. There seem to have been two distinct towns; the older one, a hill fortress, more properly called Giribbaja, was very ancient and is said (VvA. p.82; but cp. D.ii.235, where seven cities are attributed to his foundation) to have been laid out by Mahagovinda, a skilled architect. The later town, at the foot of the hills, was evidently built by Bimbisara.
Hiouen Thsang says (Beal, ii.145) that the old capital occupied by Bimbisara was called Kusagra. It was afflicted by frequent fires, and Bimbisara, on the advice of his ministers, abandoned it and built the new city on the site of the old cemetery. The building of this city was hastened on by a threatened invasion by the king of Vesali. The city was called Rajagaha because Bimbisara was the first person to occupy it. Both Hiouen Thsang and Fa Hsien (Giles: 49) record another tradition which ascribed the foundation of the new city to Ajatasattu.
Pargiter (Ancient Ind. Historical Tradition, p.149) suggests that the old city was called Kusagrapura, after Kusagra, an early king of Magadha. In the Ramayana (i. 7, 32) the city is called Vasumati. The Mahabharata gives other names - Barhadrathapura (ii.24, 44), Varaha, Vrsabha, Rsigiri, Caityaka (see PHAI.,p.70).
It was also called Bimbisarapuri and Magadhapura (SNA.ii.584).
But both names were used indiscriminately (E.g., S.N. vs. 405), though Giribbaja seems, as a name, to have been restricted to verse passages. The place was called Giribbaja (mountain stronghold) because it was surrounded by five hills - Pandava, Gijjhakuta, Vebhara, Isigili and Vepulla* - and Rajagaha, because it was the seat of many kings, such as Mandhata and Mahagovinda (SNA.ii.413). It would appear, from the names given of the kings, that the city was a very ancient royal capital. In the Vidhurapandita Jataka (J.vi.271), Rajagaha is called the capital of Anga. This evidently refers to a time when Anga had subjugated Magadha.
* SNA.ii.382; it is said (M.iii.68) that these hills, with the exception of Isigili, were once known by other names e.g., Vankaka for Vepulla (S.ii.191). The Samyutta (i.206) mentions another peak near Rajagaha - Indakuta. See also Kalasila.
The Commentaries (E.g., SNA. loc. cit) explain that the city was inhabited only in the time of Buddhas and Cakkavatti kings; at other times it was the abode of Yakkhas who used it as a pleasure resort in spring. The country to the north of the hills was known as Dakkhinagiri (SA.i.188).
Rajagaha was closely associated with the Buddhas work. He visited it soon after the Renunciation, journeying there on foot from the River Anoma, a distance of thirty leagues (J.i.66). Bimbisara saw him begging in the street, and, having discovered his identity and the purpose of his quest,(Source): Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names
Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).
General definition (in Buddhism)(Source): Buddhist Door: Glossary
1. The city of “Royal Palaces;” “the residence of the Magadha kings from Bimbisara to Asoka, the first metropolis of Buddhism, at the foot of the Gridhrakuta mountains. Here the first synod assembled within a year after Sakyamuni’s death. Its ruins are still extant at the village of Rajghir, sixteen miles S.W. of Behar, and form an object of pilgrimage to the Jains (E. H., p. 100).” It is called New Rajagriha to distinguish it from Kusagarapura, a few miles from it, the old residence of the kings. Eitel says it was built by Bimbisara, while Fa-hien ascribes it to Ajatasatru. I suppose the son finished what the father had begun.
2. New Rajagriha,7—the new city which was built by king Ajatasatru. There were two monasteries in it. Three hundred paces outside the west gate, king Ajatasatru, having obtained one portion of the relics of Buddha, built (over them) a tope, high, large, grand, and beautiful.(Source): eBooks@Adelaide: A Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms
The city of Rajgir (ancient Rājagṛha; Pali: Rājagaha) was the first capital of the kingdom of Magadha, a state that would eventually evolve into the Mauryan Empire. This area is also notable in Jainism and Buddhism as one of the favorite places for Lord Mahavira and Gautama Buddha and the well known “Atanatiya” conference was held at Vulture’s Peak mountain. New Rajgir is defined by another, larger, embankment outside the northern entrance of the valley and next to the modern town. It was here that Gautama Buddha spent several months meditating, and preaching at Gridhra-kuta, ('Hill of the Vultures'). He also delivered some of his famous sermons and initiated king Bimbisara of Magadha and countless others to Buddhism. On one of the hills is the Saptparni cave where the First Buddhist Council was held under the leadership of Maha Kassapa.(Source): WikiPedia: Buddhism
India history and geogprahy
Rājagaha or Rājagṛha.—Hathīgumpha Inscription of Khāravela mentions the city Rājagaha, modern Rajgir, about fourteen miles south-west of the town of Bihar Sharif in the Bihar sub-division of Patna district. It is a little over forty miles, as the crow flies south-east of Patna and about six miles south of ancient site of Nalanda. The antiquity of Rajagāha is borne out by literature and corroborated bythe archaeological sources. Pali and Prakrit literature speaks of its power, prosperity and magnificence in the life-time of Buddha and Mahavira. They also inform us that Magadha had a long rivalry with Aṅga and Vaiśālī and consequently her capital Rājagṛha had been formerly subjugated by the Aṅgas.
Out of various names, Vasumatī, Magadhapura, Bārhadrathapura and Rājagṛha etc., Gīrivraja seems to be the earliest name of Rajgir, keeping in view the site of the old city encircled by five hills, which are now crowded with Jain temples, built of old material. The Buddhist tradition claims that Aśoka erected a stūpa and a pillar with elephant capital, but in none of the excavations so far undertaken, any distinctive Mauryan ruins have been discovered.
In the beginning of the fifih century, Fa-Hien found the valley of Rajgir quite desolate and even two centuries later when Hiuen-tsang visited it. the conditions were not much different. Majumdar,on the basis of Hiuen-tsang, thinks that the old city had two separate divisions, the Palace city, and the Mountain city. For detailed accounts of Son-bhandara cave and Vaibhara Hill videthe article of Śānti Mukhopādhyāya (IHQ, XXXVII, 105) and forother details, see The Antiquarian Remains In Bihar, D. R. Patil, 432ff.(Source): archive.org: Geography in Ancient Indian inscriptions
The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.
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Search found 35 books and stories containing Rajagaha or Rājagaha. You can also click to the full overview containing English textual excerpts. Below are direct links for the most relevant articles:
The Mahavamsa (by Wilhelm Geiger)
The Gospel of Buddha (by Paul Carus)
The Book of Protection (by Piyadassi Thera)
Discourse 13 - Factors Of Enlightenment < [Discourses]
Discourse 16 - The Discourse At Isigili < [Discourses]
Discourse 12 - Factors Of Enlightenment < [Discourses]
The Buddha and His Disciples (by Venerable S. Dhammika)
Guide to Tipitaka (by U Ko Lay)
Part II - Bhikkhu Vagga < [(b) Majjihma Pannasa Pali]
Part III - Paribbajaka Vagga < [(b) Majjihma Pannasa Pali]
Book 4 - Culavagga Pali < [Chapter II - Vinaya Pitaka]
The Life of Sariputta (by Nyanaponika Thera)
Cunda Sutta < [Part III - The Further Shore]
Friendships < [Part II - Maturity Of Insight]