Karmayogi Kripasaran Mahasthavir
Karmayogi Kripasaran Mahasthavir
(1865 – 1926)
This is a time (2014-2015) when India and the world is celebrating the 150th Birth Anniversary of some of Asia’s best known personalities like Rabindranath Tagore, Swami Vivekananda, Sir Ashutosh Mookerjee, Anagarika Dharmapala, Dr. Benimadhab Barua and Karmayogi Kripasaran Mahasthavir. A common thread running through this great men was their zeal and lifelong commitment to socio-religeous reforms and education for all.
The nineteenth century India saw the revolt and the subsequent movement to dislodge the British rule in India. For the Buddhists this period is of immense significance as it was the time the revival of Buddhism started in the land of its birth with the arrival of Sir Edwin Arnold, Anagarika Dharmapala and followed by Ven. Kripasaran Mahathera from Chittagong to carry the movement further. Infact, in 1972, World Fellowship of Buddhists ,held in Colombo, Sri Lanka declared Anagarika Dharmapala, Babasaheb Dr. B. R. Ambedkar and Karmayogi Kripasaran Mahasthavir as the triple gem of Buddhist revival in India.
Ven. Kripasaran was born in the village of Unainpura, in the district of Chittagong in the then undivided India (now in Bangladesh) on 22nd June 1865 in a pious Buddhist family to Ananda Kumar Barua, his father and Aradhana Barua, his mother. At the age of sixteen, he became a novice monk and in year 1885 he was given higher ordination to be initiated in the Bhikkhu Sangha under the preceptor ship of Most Ven. Acharya Purnachar.
It was during his pilgrimage to Buddhagaya, Sarnath and Kusinara alongwith his Guru in 1885 that Kripasaran realized how important Buddhism is to the world and what a gift India had given to the world civilization. Kripasaran decided to make Calcutta his base for the work of regeneration of Buddhism as it has already become the center of social and religious renaissance and the biggest city in the eastern part of India. Here is a list of his major work after he settled in Calcutta :
1892 Establishment of Bauddha Dharmankur Sabha (The Bengal Buddhist Association).
1896 Attending Coronation ceremony of Chakma Raja Bhuban Mohan Roy.
1900 Purchase of five kathas of land by Ven. Kripasaran at Bowbazar area in Central Calcutta.
1901 Foundation laid for construction of Dharmankur Vihara.
1903 Inauguration of Dharmankur Vihara.
1907 Foundation for construction of Buddha Vihara at Lucknow and Shimla.
1908 Publication of ‘Jagajjyoti’, a Buddhist journal which has become well known for its scholarly content and Buddhist culture; Establishment of Shillong and Dibrugarh branches of the Sabha.
1909 Foundation of Gunalankar Library in Calcutta which is still functioning.
1910 Visit of 12th Dalai Lama of Tibet at Dharmankur Vihara ; A convention of Young Men’s Buddhist Association was organized by him which brought forward all the youths under a common banner
1911 Ven. Gunalankar and Ven. Kripasaran attend the Coronation Durbar of Prince of Wales in Delhi; Also pilgrimage to Sri Lanka on the invitation of his friend Anagarika Dharmapala.
1912 Establishment of Kripasaran Free Institution, ,still functioning as Kripasaran Continental Institution in Calcutta;
Foundation of Buddhist Hostel at Calcutta; Ven. Kripasaran’s visit to various parts of Assam.
1914 On Ven. Kripasaran’s initiative, Sri Beni Madhab Barua sent to London University for higher studies in Pali, who later became the first D. Litt from Asia.
1915 Establishment of Ranchi branch of the Sabha; Reception of Rev. Anagarika Dharmapala in Chittagong; Installation of marble statue of Kripasaran in the premises of Dharmankur Vihara – Sir Ashutosh and Anagarika Dharmapala graced the occasion as President & Chief Guest respectively.
1916 A very successful visit to Rangoon, Burma; Rest House built in Chittagong near the Buddhist Temple.
1917 Dr. Beni Madhab Barua felicitated by Bengal Buddhist Association on his return from London after becoming first D. Litt from Asia.
1918 For the rights of women in India, Ven. Kripasaran organized a Buddhist Women’s Conference under the Presidentship of Ms. A. L. Janau, Principal of famous Bethune College, Calcutta.
1919 Visit to famous Sitakundu Mela in Chittagong; Felicitation by people of Darjeeling in the presence of Maharaja of Burdwaman, Bijoychand Mahtab and Sir Ashutosh Mookerjee.
1921 Reconstruction of Buddha Vihara of Village Unainpura and Rangamati in Chittagong by Ven. Kripasaran.
1922 Establishment of Jamshedpur branch of the Sabha.
1924 Convention of World Buddhist Conference at Nalanda Park, organized by Bauddha Dharmankur Sabha was his ultimate gift to the Buddhist world; it lasted for nine days from 6th December to 14th December; Many highly regarded monks from Arakan, Burma, Srilanka, Chittagong as well as renowned intellectuals from all parts of India participated to revive the Buddhist ideology in the world.
1925 Foundation of Shillong Buddha Vihara and ‘Gandhamadan Vihara’ in Darjeeling by Ven. Kripasaran.
1926 Due to failing health, Ven. Kripasaran died on 30th April.
1927 As per his last wish, his body was cremated in his native village Unainpura,Chittagong.
150th Birth Anniversary Celebration of Karmayogi Kripasaran Mahasthavir
To be organized by Dialogue of Wisdom,New Delhi in association with
Bengal Buddhist Association (Bauddha Dharmankur Sabha),Kolkata
On 22 Nov 1014 At B P Pal Auditorium, C R Park, New Delhi.