|The next 43
years Buddha spent preaching his creed. He was a tireless wandering missionary, and only
in the rainy season he would retire to a cave or to a garden with his disciples. In the
course of his religious tours he had visited Rajgriha, Nalanda, Pataliputra, Sravasti,
Kosambi Vaishali, and a number of other places which were very important in the political
map of India at that time.
At Rajgriha he had
converted twodisciples, Sariputra, and Maudgalyayana. These two disciples and Ananda, who
has been described as the St. John of Buddhism, had very great influence on the Buddhist
community. Among the other important disciples were his two cousins, Ananda and Devadatta
and two others, Anuruddha and Upali.
At the age of 80, Buddha 'shook off his mortal coils and
obtained his Mahaparinirvana (ascension) at Kusinagar near Gorakhpur district in Uttar
Pradesh. It is an erroneous belief on the part of many scholars that his, death was
brought about by indigestion due to the eating of boar's flesh. The original word is Sukar
Hardaba, which really means a mushroom, which a boar loves to trample.