The systems called Jainism (see Jains) and Buddhism (q.v.) had their roots in prehistoric philosophies, but were founded respectively by Vardhamana Mahavira and Gotama Buddha, both of whom were preaching in Magadha during the reign of Bimbisara (c. 520 B.C.).
For forty-five years after entering on his mission Gotama itinerated in the valley of the Ganges, not going farther than about 250 m.
There Gotama rested again, and bathed for the last time.
Disenchanted and dissatisfied, Gotama had given up all that most men value, to seek peace in secluded study and self-denial.
And we need have no hesitation in accepting this as a monument put up over a portion of the ashes from the funeral pyre of Gotama the Buddha.
When Gotama the Buddha, himself a Kosalan by birth, determined on the use, for the propagation of his religious reforms, of the living tongue of the people, he and his followers naturally made full use of the advantages already gained by the form of speech current through the wide extent of his own country.
It is needless to add that, under the overpowering influence of these vain imaginations, the earnest moral teachings of Gotama became more and more hidden from view.
Among these hypothetical beings, the creations of a sickly scholasticism, hollow abstractions without life or reality, the particular trinity in which the historical Gotama was assigned a subordinate place naturally occupied the most exalted rank.
North-west of this another Asoka pillar has been discovered, recording his visit to the cairn erected by the Sakyas over the remains of Konagamana, one of the previous Buddhas or teachers, whose follower Gotama the Buddha had claimed to be.
It is quite consistent with his whole career that it was love and pity for others - otherwise, as it seemed to him, helplessly doomed and lost - which at last overcame every other consideration, and made Gotama resolve to announce his doctrine to the world.