SPECIAL NOTE: WQ has no vested interest in the Buddha's birthplace being in India, Persia, Iran, Afghanistan, Greco-India, or anywhere else in particular. (In fact, for simplicity we prefer Nepal, a lovely and mysterious land which already claims the other biggest thing in the world). However, we do have a keen interest in the truth -- whatever it may be. We are therefore eager to entertain, explore, and question counterintuitive scholarship on the subject.
Sir Aurel Stein, one of the greatest antiquarians of all times, found a very ancient shrine at Kuh-e Khwaja [the real "Kapilavastu," birthplace of the Buddha, also called Prophthasia] in Seistan which he labelled as Buddhist. He found nothing ancient in Nepal yet, due to Führer, saw only Bodhisattvas and missed that this was the birthplace of Gotama Buddha. This created a sensation but has been duly forgotten.
Roman Ghirshman, a noted Iranologist missed the full import of Stein's discovery but wrote with unfailing instinct that the murals of Kuh-e Khwaja are the precursors of Gandhara art, which points to the great antiquity of the site. Nearby Dahan-e Gholaman is heedlessly termed a "slaves entrance," but to any discerning observer Gholaman is a clear echo of Gotama.
Seistan is not only the home of all ancient Iranian lore including the Shahnama, it is also the locale of the Lalitavistara.
Kuh-e Khwaja was Kapilavastu. The important Buddhist text the Mahaparinibbana Sutta ["the lengthy Discourse of the Buddha's final passing into nirvana"] states that the "Mauryas," a kshatriya ["warrior caste" rather than brahmin, merchant, or laborer] people, had received the relics of the Buddha. The Mauryas are said to be from Pipphali-vana, which appears to be Babil in Seistan.
Babil is cognate with Kapilavastu, and there are several sites named Vasht in Seistan. Vasht reminds one of Queen Vashti of the Book of Esther. Herzfeld wrote about Bawer, said to have been founded by the legendary Jamshid, which is Babil. Kapilavastu was the holiest religious center of the ancient world. The Tarikh-i Seistan states that Ali, son-in-law of Prophet Mohammed, was buried in Seistan.
E. Herzfeld wrote that the Magi went to Palestine from Kuh-e Khwaja. I. M. Diakonoff held that the Prophet Zoroaster was from Seistan. This is also stated by Gnoli who, unfortunately, is hoodwinked by Führer. Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, founder of the venerated Indian shrine of Ajmer Sharif, which stands for "amity amongst people of all creeds" hailed from Seistan.
The history of Alexander the Great shows that Kuh-e Khwaja was Alexandria Prophthasia, the "abode of Prophets." Deluded by Führer's misdeeds, great scholars like Tarn and Herzfeld missed the clear hint in the name Alexandria Prophthasia. Herzfeld mistakenly dated the stepped fire altar at Kuh-e Khwaja to the first century B.C., which is accepted by T. Kawami without circumspection. Y. Yamamoto, on the other hand, correctly identifies it as the oldest surviving Zoroastrian altar.
In art Gotama [the Buddha] is often shown seated on a lotus which may be related to his true origin: For Nelumbo nucifer (Nelumbonaceae), the Indian lotus, is not native to modern India but to the wetlands of northern Iran. From there it probably spread to Egypt, India, and further east. Persian history provides crucial information about the history of Buddhism.
A careful study shows that "Gotama" [Gautama, the historical Buddha] was the same as Gaumata, who hangs like a ghost in Persian history. His tussle with Darius-I as recorded in stone at Behistun is one of the greatest stories and scandals of history, yet little is known about the nature or cause of his revolt.
P. Briant's account of Gomata in the Encyclopedia Iranica lacks insight, but historians like Toynbee and Olmstead suspected Darius’ veracity and concluded that Gaumata was not an imposter. Although R. N. Frye fails to notice the overlap with Indian history, Gaumata was a namesake of Gotama. Gut-ama in Sumerian means "one whose mother is a cow," which agrees with the meaning of Gau-mata in Sanskrit and old Persian. Gaumata was an immensely popular figure.
That Darius had lied is also noted by Chester Starr, Dandamayev, and W. Culican. T. C. Young Jr., a noted expert on Iran, also saw through the tirades of Darius-I and came very near recognizing the true nature of Gaumata, who was also a religious leader. More>>