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Volume 1 Issue 11

April 2015

Pankaj Mishra’s An End to Suffering: The Buddha in the Contemporary World
Dr. Saurabh Kumar Singh, 
Assistant Professor, 
Department of English, 
Vasanta College for Women, 
Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India
The Buddhism, one of the most ancient religions of the world, began in India around 6th century B.C.E., and has found itself blossoming even in the contemporary world. The Buddha, which means ‘the enlightened one’ was not God, or, His Emissary on earth, but the individual who had managed to liberate himself from ordinary human suffering, and then, out of compassion, had shared his insights with others. He had placed no value on prayer or belief in a deity; he had not spoken of creation, original sin or the last judgment. He had spoken instead of a suffering that was man-made and thus eradicable. He had confined himself to human beings, living everyday lives with desire, attachment, pride, jealousy, and hatred. Pankaj Mishra’s novel An End to Suffering: The Buddha in the World (2004) is in the best traditions of the Buddhism. It is both dispassionate and deeply engaged, complicated and simple, erudite and profoundly humane. Is the Buddha still relevant today and if so, in what ways? Mishra tries to answer this question as he travels through South Asia to Europe and America. His main emphasis is to discover how Buddhist thought has flowered even in the heyday of materialistic world. To Mishra, in the contemporary world which is a vast panorama of futility, anarchy, terror, and horror, it is the Buddha who has come to represent enlightenment. It is the Buddha who seems calm and clear-sighted, having thrown away all the usual baggage: theology, god, soul, sweet expectation or numbing dread or the idea of eternity.
The Buddha; Suffering; Modern World; Pankaj Mishra; An End to Suffering: The Buddha in the World.
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Progressive Publishers is a novice publishing enterprise located at Tranquebar, Tamilnadu, India. It primarily publishes university text-books for efficient English language learning and an online scholarly journal entitled Literary Quest. Its primary goal is to promote progressive, secular, socialist and egalitarian thoughts among academicians, researchers and students of English literature. Liberty, Equality, Fraternity and Social Justice are the ideals upon which the whole enterprise rests.