Buddha & His Dhamma





Book I: Siddharth Gautama—How a Bodhisatta became the Buddha

Part I—From Birth to Parivraja

Part II—Renunciation for Ever

Part III—In Search of New Light

Part IV—Enlightenment and the Vision of a New Way

Part V—The Buddha and His Predecessors

Part VI—The Buddha and His Contemporaries

Part VII—Comparison and Contrast











Indications of a growth in the volume of interest in Buddhism are noticeable in some sections of the Indian people. Along with it there is naturally a growing demand for a clear and consistent statement of the life and teachings of the Buddha.

Anyone who is not a Buddhist finds it extremely difficult to present the life and teachings of the Buddha in a manner which would make it a consistent whole. Depending on the Nikayas, not only the presentation of a consistent story of the life of the Buddha becomes a difficult thing and the presentation of some parts of his teachings becomes much more so. Indeed it would not be an exaggeration to say that of all the founders of religions in the world the presentation of the life and teachings of the founder of Buddhism presents a problem which is quite puzzling if not baffling. Is it not necessary that these problems should be solved and the path for the understanding of Buddhism be made clear? Is it not time that those who are Buddhists should take up these problems at least for general discussion and throw what light they can on these problems ?

With a view to raise a discussion on these problems I propose to set them out here. The first problem relates to the main event in the life of the Buddha, namely, Parivraja. Why did the Buddha take Parivraja? The traditional answer is that he took Parivraja because he saw a dead person, a sick person and an old person. This answer is absurd on the face of it. The Buddha took Parivraja at the age of 29. If he took Parivraja as a result of these three sights, how is it he did not see these three sights earlier? These are common events occurring by hundreds and the Buddha could not have failed to come across them earlier. It is impossible to accept the traditional explanation that this was the first time he saw them. The explanation is not plausible and does not appeal to reason. But if this is not the answer to the question, what is the real answer?

The second problem is created by the four Aryan Truths. Do they form part of the original teachings of the Buddha ? This formula cuts at the root of Buddhism. If life is sorrow, death is sorrow and rebirth is sorrow, then there is an end of everything. Neither religion nor philosophy can help a man to achieve happiness in the world. If there is no escape from sorrow, then what can religion do, what can Buddha do to relieve man from such sorrow which is ever there in birth itself? The four Aryan Truths are a great stumbling block in the way of non-Buddhists accepting the gospel of Buddhism. For the four Aryan Truths deny hope to man. The four Aryan Truths make the gospel of the Buddha a gospel of pessimism. Do they form part of the original gospel or are they a later accretion by the monks ?

The third problem relates to the doctrines of soul, of karma and rebirth. The Buddha denied the existence of the soul. But he is also said to have affirmed the doctrine of karma and rebirth. At once a question arises. If there is no soul, how can there be karma? If there is no soul, how can there be rebirth ? These are baffling questions. In what sense did the Buddha use the words karma and rebirth ? Did he use them in a different sense than the sense in which they were used by the Brahmins of his day? If so, in what sense? Did he use them in the same sense in which the Brahmins used them ? If so, is there not a terrible contradiction between the denial of the soul and the affirmation of karma and rebirth? This contradiction needs to be resolved.

The fourth problem relates to the Bhikkhu. What was the object of the Buddha in creating the Bhikkhu ? Was the object to create a perfect man ? Or was his object to create a social servant devoting his life to service of the people and being their friend, guide and philosopher? This is a very real question. On it depends the future of Buddhism. If the Bhikkhu is only a perfect man he is of no use to the propagation of Buddhism because though a perfect man he is a selfish man. If, on the other hand, he is a social servant he may prove to be the hope of Buddhism. This question must be decided not so much in the interest of doctrinal consistency but in the interest of the future of Buddhism.

If I may say so, the pages of the journal of the Mahabodhi Society make, to me at any rate, dull reading. This is not because the material presented is not interesting and instructive. The dullness is due to the fact that it seems to fall upon a passive set of readers. After reading an article, one likes to know what the reader of the journal has to say about it. But the reader never gives out his reaction. This silence on the part of the reader is a great discouragement to the writer. I hope my questions will excite the readers to come and make their contribution to their solution.



" from time to time men find themselves forced to reconsider current and inherited beliefs and ideas, to gain some harmony between present and past experience, and to reach a position which shall satisfy the demands of feeling and reflexion and give confidence for facing the future. If, at the present day, religion, as a subject of critical or scientific inquiry, of both practical and theoretical significance has attracted increasing attention, this can be ascribed to (a) the rapid progress of scientific knowledge and thought ; (b) the deeper intellectual interest in the subject ; (c) the widespread tendencies in all parts of the world to reform or reconstruct religion, or even to replace it by some body of thought, more ' rational ' and ' scientific ' or less ' superstitious ' ; and (d) the effect of social, political, and international events of a sort which, in the past, have both influenced and been influenced by religion. Whenever the ethical or moral value of activities or conditions is questioned, the value of religion is involved ; and all deep-stirring experiences invariably compel a reconsideration of the most fundamental ideas, whether they are explicitly religious or not. Ultimately there arise problems of justice, human destiny, God, and the universe ; and these in turn involve problems of the relation between ' religious ' and other ideas, the validity of ordinary knowledge, and practicable conceptions of 'experience' and 'reality.'

-From " Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics," Vol. X, p. 669.










Part I—From Birth to Parivraja

Part II—Renunciation for Ever

Part III—In Search of New Light

Part IV—Enlightenment and the Vision of a New Way

Part V—The Buddha and His Predecessors

Part VI—The Buddha and His Contemporaries

Part VII—Comparison and Contrast



1. His Kula

2. His Ancestry

3. His Birth

4. Visit by Asita

5. Death of Mahamaya

6. Childhood and Education

7. Early Traits

8. Marriage

9. Father's Plans to Save His Son

10. The Failure of the Women to Win the Prince

11. The Prime Minister's Admonition to the Prince

12. The Prince's Reply to the Prime Minister 13, Initiation into the Sakya Sangh

14. Conflict with the Sangh

15. Offer of Exile

16. Parivraja—the Way Out

17. Parting Words

18. Leaving His Home

19. The Prince and the Servant

20. The Return of Channa

21. The Family in Mourning


1. His Kula

1. Going back to the sixth century b.c., Northern India did not form a single Sovereign State.

2. The country was divided into many States, some large, some small. Of these some were monarchical and some non-monarchical.

3. The monarchical States were altogether sixteen in number. They were known by the name of Anga, Magadha, Kasi, Kosala, Vriji, Malla, Chedi, Vatsa, Kuru, Panchala, Matsya, Saursena, Asmaka, Avanti, Gandhara and Kambhoja.

4. The non-monarchical States were those of the Sakyas of Kapilvatsu, the Mallas of Pava and Kushinara, the Lichhavis of Vaisali, the Videhas of Mithila, the Koliyas of Ramagam, the Bulis of Allakapa, the Kalingas of Resaputta, the Mauriyas of Pipphalvana and the Bhaggas with their capital on Sumsumara Hill.

5. The monarchical States were known as Janapada and the non-monarchical as Sangh or Gana.

6. Not much is known about the nature of the polity of the Sakyas of Kapilvatsu, whether it was republican or oligarchic.

7. This much, however, is definitely known, that there were many ruling families in the Republic of the Sakyas and that they ruled in turns.

8. The head of the ruling family was known as Raja.

9. At the time of the birth of Siddharth Gautama it was the turn of Suddhodana to be the Raja.

10. The Sakya State was situated in the northeast corner of India. It was an independent State. But at a later stage the King of Kosala had succeeded in establishing his paramountcy over it.

11. The result of this paramountcy was that the Sakya State could not exercise certain sovereign powers without the sanction of the King of Kosala.

12. Of the kingdoms then in existence, Kosala was a powerful kingdom. So was the kingdom of Magadha. Pasanedi, King of Kosala and Bimbisara, King of Magadha, were the contemporaries of Siddharth Gautama.


1.     The capital of the Sakyas was the city called Kapilavatsu, perhaps after the name of the great Rationalist Kapila.

2.     There lived in Kapilavastu a Sakya by name Jaya Sena. Sinahu was his son. Sinahu was married to Kaccana. Sinahu had five sons, Suddhodana, Dhotodana, Sakkodana, Suklodana and Amitodana. Besides five sons, Sinahu had two daughters, Amita and Pamita.

3.     The Gotra of the-family was Aditya.

4. Suddhodana was married to Mahamaya Her father's name was Anjana and mother's Sulak-shana. Anjana was a Koliya and was residing in the village called Devadaha.

5. Suddhodana was a man of great military prowess. When Suddhodana had shown his martial powers he was allowed to take a second wife and he chose Mahaprajapati. She was the elder sister of Mahamaya.

6. Suddhodana was a wealthy person. The lands he held were very extensive and the retinue under him was very large. He employed, it is said, one thousand ploughs to till the land he owned.

7. He lived quite a luxurious life and had many palaces.




1. To Suddhodana was born Siddharth Gautama and this was the manner of Gautama's birth.

2. It was a custom among the Sakyas to observe an annual midsummer festival which fell in the month of Ashad. It was celebrated by all the Sakyas throughout the State and also by the members of the ruling family.

3. It was the usual practice to celebrate the festival for seven days.

4. On one occasion Mahamaya decided to observe the festival with gaiety, with splendour, with flowers, with perfume, but without drinking intoxicants.

5. On the seventh day she rose early, bathed in scented water, bestowed a gift of 4,00,000 pieces of money as alms, adorned herself with all precious ornaments, ate choicest food, took upon herself the fast-day vows, and entered the splendidly adorned royal bedchamber to sleep.

6. That night Suddhodana and Mahamaya came together and Mahamaya conceived. Lying on the royal bed she fell asleep. While asleep she had a dream.

7. In her dreams she saw that the four world-guardians raised her as she was sleeping on her bed  and carried her to the tableland of the Himalayas, placed her under a great sal tree and stood on one side.

8. The wives of the four world-guardians then approached and took her to the lake Mansarovar.

9. They bathed her, robed her in a dress, anointed her with perfumes and decked her with flowers in a manner fit to meet some divinity.

10. Then a Bodhisatta, by name Sumedha, appeared before her saying, " I have decided to take my last and final birth on this earth, will you consent to be my mother?" She said, "Yes, with great pleasure." At this moment Mahamaya awoke.

11. Next morning Mahamaya told her dream to Suddhodana. Not knowing how to interpret the dream, Suddhodana summoned eight Brahmins who were most famous in divination.

12. They were Rama, Dhaga, Lakkana, Manti, Yanna, Suyama, Subhoga and Sudatta and prepared for them a befitting reception.

13. He caused the ground to be strewn with festive flowers and prepared high seats for them.

14. He filled the bowls of the Brahmins with gold and silver and fed them on cooked ghee, honey, sugar and excellent rice and milk. He also gave them other gifts such as new clothes and tawny cows.

15. When the Brahmins were propitiated, Sud-dhodana related to them the dream Mahamaya had, and said, " Tell me what it means."

16. The Brahmins said: " Be not anxious. You will have a son, and if he leads a householder's life he will become a universal monarch, and if he leaves his home and goes forth into a homeless state, and becomes a sanyasi, he will become a Buddha, a dispeller of illusions in the world." 17. Bearing the Bodhisatta in her womb like oil in a vessel for ten lunar months, Mahamaya, as her time of delivery was coming nearer, desired to go to her parents' home for delivery. Addressing her husband, she said : " I wish to go to Devadaha, the city of my father."

18. "Thou knowest that thy wishes will be done," replied Suddhodana. Having seated her in a golden palanquin borne by couriers, he sent her forth with a great retinue to her father's house.

19. Mahamaya, on her way to Devadaha, had to pass through a pleasure-grove of sal trees and other trees, flowering and non-flowering. It was known as the Lumbini Grove.

20. As the palanquin was passing through it, the whole Lumbini Grove seemed like the heavenly Cittalata grove or like a banqueting pavilion adorned for a mighty king.

21. From the roots to the tips of the branches the trees were loaded with fruits, flowers and numberless bees of the fine colours, uttering curious sounds, and flocks of various kinds of birds, singing sweet melodies.

22. Witnessing the scene, there arose a desire in the heart of Mahamaya for halting and sporting therein for a while. Accordingly she told the couriers to take her in the sal-grove and wait there.

23. Mahamaya alighted from her palanquin and walked up to the foot of a royal sal tree. A pleasant wind, not too strong, was blowing and the boughs of the trees were heaving up and down and Mahamaya felt like catching one of them.

24. Luckily one of the boughs heaved down sufficiently low to enable her to catch it. So she rose on her toes and caught the bough. Immediately she was lifted up by its upward movement and being shaken, she felt the pangs of childbirth. While holding the branch of the sal tree she was delivered of a son in a standing position.

25. The child was born in the year 563 b.c. on the Vaishakha Paurnima day.

26. Suddhodana and Mahamaya were married for a long time. But they had no issue. Ultimately when a son was born to them his birth was celebrated with great rejoicing, with great pomp and ceremony by Suddhodana and his family and also by the Sakyas. 27. At the time of the birth of the child it was the turn of Suddhodana to be the ruler of Kapilavatsu and as such was in the enjoyment of the title of Raja. Naturally the boy was called Prince.




1. At the moment when the child was born there dwelt on the Himalayas a great sage named Asita.

2. Asita heard that the gods over the space of the sky were shouting the word " Buddha " and making it resound. He beheld them waving their garments and coursing hither and thither in delight. He thought, what if I were to go and find out the land in which he was born ?

3. Surveying with his divine eyes the whole of the Jambudvipa, Asita saw that a boy was born in the house of Suddhodana shining with all brilliance and that it was over his birth that the gods were excited.

4. So the great sage Asita with his nephew Nardatta rose up and came to the abode of Raja Suddhodana and stood at the door of his palace.

5. Now Asita, the sage, saw that at the door of Suddhodana's palace many hundred thousand beings had assembled. So he approached the door-keeper and said, " Go, man, inform the Raja that a sage is standing at the door."

6. Then the door-keeper approached Suddhodana and with clasped hands said, "Know, 0 Raja, that an aged sage, old and advanced in years, stands at the door, and says that he desires to see you."

7. The king prepared a seat for Asita and said to the door-keeper, " Let the sage enter." So coming out of the palace the door-keeper said to Asita : " Please go in."

8. Now Asita approached King Suddhodana and, standing in front of him, said, " Victory, Victory, 0 Raja, may you live long, and rule thy kingdom righteously."

9. Then Suddhodana in reverence to Asita fell at his feet and offered him the seat ; and seeing him seated in comfort, Suddhodana said, " I do not remember to have seen thee before this, 0 Sage! With what purpose has thou come hither ? What is the cause? "

10. Thereupon Asita said to Suddhodana, "A son is born to thee, 0 Raja! Desiring to see him, have I come."

11. Suddhodana said, "The boy is asleep, 0 Sage ! Will you wait for a while ? " The sage said, " Not long, 0 King, do such great beings sleep Such good beings are by nature wakeful."

12. Then did the child out of compassion for Asita, the great sage, make a sign of awaking.

13. Seeing that the child had become awake, Suddhodana took the boy firmly in both hands and brought him into the presence of the sage.

14. Asita observing the child, beheld that it was endowed with the thirty-two marks of a great man and adomed with the eighty minor marks, his body surpassing that of Sakra, Brahma, and his aura surpassing them a hundred thousand-fold, breathed forth this solemn utterance, " Marvellous, verily, is this person that has appeared in the world," and rising from his seat clasped his hands, fell at his feet, made a rightwise circuit round and taking the child in his own hand stood in contemplation. 

15. Asita knew the old well-known prophecy that anyone endowed with the thirty-two marks of a great man, as Gautama was, has two careers open to him, and no third. " If he becomes a householder, he will become a universal monarch. But if he goes forth from the home to a homeless life, he will become a fully enlightened Buddha."

16. Asita was sure that the child would not remain a householder.

17. And looking at the child he wept, and shedding tears, sighed deeply.

18. Suddhodana beheld Asita shedding tears, and sighing deeply.

19. Beholding him thus weeping, the hair of his body rose, and in distress Suddhodana said to Asita, " Why, O Sage, dost thou weep and shed tears, and sigh so deeply ? Surely, there is no misfortune in store for the child."

20. At this Asita said to the Raja, "O King, I weep not for the sake of the child. There will be no misfortune for him. But I weep for myself."

21. "And why?" asked Suddhodana. Asita replied, " I am old, aged, advanced in years, and this boy will without doubt become a Buddha and attain supreme and complete enlightenment and having done so, will turn the supreme wheel of the Doctrine that has not been turned before him by any other being in the world ; for the weal and happiness of the world will he teach his Doctrine."

22. "The religious life, the Doctrine, that he will proclaim will be good in the beginning, good in the middle, good in the end, complete in the letter and the spirit, whole and pure."

23. " Just as an Oudumbara flower at some time and place arises in the world, even so at some time and place, after countless cycles, revered Buddhas arise in the world. So also, O Raja! this boy will without doubt obtain supreme, complete enlightenment, and having done so will take countless beings across the ocean of sorrow and misery to a state of happiness."

24. " But I shall not see that Buddha. Hence, 0 Raja, I weep and in sadness I sigh deeply, for I shall not be able to reverence him."

25. The king thereafter offered to the great sage Asita and Nardatta, his nephew, suitable food, and having given him robes made a rightwise circuit round him.

26. Thereupon Asita said to Nardatta, his nephew, " When thou shalt hear, Nardatta, that the child has become a Buddha, then go and take refuge in his teachings. This shall be for thy weal and welfare and happiness." So saying Asita took leave of the Raja and departed for his hermitage.





1. On the fifth day the ceremony of name-giving took place. The name chosen for the child was Siddharth. His clan name was Gautama. Popularly, therefore, he came to be called Siddharth Gautama.

2. In the midst of rejoicing over the birth and the naming of the child Mahamaya suddenly fell ill and her illness became very serious.

3. Realising that her end was near she called Suddhodana and Prajapati to her bedside and said : " I am sure that the prophecy made by Asita about my son will come true. My regret is that I will not live to see it fulfilled."

4. " My child will soon be a motherless child. But I am not worried in the least as to whether after me my child will be carefully nursed, properly looked after and brought up in a manner befitting his future."

5. " To you Prajapati, I entrust my child, I have no doubt that you will be to him more than his mother."

6. " Now do not be sorry. Permit me to die. God's call has come and His messengers are waiting to take me." So saying, Mahamaya breathed her last. Both Suddhodana and Prajapati were greatly grieved and wept bitterly.

 7. Siddharth was only seven days old when his mother died.

8. Siddharth had a younger brother by name  Nanda. He was the son of Suddhodana born to Mahaprajapati.

9. He had also several cousins, Mahanama and Anuruddha, sons of his uncle Suklodan, Ananda, son of his uncle Amitodan, and Devadatta, son of his aunt Amita. Mahanama was older than Siddharth and Ananda was younger.

10. Siddharth grew up in their company.





1. When Siddharth was able to walk and speak the elders of the Sakyas assembled and asked Suddhodana that the boy should be taken to the temple of the village goddess Abhya.

2. Suddhodana agreed and asked Mahaprajapati to dress the boy.

3. While she was doing so the child Siddharth, with a most sweet voice, asked his aunt where he was being taken. On learning that he was being taken to the temple he smiled. But he went, conforming to the custom of the Sakyas.

4. At the age of eight Siddharth started his education.

5. Those very eight Brahmins whom Suddhodana had invited to interpret                 Mahamaya's dream and who had predicted his future were his first teachers.

6. After they had taught him what they knew Suddhodana sent for Sabbamitta of distinguished descent and of high lineage in the land of Uddikka, a philologist and grammarian, well read in the Vedas, Vedangas and Upanishads.  Having poured out water of dedication from a golden vase, Suddhodana handed over the boy to his charge, to be taught. He was his second teacher.

7. Under him Gautama mastered all the philosophic systems prevalent in his day.

8. Besides this he had learned the science of concentration and meditation from one Bhardawaj, a disciple of Alara Kalam, who had his ashram at Kapilavatsu.





1.     Whenever he went to his father's farm and found no work he repaired to a quiet place, and practised meditation.

2.      While everything for the cultivation of the mind was provided, his education in the military science befitting a Kshatriya was not neglected.

3.     For Suddhodana was anxious not to make the mistake of having cultivated the mind of his son at the cost of his manliness.

4. Siddharth was of kindly disposition. He did not like exploitation of man by man.

5. Once he went to his father's farm with some of his friends and saw the labourers ploughing the land, raising bunds, cutting trees, etc., dressed in scanty clothes under a hot burning sun.

6. He was greatly moved by the sight.

7. He said to his friends, can it be right that one man should exploit another ? How can it be right that the labourer should toil and the master should live on the fruits of his labour?

8. His friends did not know what to say. For they believed in the old philosophy of life that the worker was born to serve and that in serving his master he was only fulfilling his destiny.

9. The Sakyas used to celebrate a festival called Vapramangal. It was a rustic festival performed on the day of sowing. On this day custom had made it obligatory on every Sakya to do ploughing personally.

10. Siddharth always observed the custom and did engage himself in ploughing.

11. Though a man of learning, he did not despise manual labour.

12. He belonged to a warrior class and had been taught archery and the use of weapons. But he did not like causing unnecessary injury.

13. He refused to join hunting parties. His friends used to say : " Are you afraid of tigers ? " He used to retort by saying, " I know you are not going to kill tigers, you are going to kill harmless animals such as deer and rabbits."

14. "If not for hunting, come to witness how accurate is the aim of your friends," they said. Even such invitations Siddharth refused, saying ; "I do not like to see the killing of innocent animals."

15. Prajapati Gautami was deeply worried over this attitude of Siddharth.

16. She used to argue with him saying : " You have forgotten that you are a Kshatriya and fighting is your duty. The art of fighting can be learned only through hunting for only by hunting can you learn how to aim accurately. Hunting is a training ground for the warrior class."

17. Siddharth often used to ask Gautami: " But, mother, why should a Kshatriya fight ? And Gautami used to reply : " Because it is his duty."

18. Siddharth was never satisfied by her answer. He used to ask Gautami : " Tell me, how can it be the duty of man to kill man ? " Gautami argued, " Such an attitude is good for an ascetic. But Ksha-triyas must fight. If they don't, who will protect the kingdom ? "

19. " But mother ! If all Kshatriyas loved one another, would they not be able to protect their kingdom without resort to killing?" Gautami had to leave him to his own opinion.

20. He tried to induce his companions to join him in practising meditation. He taught them the proper pose. He taught them to fix their mind on a subject. He advised them to select such thoughts as " May I be happy, may my relations be happy, may all living animals be happy."

21. But his friends did not take the matter seriously. They laughed at him.

22. On closing their eyes they could not concentrate on their subject of meditation. Instead, some saw before their eyes deer for shooting or sweets for eating.

23. His father and his mother did not like his partiality for meditation. They thought it was so contrary to the life of a Kshatriya.

24. Siddharth believed that meditation on right subjects led to development of the spirit of universal love. He justified himself by saying : "When we think of living things, we begin with distinction and discrimination. We separate friends from enemies, we separate animals we rear from human beings. We love friends and domesticated animals and we hate enemies and wild animals."

25. "This dividing line we must overcome and this we can do when we in our contemplation rise above the limitations of practical life." Such was his reasoning.

26. His childhood was marked by the presence of supreme sense of compassion.

27. Once he went to his father's farm. During recess he was resting under a tree enjoying the peace and beauty of nature. While so seated a bird fell from the sky just in front of him.

28. The bird had been shot at by an arrow which had pierced its body and was fluttering about in great agony.

29. Siddharth rushed to the help of the bird. He removed the arrow, dressed its wound and gave it water to drink. He picked up the bird, came to the place where he was seated and wrapped up the bird in his upper garment and held it next to his chest to give it warmth.

30. Siddharth was wondering who could have shot this innocent bird. Before long there came his cousin Devadatta armed with all the implements of shooting. He told Siddharth that he had shot a bird flying in the sky, the bird was wounded but it flew some distance and fell somewhere there, and asked him if he had seen it.

31. Siddharth replied in the affirmative and showed him the bird which had by that time completely recovered.

32. Devadatta demanded that the bird be handed over to him. This Siddharth refused to do. A sharp argument ensued between the two.

33. Devadatta argued that he was the owner of the bird because by the rules of the game, he who kills a game becomes the owner of the game.

34. Siddharth denied the validity of the rule. He argued that it is only he who protects that has the right to claim ownership. How can he who wants to kill be the owner ?

35. Neither party would yield. The matter was referred to arbitration. The arbitrator upheld the point of view of Siddharth Gautama.

36. Devadatta became his permanent enemy. But Gautama's spirit of compassion was so great that he preferred to save the life of an innocent bird to securing the goodwill of his cousin.

37. Such were the traits of character found in the early life of Siddharth Gautama.



8. Marriage

1. There was a Sakya by name Dandapani. Yeshodhara was his daughter. She was well known for her beauty and for her ' sila."

2. Yeshodhara had reached her sixteenth year and Dandapani was thinking about her marriage.

3. According to custom Dandapani sent invitations to young men of all the neighbouring countries for the Swayamvar of his daughter.

4. An invitation was also sent to Siddharth Gautama.

5. Siddharth Gautama had completed his sixteenth year. His parents also were equally anxious to get him married.

6. They asked him to go to the Swayamvar and offer his hand to Yeshodhara. He agreed to follow his parents' wishes.

7. From amongst the young men Yeshodhara's choice fell on Siddharth Gautama.

8. Dandapani was not very happy. He felt doubtful about the success of the marriage.

9. Siddharth, he felt, was addicted to the company of saints and sages. He preferred loneliness. How could he be a successful householder?

10. Yeshodhara, who was determined to marry none but Siddharth, asked her father whether to be in the company of saints and sages was a crime. She did not think it was.

11. Knowing her daughter's determination to marry no one but Siddharth Gautama, the mother of Yeshodhara told Dandapani that he must consent. Dandapani did.

12. The rivals of Gautama were not only disappointed but felt that they were insulted.

13. They wanted that in fairness to them Yeshodhara should have applied some test for her selection. But she did not.

14. For the time being they kept quiet, believing that Dandapani would not allow Yeshodhara to choose Siddharth Gautama so that their purpose would be served.

15. But when Dandapani failed, they made bold and demanded that a test of skill in archery be prescribed. Dandapani had to agree.

16. At first Siddharth was not prepared for this. But Channa, his charioteer, pointed out to him what disgrace his refusal would bring upon his father, upon his family and upon Yeshodhara.

17. Siddharth Gautama was greatly impressed by this argument and agreed to take part in the contest.

18. The contest began. Each candidate showed his skill in turn.

19. Gautama's turn came last. But his was the highest marksmanship.

20. Thereafter the marriage took place. Both Suddhodana and Dandapani were happy. So was Yeshodhara and Mahaprajapati.

21. After a long term of married life Yeshodhara gave birth to a son. He was named Rahula.



9. Father's Plans to Save His Son

1. While the king was happy to see his son married and thus enter the life of a householder the prophecy of the sage Asita continued to haunt him.

2. To prevent the prophecy from coming true, he thought of getting him engrossed in the pleasures and carnal joys of life.

3. With this object in view Suddhodana built three luxurious palaces for his son to live in, one for summer, one for the rainy season and one for winter, furnished with all the requirements and excitements for a full amorous life.

4. Each palace was surrounded by an extensive garden beautifully laid out with all kinds of trees and flowers.

5. In consultation with his family priest Udayin, he thought of providing a harem for the prince with very beautiful imnates.

6. Suddhodana then told Udayin to advise the girls how to go about the business of winning over the prince to the pleasures of life.

7. Having collected the inmates of the harem, Udayin first advised them how they should win over the prince.

8. Addressing them he said : " Ye are all skilled in all the graceful arts, ye are proficient in understanding the language of amorous sentiments, ye are possessed of beauty and gracefulness, ye are thorough masters in your own styles.

9. " With these graces of yours, ye are able to move even sages who have lost all their desires, and to ensnare even the gods, who are charmed by heavenly nymphs.

10. " By your skill in expressing the heart's feelings, by your coquetry, your grace, and your perfect beauty ye are able to enrapture even women, how much more easily men.

11. "Thus, skilled as ye are, each set in your own proper sphere, it should not be beyond your reach to captivate and capture the prince and hold him in your bondage.

12. " Any timid action on your part would be fit for new brides whose eyes are closed through shame.

13. "What though this hero be, great by his exalted glory, yet ' great is the might of woman.' Let this be your firm resolve.

14. " In olden time a great seer, hard to be conquered even by gods, was spurned by a harlot, the beauty of Kasi, planting her feet upon him.

15. "And the great seer Visvamitra, though plunged in a profound penance, was carried captive for ten years in the forests by the nymph Ghritaki.

16. " Many such seers as these have women brought to naught, how much more then a delicate prince in the first flower of his age ?

17. " This being so, boldly put forth your efforts that the posterity of the king's family may not be turned away from him.

18. "Ordinary women captivate simple men; but they are truly women, who subdue the nature of high and hard."


10. The Failure of the Women to Win the Prince

1. Having heard these words of Udayin, the women strung to the heart, rose even above themselves for the conquest of the prince.

2. But even with their brows, their glances, their coquetries, their smiles, their delicate movements, the girls of the harem did not feel sure of themselves.

3. But they soon regained their confidence through the command of the family priest and the gentle temperament of the prince, and through the power of intoxication and of love.

4.     The women then set upon their task and made the prince wander in the woods like an elephant in the forests of Himavat, accompanied by a herd of females.

5.      Attended by women, he shone in that pleasant grove, as the sun surrounded by Apsaras in his royal garden.

6.     There, some of them urged by passion, pressed him with their full, firm bosoms in gentle collisions.

7. Others violently embraced him after pretending to stumble, then leaning on him with their shoulders drooping down, and with their gentle creeper-like arms.

8. Others with their mouths smelling of spirituous liquor, their lower lips red like copper, whispered in bis ear, "Let my secret be heard."

9. Others, all wet with unguents, as if giving him a command, clasped his hand eagerly and said, "Perform thy rites of. adoration here."

10. Another with her blue garments continually slipping down in pretended intoxication, stood conspicuous with her tongue visible like the night with its lightning lashing.

11. Others with their golden ones tinkling, wandered about here and there, showing him their bodies veiled with thin cloth.

12. Others leaned, holding a mango bough in hand, displaying their bosoms like golden jars.

13. Some, coming from a lotus bed, carrying lotuses and with eyes like lotuses, stood like the lotus goddess Padma, by the side of that lotus-faced prince.

14. Another sang a sweet song easily understood and with the proper gesticulations, rousing him, self-subdued though he was, by her glance, as saying, "O how thou art deluded ! "

15. Another, having armed herself with her bright face, with its brow drawn to its full, imitated his action, as playing the hero.

16. Another, with beautiful, full bosoms, and having her earrings waving in the wind, laughed loudly at him, as if saying, " Catch me, sir, if you can ! "

17. Some, as he was going away, bound him with strings of garlands, others punished him with words like an elephant-driver's hook, gentle yet reproachful.

18. Another, wishing to argue with him, seizing a mango spray, asked, all bewildered with passion, "'This flower, whose is it?" 19. Another, assuming a gait and attitude like that of a man, said to him, " You who are conquered. by a woman, go and conquer this earth! "

20. Then another with rolling eyes, smelling a blue lotus, thus addressed the prince with words slightly indistinct in her excitement :

21. " See, my lord, this mango covered with its honey-scented flowers, where the bird kokila sings, as if imprisoned in a golden cage.

22. "Come and see this Asoka tree, which augments lovers' sorrows, where the bees make a noise as if they were scorched by fire.

23. " Come and see this Tilaka tree, embraced by a slender mango branch, like a man in a white garment by a woman decked with yellow ungents.

24. " Behold the kurubaka in flower, bright like fresh resin-juice, which bends down as if it felt reproached by the colour of women's nails.

25. " Come and see this young Asoka, covered all over with new shoots, which stands as if it were ashamed at the beauty of our hands.

26. " See this lake surrounded by the Sinduvara shrubs growing on its banks, like afair woman reclining, clad in fine white cloth.

27. " See the imperial power of females, yonder Ruddygoose in the water, goes behind, his mate follow-. ing her like a slave.

28. "Come and listen to the notes of the intoxicated Cuckoo as he sings, while another cuckoo sings as if consenting wholly without care.

29. " Would that thine was the intoxication of the birds which the spring produces, and not the thought of a thinking man, ever pondering how wise he is ! 30. Thus these young women, their souls carried away by love, assailed the prince with all kinds of stratagems.

31. But although thus attacked, he, having his sense guarded by self-control; neither rejoiced nor smiled.

32. Having seen them in their real condition, the Prince pondered with an undisturbed and steadfast mind.

33. " What is it that these women lack that they perceive not that youth is fickle ? For old age will destroy whatever beauty has."

34. This round of blandishment went on for months and years with no results.


11. The Prime Minister's Admonition to the Prince

1. Udayin realized that the girls had failed and that the Prince had shown no interest in them.

2. Udayin, well skilled in the rules of policy, thought of talking to the prince.

3. Meeting the prince all alone, Udayin said : " Since I was appointed by the king as a fitting friend for thee, therefore, I wish to speak to thee in the friendliness of my heart." So began Udayin.

4. "To hinder from what is disadvantageous, to urge to do what is advantageous and not to forsake in misfortune, these are the three marks of a friend.

5. " If I, after having promised my friendship, were not to heed when thou turnest away from the great end of man, there would be no friendship in me.

6. " It is right to woo a woman even by guile, this is useful both for getting rid of shame and for one's own enjoyment.

7. " Reverential behaviour and compliance with her wishes are what bind a woman's heart; good qualities truly are a cause of love, and women love respect.

8. "Wilt thou not then, O large-eyed prince, even if thy heart is unwilling, seek to please them with a courtesy worthy of this beauty of thine?

9. " Courtesy is the balm of women, courtesy is the best ornament ; beauty without courtesy is like a grove without flowers.

10. " But of what use is courtesy by itself ? Let it be assisted by the heart's feelings ; surely, when worldly objects so hard to attain are in the grasp, thou wilt not despise them. II. "Knowing that pleasure was the best of objects, even the god Purandara (Indra) wooed in olden times Ahalya, the wife of the saint Gautama.

12. "So too Agastya wooed Rohini, the wife of Soma ; and therefore, as Sruti saith, a like thing befell Lopamudra.

13. "The great ascetic Brihaspati begot Bharadvaja on Mamata the daughter of the Maruta, the wife of Autathya.

14. "The Moon, the best of offerers, begat Buda of divine nature on the spouse of Vrihaspati as she was offering a libation.

15. "So too in old times Parasara, overpowered by passion on the banks of the Yamuna, lay with the maiden Kali who was the daughter of the son of Varuna.

16. "The sage Vasishtha through lust begot a son Kapinglada on Akshmala, a despised low-caste woman.

17. "And the seer-king Yayat, even when the vigour of his prime was gone, sported in the Kaitrartha forest with the Apsara Visvaki.

18. "And the Kaurava king Pandu, though he knew that intercourse with his wife would end in death, yet overcome by the beauty and good qualities of Madri, yielded to the pleasures of love.

19. " Great heroes such as these, pursued even contemptible desires for the sake of pleasure, how much more so when they are praiseworthy of their kind?

20. " And yet thou, a young man, possessed of strength and beauty, despisest enjoyments which rightly belong to thee and to which the whole world is devoted. "


12. The Prince's Reply to the Prime Minister

1. Having heard these specious words of his, well-supported by sacred tradition, the prince made reply, in a voice like the thundering of a cloud :

2. "This speech manifesting affection is well-befitting in thee ; but I will convince thee as to where thou wrongly judgest me.

3. " I do not despise worldly objects, I know that all mankind is bound up therein. But remembering that the world is transitory, my mind cannot find     pleasure in them.                                    

4. "Yet even though this beauty of women were to remain perpetual, still delight in the pleasures of desires would not be worthy of the wise man.

5. "And as for what thou sayest as to even those great men having become victims to desire, do not be led away by them ; for destruction was also their lot.

6. " Real greatness is not to be found there, where there is destruction, or where there is attachment to earthly objects, or a want of self-control.

7. " And when thou sayest, ' Let one deal with women by guile,' I know about guile, even if it be accompanied with courtesy.

8. " That compliance too with a woman's wishes pleases me not, if truthfulness be not there ; if there be not a union with one's whole soul and nature, then ' out upon it ' say I.

9. " A soul overpowered by passion, believing in falsehood, carried away by attachment and blind to the faults of its objects, what is there in it worth being deceived ?

10. " And if the victims of passion do deceive one another, are not men unfit for women to look at and women for men?

11. " Since then these things are so, thou surely wouldst not lead me astray into ignoble pleasures."

12. Udayin felt silenced by the firm and strong resolve of the prince and reported the matter to his father.

13. Suddhodana, when he heard how his son's mind turned away from all objects of sense, could not sleep all that night. Like an elephant with an arrow in his heart, he was full of pain.

14. He and his ministers spent much of their time in consultation hoping to find some means to draw Siddharth to the pleasures of carnal life and thus to dissuade him from the likely turn which he may give to his life. But they found no other means besides those they had tried.

15. And the seraglio of women wearing their garlands and ornaments in vain, with their graceful arts and endearments all fruitless, concealing their love deep in their hearts, was disbanded.

13. Initiation into the Sakya Sangh

1. The Sakyas had their Sangh. Every Sakya youth above twenty had to be initiated into the Sangh and be a member of the Sangh.

2. Siddharth Gautama had reached the age of twenty. It was time for him to be initiated into the Sangh and become a member thereof.

3. The Sakyas had a meeting-house which they called Sansthagar. It was situated in Kapilavatsu. The session of the Sangh was also held in the Sansthagar.

4. With the object of getting Siddharth initiated into the Sangh, Suddhodana asked the Purohit of the Sakyas to convene a meeting of the Sangh.

5. Accordingly the Sangh met at Kapilavatsu in the Sansthagar of the Sakyas.

6. At the meeting of the Sangh, the Purohit proposed that Siddharth be enrolled as a member of the Sangh.

7. The Senapati of the Sakyas then rose in his seat and addressed the Sangh as follows : " Siddharth Gautama, born in the family of Suddhodana of the Sakya clan, desires to be a member of the Sangh. He is twenty years of age and is in every way fit to be a member of the Sangh. I, therefore, move that he be made a member of the Sakya Sangh. Pray, those who are against the motion speak."

8. No one spoke against it. "A second time do I ask those who are against the motion to speak," said the Senapati.

9. No one rose to speak against the motion. Again the Senapati said : "A third time do I ask those who are against the motion to speak."

10. Even for the third time no one spoke against it.

11. It was the rule of procedure among the Sakyas that there could be no debate without a motion and no motion could be declared carried unless it was passed three times.

12. The motion of the Senapati having been carried three times without opposition, Siddharth was declared to have been duly admitted as a member of the Sakya Sangh.

13. Thereafter the Purohit of the Sakyas stood up and asked Siddharth to rise in his place.

14. Addressing Siddharth, he said : " Do you realize that the Sangh has honoured you by making you a member of it ? " "I do, sir, " replied Siddharth.

15. "Do you know the obligation of membership of the Sangh?" "I am sorry, sir, I do not. But I shall be happy to know them, sir," said Siddharth.

16. "I shall first tell you what your duties as a member of the Sangh are " said the Purohit and he then related them one by one : " (1) You must safeguard the interests of the Sakyas by your body, mind and money. (2) You must not absent yourself from the meetings of the Sangh. (3) You must without fear or favour expose any fault you may notice in the conduct of a Sakya. (4) You must not be angry if you are accused of an offence but confess if you are guilty or state if you are innocent."

17. Proceeding, the Purohit said : " I shall next tell you what will disqualify you for membership of the San eh : (1) You cannot remain a member of the Sangh if you commit rape. (2) You cannot remain a member of the Sangh if you commit murder. (3) You cannot remain a member of the Sangh if you commit theft. (4) You cannot remain a member of the Sangh if you are guilty of giving false evidence."

18. "lam grateful to you, sir," said Siddharth, " for telling me the rules of discipline of the Sakya Sangh. I assure you I will do my best to follow them in letter and in spirit."



14. Conflict with the Sangh

1. Eight years had passed by since Siddharth was made a member of the Sakya Sangh.

2. He was a very devoted and steadfast member of the Sangh. He took the same interest in the affairs of the Sangh as he did in his own. His conduct as a member of the Sangh was exemplary and he had endeared himself to all.

3. In the eighth year of his membership, an event occurred which resulted in a tragedy for the family of Suddhodana and a crisis in the life of Siddharth.

4. This is the origin of the tragedy.

5. Bordering on the State of the Sakyas was the State of the Koliyas. The two kingdoms were divided by the river Rohini.

6. The waters of the Rohini were used by both the Sakyas and the Koliyas for irrigating their fields. Every season there used to be disputes between them as to who should take the water of the Rohini first and how much. These disputes resulted in quarrels and sometimes in affrays.

7. In the year when Siddharth was twenty-eight, there was a major clash over the waters between the servants of the Sakyas and the servants of the Koliyas, Both sides suffered injuries.

8. Coming to know of this, the Sakyas and the Koliyas felt that the issue must be settled once for all by war.

9. The Senapati of the Sakyas, therefore, called a session of the Sakya Sangh to consider the question of declaring war on the Koliyas.

10. Addressing the members of the Sangh, the Senapati said : " Our people have been attacked by the Koliyas and they had to retreat. Such acts of aggression by the Koliyas have taken place more than once. We have tolerated them so far. But this cannot go on. It must be stopped and the only way to stop it is to declare war against the Koliyas. I propose that the Sangh do declare war on the Koliyas. Those who wish to oppose may speak."

11. Siddharth Gautama rose in his seat and said : " I oppose this resolution. War does not solve any question. Waging war will not serve our purpose. It will sow the seeds of another war. The slayer gets a slayer in his turn ; the conqueror gets one who conquers him ; a man who despoils is despoiled in his turn."

12. Siddharth Gautama continued: " I feel that the Sangh should not be in hase to declare war on the Koliyas: Careful investigation should be made to ascertain who is the guilty party. I hear that our men have also been aggressors. If this be true, then it is obvious that we too are not free from blame."

13. The Senapati replied : " Yes, our men were the aggressors. But it must not be forgotten that it was our turn to take the water first."

14. Siddharth Gautama said: " This shows that we are not completely free from blame. I therefore propose that we elect two men from us and the Koliyas should be asked to elect two from them and the four should elect a fifth person and these should settle the dispute."

15. The amendment moved by Siddharth Gautama was duly seconded. But the Senapati opposed the amendment, saying : " I am sure that this menace of the Koliyas will not end unless they are severely punished."

16. The resolution and the amendment had therefore to be put to vote. The amendment moved by Siddharth Gautama was put first. It was declared lost by an overwhelming majority.

17. The Senapati next put his own resolution to vote. Siddharth Gautama again stood up to oppose it. " I beg the Sangh," he said, " not to accept the resolution. The Sakyas and the Koliyas are close relations. It is unwise that they should destroy each other."

18. The Senapati encountered the plea urged by Siddharth Gautama. He stressed that in war the Kshatriyas cannot make a distinction between relations and strangers. They must fight even against brothers for the sake of their kingdom.

19. Performing sacrifices is the duty of the Brahmins, fighting is the duty of the Kshatriyas, trading is the duty of the Vaishas and service is the duty of the Shudras. There is merit in each class forming its duty. Such is the injunction of our Shasras.

20. Siddharth replied : " Dharma, as I understand it, consists in recognising that enmity does not disappear by enmity. It can be conquered by love only."

21. The Senapati, getting impatient, said : "It is unnecessary to enter upon this philosophical disquisition. The point is that Siddharth is opposed to my resolution. Let us ascertain what the Sangh has to say about it by putting it to vote."

22. Accordingly the Senapati put his resolution to vote. It was declared carried by an overwhelming majority.

15. Offer of Exile

1. Next day the Senapati called another meeting of the Sakya Sangh to have his plan of mobilisation considered by the Sangh.

2. When the Sangh met, he proposed that he be permitted to proclaim an order calling to arms for the war against the Koliyas every Sakya between the ages of 20 and 50.

3. The meeting was attended by both sides— those who at the previous meeting of the Sangh had voted in favour of a declaration of war as well as those who had voted against it.

4. For those who had voted in favour there was no difficulty in accepting the proposal of the Senapati. It was a natural consequence of their earlier decision.

5. But the minority who had voted against it had a problem to face. Their problem was—to submit or not to submit to the decision of the majority. 6. The minority was determined not to submit to the majority. That is the reason why they had decided to be present at the meeting. Unfortunately, none of them had the courage to say so openly. Perhaps they knew the consequences of opposing the majority.

7. Seeing that his supporters were silent, Siddharth stood up, and addressing the Sangh, said: " Friends ! You may do what you like. You have a majority on your side, but I am sorry to say I shall oppose your decision in favour of mobilisation. I shall not join your army and I shall not take part in the war."

8. The Senapati, replying to Siddharth Gautama, said : " Do remember the vows you had taken when you were admitted to the membership of the Sangh. If you break any of them you will expose yourself to public shame."

9. Siddharth replied: " Yes, I have pledged myself to safeguard the best interests of the Sakyas by my body, mind and money. But I do not think that this war is in the best interests of the Sakyas. What is public shame to me before the best interests of the Sakyas ? "

10. Siddharth proceeded to caution the Sangh by reminding it of how the Sakyas have become the vassals of the King of Kosala by reason of their quarrels with the Koliyas. "It is not difficult to imagine," he said, " that this war will give him a greater handle to further reduce the freedom of the Sakyas."

11. The Senapati grew angry and addressing Siddharth, said : " Your eloquence will not help you. You must obey the majority decision of the Sangh. You are perhaps counting upon the fact that the Sangh has no power to order an offender to be hanged or to exile him without the sanction of the king of the Kosalas and that the king of the Kosalas will not give permission if either of the two sentences was passed against you by the Sangh."

12. " But remember the Sangh has other ways of punishing you. The Sangh can declare a social boycott against your family and the Sangh can confiscate your family lands. For this the Sangh does not have to  obtain the permission of the king of the Kosalas."

13. Siddharth realised the consequences that would follow if he continued his opposition to the Sangh in its plan of war against the Koliyas. He had three alternatives to consider—to join the forces and participate in the war ; to consent to being hanged or exiled ; and to allow the members of his family to be condemned to a social boycott and confiscation of property.

14. He was firm in not accepting the first. As to the third he felt it was unthinkable. Under the circumstances he felt that the second alternative was the best.

15. Accordingly, Siddharth spoke to the Sangh. " Please do not punish my family. Do not put them in distress by subjecting them to a social boycott. Do not make them destitute by confiscating their land which is their only means of livelihood. They are innocent. I am the guilty person. Let me alone suffer for my wrong. Sentence me to death or exile, whichever you like. I will willingly accept it and I promise I shall not appeal to the king of the Kosalas.'"

16. Parivraja-the Way Out

1. The Senapati said : " It is difficult to accept your suggestion. For even if you voluntarily agreed to undergo the sentence of death or exile, the matter is sure to become known to the king of the Kosalas and he is sure to conclude that it is the Sangh which has inflicted this punishment and take action against the Sangh."

2. " If this is the difficulty I can easily suggest a way out," said Siddharth Gautama. " I can become a Parivrajaka and leave this country. It is a kind of an exile."

3. The Senapati thought this was a good solution. But he had still some doubt about Siddharth being able to give effect to it.

4. So the Senapati asked Siddharth : " How can you become a Parivrajaka unless you obtain the consent of your parents and your wife ? "

5. Siddharth assured him that he would do his best to obtain their permission. " I promise," he said, " to leave this country immediately whether I obtain their consent or not."

6. The Sangh felt that the proposal made by Siddharth was the best way out and they agreed to it.

7. After finishing the business before the meeting, the Sangh was about to rise when a young Sakya got up in his place and said : " Give me a hearing, I have something important to say."

8. Being granted permission to speak, he said : " I have no doubt that Siddharth Gautama will keep his promise and leave the country immediately. There is, however, one question over which I do not feel very happy.

9. "Now that Siddharth will soon be out of sight, does the Sangh propose to give immediate effect to its declaration of war against the Koliyas ?

10. " I want the Sangh to give further consideration to this question.  In any event, the king of the Kosalas is bound to come to know of the exile of Siddharth Gautama. If the Sakyas declare a war against the Koliyas immediately, the king of Kosalas will understand that Siddharth left only because he was opposed to war against the Koliyas. This will not go well with us.

11. "I, therefore, propose that we should also allow an interval to pass between the exile of Siddharth Gautama and the actual commencement of hostilities so as not to allow the King of Kosala to establish any connection between the two."

12. The Sangh realised that this was a very important proposal. And as a matter of expediency, the Sangh agreed to accept it.

13. Thus ended the tragic session of the Sakya Sangh and the minority which was opposed to the war but who had not the courage to say so, heaved a sigh of relief that it was able to overcome a situation full of calamitous consequences.


17. Parting Words

1. The news of what happened at the meeting of the Sakya Sangh had travelled to the Raja's palace long before the return of Siddharth Gautama.

2. For on reaching home he found his parents weeping and plunged in great grief.

3. Suddhodana said : " We were talking about the evils of war. But I never thought that you would go to such lengths."

4. Siddharth replied, " I too did not think things would take such a turn. I was hoping that I would be able to win over the Sakyas to the cause of peace by my argument.

5. " Unfortunately, our military officers had so worked up the feelings of the men that my argument failed to have any effect on them.

6. " But I hope you realise how I have saved the situation from becoming worse. I have not given up the cause of truth and justice and whatever the punishment for my standing for truth and justice, I have succeeded in making its infliction personal to me."

7. Suddhodana was not satisfied with this. "You have not considered what is to happen to us." " But that is the reason why I undertook to become a Pariv-rajaka," replied Siddharth. " Consider the consequences if the Sakyas had ordered the confiscation of your lands."

8. " But without you what is the use of these lands to us ? " cried Suddhodana. Why should not the whole family leave the country of the Sakyas and go into exile along with you ? "

9. Prajapati Gautami, who was weeping, joined Suddhodana in argument, saying ; " I agree. How can you go alone leaving us here like this ? "

10. Siddharth said : " Mother, have you not always claimed to be the mother of a Kshatriya ? Is that not so ? You must then be brave. This grief is unbecoming of you. What would you have done if I had gone to the battle-field and died? Would you have grieved like this ? "

11. "No," replied Gautami.  "That would have been befitting a Kshatriya. But you are now going into the jungle far away from people, living in the company of wild beasts. How can we stay here in peace ? I say you should take us along with you."

12. " How can I take you all with me ? Nanda is only a child. Rahul my son is just born. Can you come leaving them here ? " He asked Gautami.

13. Gautami was not satisfied. She urged : " It is possible for us all to leave the country of the Sakyas and go to the country of the Kosalas under the protection of their king."

14. " But mother! What would the Sakyas say ? " asked Siddharth. " Would they not regard it as treason ? Besides, I pledged that I will do nothing either by word or by deed to let the king of the Kosalas know the true cause of my Parivraja.

15. "It is true that I may have to live alone in the jungle. But which is better? To live in the jungle or to be a party to the killing of the Koliyas !"

16. "But why this impatience?" asked Sud-dhodana. " The Sakyas Sangh has decided to postpone the date of the hostilities for some time.

17. " Perhaps the hostilities may not be started at all. Why not postpone your Parivraja ? May be, it would be possible to obtain the permission of the Sangh for you to stay among the Sakyas."

18. This idea was repellent to Siddharth. "It is because I promised to take Parivraja that the Sangh decided to postpone the commencement of hostilities against the Koliyas.

19. "It is possible that after I take Parivraja the Sangh may be persuaded to withdraw their declaration of war. All this depends upon my first taking Parivraja.

20. " I have made a promise and I must carry it out. The consequences of any breach of promise may be very grave both to us and to the cause of peace.

21. "Mother, do not now stand in my way. Give me your permission and your blessings. What is happening is for the best."

22. Gautami and Suddhodana kept silent.

23. Then Siddharth went to the apartment of Yeshodhara. Seeing her, he stood silent, not knowing what to say and how to say it. She broke the silence by saying : " I have heard all that has happened at the meeting of the Sangh at Kapilavatsu."

24. He asked her:" Yeshodhara, tell me what you think of my decision to take Parivraja ? "

25. He expected she would collapse. Nothing of the kind happened.

26. With full control over her emotions, she replied : " What else could I have done if I were in your position? I certainly would not have been a party to a war on the Koliyas.

27. "Your decision is the right decision. You have my consent and my support. I too would have taken Parivraja with you. If I do not, it is only because I have Rahula to look after.

28. " I wish it had not come to this. But we must be bold and brave and face the situation. Do not be anxious about your parents and your son. I will look after them till there is life in me.

29. " All I wish is that now that you are becoming a Parivrajaka leaving behind all who are near and dear to you, you will find a new way of life which would result in the happiness of mankind."

30. Siddharth Gautama was greatly impressed. He realised as never before what a brave, courageous and noble-minded woman Yeshodhara was, and how fortunate he was in having her as his wife and how fate had put them asunder. He asked her to bring Rahula. He cast his fatherly look on him and left.

18. Leaving His Home

1. Siddharth thought of taking Parivraja at the hands of Bharadwaja who had his Ashram at Kapila-vatsu. Accordingly he rose the next day and started for the Ashram on his favourite horse Kanthaka with his servant Channa walking along. 2. As he came near the Ashram, men and women came out and thronged the gates to meet him as a newly arrived bridegroom.

3. And when they came up to him, their eyes wide open in wonder, they performed their due homage with hands folded like a lotus calyx.

4. Then they stood surrounding him, their minds overpowered by passion, as if they were drinking him in with their eyes motionless and blossoming wide with love.

5. Some of the women verily thought that he was Kama incarnate, decorated as he was with his brilliant signs as with connate ornaments.

6. Others thought from his gentleness and his majesty that it was the moon with its ambrosial beams as it were visibly come down to the earth.

7. Others, smitten by his beauty, yawned as if to swallow him, and fixing their eyes on each other, softly sighed.

8. Thus the women only looked upon him, simply gazing with their eyes. They spoke not, nor did they smile. They surrounded him and stood aghas thinking of his decision to take Parivraja.

9. With great difficulty he extricated himself from the crowd and entered the gates of the Ashram.

10. Siddharth did not like Suddhodana and Prajapati Gautami to be present to witness his Pariv-raja. For he knew that they would break down under the weight of grief. But they had already reached the Ashram without letting him know.

11. As he entered the compound of the Ashram he saw in the crowd his father and mother.

12. Seeing his parents he first went to them and asked for their blessing. They were so choked with emotion that they could hardly say a word. They wept and wept, held him fast and bathed him with their tears.

13. Channa had tied Kanthaka to a tree in the Ashram and was standing. Seeing Suddhodana and Prajapati in tears he too was overcome with emotion and was weeping.

14. Separating himself with great difficulty from his parents, Siddharth went to the place where Channa was standing. He gave him his dress and his ornaments to take back home.

15. Then he had his head shaved, as was required for a Parivrajaka. His cousin Mahanama had brought the clothes appropriate for a Parivrajaka and a begging bowl. Siddharth wore them.

16. Having thus prepared himself to enter the life of a Parivrajaka, Siddharth approached Bharad-waja to confer on him Parivraja.

17. Bharadwaja with the help of his disciples performed the necessary ceremonies and declared Siddharth Gautama to have become a Parivrajaka.

18. Remembering that he had given a double pledge to the Sakya Sangh to take Parivraja and to leave the Sakya kingdom without undue delay, Siddharth Gautama immediately on the completion of the Parivraja ceremony started on his journey.

19. The crowd which had collected in the Ashram was unusually large. That was because the circumstances leading to Gautama's Parivraja were so extraordinary. As the prince stepped out of the Ashram the crowd also followed him.

20. He left Kapilavatsu and proceeded in the direction of the river Anoma. Looking back he saw the crowd still following him.

21. He stopped and addressed them, saying: " Brothers and sisters, there is no use your following me. I have failed to settle the dispute between the Sakyas arid the Koliyas. But if you create public opinion in favour of settlement you might succeed. Be, therefore, so good as to return." Hearing his appeal, the crowd started going back.

22. Suddhodana and Gautami also returned to the palace.

23. Gautami was unable to bear the sight of the robes and the ornaments discarded by Siddharth. She had them thrown into a lotus pool.

24. Siddharth Gautama was only twenty-nine when he underwent Parivraja (Renunciation). 25. People admired him and sighed for him; saying : " Here was a Sakya blessed with high lineage, noble parentage, possessed of considerable riches, in the bloom of youthful vigour, accomplished in mind and body, brought up in luxury, who fought his kinsmen for the sake of maintaining peace on earth and goodwill towards men.

26. " Here was a Sakya youth who when outvoted by his kinsmen refused to submit but preferred to undergo voluntary punishment which involved the exchange of riches for poverty, comfort for alms, home for homelessness. And so he goes with none in the world to care for him and with nothing in the world which he could claim as his own.

27. " His was an act of supreme sacrifice willingly made. His is a brave and a courageous act. There is no parallel to it in the history of the world. He deserves to be called a Sakya Muni or Sakya Sinha." 28. How true were the words of Kisa Gotami, a Sakya maiden. When referring to Siddharth Gautama, she said : " Blessed indeed is the mother, blessed indeed is the father, who has such a son. Blessed indeed is the wife who has such a husband."

19. The Prince and the Servant

1. Channa too should have gone back home with Kanthaka. But he refused to go. He insisted on. seeing the Prince off with Kanthaka at least to the banks of the river Anoma and so insistent was Channa that the Gautama had to yield to his wishes.

2. At last they reached the banks of the river Anoma.

3. Then turning to Channa he said : " Good friend, thy devotion to me has been proved by thy thus following me. I am wholly won in heart by thee, ye who have such a love for your master.

4. " I am pleased with your noble feelings towards me, even though I am powerless of conferring any reward.

5. " Who would not be favourably disposed to one who stands to him as bringing him reward ? But even one's own people commonly become mere strangers in a reverse of fortune.

6. " A son is brought up for the sake of the family, the father is honoured by the son for the sake of his own future support ; the world shows kindness for the sake of hope ; there is no such thing as unselfishness without a motive.  

7. "Thou art the only exception. Take now this horse and return.

8. " The king, with his loving confidence, still unshaken, must be enjoined to stay his grief.

9. " Tell him, I have left him—with no thirst for heaven, with no lack of love, nor feeling of anger.

10. " He should not think of mourning for me who am thus gone forth from my home; union, however long it may last, in time will come to an end.

11. " Since separation is certain, how shall there not be repeated severings from one's kindred?

12. " At a man's death there are doubtless heirs to his wealth but heirs to his merit are hard to find on the earth or exist not at all.

13. " The king, my father, requires to be looked after. The king may say, ' He is gone at a wrong time.' But there is no wrong time for duty.

14. " Do thou address the king, 0 friend, with these and suchlike words ; and do thou use thy efforts so that he may not even remember me.

15. "Yes, do thou repeat to my mother my utter unworthiness to deserve her affection. She is a noble person, too noble for words."

16. Having heard these words, Channa, overwhelmed with grief, made reply with folded hands, his voice choked by emotion :

17. " Seeing that ye are causing affliction to thy kindred, my mind, 0 my Lord, sinks down like an elephant in a river of mud.

18. "To whom would not such a determination as this of thine, cause tears, even if his heart were of iron—how much more if it were throbbing with love ? 19. " Where is gone this delicacy of limb, fit to lie only in a palace, and where is the ground of the  ascetic forest, covered with the shoots of rough Kusa grass?

20. " How could 1, 0 Prince, by mine own will, —knowing this thy decision,—carry back the horse to the sorrow of Kapilavatsu ?

21. " Surely thou will not abandon that fond old king, so devoted to his son, as a heretic might the true religion ?   .

22. "And her, thy second mother, worn with the care of bringing thee up,—thou will not surely forget her, as an ingrate does a benefit ?

23. "Thou wilt not surely abandon thy wife endowed with all virtues, illustrious for her family, devoted to her husband and with a young son.

24. " Thou wilt not abandon the young son of Yeshodhara, worthy of all praise, thou the best of the cherishers of religion and fame, as a dissolute spendthrift his choicest glory ?

25. " Or even if thy mind be resolved to abandon thy kindred and thy kingdom, thou will not, 0 Master, abandon me,—thy feet are my only refuge.

26. " I cannot go to the city with my soul thus burning, leaving thee behind in the forest.

27. "What will the king say to me, returning to the city without thee, or what shall I say to thy wife by way of telling them good news ?

28. " As for what thou sayest, ' thou must repeat my unworthiness to the king ' who could think or believe it?" continued Channa. "Even if I ventured to speak it with a heart ashamed and a tongue cleaving to my mouth, he may not appreciate it.

29.  " Him who is always compassionate and who never fails to feel pity, it ill befits to abandon one who loves; turn back and have mercy on me."

30. Having heard these words of Channa overcome with sorrow, Siddharth Gautama with the utmost gentleness answered:

31. "Abandon this distress Channa, regarding thy separation from me,—charge is inevitable in corporeal beings who are subject to different births. 32. " Even. if I through affection were not to abandon my kindred, death would still make us helplessly abandon one another.

33. " She, my mother, by whom I was born in the womb with great thirst and pains,—where am I now with regard to her, and where is she with regard to me?

34. "As birds go to their roosting-tree and then depart, so the meeting of beings inevitably ends in separation.

35. " As clouds, having come together, depart asunder again, such I consider the meeting and parting of living things.

36. " And since this world goes away, each one deceiving the other,—it is not right to think anything thine own in a time of union which is a dread.

37. " Therefore, since it is so, grieve not, my good friend, but go ; or if thy love lingers, then go and afterwards return.

38. " Say without reproaching me, to the people of Kapilavatsu, ' Let your love for him be given up, and hear his resolve.' "

39. Having heard this conversation between the master and the servant, Kanthaka, the noblest steed, licked his feet with his tongue and dropped hot tears.

40. With his hand whose fingers were untied with a membrane and which was marked with the auspicious svastika, and with its middle part curved, Gautama stroked him and addressed him like a friend:

41. "Shed not tears, Kanthaka, bear with it, thy labours will soon have its fruit."

42. Then Channa, knowing that the time for the parting of the ways had come, forthwith paid honour to the sylvan dress of Gautama.

43. Then Gautama, having bidden good-bye to Kanthaka and Channa, went on his way.

44. While his master, thus regardless of his kingdom, was going to the ascetic-wood in mean garments, the groom, tossing up his arms, wailed bitterly and fell on the ground.

45. Having looked back again he wept aloud, and embraced the horse Kanthaka with his arms: and then, hopeless and repeatedly lamenting, started on his return journey.

46. On the way, sometimes he pondered, sometimes he lamented, sometimes he stumbled and sometimes he fell, and so going along, wretched through his devoted attachment, he performed all kinds of actions on the road knowing not what he was doing.


20. The Return of Channa

1. Then Channa in deep distress, when his master thus went into the forest, made every effort on the road to dissolve his load of sorrow.

2. His heart was so heavy that the road which he used to traverse in one night with Kanthaka, that same road he now took eight days to travel, pondering over his lord's absence.

3. The horse Kanthaka, though he still went on bravely, fagged and had lost all spirit ; and decked though he was with ornaments, he in the absence of his master seemed to have lost all his beauty.

4. And turning round towards the direction in which his master went, he neighed repeatedly with a mournful sound; and though pressed with hunger, he welcomed not, nor tasted any grass or water on the road, as before.

5. Slowly the two at long last reached Kapila-vatsu which seemed empty when deserted by Gautama. They reached the city in body but not in soul.

6. Bright as it was with lotus-covered waters, adorned with trees full of flowers, the citizens had lost all their gladness.

7. When the two, their brightness gone and their eyes dim with tears, slowly entered the city, it seemed all bathed in gloom.

8. Having heard that they had returned with their limbs all relaxed, coming back without the pride of the Sakya race, the men of the city shed tears.

9. Full of wrath, the people followed Channa in the road, crying behind him with tears, " Where is the king's son, the glory of his race and his kingdom ? "

10. " This city bereft of him is a forest, and that forest which possesses him is a city ; the city without him has no charms for us."

11. Next the women crowded to the rows of windows, crying to one another, "The prince has returned "; but having seen that his horse had an empty back, they closed the windows again and wailed aloud.

21 The Family in Mourning

1. The members of the family of Suddhodana were anxiously awaiting the return of Channa in the hope that he might persuade Gautama to return home.

2. On entering the royal stable, Kanthaka uttered a loud sound, uttering his woe to the palace people.

3. Then the people, who were in the neighbourhood of the king's inner apartments, thought in their hearts, " Since the horse Kanthaka neighs, it must be that the prince has come."

4. And the women, who were fainting with sorrow, now in wild joy, with their eyes rolling to see the prince, rushed out of the palace full of hope. But they were disappointed. There was Kanthaka without the prince.

5. Gautami, abandoning all self-control, cried aloud—she fainted, and with a weeping face exclaimed:

6. " With his long arms and lion gait, his bulllike eye, and his beauty, bright like gold, his broad chest, and his voice deep as a drum or a cloud,—should, such a hero as this dwell in a hermitage ?

7. "This earth is indeed unworthy as regards that peerless doer of noble actions, for such a virtuous hero has gone away from us.

8. "Those two feet of his, tender with their beautiful web spread between the toes, with their ankles, concealed and soft like a blue lotus,—how can they, bearing a wheel mark in the middle, walk on the hard ground of the skirts of the forest ?

9. "That body, which deserves to sit or lie on the roof of a palace, honoured with costly garments, aloes, and sandalwood, how will that manly body live in the woods, exposed to the attacks of the cold, the heat, and the rain?

          10. " He who was proud of his family, goodness, strength, energy, sacred learning, beauty, and youth, who was ever ready to give, not ask, how will he go about begging alms from others ?

11. "He who, lying on a spotless golden bed, was awakened during the night by the concert of musical instruments, how alas! will he, my ascetic, sleep today on the bare ground with only one rag of cloth interposed ? "

12. Having heard this piteous lamentation, the women, embracing one another with their arms, rained tears from their eyes, as the shaken creepers drop honey from their flowers.

13. Then Yeshodhara, forgetting that she had permitted him to go, fell upon the ground in utter bewilderment.

14. " How has he abandoned me his lawful wife? He has left me widowed. He could have allowed his lawful wife to share his new life with him.

15. "I have no longing for the heaven, my one desire was that my beloved may never leave me either in this world or the next.

16. " Even if I am unworthy to look on my husband's face with its long eyes and bright smile, still is this poor Rahula never to roll about in his father's lap ?

17. " Alas ! the mind of that wise hero is terribly stern, gentle as his beauty seems, it is pitilessly cruel. Who can desert of his own accord such an infant son with his inarticulate talk, one who would charm even an enemy ?

18. " My heart too is certainly most stern, yea, made of rock or fashioned even of iron, which does not break when its lord is gone to the forest, deserted by his royal glory like an orphan,—he so well worthy of happiness. But what can I do ? My grief is too heavy for me to bear." 19. So fainting in her woe, Yeshodhara wept and wept aloud—self-possessed though she was by nature, yet in her distress she had lost her fortitude.

20. Seeing Yeshodhara thus bewildered with her wild utterances of grief and fallen on the ground, all the women cried out, with their faces streaming with tears like large lotuses beaten by the rain.

21. Having heard of the arrival of both Channa and Kanthaka, and having learned of the fixed resolve of his son, Suddhodana fell struck down by sorrow.

22. Distracted by his grief for his son, being held up for a moment by his attendants, Suddhodana gazed on the horse with his eyes filled with tears, and then falling on the ground wailed aloud.

23. Then Suddhodana got up and entered his temple, offered prayers, performed auspicious rites and vowed certain sacrifices for the safe return of his son.

24. So Suddhodana, Gautami and Yeshodhara passed their days asking : " How long, 0 God, how long, before, shall we see him again ? "



1. From Kapilavatsu to Rajagraha.

2. King Bimbisara and His Advice.

3. Gautama answers Bimbisara.

4. Reply by Gautama (concluded).

5. News of Peace.

6. The problem in a New Perspective.


1. From Kapilavatsu to Rajagraha

1. Leaving Kapilavatsu, Siddharth Gautama thought of going to Rajagraha, the capital of the kingdom of Magadha.

2. The reigning king was Bimbisara. It was a place which great philosophers and leaders of thought had made their headquarters.

3. With this thought in mind he crossed the Ganges, fearing not her rapid flow.

4. On his way he halted at the hermitage of a Brahmin woman Saki, then at the hermitage of another Brahmin woman by name Padma and then at the hermitage of the Brahmin sage Raivata. All of them entertained him.

5. Having seen his personality and dignity and his splendid beauty, surpassing all other men, the people of that region were all astonished at him wearing the clothes of a sanyasi.

6. On seeing him, he who was going elsewhere stood still, and he who was standing there followed him on the way ; he who was walking gently and gravely ran quickly, and he who was sitting at once sprang up.

7. Some people reverenced him with their hands' others in worship saluted him with their heads, some addressed him with affectionate words ; not one went on without paying him homage.

8. Those who were wearing gay-coloured dresses were ashamed when they saw him, those who were talking on random subjects fell to silence ; no one indulged in an improper thought.

9. His eyebrows, his forehead, his mouth,—his body, his hand, his feet, or his gait,—whatever part of him anyone beheld, that at once rivetted his gaze.

10. After a long and arduous journey Gautama reached Rajagraha surrounded by five hills, well guarded and adorned with mountains, and supported and hallowed by auspicious and sacred places. II. On reaching Rajagraha he selected a spot at the foot of the Pandava hill and put up a small hut made of the leaves of trees for his sojourn.

12. Kapilavatsu by foot is nearly 400 miles distant from Rajagraha.

13. This long journey Siddharth Gautama did all on foot.

2. King Bimbisara and his Advice

1. Next day he got up and started to go into the city with a begging bowl asking for alms. A vast crowd gathered round him.

2. Then Sreniya Bimbisara, the lord of the kingdom of the Magadhas, beheld from the outside of his palace the immense concourse of people, and asked the reason of it ; and thus did a courtier recount it to him :

3. " He who was thus foretold by the Brahmins, 'He will either attain supreme wisdom or be the emperor of the earth '—it is he, the son of the king of the Sakyas, who is now an ascetic. It is he at whom the people are gazing at."

4. The king, having heard this and perceiving its meaning in his mind, thus at once spoke to that courtier : " Let it be known whither he is going " ; and the courtier, receiving the command, followed the prince.

5. With fixed eyes, seeing only a yoke's length before him, with his voice hushed, and his walk slow and measured, he, the noblest of mendicants, went begging for alms, keeping his limbs and his wandering thoughts under control.

6. Having received such alms as were offered, he retired to a lonely corner of the mountain ; and having eaten it there, he ascended the Pandava hill.

7. In that wood, thickly filled with lodhra trees, having its thickness resonant with the notes of the peacocks, he, the sun of mankind, shone, wearing his red dress, like the morning sun above the eastern mountains.

8. That royal courtier having thus watched him there, related it all to the king : and the king when he heard it, in his deep veneration, started himself to go thither with a modest retinue.

9. Like a mountain in stature, the king ascended the hill.

10. There he beheld Gautama, resplendent as he sat on his hams, with subdued senses, as if the mountain was moving, and he himself was a peak thereof.

11. Him, distinguished by his beauty of form and perfect tranquillity, filled with astonishment and affectionate regard, the king of men approached.

12. Bimbisara having courteously drawn nigh to him, inquired as to the condition of his bodily humours ; and Gautama with equal gentleness assured the king of his health of mind and freedom from all ailments.

13. Then the king sat down on the clean surface of the rock, and being seated, he thus spoke, desiring to convey his state of mind :

14. " I have a strong friendship with thy family, come down by inheritance and well proved ; since from this, a desire to speak to thee, my son, has arisen in me, therefore, listen to my words of affection,

15. "When I consider thy race, beginning with the sun, thy fresh youth, and thy conspicuous beauty, I wonder whence comes this resolve of thine, so out of all harmony with the rest, set wholly on a mendicant's life, not on a kingdom?

16. " Thy limbs are worthy of red sandalwood perfumes,—they do not deserve the rough contact of red cloth, this hand of thine is fit to protect subjects, it deserves not to hold food given by another

17. "If, therefore, gentle youth, thou desirest not thy paternal kingdom, then in thy generosity, accept forthwith one half of my kingdom,

18. "If thou actest thus, there will be no sorrow caused to thine own people, and by the mere lapse of time imperial power at last flies for refuge to the tranquil mind , therefore, be pleased to do me this kindness. The prosperity of the good becomes very powerful, when aided by the good.

19. " But if from thy pride of race thou dost not now feel confidence in me, then plunge with thy arrows into countless armies, and with me as thy ally seek to conquer thy foes.

20. " Choose thou, therefore, one of these ends. Pursue according to the rules of religious merit, wealth, and pleasure; pursue love and the rest, in reverse order. These are the three objects in life ; when men die they pass into dissolution as far as regards this world.

21. " Do thou, therefore, by pursuing the three objects of life, cause this personality of thine to bear its fruit ; they say that when the attainment of religion, wealth and pleasure is complete in all its parts, then the end of man is complete.

22. " Do not thou let these two brawny arms lie useless which are worthy to draw the bow; they are well fitted to conquer the three worlds, much more the earth.

23. "I speak this to you out of affection,—not through love of dominion or through arrogance beholding this mendicant-dress of thine, I am filled with compassion and I shed tears.

24. " O, thou who desirest the mendicant's stage of life, enjoy pleasures now, in due time—ere old age comes on and overcomes this thy beauty, well worthy of thy illustrious race.

25. " The old man can obtain merit by religion ; old age is helpless, for the enjoyment of pleasures ; therefore, they say that pleasures belong to the young man, wealth to the middle-aged, and religion to the old.

26. " Youth in this present world is the enemy of religion and wealth—since pleasures, however much we guard against them, are hard to hold, therefore, wherever pleasures are to be found, there thy youth seize them.

27. " Old age is prone to reflection, it is grave and intent on remaining quiet ; it attains unimpassionedness with but little effort, unavoidably, and for very shame.

28. " Therefore, having passed through the deceptive period of youth, fickle, intent on external objects, heedless, impatient, not looking at the distance,—they take breath like men who have escaped safe through a forest.

29. " Let, therefore, this fickle time of youth first pass by, reckless and giddy,—our early years are earmarked for pleasure, they cannot be kept from the power of the senses.'

30. " Or, if religion is really thy one aim, then offer sacrifices,—this is thy family's immemorial custom, climbing to highest heaven by sacrifices.

31. " With their arms pressed by golden bracelets, and their variegated diadems resplendent with the light of gems, royal sages have reached the same goal by sacrifice which great sages reached by self-mortification."

3. Gautama Answers Bimbisara

1. Thus spoke the monarch of the Magadhas, who spoke well and strongly like Indra ; but having heard it, the prince did not falter. He was firm like a mountain.

2. Being thus addressed by the monarch of the Magadhas, Gautama, in a strong speech with  friendly face,—self-possessed, unchanged, thus made answer :

3. " What you have said is not to be called a strange thing for thee. 0 King! born as thou art in the great family whose ensign is the lion, and lover as thou art of thy friends, that ye should adopt this line of approach towards him who stands as one of thy friends is only natural.

4. "Amongst the evil-minded, a friendship worthy of their family, ceases to continue and fades; it is only the good who keep increasing the old friendship of their ancestors by a new succession of friendly acts.

5. " But those men who act unchangingly towards their friends in reverses of fortune, I esteem in my heart as true friends. Who is not the friend of the prosperous man, in his times of abundance?

6. " So those who, having obtained riches in the world, employ them for the sake of their friends and religions,—their wealth has real solidity, and when it perishes it produces no pain at the end.

7. " This thy suggestion concerning me, 0 King, is prompted by pure generosity and friendship; I will meet thee courteously with simple friendship, I would not utter aught else in my reply.

8. " I am not so afraid even of serpents nor of thunderbolts falling from, heaven, nor of flames blown together by the wind, as I am afraid of these worldly objects.

9. " These transient pleasures,—the robbers of our happiness and our wealth, and which float empty and like illusions through the world,—infatuate man's minds even when they are only hoped for,—still more when they take up their abode in the soul.

10. " The victims of pleasure attain not to happiness even in the heaven of the gods, still less in the world of mortals; he who is athirst is never satisfied with pleasures, as the fire, the friend of the wind, with fuel.

11. " There is no calamity in the world like pleasures, people are devoted to them through delusion; when he once knows the truth and so fears evil, what wise man would of his own choice desire evil ?

12. " When they have obtained all the earth girdled by the sea, kings wish to conquer the other side of the great ocean ; mankind is. never satiated with pleasures, as the ocean with the waters that fall into it.

13, " When it had rained a golden shower from heaven, and when he had conquered the continents and had even obtained the half of Sakra's throne, Mandhatri was still full of craving for worldly objects.

14. " Though he enjoyed the kingdom of the gods in heaven, when Indra had concealed himself through fear of Vritra, and though in his pride he had made the great Rishis bear his litter, Nahusha was not satisfied.

15. "Who would seek these enemies bearing the name of pleasures, by whom even those sages have been overcome, who were devoted to other pursuits, whose only clothes were rags, whose food roots, fruits, and water and who wear their twisted locks as long as snakes ?

16. " When they hear of the miseries of those who are intent on pleasure and are devoted to worldly pursuits it well befits the self-controlled to fling it away.

17. " Success in pleasure is to be considered a misery in the man of pleasure, for he becomes intoxicated when the pleasures of his desire are attained; through intoxication he does what should not be done, not what should be done ; and being wounded thereby he falls into a miserable end.

18. " These pleasures which are gained and kept by toil, which after deceiving leave you and return whence they came,—these pleasures which are but borrowed for a time,—what man of self-control, if he is wise, would delight in them?

19. " What man of self-control could find satisfaction in these pleasures which are like a torch of hay,—which excite thirst when you seek them and when you grasp them ?

20. " What man of self-control could find satisfaction in these pleasures which are like flesh that has been, flung away, and which produces misery by their being held in common with kings ?

21. " What man of self-control could find satisfaction in these pleasures, which, like the senses, are destructive, which bring calamity on every hand to those who abide in them ?

22. " Those men of self-control who are bitten by them in their hearts, fall into ruin and attain not bliss—what man of self-control could find satisfaction in these pleasures, which are like an angry, cruel serpent ?

23. " Even if they enjoy them men are not satisfied,—like dogs famishing with hunger over a bone what man of self control could find satisfaction in these pleasures, which are like a skeleton composed of dry bones ?

24. " He whose intellect is blinded with pleasures, the wretch, who is the miserable slave of hope for the sake of pleasures, well deserves the pain of death even in the world of living.

25. " Deer are lured to their destruction by songs, insects for the sake of the brightness fly into the fire, the fish greedy for the flesh swallows the iron hook,— therefore, worldly pleasures produce misery as their end.

26. " As for the common opinion, ' pleasures are enjoyment,' none of them when examined are worthy of being enjoyed; fine garments and the rest are only the accessories of things,—they are to be regarded as merely the remedies for pain.

27. "Water is desired for allaying thirst; food in the same way for removing hunger; a house for keeping off the wind, the heat of the sun, and the rain; and dress for keeping off the cold and to cover one's nakedness'.

28. " So too a bed is for removing drowsiness; a carriage for remedying the fatigue of a journey; a seat for alleviating the pain of standing; so bathing as a means for washing, health, and strength.

29. " External objects therefore are to human beings means for remedying pain—not in themselves sources of enjoyment ; what wise man would allow that he enjoys those delights which are only used as remedial ?

30. " He who, when burned with the heat of bilious fever, maintains that cold appliances are an enjoyment, when he is only engaged in alleviating pain,—he indeed might give the name of enjoyment to pleasures.

31. " Since variableness is found in all pleasures, I cannot apply to them the name of enjoyment; the very conditions which mark pleasure, bring also in their turn pain.

32. " Heavy garments and fragrant aloe-wood are pleasant in the cold but an annoyance in the heat; and the moonbeams and sandalwood are pleasant in the heat, but a pain in the cold.

33. " Since the well-known opposite pairs, such as gain and loss and the rest, are inseparably connected with everything in this world,—therefore, no man is invariably happy on the earth nor invariably wretched.

34. " When I see how the nature of pleasure and pain are mixed, I consider royalty and slavery as the same; a king does not always smile, nor is a slave always in pain.

35. " Since to be a king involves a wider range of responsibility, therefore, the sorrows of a king are great; for a king is like a peg,—he endures trouble for the sake of the world.

36. " A king is unfortunate, if he places his trust in his royalty which is apt to desert and loves crooked turns; and, on the other hand, if he does not trust in it, then what can be the happiness of a timid king ?

37. " And since after even conquering the whole earth, one city only can serve as a dwelling place and even there only one house can be inhabited, is not royalty mere labour for others ?

38. " And even in royalty nothing more than one pair of garments is all he needs, and just enough food to keep off hunger ; so only one bed, and only one seat is all that a king needs; other distinctions are only for pride.

39. " And if all these fruits are desired for the sake of satisfaction, I can be satisfied without a kingdom ; and if a man is once satisfied in this world, are not all distinctions unnecessary?

40. " He then who has attained the auspicious road to happiness is not to be deceived in regard to pleasures. Remembering thy professed friendship, I ask, tell me again and again, are the pleasures worth anything ?

41. "I have not left home through anger, nor because my diadem has been dashed down by an enemy's arrow ; nor have I set my desires on loftier objects, that I thus refuse thy proposal.

42. " Only he who, having once let go a malignant incensed serpent, or a blazing hay-torch all on fire, would strive again to seize it, would ever seek pleasures again after having once abandoned them.

43. " Only he who, though seeing would envy the blind, though free, the bound, though wealthy, the destitute, though sound in his reason, the maniac— only he, I say, would envy one who is devoted to wordly objects.

44. " He who lives on alms, my good friend, .is not to be pitied. He has here the best happiness, perfect calm, and hereafter all sorrows are for him abolished.

45. " But he is to be pitied who is overpowered by craving though in the midst of great wealth,—who attains not the happiness of calm here, while pain has to be experienced hereafter.

46. " What thou has spoken to me is well worthy of thy character, thy mode of life, and thy family; and to carry out my resolve is also befitting my character, my mode of life, and my family."

4. Reply by Gautama (concluded)

1. "I have been wounded by the strife of the world, and I have come out longing to obtain peace; I would not accept any empire in the third heaven, for saving me from all the ills of the earth how much less amongst men ?

2. " But as for what thou has said to me, O King, that the universal pursuit of the three objects is the supreme end. of man,—and thou saidst that what I regard as the desirable is misery,—thy three objects are perishable and also unsatisfying.

3. " And as for what thou saidst, ' wait till old age comes, for youth is ever subject to change';— this want of decision is itself uncertain; for age too can be irresolute and youth can be firm.

4.     " But since Fate is so well skilled in its art as to draw the world in all its various ages into its power,—how shall the wise man, who desires tranquillity, wait for old age, when he knows not when the time of death will be ?

5.     " When death stands ready like a hunter, with old age as his weapon, and diseases scattered about as his arrows, smiting down living creatures who fly like deer to the forest of destiny, what desire can there be in anyone for length of life ?

6. " It well befits the youthful son or the old man or the child so to act with all promptitude that they may choose the path of the religious man whose soul is all mercy.

7. " And as for what thou saidst, be diligent in sacrifices for religion, such as are worthy of thy race and bring a glorious fruit, '—honour to such sacrifices ! I desire not that fruit which is sought by causing pain to others!

8. " To kill a helpless victim through a wish for future reward,—it would be unseemly action for a merciful, good-hearted man, even if the reward of the sacrifice were eternal.

9. " And even if true religion did not consist in quite another rule of conduct, by self-restraint, moral practice and a total absence of passion,—still it would not be seemly to follow the rule of sacrifice, where the highest reward is described as attained only by slaughter.

10. " Even that happiness which comes to a man, while he stays in this world, through the injury of another, is hateful to the wise compassionate heart; how much more if it be something beyond our sight in another life ?

11. " I am not to be lured into a course of action for future reward,—my mind does not delight, 0 King, in future births; these actions are uncertain and wavering in their direction, like plants beaten by the rain from a cloud."

12. The king himself, folding his hands, replied, "Thou art obtaining thy desire without hindrance; when thou has at last accomplished all that thou has to do, thou shall show hereafter thy favour towards me."

13. Having received a firm promise from Gautama to visit him again, the monarch, taking his courtiers with him, returned to the palace.

5. News of Peace

1. While Gautama was staying in Rajagraha there came five other Parivrajakas who also put up a hut by the side of the hut which Gautama had erected for himself.

2. These five Parivrajakas were Kaundinya, Ashvajit, Kasyapa, Mahanam and Bhaduka.

3. They too were struck by Gautama's appearance and wondered what could have led him to take Parivraja.

4. They questioned him over the issue in the same way as did King Bimbisara.

5. When he explained to them the circumstances which led him to take Parivraja, they said, " We have heard of it. But do you know what has happened since you left ? " they asked.

6. Siddharth said, " No. " Then they told him that after he left Kapilavatsu there was a great agitation among the Sakyas against going to war with the Koliyas.

7. There were demonstrations and processions by men and women, boys and girls, carrying flags with such slogans as, " Koliyas are our brothers," " It is wrong for a brother to fight against brother. "Think of the exile of Siddharth Gautama," etc.

8. The result of the agitation was that the Sakya Sangh had to call a meeting and reconsider the question. This time the majority was for compromise with the Koliyas.

9. The Sangh decided to select five Sakyas to act as their envoys and negotiate peace with the Koliyas.

10. When the Koliyas heard of this they were very glad. They too selected five Koliyas  deal with the envoys of the Sakyas.

11. The envoys on the two sides met and agreed to appoint a permanent Council of Arbitration with authority to settle every dispute regarding the sharing of the waters of the river Rohini and both sides to abide by its decision. Thus the threatened war had ended in peace.

12. After informing Gautama of what had happened at Kapilavatsu, the Parivrajakas said, "There is now no need for you to continue to be a Parivrajaka. Why don't you go home and join your family?"

13. Siddharth said : "I am happy to have this good news. It is a triumph for me. But I will not go back to my home. I must not. I must continue to be a Parivrajaka."

14. Gautama asked the five Parivrajakas, what their programme was. They replied, "We have decided to do tapasya. Why don't you join us?" Siddharth said, " By and by ; I must examine other ways first."

15. The five Parivrajakas then left.

6. The Problem in a New Perspective

1. The news brought by the five Parivrajakas that the Koliyas and Sakyas had made peace, made Gautama very uneasy.

2. Left alone, he began to reflect on his own position and to make sure if any reason was left for him to continue his Parivraja.

3. He had left his people for what ?, he asked himself.

4. He had left his home because he was opposed to war. " Now that the war is over is there any problem left to me ? Does my problem end because war has ended ? "

5. On a deep reflection he thought not.

6. " The problem of war is essentially a problem of conflict. It is only a part of a larger problem.

7. " This conflict is going on not only between kings and nations but between nobles and Brahmins, between householders, between mother and son, between son and mother, between father and son, between sister and brother, between companion and companion.

8. "The conflict between nations is occasional. But the conflict between classes is constant and perpetual. It is this which is the root of all sorrow and suffering in the world.

9. " True, I left home on account of war. But I cannot go back home although the war between the Sakyas and Kpliyas has ended. I see now that my problem has become wider. I have to find a solution for this problem of social conflict.

10. "How far do the old-established philosophies offer a solution of this problem?

11. Can he accept any one of the social philosophies ?

12. He was determined to examine everything for himself.



1. Halt at Brighu's Ashram.

2. Study of Sankhya.

3. Training in Samadhi Marga.

4. Trial of Asceticism.

5.    Abandonment of Asceticism.


1. Halt at Brighu's Ashram

1. With the desire to pursue other ways, Gautama left Rajagraha to meet Arada Kalam.

2. On his way he beheld the hermitage of Brighu and entered it out of curiosity.

3. The Brahmin inmates of the Ashram who had gone outside for the sake of fuel, having just come back with their hands full of fuel, flowers, and kusa grass, pre-eminent as they were in penances, and proficient in wisdom, went just to see him, and went not to their cells.

4. Then he being duly honoured by those dwellers of the hermitage paid his homage to the Elders of the Ashram.

5. He, the wise one, longing for liberation, traversed that hermitage, filled with the holy company desirous of heaven,—gazing at their strange penances.

6. He, the gentle one, saw for the first time the different kinds of penances practised by the ascetics in that sacred grove.

7. Then the Brahmin Brighu, well-versed in the technique of penance, told Gautama all the various kinds of penances and the fruits thereof.

8. " Uncooked food, growing out of water, and roots and fruits,—this is the fare of the saints according to the sacred texts ; but the different alternatives of penance vary.

9. " Some live like the birds on gleaned corn, others graze on grass like the deer, others live on air like the snakes, as if turned into ant-hills.

10. " Others win their nourishment with great effort from stones, others eat corn ground with their own teeth ; some, having boiled for others, keep for themselves what may chance to be left.

11. " Others, with their tufts of matted hair continually wet with water, twice offer oblations to Agni with hymns; others, plunging like fishes into the water, dwell there with their bodies scratched by tortoises.

12. "By such penances endured for a time,—by the higher they attain heaven, by the lower the world of men, by the path of pain they eventually dwell in happiness,—pain, they say, is the root of merit."

13. On hearing this Gautama said : "Today I    is my first sight of such a hermitage and I do not understand this rule of penance.

14. "This is all I would say at the moment. This devotion of yours is for the sake of heaven—while my desire is that the ills of life on earth be probed and a solution found. Will you allow me to take your leave. I wish to learn the Sankhya Philosophy and train myself in the Samadhi marga, and see what help it can give me for the solution of my problem.

15. " There is sorrow to me when I reflect that I shall have to depart, leaving you who are thus engaged, you who are such a refuge and who have shown such excessive kindness to me,—-just as there was when I had to leave my kindred behind.

16. "It is not, therefore, any dislike on my part or the wrong conduct of another, which makes me go away from this wood ; for ye are like great sages, standing fast in the religious duties which are in accordance with former sages.

17. "I wish to go to Muni Arada Kalam who is known to be the master of the subject."

18. Seeing his resolve Brighu, the chief of the hermitage, said : " Prince, brave indeed is thy purpose, who, young as thou art, having pondered thoroughly between heaven and liberation have made up your mind for liberation, ye are indeed brave!

19. "If what you have said is thy settled purpose go quickly to Vindhyakoshtha ; the Muni Arada lives there who has gained an insight into absolute bliss.

20. " From him thou wilt learn the path but as I foresee, this purpose of thine will go further, after having studied his theory."

21. Gautama thanked him, and having saluted the company of sages he departed ; the hermits also, having duly performed to him all the rites of courtesy, entered again into the ascetic grove.


2. Study of Sankhya

1. Leaving the Ashram of Brighu, Gautama started to find the abode of Arada Kalam.

2. Arada Kalam was staying at Vaishali. Gautama went thither. On reaching Vaishali he went to his Ashram.

3. Approaching Arada Kalam, he said: " I wish to be initiated into your doctrine and discipline."

4. Thereupon Arada Kalam said :  " You are welcome. Such is my doctrine that an intelligent man like you in no long time may of himself comprehend, realise and attain my teaching and abide by it.

5. " Verily thou art a worthy vessel to receive this highest training."

6. The prince, having heard these words of Arada, was filled with great pleasure and thus made reply.

7. " This extreme kindliness which thou showest to me, makes me, imperfect as I am, seem even already to have attained perfection.

8. " Will you, therefore, deign to tell me what your doctrine is ? "

9. Said Arada, "I am so much impelled by your noble nature, by your sincerity of character and by your resolution that I need not put you to any preliminary examination to test your worthiness.

10. " Listen, best of listeners, to our tenets."

11. He then expounded to Gautama the tenets of what was known as the Sankhya Philosophy.

12. At the conclusion of his discourse Arada Kalam said:

13. " These are, 0 Gautama, the tenets of our system. I have told them to you in a summary form."

14. Gautama was greatly pleased with the clear exposition given by Arada Kalam.

3. Training in Samadhi Marga

1. At the time when Gautama was examining the various ways of finding a solution to his problem he thought of getting himself acquainted with the Dhyana Marga (Concentration of the Mind).

2. There were three schools of the Dhyana Marga.

3. All of them had one thing in common, namely, that control of breathing was the means of achieving Dhyana.

4. One school followed a way of controlling breathing which is called Anapanasati.

5. Another school followed the way of control of breathing known as Pranayama. It divided the breathing process into three parts : (1) Breathing in (Puraka) ; (2) holding the breath (Kumbhaka) ; and (3) breathing out (Rechak). The third school was known as Samadhi School.

6. Arada Kalam was well known as the master of Dhyana Marga. Gautama felt that it might be well for him if he could get some training in the Dhyana Marga under Arada Kalam.

7. So he spoke to Arada Kalam and asked him if he would be so good as to give training in the Dhyana Marga.

8. Arada Kalam replied, "With great pleasure."

9. Arada Kalam taught him his technique of the Dhyana Marga. It consisted of seven stages.

10. Gautama practised the technique every day.

11. After acquiring complete mastery over it Gautama asked Arada Kalam if there was anything further to be learned.

12. Arada Kalam replied : " No friend, that is all that I have to teach." With this Gautama took leave of Arada Kalam.

13. Gautama had heard of another yogi, by name Uddaka Ramaputta, who was reputed to have devised a technique which enabled a Dhyani to go one stage higher than that devised by Arada Kalam.

14. Gautama thought of learning his technique and experiencing the highest stage of Samadhi. Accordingly he went to the Ashram of Uddaka Ramaputta and placed himself under his training.

15. Within a short time did Gautama master the technique of Uddaka's eighth stage. After having perfected himself in the technique of Uddaka Rama-putta, Gautama asked him the same question which he had asked Arada Kalam : "Is there anything further to be learned ? "

16. And Uddaka Ramaputta gave the same reply. "No friend, there is nothing more that I can teach you."

17. Arada Kalam and Uddaka Ramaputta were famous for their mastery of Dhyana Marga in the country of the Kosalas. But Gautama had heard that there were similar masters of Dhyana Marga in the country of the Magadhas. He thought he should have a training in their system also.

18. Gautama accordingly went to Magadha.

19. He found that their technique of Dhyana Marga, though based on control of breathing, was different from what was in vogue in the Kosala country.

20. The technique was not to breathe but to reach concentration by stopping breathing.

21. Gautama learned this technique. When he tried concentration by stopping breathing he found that piercing sounds used to come out of his ears, and his head appeared to him to be pierced as though by a sharp pointed knife.

22. It was a painful process. But Gautama did not fail to master it. 23. Such was his training in the Samadhi Marga.

4. Trial of Asceticism

1. Gautama had given a trial to theSankhya and Samadhi Marga. But he had left the Ashram of the Brighus without giving a trial to Asceticism.

2. He felt he should give it a trial and gain experience for himself so that he could speak authoritatively about it.

3. Accordingly Gautama went to the town of Gaya. From there he reconnoitred the surrounding country and fixed his habitation at Uruvela in the hermitage of Negari, the Royal Seer of Gaya, for practising asceticism. It was a lonely and solitary place on the banks of the river Nairanjana for practising asceticism.

4. At Uruvela he found the five Parivrajakas whom he had met at Rajagraha and who had brought news of peace. They too were practising asceticism.

5. The mendicants saw him there and approached him to take them with him. Gautama agreed.

6. Thereon they served him reverently, abiding as pupils under his orders, and were humble and compliant.

7. The austerities and self-mortification practised by Gautama were of the severest sort.

8. Sometimes he visited two but not more than seven houses a day and took at each only two but not more than seven morsels.

9. He lived on a single saucer of food a day, but not more than seven saucers.

10. Sometimes he had but one meal a day, or one every two days, and so on, upto once every seven days, or only once a fortnight, on a rigid scale of rationing.

11. As he advanced in the practice of asceticism his sole diet was herbs gathered green, or the grain of wild millets and paddy, or snippets hide, or water-plants, or the red powder round rice-grains within the husk or the discarded scum of rice on the boil, or the flour of oilseeds.

12. He lived on wild roots and fruit, or on windfalls only.

13. His raiment was of hemp or hempen mixture of cerements of rags from the dust-heap, of bark, of the black antelope's pelt either whole or split down the middle, of grass, of strips of bark or wood, hair of men or animals woven into a blanket, or of owl's wings.

14. He plucked out the hair of his head and the hair of his beard, never quitted the upright for the sitting posture, squatted and never rose up, moving only squatting.

15. After this wise, in diverse fashions, be lived to torment and to torture his body—to such a length in asceticism did he go.     

16. To such a length in loathliness did he go that there became accumulated on his body the dirt and filth for years till it dropped off by itself.

17. He took up his abode in the awesome depths of the forest, depths so awesome that it was reputed that none but the senseless could venture without his hair standing on end.

18. When the cold season brought chill wintry nights, then it was that in the dark half of the months he dwelt by night in the open air and in the dark thicket by day.

19. But when there came the last broiling month of summer before the rains, he made his dwelling under the baking sun by day and in the stifling thicket bynight.

20. In a charnel ground did he lay down with charred bones for pillow.

21. Thereafter Gautama lived on a single bean a day—on a single sesamum seed a day—or a single grain of rice a day.

22. When he was living on a single fruit a day, his body grew emaciated in the extreme.

23. If he sought to feel his belly, it was his backbone which he found in his grasp ; if he sought to feel his backbone he found himself grasping his belly, so closely did his belly cleave to his backbone and all because he ate so little.

5. Abandonment of Asceticism

1. The austerities and mortification practised by Gautama were of the severest sort. They lasted for a long period of six years.

2. At the end of six years his body had become so weak that he was quite unable to move.

3. Yet he had seen no new light and was no nearer to the solution to the problem of misery in the world on which his mind was centred.

4. He reflected to himself : " This is not the way, even to passionlessness, nor to perfect knowledge, nor to liberation.

5. " Some undergo misery for the sake of this world, others meet toil for the sake of heaven ; all living beings wretched through hope and always missing their aim, fall certainly for the sake of happiness into misery.

6.     " Has not something like this happened to me ?

7.     " It is not the effort itself which I blame,— which flinging aside the base pursues a high path of its own.

8. " What I ask is, ' Can the mortification of the body be called religion ? '

9. " Since it is only by the mind's authority that the body either acts or ceases to act, therefore, to control the thought is alone befitting—without thought the body is like a dog.

10. " If there was only the body to be considered, merit may be gained by purity of food, but then there is merit also in the doer. But of what good is it ?

11. " New light cannot be attained by him who has lost his strength and is wearied with hunger, thirst and fatigue with his mind no longer self-possessed through fatigue.

12. " How could he who is not absolutely calm, reach the end which is to be attained by his mind ?

13. "True calm and the self-possession of the mind is properly obtained by the constant satisfaction of the body's wants."

14. At this time there lived at Uruvela a house-holder by name Senani.  Sujata was his daughter.

15. Sujata had uttered a wish to a Banyan Tree, and vowed a yearly offering to it if she should have a son.

16. The wish having been fulfilled, she sent her maid Punna to prepare the place for the offering.

17. Punna finding Gautama sitting beneath the Banyan Tree, thought he was the god of the tree who had come down.

18. Sujata came and offered Gautama the food prepared by her in a golden bowl.

19. He took the bowl to the river bank, bathed at a ford or a bathing place called Suppatitthita and ate the food.

20. Thus ended his trial of asceticism.

21. The five ascetics who were with Gautama became angry with him for having given up the life of austerity and self-mortification and in disgust left him.




1. Meditation for New Light.

2. Enlightenment.

3.      The Discovery of a New Dhamma.

4.      Gautama who was a Bodhisatta after Sammabodhi becomes
   a Buddha.


1. Meditation for New Light

1. Having refreshed himself with food Gautama sat thinking over his past experiences. He realised that all paths had failed.

2. The failure was so complete that it could have led anyone into a state of frustration. He was, of course, sorry. But frustration as such did not touch him.

3. He was always hopeful of finding a way. So much so that on the night of the day on which he partook of the food sent by Sujata, Gautama had five dreams and when he awoke he interpreted his dreams to mean that he was sure to attain enlightenment.

4. He had also tried to forecast his future. This he did by throwing the bowl of food, Sujata's maid brought, into the river Nairanja, saying : "If I am to have enlightenment let the bowl ascend the stream; if not let it go down." The vessel, indeed, began to float against the current and at last sank near the abode of Kala, a Naga king.

5. Fortified with hope and determination he left Uruvela and towards evening went along the wide road to Gaya. There he saw a Banyan Tree. He thought of sitting under it in meditation in the hope of a new light dawning upon him and enabling him to find a way which would solve his problem.

6. After trying each of the four directions he chose the East which is always chosen by all the great sages for the removal of all defilements.

7. Gautama sat down cross-legged and upright under the Banyan Tree. Determined to achieve enlightenment, he said to himself, " Skin, sinew and bone may dry up as they will, my flesh and blood may dry in my body, but without attaining complete enlightenment I will not leave this seat."

8. Then Kala, the king of the Nagas, whose majesty was like the lord of elephants, and his wife Suvarnaprabhasa, having been awakened by the vision of Gautama sitting under the Banyan Tree, uttered this in praise of him being sure that he was destined to attain perfect knowledge.

9. " Inasmuch as the earth, pressed down by thy feet, 0 Sage, resounds repeatedly, and inasmuch as thy splendour shines forth like the sun, thou shalt assuredly reap the desired fruit.

10. " Inasmuch as flocks of birds fluttering in the sky offer thee reverential salutation, O Lotus-eyed One ; and inasmuch as gentle breezes blow in the sky, thou shalt certainly attain thy object."

11. As he sat down for meditation a crowd of evil thoughts and evil passions—mythologically called the children of Mara (Kama), which is another name for evil passions, entered his mind.

12. Gautama was greatly frightened lest they should overpower him and defeat his purpose.

13. He knew that in this battle with evil passions many Rishis and Brahmins had succumbed.

14. So he summoned all the courage he had and said to Mara, " Faith is found in me, and heroism and wisdom. How can ye evil passions defeat me ? "The streams even of rivers may this wind dry up. Ye would be unable to dry up my resolutions, when I am so intent." Better to me is death in battle than that I should be defeated inlife.

15. The evil passions entered the mind of Gautama as a crow goes after astone that looks like a hump of fat, thinking surely, " here I shall find a tender morsel, here perchance is something sweet."

16. And finding no sweetness there, the crow departs thence. So like a crow attacking a rock, the evil passions left Gautama in disgust.

2. Enlightenment

1.. To feed himself during the period of meditation Gautama had collected enough food to last him for forty days.

2. Having routed the evil thoughts that disturbed his mind Gautama refreshed himself with food and gained strength. He thus prepared himself for medita-tion with the aim of obtaining enlightenment. 3. It took Gautama four weeks of meditation to obtain enlightenment. He reached final enlightenment in four stages.

4. In the first stage he called forth reason and investigation. His seclusion helped him to attain it easily.

5. In the second stage he added concentration.

6. In the third stage he brought to his aid equanimity and mindfulness.

7. In the fourth and final stage he added purity to equanimity and equanimity to mindfulness.

8.     Thus with mind concentrated, purified, spotless, with defilement gone, supple, dexterous, firm, impassionate, not forgetting what he is after, Gautama concentrated himself on the problem of finding an answer to the question which had troubled him.

9.     On the night of the last day of the fourth week light dawned upon him. He  realised that there were two problems. The first problem was that there was suffering in the world and the second problem was how to remove this suffering and make mankind happy.

10. So in the end, after meditation for four weeks, darkness was dispelled, light arose, ignorance was dispelled and knowledge arose. He saw a new way.

3. The Discovery of a New Dhamma

1. Gautama when he sat in meditation for getting new light was greatly in the grip of the Sankhya Philosophy.

2. That suffering and unhappiness in the world he thought was an incontrovertible fact.

3. Gautama was, however, interested in knowing how to do away with suffering. This problem the Sankhya Philosophy did not deal with.

4. It is, therefore, on this problem—how to remove suffering and unhappiness—that he concentrated his mind.

5. Naturally, the first question he asked himself was—" What are the causes of suffering and unhappiness which an individual undergoes?"

6. His second question was—" How to remove unhappiness ? "

7. To both these questions he got a right answer which is called 'Samma Bodhi' (Right Enlightenment). 8. It is because of this that the Banyan Tree has come to be known as the Bodhi Tree.


4. Gautama who was a Bodhisatta After Sammabodhi Becomes a Buddha

1. Before enlightenment Gautama was only a Bodhisatta. It is after reaching enlightenment that he became a Buddha.

2. Who and what is a Bodhisatta?

3. A Bodhisatta is a person who is seeking to be a Buddha.

4. How does a Bodhisatta become a Buddha ?

5. A Bodhisatta must be a Bodhisatta for ten lives in succession. What must a Bodhisatta do in order to qualify himself to become a Buddha ?

6. In his first life he acquires Mudita (joy). The Bodhisatta having blown off his impurities, as the smith blows the dross from silver, reflects that man who has been reckless and becomes sober brightens up the world like the moon freed from clouds. Joy springs up in him realising this, and he is fervent in his desire to benefit all beings.

7. In his second life he acquires Vimala (Purity). The Bodhisatta has now removed all thoughts of lust ; he is kind ; he is kind to all ; he neither flatters the vices of men nor disparages their virtues.

8. In his third life he acquires Prabhakari (Brightness). The intellect of the Bodhisatta now becomes as bright as a mirror. He fully knows and grasps the truths of Anatta and Anicca. His only wish is for the highest wisdom, and for this he is ready to sacrifice anything.

9. In his fourth life he acquires Arcishmati (Intelligence of Fire). The Bodhisatta in this life fixes his mind on the Eight old Path, the Four Contempla- tions, the Fourfold Contest, the Fourfold Will Power, the Fivefold Morality.

10. In his fifth life he acquires Sudurjaya (Difficult to Conquer). He fully understands the connection of the relative and the absolute.

11. In his sixth life he becomes Abhimukhi. In this stage the Bodhisatta is now prepared fully to grasp the evolution of things, its cause, the Twelve Nidanas; and this knowledge, called Abhimukhi, awakens the most profound compassion in his heart for all beings blinded by Avidya.

12. In his seventh life the Bodhisatta becomes a Durangama (going far off). The Bodhisatta is now beyond time and space ; he is one with Infinity, but he still retains nama-rupa out of his great compassion for all beings. He is secluded from others, in that the lusts of the world no more cling to him than water to a lotus leaf. He quenches desires in his fellow beings, practices charity, patience, tactfulness, energy, calmness, intelligence and the highest wisdom.

13. While in this life he knows the Dharma, but presents it in ways understood by the people, he knows he must be tactful and patient. Whatever men do to him he bears with equanimity, for he knows that it is through ignorance they misunderstand his motives. At the same time he never slackens his energy to benefit all beings, nor does he withdraw his mind from wisdom, therefore misfortune can never turn him from the righteous path.

14. In his eighth life he becomes Acala. In the stage of Acala, or ' immovable,' all strivings on the part of the Bodhisatta cease. He follows good spontaneously ; whatever he will do he will succeed in.

15. In his ninth life he becomes Sadhumati. This is the stage or condition of one who has vanquished and penetrated all dharmas or systems, all quarters, and does not enter time.

16. In his tenth life he becomes Dharmamegha. The Bodhisatta attains the infinite divine eye of a Buddha.

17. The Bodhisatta acquires these ten powers which are necessary for him when he becomes a Buddha.

18. The Bodhisatta must not only acquire these ten powers as he evolves from stage to stage but he must also practice to perfection the ten Paramitas.

19. One Paramita is to be the end of one life. Specialisation in the Paramitas must go stage by stage. One Paramita in one life and not a little of one and a little of the other.

20. It is only when he is doubly equipped that a Bodhisatta becomes qualified for becoming a Buddha. The Buddha is a culminating point in the life of a Bodhisatta.

21. The theory of the Jatakas or the birth stages of a Bodhisatta appears analogous to the Brahmanic theory of Avataras, i.e., the theory of incarnations of God.

22. The Jataka theory is based upon the Buddha having the highest degree of purity as the essence of his being.

23. The Avatar theory does not require that the God should be pure in his making. All that the Brahmanic theory of Avatar says is that God saves his followers by taking different forms although the God may be very impure and immoral in his conduct. 24. The theory that to be a Bodhisatta for ten lives as a condition precedent for becoming a Buddha has no parallel anywhere. No other religion calls upon its founder to answer such a test.




1. The Buddha and the Vedic Rishis.

2. Kapila—The Philosopher.

3. The  Bramhanas.

4. The Upanishads and their Teachings.


1. The Buddha and the Vedic Rishis

1. The Vedas are a collection of Mantras, i.e., hymns or chants. The reciters of these hymns are called Rishis.

2. The Mantras are mere invocations to deities such as Indra, Varuna, Agni, Soma, Isana, Prajapati, Bramba, Mahiddhi, Yama and others.

3. The invocations are mere prayers for help against enemies, for gift of wealth, for accepting the offerings of food, flesh and wine from the devotee.

4. There is not much philosophy in the Vedas. But there were some Vedic sages who had entered into speculations of a philosophical nature.

5. These Vedic sages were : (1) Aghamarsana; (2) Prajapati Parmesthin; (3) Brahmanaspati, otherwise known as Brihaspati; (4) Anila; (5) Dirghatamas; (6) Narayan; (7) Hiranyagarbha; and (8) Visvakar-man.

6. The main problems of these Vedic philosophers were: How did the world originate ? In what manner were individual things created ? Why have they their unity and existence ? Who created, and who ordained ? From what did the world spring up and to what again will it return ?

7. Aghamarsana said that the world was created out of Tapas (heat). Tapas was the creative principle from which eternal law and truth were born. From these were produced the night (tamas). Tamas produced water and from water originated time. Time gave birth to the sun and the moon, the heaven and the earth, the firmament and light and ordained the days and nights.

8. Brahmanaspati postulated the genesis of being from non-being. By the term non-existence, he denoted apparently the infinite. The existent originally sprang up from the non-existent.  The non-existent (asat, nonens) was the permanent foundation of all that is existent (sat, ens) and of all that is possible and yet non-existent (asat).

9. Prajapati Parmesthin started with the problem: " Did being come out of non-being ?" His view was that this was an irrelevant question. For him water was the original substance of that which exists. For him the original matter—water—came neither under the definition of being nor under that of non-being.

10. Paramesthin did not draw any distinction between matter and motive power. According to him water transformed itself into particular things by some inherent principle to which he gave the name Kama, Cosmic Desire.

11. Anila was another Vedic Philosopher. To him the principal element was air (vayu). It possesses the inherent capacity for movement. It is endowed with the generating principle.

12. Dirghtamas maintained that all living beings rest and depend ultimately on the sun. The sun held up and propelled by its inherent force went backward and forward.

13. The sun is composed of a grey coloured substance and so are lightning and fire.

14. The sun, lightning and fire formed the germ of water. Water forms the germ of plants. Such were the views of Dirghatamas.

15. According to Narayana, Purusha (God) is the first cause of the universe. It is from Purusha that the sun, the moon, the earth, water, fire, air, mid-air, the sky, the regions, the seasons, the creatures of the air, all animals, all classes of men, and all human institutions, had originated.

16. Hiranyagarbha. From doctrinal point of view he stood midway between Parmeshthin and Narayan. Hiranyagarbha means the golden germ. It was the great power of the universe, from which all other powers and existences, divine and earthly, were derived.

17. Hiranyagarbha means fire. It is fire that constituted the solar essence, the generating principle of the universe.

18. From the point of view of Vishvakarman it was quite inadequate and unsatisfactory to hold that water was the primitive substance of all that is and then to derive from it this world as a whole by giving it an inherent power of movement. If water be the primitive substance which is endowed with the inherent principle of change, we have yet to account for that from which water derived its being, and derived the motive power, the generating principle, the elemental forces, the laws and all the rest.

19. Vishvakarman held the view that it was God which was the motive power. God is first and God is last. He is earlier than the visible universe ; he had existed before all cosmic forces came into being. He is the sole God who created and ordained this universe. God is one, and the only one. He is the unborn one (aja) in whom all the existing things abide. He is the one who is mighty in mind and supreme in power. He is the maker—the disposer. As father he generated us, and as disposer he knows the fate of all that is.

20. The Buddha did not regard all the Vedic Sages as worthy of reverence. He regarded just ten Vedic Rishis as the most ancient and as the real authors of the Mantras.

21. But in the Mantras he saw nothing that was morally elevating.

22. In his view the Vedas were as worthless as a desert.

23. The Buddha, therefore, discarded the Mantras as a source from which to learn or to borrow.

24. Similarly, the Buddha did not find anything in the philosophy of the Vedic Rishis. They were groping to reach the truth. But they had not reached it.

25. Their theories were mere speculations not based on logic nor on facts. Their contributions to philosophy created no social values.

26. He therefore rejected the philosophy of the Vedic Rishis as useless.

2. Kapila— The Philosopher

1. Among the ancient philosophers of India the most pre-eminent was Kapila.

2. His philosophical approach was unique, and as philosopher he stood in a class by himself. His philosophy was known as the Sankhya Philo-sophy.

3. The tenets of his philosophy were of a startling nature.

4. Truth must be supported by proof. This is the first tenet of the Sankhya system. There is no truth without proof.

5. For purposes of proving the truth Kapila allowed only two means of proof—(1) perception and (2) inference.

6. By perception is meant mental apprehension of a present object.

7. Inference is threefold: (1) from cause to effect, as from the presence of clouds to rain ; (2) from effect to cause, as from the swelling of the streams in the valleys to rain in the hills, and (3) by analogy, as when we infer from the fact that a man alters his place when he moves that the stars must also move, since they appear in different places.

8. His next tenet related to causality—creation and its cause.

9. Kapila denied the theory that there was a being who created the universe. In his view a created thing really exists beforehand in its cause just as the clay serves to form a pot, or the threads go to form a piece of cloth.

10. This is the first ground on which Kapila rejected the theory that the universe was created by a being.

11. But there are other grounds which he advanced in support of his point of view.

12. The non-existent cannot be the subject of an activity : There is no new creation. The product is really nothing else than the material of, which it is composed : the product exists before its coming into being in the shape of its material of which it is composed. Only a definite product can be produced from such material ; and only a specific material can yield a specific result.

13. What then is the source of the empirical universe ?

14. Kapila said the empirical universe consists of things evolved (Vyakta) and things that are not evolved (Avyakta).

15. Individual things (Vyakta Vastu) cannot  be the source of unevolved things (Avyakta Vastu).

16. Individual things are all limited in magnitude and this is incompatible with the nature of the source of the universe.

17. All individual things are analogous, one to another and, therefore, no one can be regarded as the final source of the other. Moreover, as they all come into being from a source, they cannot constitute that source.

18. Further, argued Kapila, an effect must differ from its cause, though it must consist of the cause. That being so, the universe cannot itself be the final cause. It must be the product of some ultimate cause.

19. When asked why the unevolved cannot be perceived, why does it not show movement which would make it perceivable, Kapila replied :

20. " It may be due to various causes. It may be that its fine nature makes, it imperceptible, just as other things of whose existence there is no doubt, cannot be perceived ; or because of their too great a distance or proximity ; or through the intervention of a third object, or through admixture with similar matter ; or through the presence of some more powerful sensation, or the blindness or other defect of the senses or the mind of the observer."

21. When asked : "What then is the source of the universe ? What makes the difference between the evolved and unevolved part of the universe ?

22. Kapila's reply was:  'Things that have evolved have a cause and the things that have not evolved have also a cause. But the source of both is uncaused and independent.'

23. " The things that have evolved are many in number and limited in space and name. The source is one, eternal and all-pervasive. The things evolved have activities and parts : the source is imminent in all, but has neither activities nor parts."

24. Kapila argued that the process of develop-ment of the unevolved is through the activities of three constituents of which it is made up, Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. These are called three Gunas.

25. The first of the constituents, or factors, corresponds to what we call as light in nature, which reveals, which causes pleasure to men ; the second is that impels and moves, what produces activity ; the third is what is heavy and puts under restraint, what produces the state of indifference or inactivity.

26. The three constituents act essentially in close relation, they overpower and support one another and intermingle with one another. They are like the constituents of a lamp, the flame, the oil and wick.

27. When the three Gunas are in perfect balance, none overpowering the other, the universe appears static (Achetan) and ceases to evolve.

28. When the three Gunas are not in balance, one overpowers the other, the universe becomes dynamic (sachetan) and evolution begins.

29. Asked why the Gunas become unbalanced, the answer which Kapila gave was this disturbance in the balance of the three Gunas was due to the presence of Dukha (suffering).

30. Such were the tenets of Kapila's philosophy.

31. Of all the philosophers the Buddha was greatly impressed by the doctrines of Kapila.

32. He was the only philosopher whose teachings appeared to the Buddha to be based on logic and facts.

33. But he did not accept everything which Kapila taught. Only three things did the Buddha accept from Kapila.

34. He accepted that reality must rest on proof. Thinking must be based on rationalism.

35. He accepted that there was no logical or factual basis for the presumption that God exists or that he created the universe.

36. He accepted that there was Dukha (suffering) in the world.

37. The rest of Kapila's teachings he just bypassed as being irrelevant for his purpose.

3. The Bramhanas

1. Next to the Vedas are the religious books known as the Bramhanas. Both were held as sacred books. Indeed the Bramhanas are a part of the Vedas. The two went together and were called by a common name Sruti.

2. There were four theses on which the Bramhanic Philosophy rested.

3. The first thesis was that the Vedas are not only sacred but that they are infallible and they are not to be questioned.

4. The second thesis of the Bramhanic Philosophy was that salvation of the soul—that is escape from transmigration—can be had only by the due performance of Vedic sacrifices and observances of religious rites and ceremonies and the offering of gifts to Brahmins.

5. The Brahmins had not only a theory of an ideal religion as contained in the Vedas but they also had a theory for an ideal society.

6. The pattern of this ideal society they named Chaturvarna. It is imbedded in the Vedas and as the Vedas are infallible and as their authority cannot be questioned so also Chaturvarna as a pattern of society was binding and unquestionable.

7. This pattern of society was based upon certain rules.

8. The first rule was that society should be divided into four classes: (1)  Brahmins; (2) Kshatriyas; (3) Vaishyas; and (4) Shudras.

9. The second rule was that there cannot be social equality among these four classes. They must be bound together by the rule of graded inequality.

10. The Brahmins to be at the top, the Kshatriyas to be kept below the Brahmins but above the Vaishyas, the Vaishyas to be below the Kshatriyas but above the Shudras and the Shudras to be the lowest of all.

11. These four classes were not to be equal to one another in the matter of rights and privileges. The rule of graded inequality governed the question of rights and privileges.

12. The Brahmin had all the rights and privileges which he wished to claim. But a Kshatriya could not claim the rights and privileges which a Brahmin could. He had more rights and privileges than a Vaishya could claim. The Vaishya had more rights and privileges than a Shudra. But he could not claim the rights and privileges which a Kshatriya could. And the Shudra was not entitled to any right, much less any privilege. His privilege was to subsist without offending the three superior classes.

13. The third rule of Chaturvarna related to the division of occupations. The occupation of the Brahmin was learning and teaching and the performance of religious observances. The occupations of the Kshatriya was fighting. Trade was assigned to the Vaishyas. The occupations of the Shudras was service of the three superior classes. These occupations assigned to different classes were exclusive. One class could not trespass upon the occupation of the other.

14. The fourth rule of Chaturvarna related to the right to education. The pattern of Chaturvarna gave the right to education to the first three classes, the Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas. The Shudras were denied the right to education. This rule of Chaturvarna did not deny the right to education to the Shudras only. It denied the right to education to all women including those belonging to the class of Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas.

15. There was a fifth rule. According to it, man's life was divided into four stages. The first stage was called Bramhacharya ; the second stage was called Grahasashram; the third stage was called Vanaprasta and the fourth stage was called Sannyasa.

16. The object of the first stage was study and education. The object of the second stage was to live a married life. The object of the third stage was to familiarise a man with the life of a hermit, i.e., severing family ties, but without deserting his home. The object of the fourth stage was to enable a man to go in search of God and seek union with him.

17. The benefits of these stages were open only to the male members of the three superior classes. The first stage was not open to the Shudras and women. Equally the last stage was not open to the Shudras and women.

18. Such was the divine pattern of an ideal society called Chaturvarna.   The Brahmins had idealised the rule and had realised the ideal without leaving any cracks or loopholes.

19. The fourth thesis of Brahmanic Philosophy was the doctrine of Karma. It was part of the thesis of transmigration of the soul. The Karma of the Brahmins was an answer to the question: "Where did the soul land on transmigration with his new body on new birth ? " The answer of the Brahmanic Philosophy was that it depended on a man's deeds in his past life. In other words, it depended on his Karma.

20. The Buddha was strongly opposed to the first tenet of Brahmanism. He repudiated their thesis that the Vedas are infallible and their authority could never be questioned.

21. In his opinion, nothing was infallible and nothing could be final. Everything must be open to re-examination and reconsideration whenever grounds for re-examination and reconsideration arise.

22. Man must know the truth and real truth. To him freedom of thought was the most essential thing. And he was sure that freedom of thought was the only way to the discovery of truth.

23. Infallibility of the Vedas meant complete denial of freedom of thought.

24. For these reasons this thesis of the Brahmanic Philosophy was most obnoxious to him.

25. He was equally an opponent of the second thesis of the Brahmanic Philosophy. The Buddha did admit that there was any virtue in a sacrifice. But he made a distinction between true sacrifice and false sacrifice.

26. Sacrifice in the sense of self-denial for the good of others he called true sacrifice. Sacrifice in the sense of killing an animal as an offering to God for personal benefit he regarded as a false sacrifice.

27. The Brahmanic sacrifices were mostly sacrifices of animals to please their gods. He condemned them as false sacrifices. He would not allow them even though they be performed with the object of getting salvation for the soul.

28. The opponents of sacrifices used to ridicule the Brahmins by saying : " If one can go to heaven by sacrificing an animal why should not one sacrifice one's own father. That would be a quicker way of going to heaven."

29. The Buddha wholeheartedly agreed with this view.

30. The theory of Chaturvarna was as repugnant to the Buddha as the theory of sacrifices was repulsive to him.

31. The organization of society set up by Brahmanism in the name of Chaturvarna did not appear to him a natural organization. Its class composition was compulsory and arbitrary. It was a society made to order. He preferred an open society and a free society.

32. The Chaturvarna of the Brahmins was a fixed order never to be changed. Once a Brahmin always a Brahmin.   Once a Kshatriya always a Kshatriya, once a Vaishya always a Vaishya and once a Shudra always a Shudra. Society was based on status conferred upon an individual by the accident of his birth. Vice, however heinous, was no ground for degrading a man from his status, and virtue, however great, had no value to raise him above it. There was no room for worth nor for growth.

33. Inequality exists in every society. But it was different with Brahmanism.  The inequality preached by Brahmins was its official doctrine. It was not a mere growth. Brahmanism did not believe in equality. In fact, it was opposed to equality.

34. Brahmanism was not content with inequality. The soul of Brahmanism lay in graded inequality.

35. Far from producing harmony, graded inequality, the Buddha thought, might produce in society an ascending scale of hatred and a descending scale of contempt, and might be a source of perpetual conflict.

36. The occupations of the four classes were also fixed. There was no freedom of choice. Besides, they were fixed not in accordance with skill but in accordance with birth.

37. On a careful review of the rules of Chatur-varna the Buddha had no difficulty in coming to the conclusion that the philosophic foundations on which the social order was reared by Brahmanism were wrong if not selfish.

38. It was clear to him that it did not serve the interests of all, much less did it advance the welfare of all. Indeed, it was deliberately designed to make many serve the interests of the few. In it man was made to serve a class of self-styled supermen.

39. It was calculated to suppress and exploit the weak and to keep them in a state of complete subjugation.

40. The law of Karma as formulated by the Brahmins, thought the Buddha, was calculated to sap the spirit of revolt completely. No one was responsible for the suffering of man except he himself. Revolt could not alter the state of suffering ; for suffering was fixed by his past Karma as his lot in this life.

41. The Shudras and women—the two classes whose humanity was most mutilated by Brahmanism, had no power to rebel against the system.

42. They were denied the right to knowledge with the result that by reason of their enforced ignorance they could not realize what had made their condition so degraded. They could not know that Brahmanism had robbed them completely of the significance of their life. Instead of rebelling against Brahmanism they had become the devotees and upholders of Brahmanism.

43. The right to bear arms is the ultimate means of achieving freedom which a human being has. But the Shudras were denied the right to bear arms.

44. Under Brahmanism the Shudras were left as helpless victims of a conspiracy of selfish Brahmanism, powerful and deadly Kshatriyas and wealthy Vaishyas.

45. Could it be amended? Knowing that it was a divinely ordained social order, he knew that it could not be. It could only be ended.

46. For these reasons the Buddha rejected Brahmanism as being opposed to the true way of life.

4. The Upanishads and Their Teachings

1. The Upanishads constituted another piece of literature. It is not part of the Vedas. It is uneconomical.

2. All the same they did form a part of religious literature.

3. The number of the Upanishads is quite large. Some important, some quite unimportant.

4. Some of them were ranged against the Vedic theologians, the Brahmin priests.

5. All of them agreed in viewing Vedic study as a study of nescience or ignorance (avidya).

6. They were all agreed in their estimate of the four Vedas and the Vedic science as the lower knowledge.

7. They were all agreed in questioning the divine origin of the Vedas.

8. They were all agreed in denying the efficacy attributed to sacrifices, to the funeral oblations, and the gifts to the priests which are the fundamentals of the Brahmanic philosophy.

9. This, however, was not the main topic with which the Upanishads were concerned. Their discussions centred round Brahman and Atman.

10. Brahman was the all-pervading principle which binds the universe and that salvation lay in the Atman realizing that it is Brahman. II. The main thesis of the Upanishads was that Brahmana was a reality and that Atmana was the same as Brahmana. The Atmana did not realize that it was Brahman because of the Upadhis in which it was entangled.

12. The question was: Is Brahmana a reality ? The acceptance of the Upanishadic thesis depended upon the answer to this question.

13. The Buddha could find no proof in support of the thesis that Brahmana was a reality. He, therefore, rejected the thesis of th.e Upanishads.

14. It is not that questions on this issue were not put to the authors of the Upanishads. They were :

15. Such questions were put to no less a person than Yajnavalkya, a great seer who plays so important a part in the Brahadarnyka Upanishad.

16. He was asked: "What is Brahmana? What is Atmana ? " All that Yajnavalkya could say : " Neti ! Neti ! I know not ! I know not ! "

17. "How can anything be a reality about which no one knows anything," asked the Buddha. He had, therefore, no difficulty in rejecting the Upanishadic thesis as being based on pure imagination.



1. His Contemporaries.

2. His attitude to His Contemporaries.


1. His Contemporaries

1. At the time when Gautama took Parivraja there was a great intellectual ferment in the country. Besides the Brahmanic Philosophy there were as many as sixty-two different schools of philosophy, all opposed to the Brahmanic Philosophy. Of them at least six were worthy of attention.

2. Of these schools of philosophy there was one headed by Purana Kassappa. His doctrine was known as Akriyavada. He maintained that the soul was not affected in any way by Karma. One may do, or one may get things done. One may do injury or one may get someone to kill. One may commit theft or dacoity or one may get theft or dacoity committed, one may commit adultery or one may get adultery committed, one may tell a lie or one may get a lie told. Nothing affects the soul. An act, however licentious, does not affect the soul with sin. An act, however good, does not bring merit to the soul. Nothing has any Kriya (result) on the soul. When a person dies, all the elements of which he is made join in their originals. Nothing survives after death, neither body nor soul.

3. Another school of thought was known as Niyativada. Its chief propounder was Makhali Ghosal. His doctrine was a kind of fatalism or determinism. He taught that no one can do anything or undo anything. Things happen. No one can make them happen. No one can remove unhappiness, increase it or diminish it. One must undergo one's share of the experiences of the world.

4. The third school was known as Ucchedavada. Its chief propounder was Ajit Kesakambal His doctrine was a kind of Annihilism. He taught that there was nothing in Yajna, Haom; there is no such thing as the fruits or effects of deeds to be enjoyed or suffered by the soul. There is neither heaven nor hell. Man is made up of certain elements of unhappiness in the world. The soul cannot escape it. Whatever sorrow or unhappiness there was in the world the soul cannot escape. This sorrow or unhappiness will come to an end automatically. The soul must undergo rebirth during eighty-four lakhs of cycles of Mahakalpas. Then only the sorrow and unhappiness of the soul will end, not before nor by any other means.

5. The fourth school was known as Annyonyavad. The head of this school was Pakudha Kacchyana. He preached that there are seven elements which go to make up a being, namely, Prathvi, Apa, Tej, Vayu, Sukha, Dukha and the Soul. Each is independent of the other ; one does not affect the other. They are self-existent and they are eternal. Nothing can destroy them. If any one chops off the head of man he does not kill him. All that happens is that the weapon has entered the seven elements.

6. Sanjaya Belaputta had his own school of philosophy. It was known as Vikshepavada, a kind of scepticism.  He argued, " if anyone asked me is there heaven, if I feel there was I would say yes. But if I feel there was no heaven I would say no. If I am asked whether human beings are created, whether man has to suffer the fruits of his action whether good or bad, and whether the soul lives after death, I say nay to all these because I don't think they exist. This is how Sanjaya Belaputta summed up his doctrine.

7. The sixth school of philosophy was known as Chaturyamsamvarvad.   The head of this school who was alive at the time when Gautama was searching for light was Mahavir, who was also called Nigantha Nathaputta. Mahavir taught that the soul had to undergo rebirth because of the bad karmas done in the past life and in the present life. One must therefore get over the bad, he suggested, by tapascharya. For preventing the doing of bad karmas in this life Mahavira prescribed the observance of chaturyama dharma, i.e., observance of four rules : (1) not to kill ; (2) not to steal ; (3) not to tell a lie ; and (4) not to have property and to observe celibacy.

2. His Attitude to His Contemporaries

1. The Buddha did not accept the teachings of the new philosophers.

2. His rejection of their teaching was not without reasons. He said that :

3. If the doctrines of Purana Kassyappa or Pakudha Kacchyana were true then one can do any evil or any harm ; one may even go to the length of killing another without involving any social responsibility or social consequences.

4. If the doctrine of Makhali Ghosal is true then man becomes the slave of destiny. He cannot liberate himself.

5. If the doctrine of Ajit Kesakambal is true then all that man has to do is to eat, drink and make merry.

6. If the doctrine of Sanjaya Betaputta was true then man must float about and live without a positive philosophy of life.

7. If the doctrine of Nigantha Nathaputta was true then man's life must be subjected to Asceticism and Tapascharya, a complete subjugation and uprooting of man's instincts and desires.

8. Thus, none of the paths of life suggested by the philosophers appealed to the Buddha. He thought they were the thoughts of men who had become hopeless, helpless and reckless. He therefore decided to seek light elsewhere.



1. What HE Rejected.            

2. What HE Modified.

3. What HE Accepted.

1. What HE Rejected

1. This survey of the philosophical and religious thought shows that at the time when the Buddha formulated his Sasana, certain ideas had a firm grip on the mind of the people. They were : (i) Belief in the infallibility of the Vedas ; (ii) Belief in Moksha or Salvation of the soul, i.e., its ceasing to be born again ; (iii) Belief in the efficacy of rites, ceremonies and sacrifices as means of obtaining moksha; (iv) Belief in Chaturvarna as the ideal for social organization; (v) Belief in Iswara as the creator of and in Brahmana as the principle underlying the universe. (vi) Belief in Atmana, or the soul. (vii) Belief in Sansara, (wandering together), i.e., transmigration of the soul. (viii) Belief in Karma, i.e., the determination of man's position in present life by deeds done by him in his past life.

2. In formulating the principles of his Sasana the Buddha dealt with this old stock of ideas in his own way.

3. The following are the ideas which he rejected : (i) He condemned indulging in speculation as to the whence, whither and what am I ? (ii) He discarded heresies about the soul and refrained from identifying it with either the body, sensations, volitions and consciousness. • (iii) He discarded all the Nihilistic views which were promulgated by certain religious teachers. (iv) He condemned such views as were held by heretics. (v) He discarded the theory that the cosmic progress had a known beginning. (vi) He repudiated the theory that a God created man or that he came out of the body of some Bramha. (vii) The existence of the soul he either ignored or denied.                                          

2. What HE Modified

(i) He accepted the great grand law of cause and effect with its corollaries. (ii) He repudiated the fatalistic view of life and other equally foolish view that a God predestined as to what should happen for man and the world. (iii) He discarded the theory that all deeds committed in some former birth have the potency to produce suffering, making present activity impotent. He denied the fatalistic view of Karma. He replaced the view of Karma by a much more scientific view of Karma. He put new wine in old bottle. (iv) Transmigration (sansara) was replaced by the doctrine of re-birth. (v) He replaced the doctrine of moksha or salvation of the soul by the doctrine of Nibbana.

5. The Buddha Sasana is thus an original piece. The little in it which is old is either modified or restated.

3. What HE Accepted

1. The first distinguishing feature of his teachings lay in the recognition of the mind as the centre of everything.

2. Mind precedes things, dominates them, creates them. If mind is comprehended all things are comprehended.

3. Mind is the leader of all its faculties. Mind is the chief of all its faculties. The very mind is made up of those faculties.

4.     The first thing to attend to is the culture of the mind.

5.     The second distinguishing feature of his teachings is that mind is the fount of all the good and evil that arises within and befalls us from without.

6. Whatsoever there is of evil, connected with evil, belonging to evil—that issues from the mind. Whatsoever there is of good, connected with good, belonging to good—all issues from mind.

7. If one speaks or acts with a pounded mind then affliction follows him as the wheels of the cart follow the feet of the bullocks who pull the cart. The cleaning of the mind is, therefore, the essence of religion1

8. The third distinguishing feature of his teachings is the avoidance of all sinful acts.

9. The fourth distinguishing feature of his teaching is that real religion lies not in the books of religion but in the observance of the tenets of the religion.

10. Can anyone say that the Buddha's religion was not his own creation?