PART II : RENUNCIATION FOR EVER
Friday, August 22, 2008
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 ?
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?
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 ?
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'.
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.
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 ?
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.
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 ?
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.
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.
§ 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
11. Can he accept any one of the social philosophies ?12. He was determined to examine everything for himself.
Posted bySumedh at 4:32 AM