Tuesday 10 July 2007
“YES,” SAID BHAGAVAN, “when the Buddha was in the palace with all possible luxuries in the world, he was still sad. To remove his sadness, his father created more luxuries than ever. But none of them satisfied the Buddha. At midnight he left his wife and child and disappeared. He remained in great austerity for six years, realised the Self; and for the welfare of the world became a mendicant (bhikshu). It was only after he became a mendicant that he enjoyed great bliss. Really, what more did he require?”
“In the garb of a mendicant he came to his own city, did he not?” asked a devotee.
“Yes, yes,” said Bhagavan. “Having heard that he was coming, his father, Suddhodana, decorated the royal elephant and went out with his whole army to receive him on the main road. But without touching the main road, the Buddha came by side roads and by-lanes; he sent his close associates to the various streets for alms while he himself in the guise of a mendicant went by another way to his father. How could the father know that his son was coming in that guise! Yasodhara (the Buddha’s wife), however, recognised him, made her son prostrate before his father and herself prostrated. After that, the father recognised the Buddha. Suddhodana however, had never expected to see his son in such a state and was very angry and shouted, ‘Shame on you! What is this garb? Does one who should have the greatest of riches come like this? I’ve had enough of it!’
And with that, he looked furiously at the Buddha. Regretting that his father had not yet got rid of his ignorance, the Buddha too, began to look at his father with even greater intensity. In this war of looks, the father was defeated. He fell at the feet of his son and himself became a mendicant. Only a man with non-attachment can know the power of non-attachment”, said Bhagavan, his voice quivering with emotion.