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desiring to visit the gardens without the city precincts to examine the beautiful trees and flowers.
At this time the Devaputra T'so-Ping caused to appear before the eyes of the prince, in one of the streets, the body of an old decrepit man, his skin shrivelled up, his head bald, his teeth gone, and his body bent down with age and infirmity; he carried a staff in his hand to support his tottering limbs, whilst, as he proceeded, he gasped with pain, and the breath from his mouth sounded, as it came, like the raspings of a saw.
Thus he stood right across the way of the prince as he advanced in the chariot. Seeing him, Siddartha inquired of his charioteer "What human form is this, so miserable and so shocking to behold, the like of which I have never before seen ?"—even as the Gatha says—
"Illustrious coachman! listen to me at once !—
Then the coachman replied, influenced by the spiritual power of the Devaputra T'so-Ping, "Great Prince! this man is what is called 'old.'"
The prince again inquired, "And what is the sense of this term 'old,' as it is used in the world?"
The coachman answered, "Old age implies'the loss of all bodily power, the decay of the vital functions, and the gradual destruction of the mind and memory. This poor man before you is just such an one! At any moment he may die—his life is uncertain from morning till night; for these reasons I speak of him as old and approaching his end." Just as the Gatha says— "This name of old age implies sorrow and pain,
Gone all the pleasures of sense and the joys of wedded life,
The senses blunted, the memory lost,
The limbs and joints in tremor all, disobedient to the will."
Then the Prince Royal, having heard these verses, asked his chariot driver again, "Is this man only one of the sort, by himself, or is this Law an universal one applying to all alike?"
To which he replied, "Reverend and holy youth! know thou that this man is not a solitary instance of the character of age; but that this is the common lot of all that lives—all that is born must come to this if life is preserved."
The prince then asked, "And my body!—must I also become old as this object before me?"
The coachman answered, "Even so! even so! Holy Prince! the rich and the poor alike are destined for this I everything that lives must share in this common lot!" The prince replied, " If this be so, and even I must soon become worn out and decayed as this old man, I cannot think of proceeding further towards the gardens whither we were going to sport and laugh. Turn your horses homewards, let us return to the palace! it were better tor me to pass my time in thinking how to contrive to escape, or at least to palliate this evil of 'age'!" At this time the charioteer, replying to the prince, spake thus—" According to your command, O Prince! I desire to act;" and forthwith, turning the chariot, he proceeded towards the city. Then the prince, having entered his palace, sat down upon his throne, and gave way to thoughts of this character—" So then I too must become old!—the laws of old age being universal, how may I escape and deliver my body and soul from such calamity f"
Then Suddhodana inquired of the charioteer — "My worthy coachman! tell me whether the objects observed by the prince, as he went to the garden, were all agreeable and pleasant?" To whom he replied, "Maharaja! be it known to you that the prince, when arrived halfway to the garden was unwilling to proceed further, and commanded me to turn his chariot homewards;"—on which the king at once inquired the cause of this, and the charioteer added, "For scarcely had we got halfway, when there appeared in the middle of the road an old man bent double with age, his personal appearance wretched in the extreme; and as soon as the prince beheld this form he did not wish to go further; but desired me to return to the palace, where he now is lost in meditation and serious thought;" on this the king exclaimed, "Wonderful! wonderful, indeed! This is precisely what Asita the soothsayer predicted, warning me not to let the prince leave his home, lest he should behold that which would induce him to become a recluse!"
Then the King resolved to increase within the palace of the prince the means of indulgence and objects of desire, with a view to prevent him from longing to leave the society of his female companions for the outer world: and this is what the Gatha says—
"Within the palace every source of pleasure and joy,
So the prince dwelt still in his palace, and indulged himself in all carnal pleasures—having as yet only this one subject of doubt or cause of distress.
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§ 1. Now it came to pass that the Devaputra T'so-Ping, still desiring to cause the prince to arrive at a resolution to become a religious recluse, by the exercise of his spiritual power, on that very night caused Suddhodana Raja to dream seven different dreams. And they were of this sort;—as soon as Suddhodana had retired to his couch and fallen asleep, he dreamt that he saw' s great imperial banner like that of Indra, around which were gathered innumerable crowds of people, who, lifting it and holding it up, proceeded to carry it through Kapilavastu, and finally went from the city by the Eastern gate.
The second dream was on this wise, he saw the prince riding in a royal chariot drawn by great elephants, and so driving he passed through the Southern gate of the city.
The third dream was that he saw the prince seated in a fourhorsed chariot, very magnificent, and thus proceed through the Western gate of the city.
The fourth dream was that he saw a magnificently jewelled discus fly through the air and proceed through the Northern gate of the city.
The fifth dream was that he saw the prince sitting in the middle of the four great highways of Kapilavastu, and holding in his hand a large mace smote therewith a large drum.
The sixth dream was that he saw in the midst of Kapilavastu a high tower, on the top of which the Royal Prince was seated, and as he sat he scattered towards the four quarters of heaven countless jewels of every kind, which were gathered by the innumerable concourse of living creatures who came together for the purpose.
The seventh dream was that he beheld outside the city of Kapilavastu, not very far off, six men who raised their voices and wailed greatly and wept, whilst with their hands they plucked out the hair of their heads, and flung it by handfuls on the ground.1
At this time Suddhodana, awaking from his sleep, and recalling the visions he had seen was greatly troubled, so that the very hair on his body stood erect, and his limbs trembled on account of the strange doubts that filled his mind.
Then he forthwith summoned to his side within his palace all . the great ministers of his Council, and exhorted them in these words—" Most honourable Sirs! be it known to you that during the present night I have seen in my dreams strange and portentous visions—there were seven distinct dreams which I will now recite (he recites the dreams): I pray you, honourable Sirs! let not these dreams escape your memories, but in the morning when I am seated in my palace, and surrounded by my attendants, let them be brought to my mind (that they may be interpreted)."
The ministers of the council having heard this charge laid upon them, replied, "It shall be even as your majesty commands."
At morning light the King, seated in the midst of his attendants, had the dreams again recited to him according to his directions. After which he issued his commands to all the Brahmans, interpreters of dreams, within his kingdom, in these terms —" All ye men of wisdom explain for me by interpretation the meaning
1 It will be noticed that according to the Lalita Viftara the king has only one dream.
of the dreams I have dreamt in my sleep; now the dreams are these [as before]."
Then all the wise Brahmans, interpreters of dreams, having understood the desire of the King, began to consider each one in his own heart, what the meaning of these visions could be; till at last they addressed the King and said, " Maharaja! be it known to you that we never before have heard such dreams as these, and we cannot interpret their meaning!"
On this Suddhodana was very troubled in his heart, and he thought thus with himself—" If, after all, the Prince my son does not become a Chakravarti Raja, it cannot but be that the very dignity of Chakravarti Raja comes to an end in the world! my heart within me is exceedingly distressed, who is there can satisfy these doubts of mine?"
At this time T'so-Ping, the Devaputra, being present in the inner palace of Suddhodana Raja, and perceiving the sorrow and distress of the King, after observing his condition, suddenly disappeared from the interior, and assumed the appearance of a Brahman with his hair dressed in the usual manner and the customary cap on his head, his appearance dignified and self-possessed, arrayed in the skin of the black deer, and under this form he stood at the gate of the King's palace and cried out in the following words— "I am able fully to interpret the dreams of Suddh6dana Raja, and with certainty to satisfy all his doubts."
Then the gate warders, hearing these words of the Brahman, hastened to the presence of the King, and prostrating themselves before him addressed him in these words—" Maharaja! be it known to you there stands at the palace gate a Brahman who with his mouth announces his ability to interpret your dreams."
Then Suddhodana Raja immediately ordered him to be brought to his presence, and when he had arrived he joyfully addressed him, "Is it true, oh wise Brahman! that you can interpret my dreams? if so, be it known that my dreams were of this sort. It was but yesternight, in the middle of the hours of sleep, I saw these seven visions [here he recites his dreams as before). And now my heart is troubled exceedingly, not knowing whether the interpretation of these visions is good or evil. But do thou, oh wise Brahman! tell me, one by one, the meaning of my dreams!"