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Bodhisatwa, moreover addressed to him arguments derived from his duty and affection to his Royal Father, as also his love to his mother1 and to his wife, beseeching him to return and to assuage their grief, and cause them to rejoice again. To whom Bodhisatwa, after some reflection, answered thus—"I have long known the character of a father's affection, and I am sure of Suddhodana Raja's very great love for me, his son; but then I tremble to think of the miseries of old age, renewed birth, disease, and death, which shall soon destroy this body! and if possible I desire above all things to find a way of deliverance from these evils, and therefore I have left my friends and my home, and forsaken my kin with a view to search after the perfect possession of Supreme Wisdom.
"If you tell me that my father's grief arises from his great love to me, this consideration has no power to change my conviction; for this is just like a man seeing in a dream his friends all together, and when awaking finding them all gone again; a wise man regards his friends and relatives just as fellow travellers, each one going along the same road, soon to be separated as each goes to his own place. And if you speak to me about a fit time and an unfit time for becoming a recluse, my answer is that the Demon Death knows nothing of one time or the other, but is busy gathering his victims at all times. I wish, therefore, at once to seek escape from the power of birth and death, disease, and old age, and have no leisure to consider whether this be the right time or not." And then he continued—" As to what my father requests that I should return and be anointed King of his Empire, let my father strive earnestly to put away the thought of my ever becoming his successor; for in truth I desire to escape from, rather than to be bound by, these fetters of kingship and relationship, I seek deliverance from all such ties. For to seek such things is like the conduct of the foolish man who eats some delicious food (not thinking of the poison it contains)." And so the Gatha says—
"Like a house of gold filled with fire,
1 That is, his foster-mother, Mahaprajapati.
And then he continued—" Just as we read of kings in olden time, who, after enjoying their position for a few years, have voluntarily given it up, and sought happiness in the condition of hermits, so is it with me. I have given up all the fancied joys of my palace, and I am searching for enduring joys in the solitude of the desert; shall I then return? Will the man who having eating poison and vomited it up, return to the tempting dish again? Will he who has escaped from the burning house, voluntarily go back to the flames? Neither would any but the most foolish, having forsaken the world, return to its unsatisfying pleasures." And so the Gatha says—
"As a man who has escaped from a house on fire
And then he proceeded to say—" As to what you tell me respecting those Kings who my Royal Father says arrived at deliverance,even whilst holding their sovereignty—this cannot be; for it is impossible to conjoin the cares of Empire and the perfect mental quietude of the man who seeks deliverance; the two are incompatible, even as fire and water cannot co-exist; they are as far apart as heaven and earth; it is impossible to reconcile the enjoyment of sensual pleasures with the attainment of complete emancipation of soul. And it was for this cause that those old kings gave up their kingdoms to seek deliverance, because the one could not be held and the other obtained. So, then, I am resolved to persevere in my search, and never more to return to the enjoyment of merely worldly pleasures, or even to the position of the king of my Father's Empire."
Then the two messengers, having listened to the resolute replies of Bodhisatwa, still urged their request that he would return to his home, in the following words—" Great and Holy Prince! your resolution to search after Supreme Wisdom (law) is a good and commendable one, but under the present circumstances, in consideration of your Royal father's grief, it is not a proper opportunity to continue the quest, in contradiction to his express wishes, for this is not right; and so the Gatha says— "' There is profit in seeking out at once the claims of religion.
But still there are opportunities when even this should be done,
And then they continued—"As it seems to us, Holy Prince, there
"' Who is it gives the sharpness to the thorn,
Or who is it paints the varied plumage of the bird ?'2
It is necessity :3 it is not man's doing; and so in all other things,
"' Who is it sharpens the prickly point of the thorn?
1 Siddanta, i. e., established truth, vide J. A. S. B, 1837, p. 67; also Jut. ii, 72, n.
2 Vide Hodgson, Collected Essays, p. 107, § 9.
"Again, there are people who say that things are arranged by the intervention of Isvara Deva1; and so follow their appointed order. But, if so, what need have we to labour and disturb ourselves, for things will certainly be as they are ruled to be of old. Again, there are others who say that things are produced by capricious selection; so we come into existence, and so we cease to exist—without any choice or effort of our own, we are created and we perish. Again, there are others who say that men are born as Devas, or as Rishis in consequence of their fathers having paid the debt due to their ancestors and begetting them into the world as men. In all these cases there is no room for individual effort, for deliverance comes not from ourselves, but from causes independent of us. Thus it is all the old Books and Shasters, speak according to their various sections (Siddha). If then, Holy Prince! you seek deliverance, seek it according to reason and precedent; listen to what the old Books say, and so be directed, for their authority is sound and indisputable. Holy Prince! your Royal father, Suddhodana, because of his love and affection to you, grieves to think you should thus forsake him. Holy Prince ! think not on returning to your palace that there will be any cause for regret or sorrow on account of an appearance of inconstancy. For how many of the old Rishis, who had been in possession of royal dignity, after forsaking the world returned again to its enjoyment. There are many such, and these are some of them, to wit, Ambarisa Raja, who having left his kingdom and become a resident in the solitudes, was brought back in the midst of all his attendant ministers and officers of state. Again, Ramaraja, provoked by what he saw of men's wickedness, left his mountain retreat, and came back to rule his kingdom in righteousness. Again, there was that old king of the city of Vaisali, called Druma, he also left his hermit-cell, and went back to govern his kingdom with justice. Again, there was the Brahman —Rishi Raja Sakriti, and Rigdeva Raja, and Dharmayasa Raja— all these illustrious kings, after becoming hermits,returned again to their homes. Let your Royal Highness therefore not hesitate to do likewise, and come back to your palace." As the Gatha says—
"As the kings whom we have named,
1 That is, a Creative God.
Yet afterwards, forsaking their retreat, returned home, So let the Holy Prince do likewise and return to his palace." To whom Bodhisattva replied, "What you say has no reason in it; for why should I doubt about the result, when I have no doubt. Those questionable theories you have named are not worthy the attention of a wise man. But those who follow them are like a blind man going along the road without a guide—he can neither tell what is right or what is wrong; how, then, can he go with any certainty. So is the man who doubts in the practice of religion. But my heart is fixed, and though I may not yet attain my end till after long and wearisome discipline, yet will I never return to the pleasures of the world or immerse myself in the pollutions of sensual indulgences. For what happiness can a pure-minded man (holy man) find in these. And then, again, you refer me to the case of Ambarisa Raja, and others, who returned to their homes after once beginning a life of solitude. But in truth those kings used no true discernment in their religious life and search after deliverance. For they sought merely after spiritual qualities, such as the Rishis possess; but they knew nothing of the laws of selfdiscipline and mortification. And therefore they went back. But remind me, I pray you, no longer of such cases, for I swear a great oath—' Let the Sun and Moon fall down to earth, let these snowy mountains be removed from their base, if I do not attain the end of my search, viz.—the pearl of the True Law.' There is no room, therefore, for further parley about returning home, I would rather enter a burning furnace, or a fiery lake, than give up my aim and go back."
Bodhisatwa, having sworn this oath, got up from where he was sitting, and, leaving the wood, turned his back on the messengers. Then they, perceiving his fixed purpose, raised their voices in repeated lamentations, continually exclaiming "Alas! alas!" and vainly beseeching him to alter his mind and return with them. At length seeing the uselessness of their entreaties they engaged four men to follow Bodhisatwa wherever he went, and watch him from place to place. And then, again yielding to their grief, they wept and lamented, to think of their Royal Master's sorrow on hearing the news of the prince's resolution. And so the Gatha says— "Those two messengers knowing the resolution of the prince, That he was firmly resolved not to return home,