1.2.jpg (2914 bytes)

002.jpg (25142 bytes) It was also in this year that he became convinced of the nature of the world (or the secular life) and, with such a disillusionment, was often pre-occupied with the manner by which he would be delivered from its bondage. Finally, he came to a conclusion that renunciation, or a homeless life, was to be a respite by which he would be freed of the bonds or cocoon of the worldly life. With that resolution he had waited for an opening for some time until one night when, at the first watch (i.e. during the first three hours) he was informed of the birth of his infant son. Whereupon he exclaimed, on the spur of the moment, "Ra.gif (845 bytes)hulam.gif (72 bytes) ja.gif (845 bytes)tam.gif (72 bytes) bandhanam.gif (72 bytes) ja.gif (845 bytes)tam.gif (72 bytes)", which meant, "A noose is born, a tie is born." It was because of this exclamation that the infant son was called Ra.gif (845 bytes)hula, the noose.

He arrived, that night, at the final decision. Pretending to start the rites called Asvamdha, wherein a ceremonial horse was to be released, letting it roam freely into other territories, he ordered his personal attendant to harness the white stallion by the name of Kanthaka for himself.

At the second watch of the night (i.e. between 9 p.m. to 12 o'clock by midnight) he entered his chamber, gazed at his wife and child while they were sleeping. Then turned back and hurried to where Channa, his attendant, had prepared the stallion waiting for him, they sped out of the city under that pretex, the prince with the "Great Renunciation" as his ulterior, ultimate aim.


That night both proceeded Southward to the state of Magadha, and at dawn reached the river called Anoma.gif (845 bytes), which bordered the states of Sakka and Malla. Crossing over to the other side, the prince stood on the shore while ordering Channa to take back the horse, together with its decorations. He then cut off the tuff of his hair with his sword and, solemnly taking the vow of monkhood, dressed himself in the form of a recluse called 'Bhikkhu'. Channa having left, he proceeded alone, from that time onwards, heading for the state of Magadha in his quest for the Dhamma of Deliverance from spiritual Defilements.


Arriving in Magadha, the first of all sought admission into the denominations of two famous hermits or Yogis at the time viz. aa.gif (75 bytes)la.gif (845 bytes)ra and Uddaka. there he had stayed for instructions from both hermits until he finally achieved the fulfilment of their teachings i.e. the eight Sama.gif (845 bytes)patti (Attainments). However, having realized that even such Attainments were not yet the full-final goal of his quest, he departed, going on alone until he reached the district of Uruvela.gif (845 bytes), with river Nerannn.gif (72 bytes)jara.gif (845 bytes) meandering its way not far off, together with a village wherefrom the almsfood could be obtained. Seeing the favourable conditions the pleasant, lush green surroundings, he decided to stay there and then started the traditional practice of selfmortification in a variety of ways and degrees unexcelled by others before him. Nevertheless, the way or Dhamma of Deliverance still eluded him.

While undertaking the rigid, highly austere practices, the prince-monk was attended upon by five Brahmins viz. Kondannn.gif (72 bytes)nnn.gif (72 bytes)a, Vappa, Bhaddiya, Maha.gif (845 bytes)na.gif (845 bytes)ma and Assaji, who were among the Brahmins invited by King Suddhodana to predict the future of his royal infant a few days after his birth. Of course, having learnt about the princemonk's renunciation, they were encouraged by the faith of their own prediction and, forming the group of five called Pannn.gif (72 bytes)cavaggi.gif (57 bytes)ya, followed his example and attended upon him in the hope that, should he attain the Dhamma of Deliverance, they would be able to be his disciples and share with him that Dhamma. Thus, while the princemonk was experimenting upon the rigorous practices of self-mortification, he was faithfully watched and reverently looked after by tense five Ascetics.


It had been six arduous year from the time of his Great Renunciation to that of his great, unexcelled self-mortification, when he finally realized that, having followed out its course and left no stones unturned, he had every reason to conclude that such a practice was not one to lead him to Enlightenment. With such decision, he stopped his fast and started to partake of food once again. This came as a shock to the Five Ascetics, who naively concluded that he had reversed to self-indulgence, being thereby a failure. Thus they departed, to dwell in the deer-park of Isipatana, in the city of Benares. Mean-while the prince-monk, blessed with more seclusion and more strength of the body due to the partaking of food to a moderate degree, diverted his exertion process, sublimating it steadily and progressively towards spiritual efforts. The successful culmination of his long quest came on the fullmoon day of Vesakha lunar (sixth) month when, in the cool, opalescent morning, he seated himself under the shade of an Assattha tree some distance from Nerannn.gif (72 bytes)jara.gif (845 bytes) river. At that moment a young girl by the name of Suja.gif (845 bytes)ta.gif (845 bytes), daughter of the wealthy village headman of the district of Uruvela.gif (845 bytes) Sena.gif (845 bytes)nigama, had a dish of rice gruel meticulously prepared. She placed it on a golden tray, intending to offer it as obligation to a tree-god in accordance with the tradition of her religious belief. Carrying the tray to the Assattha tree, she saw the great recluse seating himself there in meditative silence, looking radiant and dignified like a celestial being himself. Concluding that he was the tree-god, she was deeply impressed and, placing the golden tray before him, expressed and, placing the golden tray before him, impressed her wish to offer him the tray along with the rice gruel thereon. After the girl had left, the prince-monk accepted the offer and proceeded to the landing place nearby. He took a bath in the river before partaking of the rice gruel. Thereafter he floated the tray down the river and retired for the rest of the day in the Sa.gif (845 bytes)la grove by the riverside.


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