After the birth of the child, named Siddhartha, his horoscope
was made. It predicted that he would become either a world monarch or a great
ascetic. Since Suddodhana
did not want his son to become a hermit, he raised him in great luxury. Shielding
him from the harsh realities of life, he created a paradise for him on earth.
Nothing sad or painful was allowed to touch the life of Siddhartha. In an effort
to get him more deeply involved in worldly affairs and to add to his joys, the
young prince was married to Princess Yashodhara at the age of sixteen.
|MARRIAGE OF SIDDHARTHA
TO PRINCESS YASHODARA
Siddhartha grew of age without ever knowing what misery
or sorrow was. One day
the prince desired to see the city. The King ordered that the city should be
all gay and grand, so that everywhere his son would meet with only pleasing sights.
However, an old and crippled man by the roadside happened
to catch Siddhartha's eye. It was a sight never witnessed before by the prince: a sunken face, a toothless
mouth, all the limbs emaciated, the whole body bent and walking with extreme
difficulty. The innocent prince asked who that creature was. Chenna, the charioteer,
replied that he was a human being who had become old. To further enquiries of
Siddhartha, Chenna informed that the old man was of fine shape in his young age
and that every human being had to become like him after the youthful days are
past. The perturbed prince returned to the palace, deeply engrossed in anxious
|SIDDHARTHA SPOTTING AN OLD MAN
|SIDDHARTHA SEEING A SICK
A FUNERAL AND AN ASCETIC
King Shuddhodana, in order to cheer up his spirits, again
ordered for his son's procession in the capital, but on subsequent rounds, Siddhartha
came across a sick man and a corpse being carried to the funeral ground. Again it was Chenna,
who explained that human beings were prone to illness and that
awaited man at the end.
As luck would have it, on his final
Siddhartha saw a person, his face beaming with joy and tranquility, and
heard from Chenna that he was an ascetic who had triumphed over the worldly temptations,
fears and sorrows and attained the highest bliss of life.
|SIDDHARTHA LEAVING TO THE FOREST
And that clinched the thoughts of the young prince. He was then hardly twenty-nine.
In that full bloom of youth, in the midnight of a full-moon day, he bade good-bye
to his dear parents, his beloved wife Yashodhara and sweet little child Rahul
and all the royal pleasures and luxuries, and departed to the forest to seek
for him-self answers for the riddles of human misery.