Leaving His Home

leaving-his-home1. Siddharth thought of taking Parivraja at the hands of Bharadwaja, who had his Ashram at Kapila-vatsu. Accordingly he rose the next day and started for the Ashram on his favourite horse Kanthaka, with his servant Channa walking along.

2. As he came near the Ashram, men and women came out and thronged the gates to meet him as a newly arrived bridegroom.

3. And when they came up to him, their eyes wide open in wonder, they performed their due homage with hands folded like a lotus calyx.

4. Then they stood surrounding him, their minds overpowered by passion, as if they were drinking him in, with their eyes motionless and blossoming wide with love.

5. Some of the women verily thought that he was Kama incarnate, decorated as he was with his brilliant signs as with connate [?] ornaments.

6. Others thought from his gentleness and his majesty that it was the moon with its ambrosial beams, as it were, visibly come down to the earth.

7. Others, smitten by his beauty, yawned as if to swallow him, and fixing their eyes on each other, softly sighed.

8. Thus the women only looked upon him, simply gazing with their eyes. They spoke not, nor did they smile. They surrounded him and stood aghast, thinking of his decision to take Parivraja.

9. With great difficulty he extricated himself from the crowd and entered the gates of the Ashram.

10. Siddharth did not like [=wish] Suddhodana and Prajapati Gautami to be present to witness his Parivraja. For he knew that they would break down under the weight of grief. But they had already reached the Ashram without letting him know.

11. As he entered the compound of the Ashram, he saw in the crowd his father and mother.

12. Seeing his parents he first went to them and asked for their blessing. They were so choked with emotion that they could hardly say a word. They wept and wept, held him fast, and bathed him with their tears.

13. Channa had tied Kanthaka to a tree in the Ashram and was standing [by]. Seeing Suddhodana and Prajapati in tears, he too was overcome with emotion and was weeping.

14. Separating himself with great difficulty from his parents, Siddharth went to the place where Channa was standing. He gave him his dress and his ornaments to take back home.

15. Then he had his head shaved, as was required for a Parivrajaka. His cousin Mahanama had brought the clothes appropriate for a Parivrajaka, and a begging bowl. Siddharth wore them [=put them on].

16. Having thus prepared himself to enter the life of a Parivrajaka, Siddharth approached Bharadwaja [with a request] to confer on him Parivraja.

17. Bharadwaja, with the help of his disciples, performed the necessary ceremonies, and declared Siddharth Gautama to have become a Parivrajaka.

18. Remembering that he had given a double pledge to the Sakya Sangh, to take Parivraja and to leave the Sakya kingdom without undue delay, Siddharth Gautama immediately, on the completion of the Parivraja ceremony, started on his journey.

19. The crowd which had collected in the Ashram was unusually large. That was because the circumstances leading to Gautama’s Parivraja were so extraordinary. As the prince stepped out of the Ashram, the crowd also followed him.

20. He left Kapilavatsu and proceeded in the direction of the river Anoma. Looking back ,he saw the crowd still following him.

21. He stopped and addressed them, saying, “Brothers and sisters, there is no use your following me. I have failed to settle the dispute between the Sakyas arid the Koliyas. But if you create public opinion in favour of settlement you might succeed. Be, therefore, so good as to return.” Hearing his appeal, the crowd started going back.

22. Suddhodana and Gautami also returned to the palace.

23. Gautami was unable to bear the sight of the robes and the ornaments discarded by Siddharth. She had them thrown into a lotus pool.

24. Siddharth Gautama was only twenty-nine when he underwent Parivraja (Renunciation).

25. People admired him and sighed for him; saying, “Here was a Sakya blessed with high lineage, noble parentage, possessed of considerable riches, in the bloom of youthful vigour, accomplished in mind and body, brought up in luxury, who fought his kinsmen for the sake of maintaining peace on earth and goodwill towards men.

26. “Here was a Sakya youth who, when outvoted by his kinsmen, refused to submit, but preferred to undergo voluntary punishment which involved the exchange of riches for poverty, comfort for alms, home for homelessness. And so he goes, with none in the world to care for him, and with nothing in the world which he could claim as his own.

27. “His was an act of supreme sacrifice willingly made. His is a brave and a courageous act. There is no parallel to it in the history of the world. He deserves to be called a Sakya Muni or Sakya Sinha.”

28. How true were the words of Kisa Gotami, a Sakya maiden. When referring to Siddharth Gautama, she said, “Blessed indeed is the mother, blessed indeed is the father, who has such a son. Blessed indeed is the wife who has such a husband.”

Ref . Buddha and His Dhamma by Dr.B.R.Ambedkar