Some 25oo years ago…
It was a dark and treacherous night. The prince was feeling restless. Few hours had passed since he went to bed but sleep eluded him. He looked around and saw his beloved wife and infant son sleeping next to him peacefully. There was an intense turmoil that had taken birth in his heart and mind. It was a tough decision to make, in fact the most arduous and cruelest of decisions. Renouncing every worldly desire is daunting…but leaving the love of your life and your newborn takes it to another level. Scaling the Mount Everest would have seemed a child’s play in front of it.
He kept pondering for a few more hours. The mind was pushing him towards his goal but the heart was arrested by the love of two souls sleeping right next to him. He had already wasted many nights in this battle. He knew he had to fight alone and victory was his only option. He had to take a decision and the time was now.
The decision was made.
The morning was still far and there was no sign of daybreak. The Prince kissed his sleeping wife and son on their foreheads and got up from the bed and left the room without turning back for one final glance. He never came back.
He had experienced all the materialistic pleasures. Being the prince, the King made sure that the world was at his feet. He indulged into everything that was supposed to give him fun, happiness and gratifications. The King wanted to keep him always safely away from the harsh realities of life, from pain and from any kind of suffering. But the Prince was born no ordinary man. He was born to find a way for all mankind, the pathway…the key…the staircase to free themselves from the cycles of birth, death and rebirth…forever.
He was Siddhartha Gautama.
After leaving his kingdom and renouncing every desire, he started on his journey to seek the ultimate nature of reality, the truth of life and the meaning of every existence. There have always been debates about his teachings and the events of his life but no one can even guess what he would have gone through that night. Even if he wouldn’t have become the enlightened one, this surely was the first step towards it.
He went to many masters and teachers but after learning everything, he remained dissatisfied and unhappy. None of them could give answer to what he was seeking and quench his thirst. One day in his quest he sat under a tree near Bodhgaya by the Neranjana River and started meditating.
By now he had tried every external method possible and exhausted every meditation technique that was known to man then. He decided to concentrate internally. The only difference between a dead body and any living creature is the act of breathing. He started concentrating on his breathing and slowly he became calm and relaxed. He pursued his breathes and gradually became aware and mindful of every organ…every sensation and finally every cell.
It is believed that after six long years when the moment came when he saw the complete truth and attained enlightenment, he was able to see all his previous births and all the good and bad deeds he performed. He could see and observe and feel everything without attaching any perception of good or bad to them. He simply solved the key to free oneself of this cycle of life and death.
This meditation technique of observing breath and slowly becoming aware and mindful of every thing is known as Vipassana.
I personally believe the answer to the question; why we are born as humans and what makes us different from every other living organism is not related to superiority or anything else. Buddha answered it by attaining Nirvana. We get human birth so that we can try to achieve the state of freedom from the repeated cycles of life and death.
I also got an opportunity to experience and practice Vipassana the way Buddha did. The following post will be about how I got introduced to this technique and what affect it had on me.
To be continued…
For all those who believe in Buddha,
For all those who believe in Meditation,
For all those who believe in Karma,
For all those who believe Nirvana can be attained…
It’s not a Goodbye,
But It’s a GOOD BYE.
Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul
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