Buddha story 5: Early life of Gautama Buddha
In the previous episode, we learned how one hermit first smiled and then cried after meeting baby Buddha. In this episode, we would learn about the early life of Buddha.
On the fifth day, the child was named Siddhartha (who later become Buddha) in the presence of renowned astrologers of that time and they said, if he stay as a householder in the kingdom he would become the famous king of the whole Jambudeep kingdom and if he left householder life he would become Samyak Sambuddha.
His mother, queen Mayadevi or Mahamaya, however, died shortly after his birth, and the child was taken care of by his maternal aunt, Pajapati-Gotami.
At the young age of sixteen, Siddhattha married Yasodhara, a beautiful princess (who was his wife from countless previous life). Siddhartha’s father’s hoped that marriage would bind him to the family life. Until the age of twenty-nine, he lived the life of a householder amidst great luxury and ease, and culture.
He was acclaimed to be an expert in both intellect and strength.
The king spared no pains to make the course of his life smooth. Three separate palaces were built to suit the three seasons (hot, cold, and rainy) with all the necessities that would make the prince sink in a sensual world.
That was because the king, out of paternal affection, desired his son to remain in worldly life as a king rather than wondering ascetic and later become an Enlightened Buddha.
King Suddhodana also tried to ensure that his son should be in an environment that would give him no chance for higher philosophical ideas and he ordered that nobody serving him ever to speak a single word about such things as old age, sickness, or death.
They were to act as if there were no unpleasant things in this world. Servants and attendants who showed the least sign of growing old, weak, or sickly were replaced. On the other hand, there was dancing, music, and enjoyable parties right through, to keep him under a complete shade of sensuality.
However as the years passed, the monotony of the sensual surroundings gradually lost its hold over the mind of Prince Siddhatta. The powerful karma sanskaras of all the countless life started coming up and started directing him towards the great goal of Buddhahood.
In the next episode, we would learn about the great renunciation of Buddha.