I had picked up a few mini books from Sri Ramkrishna Math’s “Thus Spake” series costing two or three rupees each – the size of pocket dictionary and having some 100 odd pages – mainly their teachings – Thus Spake, The Christ, Thus Spake The Buddha, Thus Spake Guru Nanak, Thus Spake Zarathushtra etc. and they remained in my library – untouched – for over a decade.
The point I am trying to make here is it is not easy for our generation to even read teachings, let alone live them or believe them. So when I was given this book by a neighbor, the 300 pages read looked a tiresome task.
The way Deepak portrayed Siddhartha, the Prince who is trapped by his father for eighteen long years all the while yearning to discover the world beyond the kingdom walls, surviving betrayal from those who were close to him, does not remind the reader of any teaching or sermon but the trials of a common being of royal status whose process of awakening is actually our true learning. So we continue reading. Nothing divine – just human.
The prediction at his birth that he will rule all the four corners of the world made him a prisoner of sorts. After he abandoned his inheritance, father, wife, son, royal title to pursue his true calling, in his journey as Gautama, the Monk – each of us whether inclined towards spirituality or not – can relate how ordinary mortals have this ongoing struggle and illusion about God and constantly fall back to face our demons, fan our ego, in the clutches of materialism and try something new for solace / discover God. Gautama sought Masters, went on spiritual fast, tried to conquer his body and mind by will and having failed, transcends his physical pain and achieves enlightenment.
Deepak’s simple story telling in three parts – how common was Siddharta’s life as a prince in the world his father created for him, playing and practicing with low caste Chana in the stables, with a jealous cousin Devdatta, a tenderness for Sujata, a marriage with Yashodhara; how ordinary was the monk who could not stop remembering his loved ones while he meditated, how futile were his search for spiritual gurus who either reacted at the slightest provocation or responded with cynicism and how he finally discovered truth, how to be free, how to conquer suffering, not fear death and be the enlightened one.
I am not sure how many of us can look up to Gautama’s teachers Alara, the philosopher who read the Vedas, not letting his higher self own the responsibilities of his lower self or Udaka, the Yogi who preached redemption of soul while somehow Ganaka’s advice is practical, true and suits modern generation quiet well – Let the world be your teacher!
Being Buddha is just discovering your divinity that can protect others from suffering and end yours – This is the essence I gather from the life of Buddha!! This book does help your inward journey.