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PARTING WORDS

 

The news of what happened at the meeting of the Sakya Sangh had travelled to the Raja's palace long before the return of Siddhartha Gautama. For on reaching home he found his parents weeping and plunged in great grief. Suddhodana said: “We were talking about the evils of war. But I never thought that you would go to such lengths." Siddhartha replied, “I too did not think things would take such a turn. I was hoping that I would be able to win over the Sakyas to the cause of peace by my argument.  “Unfortunately, our military officers had so worked up the feelings of the men that my argument failed to have any effect on them.” But I hope you realise how I have saved the situation from becoming worse. I have not given up the cause of truth and justice and whatever the punishment for my standing for truth and justice, I have succeeded in making its infliction personal to me." Suddhodana was not satisfied with this. "You have not considered what is to happen to us." “But that is the reason why I undertook to become a Pariv-rajaka," replied Siddhartha. “Consider the consequences if the Sakyas had ordered the confiscation of your lands".  “But without you what is the use of these lands to us? “cried Suddhodana. Why should not the whole family leave the country of the Sakyas and go into exile along with you? “Prajapati Gautami, who was weeping, joined Suddhodana in argument, saying; “I agree. How can you go alone leaving us here like this? “Siddhartha said: “Mother, have you not always claimed to be the mother of a Kshatriya? Is that not so? You must then be brave. This grief is unbecoming of you. What would you have done if I had gone to the battle-field and died? Would you have grieved like this? “No," replied Gautami.  "That would have been befitting a Kshatriya. But you are now going into the jungle far away from people, living in the company of wild beasts. How can we stay here in peace? I say you should take us along with you."  " How can I take you all with me? Nanda is only a child. Rahul my son is just born. Can you come leaving them here? “He asked Gautami.  Gautami was not satisfied. She urged “It is possible for us all to leave the country of the Sakyas and go to the country of the Kosalas under the protection of their king."   “But mother! What would the Sakyas say? “asked Siddhartha.” Would they not regard it as treason? Besides, I pledged that I will do nothing either by word or by deed to let the king of the Kosalas know the true cause of my Parivraja. "It is true that I may have to live alone in the jungle. But which is better? To live in the jungle or to be a party to the killing of the Koliyas!" "But why this impatience?" asked Suddhodana. “The Sakyas Sangh has decided to postpone the date of the hostilities for some time.” Perhaps the hostilities may not be started at all. Why not postpone your Parivraja? May be, it would be possible to obtain the permission of the Sangh for you to stay among the Sakyas."   This idea was repellent to Siddhartha. "It is because I promised to take Parivraja that the Sangh decided to postpone the commencement of hostilities against the Koliyas. ”It is possible that after I take Parivraja the Sangh may be persuaded to withdraw their declaration of war. All this depends upon my first taking Parivraja.  “I have made a promise and I must carry it out. The consequences of any breach of promise may be very grave both to us and to the cause of peace.  "Mother, do not now stand in my way. Give me your permission and your blessings. What is happening is for the best." Gautami and Suddhodana kept silent. Then Siddhartha went to the apartment of Yeshodhara. Seeing her, he stood silent, not knowing what to say and how to say it. She broke the silence by saying: “I have heard all that has happened at the meeting of the Sangh at Kapilavatsu." He asked her "Yeshodhara, tell me what you think of my decision to take Parivraja? “He expected she would collapse. Nothing of the kind happened. With full control over her emotions, she replied: “What else could I have done if I were in your position? I certainly would not have been a party to a war on the Koliyas. "Your decision is the right decision. You have my consent and my support. I too would have taken Parivraja with you. If I do not, it is only because I have Rahul to look after. “I wish it had not come to this. But we must be bold and brave and face the situation. Do not be anxious about your parents and your son. I will look after them till there is life in me. “All I wish is that now that you are becoming a Parivrajaka leaving behind all who are near and dear to you, you will find a new way of life which would result in the happiness of mankind."  Siddhartha Gautama was greatly impressed. He realised as never before what a brave, courageous and noble-minded woman Yeshodhara was, and how fortunate he was in having her as his wife and how fate had put them asunder. He asked her to bring Rahul. He cast his fatherly look on him and left.

 

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