The Life Story Of Buddha - Sai Baba

1. A Fortunate Birth   2. A Holy Man's Visit   3. The Kind Prince   4. The Marriage Contest  [next]   >>
5. The Pleasure Palaces 6. A Song of Beauty  7. An Unexpected Sight  8. The Second Journey
9. The Final Shock  10. Fading Pleasures   11. A Vision of Peace  12. A Father's Fear 13. Escape 14. The Journey Begins  15. Six Years of Struggle An Offering  17. The Great Battle 18. Awakened   19. Whom to Teach 20. The First Teaching  21. A Mother's Grief 22. A Rude Man 23. Words of Praise  24. Kindness to Animals 25. The power of Love  26. The return 27. The King and the Spirit Tree 28. Equal love to All 29. The Final days


A Fortunate Birth

Many, many years ago, in a small kingdom in the north of India,
Something was happening that would change the whole world.
Queen Maya, wife of the good King Suddhodana, lay asleep and had
a wondrous dream. She dreamt she saw a brilliant white light shining
down to her from the sky, and in the rays of this light was a magnificent
elephant of light flew closer and closer to the Queen and finally melted
into her body. Queen Maya awoke, filled with greater happiness than
she had ever felt before.

Quickly she went to the king and together they asked the wise men at the court what this strange and wonderful dream might mean. The wise men answered "O Your Majesties, this dream is a most excellent one! It means that the Queen will give birth to a son, and this prince will someday become a great man. Not only you, but the entire world is fortunate that the Queen will have such a special child."

Hearing this good news, the King and Queen were overjoyed. The King was especially happy because he belonged for a son who would someday rule his kingdom hin his place. And now it seemed his wish was being granted.

It was the custom in those days for a woman to return to her parents home in order to give birth. And so, when the time had almost come for the baby to be born, Queen Maya and many of her friends and attendants left the palace of the king and began to journey to her childhood home.

They had not traveled far when the Queen asked that they stop and rest. She knew the baby would be born very soon. They had reached the beautiful gardens of Lumbini and the Queen went into this garden looking for a comfortable place in which she could give birth. The stories say that even the animals and plants, somehow understanding what a special child was about to be born, wanted to help. A large tree bent down one of its branches and the Queen took hold of it with her right hand. Supporting herself in this way, she gave birth to a son. The attendants cradled the baby in their arms and were amazed at how beautiful he was and how peaceful he seemed.     top

A Holy Man's Visit

At that moment, throughout the land, there was a great feeling of peace and happiness. People forgot their troubles, ceased their quarrels and felt great love. and friendship for one another. Some people saw rainbows suddenly and unusual things were seen.

Wise men from all over the kingdom noticed these signs of peace and joy and excitedly said to each other, "Something very fortunate has just happened. Look at all these wonderful signs! Today is the full moon day of the fourth month. It must certainly be a special day!"

Queen Maya, unaware that her joy at having a son was being shared at that very moment throughout the kingdom, took the new-born baby in her arms and returned to the palace of the King.

With great rejoicing, King Shuddhodana greeted his Queen and his new son. Splendid festivals were held and the whole kingdom was decked in beautifully colored banners. It was a time of great happiness and peace. There was so much gladness everywhere that his parents decided to name the Prince "Siddhartha", which means "the one who has brought about all good ".
Now the wise men made new predictions about the baby. "O King," they said, "the signs of the Prince's birth are most favorable. Your son will grow up to be even greater than you are now!" This news made the King very proud. "If these wise men are correct," he thought, "my son, Prince Siddhartha, may one day be the ruler not only of my small kingdom, but perhaps of the entire world! what a great honors for me and my family !"

In the first few days after his birth, many people came to the palace to see the new baby. One of these visitors was and old man named Asita. Asita was a hermit who lived by himself in the distant forests, and he was known to be a very holy person. The King and Queen were Surprised that Asita would leave his forest home and appear at their court, "We are very honored that you have come to visit us, O holy teacher," They said with great respect. "Please tell us the purpose of your journey and we shall serve you in any way we can."

Asita answered them, "I thank you for your kind welcome. I have come a great distance to visit you because of the wonderful signs I have recently seen. They tell me that the son recently born to you will gain great spiritual knowledge for the benefit of all people. Since I have spent my entire life trying to gain such holy wisdom, I came here as quickly as possible to see him for myself."

The King was very excited and hurried to where the baby Prince lay sleeping. He carefully picked up his son and brought him back to Asita. For a long time the holy man gazed at the infant, saying nothing. Then he finally stepped back, looked sadly up at the sky, sighed heavily and began to cry.

Seeing Asita weep, the King and Queen became very frightened. They were afraid that the holy man had seen something wrong with their child. With tears in his eyes, the King fell to his knees and cried out, "O holy teacher, what have you seen that makes you weep? Didn't you and all the other wise men say that my son was born to be a great man, to gain supreme knowledge? But now, when you look at my baby you cry. Does this mean that the Prince will die soon? Or will something else very terrible happen to him? He is my only child and I love him dearly. Please tell me quickly what you have seen for my heart is shaking with sadness and fear."

Then with a very kind look, Asita calmed the new parents and told them not to worry. "Do not be upset," he told them. "I am not crying because of something bad I saw for the Prince. In fact, now that I have seen your son, I know for certain that he will grow up to be more than just a great man. There are special signs that I have seen on this child-such as the light that shines from his fingers-that tell me he will have glorious future.

"If your son decides to stay with you and become a king, he will be the greatest king in history. He rule a vast realm and bring his people much peace and happiness. But if he decides not to become a king, his future will be even greater! He will become a great teacher, showing all people how to live with peace and love in their hearts. Seeing the sadness in the world he will leave your palace and discover a way to end all suffering. Then he will teach this way to whoever will listen.

"No, dear King and Queen, I was not crying for the child. I was crying for myself. You see, I have spent my whole life looking for the truth, searching for a way to end all suffering. And today I have met the child who will someday teach everything I have wanted to learn. But by the time he is old enough to teach, I shall already have died. Thus, I shall not be able to learn from him in this life. That is why I am so sad. But you, O fortunate parents, should not be sad. Rejoiced that you have such a wonderful child."

Then Asita took one long, last look at the child, and slowly left the palace. The King watched him leave and then turned towards his son. He was very happy that there was no danger to the Prince's life. He thought, "Asita has said that Siddhartha will become either a great king or a great teacher. It would be much better if first he became a king. How proud I would be to have such a famous and powerful son! then, when he is an old man like Asita, he can become a holy man if he wants."
So, thinking like this, King Shuddhodana stood happily with his baby in his arms, dreaming of the fame that his son would someday have.  top

The King Prince

While the new baby was still very young, his mother, Queen Maya died. Shortly before she passed away, the Queen said to her sister, "Soon I shall not be able to take care of my baby anymore. Dear Sister, after I have gone, please look after Siddhartha for me." Her sister promised that she would. She loved the little Prince very much and brought him up as if he were her own child.

The Prince grew into a bright, handsome and kind hearted boy. His father, the King , arranged for him to be educated by the best teachers in the kingdom, and very quickly he showed his remarkable intelligence. After the first few days of classes the teachers reported to the King, "Your Majesty," they said, "the Prince does not need us anymore. After only a few lessons he has learned everything we have to teach him. In fact, he has taught us a few things that we ourselves never knew before!"

Hearing this, the King's pride in his son grew even greater. "With his intelligence, my son will certainly grow up to be a wise and powerful king," he thought, and this made the King very happy.

But there was something else about this boy that was even more remarkable than his intelligence. He had a very kind, gentle and loving nature. The rest of his young playmates enjoyed the rough and tumble games of small children, or pretended they were soldiers and fought with one another. But Prince Siddhartha quietly spent most of his time alone. He loved the small animals that lived in the palace gardens and became friendly with them all. The animals knew that the Prince would never hurt them, so they were never afraid of him. Even the wild animals, who would run away if anyone else came near, would come to greet the Prince when he entered the garden. They approached him fearlessly and ate from his hand the food he always brought with him for them.

One day as the Prince was sitting in the garden, a flock of white swans flew overhead. Suddenly an arrow shot up into the air, striking one of them. It fell out of the sky and landed at the Prince's feet, the arrow still stuck into its wing. "Oh, you poor swan," Siddhartha whispered as he gently picked up the wounded bird, "do not be afraid. I shall take care of you. Here, let me remove this arrow." Then, with one hand he gently stroked the bird, calming its fear. With his other hand he slowly pulled out the painful arrow. The Prince was carrying a special lotion with him, and softly rubbed it into the bird's wing , all the time speaking in low, pleasant voice that the swan would not become afraid. Finally he took off his own silk shirt and wrapped it around the bird to keep it warm.

After the short time, another young boy came running into the garden. It was the Prince's cousin, Devadatta, he was carrying a bow and some arrows and he was very excited. "Siddhartha, Siddhartha," he shouted "great news! I got a swan! you should have seemed. I hit it with my first shot! It fell down somewhere near here. Help me look for it."

Then Devadatta noticed one of his arrows, with blood still on its tip, lying on the ground near Siddhartha's feet. Looking closer he saw that the Prince was holding something in his arms, and realized it was the swan he was searching for. "Hey, you took my swan," he yelled. "Give it back to me. I shot it and it's mine!" Devadatta grabbed at the bird, but the Prince held onto it, keeping his angry cousin from even touching it.

"I found this bird lying here bleeding," the Prince said firmly, "and I don't plan to give it to anyone while it is still wounded." "But it's mine!" shouted Devadatta again. "I shot it fair and square, and you've stolen it from me. Give it back or I'll take it back."

The two boys stood arguing like this for some time. Devadatta was getting angrier and angrier, but Siddhartha refused to give him the swan. Finally the Prince said, "When two grown-ups have a quarrel like this, they settle it in court. In front of a group of wise people, each one explains the story of what happened. Then the wise people decided who is right. I think you and I should do the same."

Devadatta did not like this idea very much, but because it was the only way he could ever get the swan back, he agreed. So the two of them went to the palace and appeared in front of the King and his ministers. The people at court smiled at each other when they heard what these two children wanted. "To Think," they said, "that they want to take up our time over a mere bird!" But the King said, "Both Siddhartha and Devadatta are royal princes, and I am glad they brought their quarrel to us. I think it is very important that , as future rulers, they become used to the ways of this court. Let the trial begin!"

So in turn each of the boys described what happened. Then the minster tried to decide which boy was right and should therefore have the swan. Some thought, "Devadatta shot the bird; therefore it should belong to him. " Others thought, "Siddhartha found the swan; therefore it should belong to him." And for a long the ministers talked and argued about the case.

Finally, into the court came a very old man whom no one remembered ever seeing before. But because he looked so wise, they told him the story of the boys and their swan. After listening to what they had to say, he declared, "Everyone values his or her life more than anything else in the world. Therefore, I think that the swan belongs to the person who tried to save its life, not to the person who tried to take its life away. Give the swan to Siddhartha."

Everyone agreed that what the wise man said was true, so they decided to let the Prince keep the swan. Later, when the King tried to find the old man and reward him for his wisdom, he was nowhere to be found. "This is very strange, " the king thought. "I wonder where he came from and where he went." But no one knew. This was just one of the many unusual things that happened concerning the Prince, so many people thought he must be a very special child indeed!  top

The Marriage Contest

As the Prince grew older, his kindness made him well-loved by everyone who knew him. But his father was worried. "Siddhartha is too gentle and sensitive," He thought. "I want him to grow up to be a great kind and kings must, be strong and powerful. But the Prince is more interested in sitting by himself in the garden than he is in learning how to be the ruler of a kingdom. I am afraid that my son will soon want to leave the palace and follow the lonely life of holy men like Asita. If he does this he will never become a great king."

These thought bothered the King very much. He sent for his most trusted ministers and asked them what he could do. Finally one of them suggested, "O King your son sits and dreams of other worlds only because he is not yet attached to anything in his world. Find him a wife, let him get married and have children, and soon he will stop dreaming and become interesting in learning how to rule the kingdom."


The King thought this was an excellent idea. So he arranged for a large banquet at the palace. All the young women from noble families were invited. At the end of the evening the Prince was asked to give presents to each of the guests, while several ministers watched him closely to see which of the young women the Prince seemed to like.

The women, who were scarcely more than young girls, were all very embarrassed to appear before the Prince. He looked so handsome but so distant as he stood in front of the table bearing all the expensive gifts. One by one they shyly went up to him, timidly looking downwards as they approached. They silently accepted the jewel or bracelet or other gift, and quickly returned to their places.

Finally, only one young woman was left. She was Yasodhara, the daughter of a neighbouring King. Unlike the others, she approached the Prince without any shyness. For the first time that evening, the young Prince looked directly at the woman before him. She was very beautiful and the Prince was immediately attracted to her.

They stood in silence for a while, looking into each other's eyes. Then Yasodhara spoke, " O Prince, where is the gift for me?" The Prince was startled as if awakening from a dream. He looked down at the table and saw it was empty. All the gifts had already been given out to the other guests. "Here , take this," said the Prince, taking his own ring from his finger. "This is for you." Yasodhara graciously accepted the ring and walked slowly back to her place.

The ministers saw all that happened and excitedly ran to the King. "Sire!" they reported happily, "we have found the perfect bride for the Prince. She is Princess Yasodhara, daughter of your neighbor, King Suprabuddha. Let us immediately go to this King and arrange for the marriage of his daughter and your son.

King suddhodana agreed and somm afterwards visited Ysodhara's father. The other King greeted him warmly and said, "I am sure that your son is a fine young man, but I can not give my daughter away to just anyone. Many other princes want to marry her, and they all excellent young men. They are skilled in riding, archery and other royal sports. Therefore, if your son wants to marry my daughter, he will have to compete in a contest with the other suitors, as is out custom."

And so it was arranged for a great contest to be held, with beautiful Yasodhara as the prize. King Shuddhodana was worried. He thought, "My son has never showed the slightest interest in warrior games. How can be ever win this contest?" But the Prince understood his father's fears and said to him, "Do Not be worried. I am prepared to do whatever is necessary to win Yasodhara for my bride."

The first event was archery. The other men placed their targets a long distance away, yet each was able to hit the bull's eye. And when it was Devadatta's turn for Siddhartha's cousin was also one of the suitors-he not only hit the bull's eye, but sent his arrow right through the target until it stuck out the other side. The crowd cheered, but Yasodhara covered her eyes in fright. "How can my beloved Siddhartha ever beat that shot?" She thought. "How dreadful if I had to marry Devadatta!"

But the Prince was confident. When it was his turn he had his target placed so far away that most of the people could hardly even see it. Then he took an arrow from his quieter and pulled back on his bow. The Prince was so strong, however, that the bow burst in half; he had drawn it back so far!

"Please fetch me another bow," the Prince asked "but a much stronger one this time that will not break like the other one." Then a ministers called out, "O Prince, there is a very old bow in the palace. IT belonged to one of the greatest warriors of the past. But since he died many years ago no one has been strong enough to string it , much less shoot it."


"I shall use that one," said the Prince, and everyone was amazed. When he was handed the bow he carefully bent it and strung it easily. Then he notched an arrow on the string, drew it back so far that the ends of the bow almost touched, aimed, and let the arrow fly. Twang! The bow made such a loud sound that people in far away villages heard it. The arrow shot away so fast that when it hit the distant target right in the central of the bull's-eye-it did not even slow down, but continued to fly until it was out of sight.

The crowd roared in delight! "The Prince has won! The Prince has won!" But archery was only the first event of the day; the next contest was in swords man ship.

Each young man selected a tree and showed his strength by slashing through it with his sword. One suitor cut through a tree six inches thick, another nine inches, and a third cut through a tree a foot thick with a single stroke of his sword!

Then it was the Prince's turn. He selected a tree that had two trunks growing side by side. He swung his sword so quickly that it cut through the tree faster than anyone could see. His sword was so sharp and his cut so even that the tree did not even fall over. Instead it remained standing, perfectly balanced. When they saw the tree still standing upright, the crowd and especially Yasodhara moaned, "He has failed. The Prince's sword did not even cut into the first trunk."

But just then a breeze stirred up and blew over the neatly severed tree trunks. The crowd's moans turned into cheers, and again they shouted, " The Prince has won!" The final contest was in horsemanship. A wild horse, while had never been ridden before was held down by several strong men while each young suitor tried to mount it. But the horse bucked and kicked so furiously that none of them could stay on its back for more than a few seconds. Finally on young man managed to hold on and the attendants let go of the horse. But it jumped and lunged about with such fury and anger that the rider was thrown to the ground. And he would have been trampled if the men had not rushed out and pulled him to safety.

The crowd began screaming loudly, "Stop the contest! Don't let the Prince near that horse! It is too dangerous; the horse will kill him! But Siddhartha had no fear. "Gentleness can be more powerful than brute strength, " he thought, and slowly reached out and took hold of a small tuft of hair that grew from the horse's forehead. Speaking in a low and pleasant voice, and gently stroking the wild horse's head and sides, he calmed its anger, rage and fear.

Soon the horse was so gentle that it began licking Siddhartha's hand. Then, still whispering sweetly to the horse, the Prince climbed onto its back. While the crowd roared happily, he paraded the steed in front of the kings and ministers, and bowed low to his fair prize, the lovely Yasodhara. The contest was over; young Siddhartha had won! And he had done so not only by the power of his great strength, but of his gentleness and kindness as well.

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