He

Buddha as mendicant

Buddha as mendicant   – Abanindranath Tagore

He had left home as a young man. Leaving aside life as he knew it, he had turned his attention to life as it flowered within himself. He left in the wake of dawn, on his trusted horse. After a while he reached a river, descended from the horse and let it go. He cut his long tresses, threw away his princely clothes, and took the ochre robe, the ageless symbol of those who had left the ordinary life in search of the eternal.

He wandered for many years, met many a teacher and many a fellow-traveller. He experimented with mind and body. Until one day he realised that reality was now. It was not in chasing after another state, but precisely in not doing so. That night, the other entered him profusely. There was nothing left to do or say.

But he lived on for another 50 years, walking on the earth that had given birth to him, tormented him, made him question his existence, and also given him the answer to all his questions. He trod that earth, meeting people, listening to their sorrows, speaking of what he had understood.

They called him, simply, the one who knows. Buddha.

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~ by tdcatss on August 6, 2015.

2 Responses to “He”

  1. whenever I imagine Buddha leaving his home and family behind I am reminded of faiz ahmed faiz’s mujhse pehli si mohabbat mere mehboob na maang

  2. Really? Not for me. Faiz’s turning away is a turning away in sorrow. A turning away because the fullness of his being is not expressed in the love relationship.

    maine samjha tha ki tu hai to darakhshaan hai hayaat
    tera gham hai to gham-e-dehr ka jhagda kya hai
    teri surat se hai aalam mein bahaaron ko sabaat
    teri aankhon ki siva duniya mein rakkha kya hai
    tu jo mil jaaye to taqdeer nigoon ho jaaye
    yun na tha, maine faqat chaaha tha yun ho jaaye

    Faiz turns away because his heart goes to other things. It goes to the sorrows of other people, and not just to the sorrows a love relationship. So he turns away to lend his voice to the oppressed and not just the forlorn.

    anginat sadiyon ke tareek baheemana tilism
    reshm-o-atlas-o-kimkhaab mein bunvaaye hue
    ja-ba-ja bikte hue koocha-o-baazaar mein jism
    khaak mein lithde hue, khoon mein nehlaaye hue…
    laut jaati hai udhar ko bhi nazar kya keejiye
    ab bhi dilkash hai tera husn magar kya keejiye

    The Buddha’s turning away is one of renunciation, of letting go of all he knows, of dying to the world. There is no romance in it, there is no longing and desiring for another world in it. It is the renunciation of having finished one’s business with this world. It is a disappearance, a no longer being who one was.

    Faiz, I feel, takes much more from the Sufi devotional tradition than anywhere else. The longing and the sorrow for the suffering masses, or for the beloved, are more Sufi in their tinge rather than ancient Indian.

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