He who goes

He walked. Through the forest, through the countryside, through farm land, through barren land. He crossed rivers, he went up hills and he went down hills. He had no permanent abode. The sky sheltered him, the earth gave him succour.

A few days ago, at age 35, he – Siddhartha Gautama – had seen reality. Five years before, like many men and women of the time, he had made the great departure. He had left home, family, friends, wealth. He had turned away. Having scorched himself in the heat of the spiritual quest, he had finally seen.

It was Gaya where this happened. Siddhartha decided then to walk. He did not know where he was going. He just walked.

He walked through the forests and the villages, alone – a solitary traveller. He went out to human dwellings to beg for food. They saw him and noticed his gait, his face, his eyes. These were distinctively different. The eyes, downcast, revealed a soul that shone bright, that came from elsewhere, that knew of other worlds, and was rooted in that which is beyond all worlds. He walked.

With a faint smile was on his lips, through the rays of the mid-day sun, by the softly flowing Ganga, near the peacocks in the forest, he walked. He took the pilgrimage path around Kashi, and went further north.

In an ochre robe, with cropped hair, he did not seem to have a care for what went around him. In measured, mindful steps, with intimate grace and immense tranquility, he walked.

They did not know that this young man would one day be a teacher. That after 2000 years, he would be worshipped, prayed to, shed tears to. That his image would adorn temples and homes, that his words would become thick books, that oil lamps would burn before his image in this land and far away. They did not know that when he would die, his bones would be preserved in a structure that people would worship. They knew nothing of this.

They knew nothing of how the world would take refuge in this young man, with all its sorrow and all its light. They could only see a man walking, a man different from all others, a man who knew what they could not.

Instead of fixing himself to one place, as they all did, he chose to flow like the river, and thus walked the land.

They called him tathagata – “he who goes”.

 

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~ by tdcatss on March 28, 2016.

2 Responses to “He who goes”

  1. beautiful…

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