Story of Siddharth
In ancient India, at the foothills of the Himalaya mountains, King Suddhodan ruled the kingdom of Kapilavastu. His queen, who was pregnant, dreamed of a white elephant with six tusks entering her body. When they consulted astrologers about this, they predicted that the child would either be a great king or would renounce the world to become a Holy man.
Time passed, and the queen gave birth to a baby boy. The boy was named "Siddharth", which means the one whose every wish is fulfilled. As Siddharth was the only heir to the throne, King Suddhodan wanted Siddharth to become the next king and not a renunciant, Holy man. So, he guided Siddharth's every movement to keep him from renouncing the world. Thus, Siddharth grew up inside the palace walls and could not step out even for a moment.
However, Siddharth's Holy nature could be seen right from childhood. He was quiet and kind-hearted. He never hurt anyone or spoke foul language. Due to His divine qualities, Prince Siddharth was loved by everyone and well respected. Devdatta, a cousin of Siddharth, was very jealous of Him due to his good character. An example of the difference in their characters is seen in the incident below.
Once Prince Siddharth and Devdatta were playing in the garden when they saw swans flying in the sky. Immediately, Devdatta started shooting arrows at them as target practice. Within seconds, a swan was hit and fell injured to the ground. Prince Siddharth caught the swan as it fell. He was moved to see the suffering swan. He gently removed the arrow and carefully nursed the swan back to life. As soon as the swan was well, Devdatta demanded the swan from Siddharth, saying that since he brought the swan down with his arrow it belonged to him. But the gentle Siddharth was also firm. He refused to hand over the swan and released it into the sky, saying that the swan does not belong to someone who tried to take its life and that, instead of taking life, we should try to give life.
This little Prince went on to become a great Holy man who led many people to God, despite His father's attempts to make Him a king. Once, the Prince managed to convince His charioteer to take Him for a ride into the city outside the palace. During that short ride, the Prince noticed the ageing of an old man, the illness of a sick person, a dead person being carried to the crematorium for his last rites, and the peace of a Sage. He asked his charioteer why everyone except the Sage is not peaceful, but old, sick or dying. When the charioteer explained that that is how we all have to go through life, the Prince resolved to become like the Sage and experience his peace. That day itself He shaved His hair, wore simple clothes and left the palace in search of that everlasting peace.
Years later, this Prince experienced complete peace as He became one with God, the only source of everlasting peace. He spent the rest of His life showing others the way to experience God, or everlasting peace. He was called the Buddha (which means the Wise One).
Moral: The story of Siddharth shows the importance of having good qualities like kindness, courage and love for God. It also shows that only by growing close to God can we experience true peace and joy. However, we do not have to leave our homes to become like Him, but can do so by doing daily spiritual practice. To begin with, we can start chanting or repeating God's Name as per our religion for at least 15-30 minutes daily. We can build our chanting by learning to chant soon after waking up, before going to sleep, sitting in one place, while doing other things like waiting for our school bus, eating, walking, etc.
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