he was born, an astrologer told Buddha�s father that his
son would either be an emperor or a sanyasi (holy renunciant).
The king understood that in order to prevent his son from
renouncing the material world in favor of the spiritual
world, he would have to keep him sheltered and protected.
Thus, Siddharth (the young Buddha) was raised in the castle
and never had even a view of the outside world.
one day as a young man, he told the charioteer to take him
to the city. Along the way, he saw a sick man.
The charioteer explained the meaning of illness for
Siddharth had never before seen or heard of anyone who was
not in the peak of health). �Everyone gets sick
sometimes,� the charioteer explained.
Siddharth saw an old man walking with a cane along the side
of the road. �Why is he walking like that? Why is his hair
so white and his step so slow? Is he also having a
sickness?� The Charioteer explained to Siddharth that the
man was simply old and that everyone eventually becomes old.
�Everyone?� Siddharth inquired incredulously. �Yes,
everyone,� the charioteer confirmed.
they drove through the city, Siddharth saw four men carrying
a casket in a funeral procession to the crematorium. �What
are they doing?� Siddharth asked his charioteer. As the
charioteer explained about death, Siddharth was stunned, and
immediately realized the inevitably transitory nature of our
time on Earth.
returning to the castle, filled with the knowledge of
sickness, old age and death, Siddharth renounced the
material world for the search of Truth. �If sickness, old
age and death are inevitable on this path of life, then
surely the nature of existence and the point of life must be
deeper than we are currently experiencing.� With that, he
left the castle to spend many years in sadhana deep in the
glimpse of sickness, age and death and the Buddha realized
how temporary and elusive the material existence is. We,
however, get sick ourselves over and over again. We watch
our loved ones age, and we have seen so many deaths.
However, we never seem to get the message. We continue to
run after transitory pleasure and material wealth in the
illusion that somehow that is the point of our existence on
Earth. We see
so many wealthy people, accomplished businessmen pass out of
this body empty-handed. Yet we continue to run after wealth.
This is the nature of our ignorance. The Buddha had one
glimpse of sickness and death, and he saw the truth. We must
also try to see this truth, for we have not only glimpsed
evidence of the ephemeral nature of life but we have also
lived it and experienced it daily.
Buddha went to forests to seek enlightenment and to find the
Truth. Thus, people ask, �So, must we also leave
everything to see the Truth.� No. Once Edison discovered
the laws of electricity, we merely have to use these laws
and apply them in our daily lives. We do not have to
rediscover them. Once Newton developed the laws of physics,
we use these laws in our lives and in our work. We do not
have to re-discover these laws. We only need to use them and
the Buddha went to the forest and discovered the Truth. We
don�t have to leave everything, go to the forest and
re-discover this. We only have to take the Truth that he
discovered and apply it in our lives.
many years of sadhana in the forest, the Buddha attained
enlightenment. However, once he attained this state, what
did he do? Did he stay in the forest and continue only to
enjoy the divine ecstasy of union with God? Did he spend all
of his time in meditation, puja and silence? No. He
immediately came back to the world and started serving. He
immediately started to share this treasure chest of wisdom
with all. Whatever he knew, whatever he had realized, he
spent every minute of his life sharing it with everyone who
Buddha�s gift was his wisdom. So, he spent the rest of his
life sharing this knowledge with all. Our gifts may be
different. Our gifts may be certain talents or may be our
financial wealth or may be something else. But, we must take
this message to heart. We all must spend our lives sharing
our gifts with the world. Whatever gifts God has bestowed
upon us � whether divine knowledge, expertise in a certain
field, a particular talent, or financial wealth � must be
shared with all.
only preached the Truth, but he lived the Truth
day, as the Buddha was traveling on foot preaching his
divine knowledge, a local man spat on him and verbally
abused him. It always happens, anyway. There are always
people who try to oppose the truth and who abuse those who
are living and spreading the truth. But, what did the Buddha
do? He remained very quiet and very still while the man
continued his abusive tirade. At the end, he asked the man
�Aur kooch kehana hai?� [Do you have anything else to
following day, when the Buddha was again passing through the
same place, the man came up to him, fell at his feet and
begged forgiveness. He said, �All night long I could not
sleep for the abuses I hurled at Your Holiness. Please
forgive me.� The Buddha replied, �Forgive whom? For
what? You are not the same person as the one who abused me
yesterday. You have realized and changed. So, whom should I
forgive? The �you� of today needs no forgiving and the
�you� of yesterday is no longer with us. That which
happened is like water in a river. It is long since gone,
and the river is still flowing.�
calm and move on
is the Buddha�s message: Be calm and move on.
Do not react.
Buddha represents fullness. He was born on a full moon. He
attained enlightenment on a full moon. He departed this body
on a full moon. When we are full inside, then nothing
outside can affect us. When we are full inside, then we
become unrockable and unshockable. We become shock-proof and
rock-proof. It is only when we are empty inside that we
react to little little things in the outside world.
true test of spirituality, the true test of �fullness�
is not how nicely and peacefully you can sit in meditation
on a deserted mountain. Rather, the true test of
spirituality is how calmly and peacefully you can live in
the world without being affected by the world. The real test
of �fullness� is how you can be unshockable and
unrockable by the ups and downs of the world.
spend so much energy to earn money so that we can have
expensive air conditioning in our homes and in our cars.
But, inside of us, the heat is still on. Our hearts and our
minds ignite in flames at the slightest insult or
disappointment or failure. We must learn to be cool on the
inside. We must learn to have the A/C on inside!
calm and move on. Let us take this as our mantra on this day
of Buddha Purnima. Let us be filled with spirituality, with
God, with love and with piety so that there is no room for
us to be affected by little little things.
us realize the true, temporary and illusory nature of the
material world, and instead dedicate ourselves to Truth, to
God, to spirituality and let us give, give and give whatever
we have to others. This is the message of the Buddha.