The enlightenment of Gautam Buddha

- May 28, 2021

By Vijita Mukherjee and Aditya Sen 

Prince Siddhartha Gautama of the Shakya clan left his family and kingdom after he saw the four symbols. He met many teachers and learnt many practices to realise the nature of human existence.

He did not give up

Gautama devoted himself to severe austerities for several years. His body wasted away, yet enlightenment eluded him. Looking at his single-minded dedication, his band of ascetics was sure that he was about to reach realisation. Then one day Buddha walked towards a river, splashed water on his face and felt refreshed. He accepted food from a passer-by woman and he ate a full meal after many months. His companions were aghast and felt disappointed that he had abandoned his spiritual quest at this point and they left him.  But a renewed energy began to course through Gautama’s body. He had not given up. He had just changed direction. 

Illustration: Souren Roy | Script: S.K. Ramachandra

Then Gautama sat under the Bodhi (peepal) Tree in Bodh Gaya, Bihar to meditate. The skies darkened and heavy rain fell. It was then that the King of Serpents, Mucalinda rose from beneath the earth and protected Gautama with his hood. After the storm passed the serpent king took a human form, bowed joyfully to the mendicant and returned to his palace in the nether worlds.


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