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Buddha As A Renunciant - An Episode

"After Buddha became a renunciant, he travelled far and wide. People were wonder-struck to see his brilliant and handsome form. Attracted by his effulgence, a lady named Ambashali approached him and said, '0 great one, you look like a prince in ochre robes. May I know the reason behind your donning ochre robes at this young age?' Buddha replied that he had taken to the path of renunciation in order to seek solution to three problems: 'This body which is young and handsome is bound to become old at some point and will perish ultimately. I want to know the cause of old age, sickness and death.' Impressed by his quest for truth, she invited him for lunch. In no time, the entire village came to know of this. The villagers started coming to Buddha one by one and requested him not to accept her invitation. Buddha listened to all their complaints patiently. Then he smiled and asked the village headman, "Do you also affirm that she is woman of bad character?' The village headman replied, 'Not once, but thousand times I will vouch for the evil character of Ambashali. Please do not visit her house.' Holding the headman's right hand, Buddha asked him to clap. The headman said he could not do so as one of his hands was in Buddha's hold and it was not possible for anyone to clap with a single hand. Buddha replied, "Likewise, Ambashali cannot be bad by herself unless there are men of bad character in this village. If all men in this village were good, this woman would have not turned bad. Therefore, it is men and their money that are responsible for the bad character of Ambashali.' Saying so, he wanted to know if there was any individual in that gathering without any trace of evil in him, so that he could visit his house for lunch. No one came forward. Then Buddha said, 'Tell me your company, I shall tell what you are.' Realising their folly, the people fell at Buddha's feet and sought his forgiveness. Since then they started treating Ambashali as one amongst them. Inspired by the teachings of Buddha, Ambashali also took to the path of renunciation and led a pious life." Sai Baba, SS. 3/99, pp. 58 & 59

Controlling The Senses Is The Highest Sadhana - An Episode

"Once a Pundit challenged Buddha to enter into a debate with him. The terms were that if he was the loser, he would follow the Buddhism along with his 3000 disciples and serve Buddha lifelong. But, if Buddha was the loser, it would be obligatory on his part to become a follower of the Pundit. Buddha smilingly said, 'Pundit Samadarshana' (a true pundit is the one who has equal-mindedness). A true Pundit makes no distinction between the dualities of life, such as pain and pleasure, joy and sorrow. A person with anger and ego is unfit to be called a Pundit. In pilgrim centres, such as Haridwar, Rishikesh, Badrinath, Kedarnath and Amarnth, you find Pandas who give mantras that would grant liberation to the departed souls. These Pandas cannot be called Pundits. In this world, there are many who have gone through sacred texts. The knowledge of the Self cannot be acquired by mere scholarship or by sitting at the feet of a guru. There are many who go through voluminous books, but is there a person who practises at least one teaching? When you spend all your life in reading, when are you going to practise it? Scholarship without practice is futile. The Bhagavad Gita declares: 'Kavim Puranamanushasitharam (the Supreme Being is All-knowing, Indweller and Ruler of all).

Who is Kavi (poet)? A Kavi is one who knows the past, present and future; not the one who merely plays with words. This implies that God alone is Kavi (poet). What is the meaning of Purana? Body is the Pura in which divinity pervades. The divine principle that pervades from top to toe in the body is referred to as Purana. So, God Himself is Purana. Next comes Anushasitara (one who commands and controls). You may imprison a person who has committed a crime, but you cannot prevent his mind from going all over the world. There is no judge in this world, who can punish the mind. It is only who has the power to command the mind of man can be called Anushasita. Therefore, God alone is Anushasitara.

Explaining thus, Buddha silenced the Pundit and advised him to shun the pride and ego of scholarship. He told the Pundit not to be carried away by the worldly knowledge. He exhorted him to acquire and practise divine knowledge and surrender to God. Buddha said, 'I undertook spiritual practice for a long time and went through various sacred texts in quest of knowledge of the Self. Ultimately, I realised that mastering the senses is essential for acquiring knowledge of the Self. The five senses are the gift of God. Make proper use of them. Only then you can realise the Self. What is the use of going through sacred texts and undertaking spiritual practices without proper utilization of the five senses? I have controlled the five senses and put them on the right path, as a result of which I am experiencing bliss." Sai Baba, SS, 3/99, pp. 68 & 69