Gautam Buddha had lived in tremendous luxury, surrounded by beautiful girls, beautiful palaces. The whole night was a celebration; the day was for rest, the night for dances and drinking. Out of this experience he became tired. He had seen all the beautiful girls; there was nothing more to be seen. He had seen that every man and woman is just a skeleton, covered with a thin skin. Just think for a moment: here all of you are skeletons covered with thin skin! This body and its beauty fades very soon.
He had seen all that was possible in those days for a man of power and riches to see, but he could not find peace, contentment, silence. He could not find himself. Utterly frustrated, he moved out of the palace one night – because this life is going to end in a few days, or in a few years. It is not something to cling to. Each moment death is coming closer; before death grabs you, you have to figure out something which is eternal, which is immortal. All that you see around you is made of the same stuff as dreams are. Do you think you are for the first time on the earth?
On the same earth millions of people have come and simply disappeared into thin air. Scientists have calculated that the place you are occupying has been occupied by at least ten people before you. You are sitting on ten corpses! And don’t think much of yourself, because you cannot get out – you will be the eleventh. And remember, it is not a laughing matter for you. Those ten corpses will laugh at you: ”Look, the poor fellow was thinking of great things and finally is flat on the pile of corpses.”
Gautam Buddha’s search for truth, for himself, for the source of life which is eternal, cannot be the search of a poor man who is hungry, who is searching for a loaf of bread. But people have completely forgotten Gautam Buddha. They have taken his meditation out of context. He could meditate because there was nothing else in the world to think about, to desire, to be ambitious for. The world was, in a way, finished the day he left his house; he never looked back.
I am reminded of a beautiful story…. Buddha was afraid that if he went into the mountains of his own kingdom, his father’s armies would find him; he would not be able to escape. He was the only son of an old king, who was hoping that he would succeed him. And he had made a big kingdom for him So he immediately passed beyond the boundaries of his kingdom to the neighboring kingdom. And the king was very furious. He ordered the armies not to leave even a single inch unsearched: ”Look around, all over the country.”
Gautam Buddha was not found, but he was not aware that the kingdom he had entered belonged to a friend of his father. So the father informed this king and other kings surrounding his kingdom, ”You have to find my son. In my old age at least you can do this much for me; we have been friends.”
The neighboring king found Gautam Buddha and he said, ”If you are angry, if you have fought with your father… It happens. It is not something strange or unfamiliar; fathers and sons have always been fighting. Don’t be worried. I have only one daughter and no son – get married to my daughter and you will have two kingdoms together. Your father is old; he cannot live long. And my kingdom is far bigger than your father’s. He is my friend and I have come with a request. You have everything to gain, nothing to lose.
You get a beautiful wife, a great kingdom, and of course your own kingdom is there. You will be a greater king than me or your father because your kingdom will be bigger than the kingdoms we have. You will have two kingdoms together.”
Gautam Buddha said, ”You don’t understand the point. I have not fought with my father, I have not been angry with him, and I have not come here in search of a girl. I am not interested in a kingdom, howsoever big it is. But I would like to ask you a few questions; you are my father’s friend. First tell me, you say your girl is very beautiful – is this beauty going to remain forever? Will she not one day be old?”
The king said, ”You ask strange questions. Everybody becomes old.”
”And do you think,” Gautam Buddha asked, ”she will never die?” The king laughed. He said, ”You are hilarious. Everybody dies.”
Gautam Buddha said, ”I don’t want to get married with someone who is going to die.”
The king said, ”She is not going to die tomorrow.”
Gautam Buddha said, ”You cannot give any guarantee. Are you sure you will be alive tomorrow?”
The king said, ”I have never thought about it. I hope that I will be alive, but I cannot be certain. But you are creating anxieties in my mind. I had come to take you to the palace and it seems you are trying to convince me to follow you to the mountains.”
Gautam Buddha said, ”It is better – there is still time, it is still light; maybe you have a few days more to live. Devote these few days to a search for something which cannot be taken away from you. Your youth will disappear, your beauty will disappear, your kingdom will one day belong to somebody else. And what does it matter, when you are dead, to whom your kingdom belongs, whether he is your son or somebody else’s son?”
The king said, ”You are a dangerous fellow. I don’t want to talk to you.”
He informed Gautam Buddha’s father, ”I have met your son; he is in the mountains in my kingdom. I tried hard, but he is very convincing. And he has created such anxiety in me that I have not slept since. I am continuously thinking of death – what is going to happen after death? What have I gained by having this big kingdom? I am a poor man inside. I have never looked into my own being; I am not even acquainted with myself. I request to you: don’t try to prevent him, let him go and let him search. What we have missed, perhaps we can hope he will find it.”
Gautam Buddha could sit silently, desireless, thoughtless, moving inwards, because the outside had lost all interest. He had seen it – that it is just a phenomenon, the way you see a film. But there are idiots who even seeing a film will cry, will weep, will laugh, because they will become identified and they will forget that there is nothing on the screen, it is just a projected film. Our whole life is not much more than that, but to know it you have to go through it. Gautam Buddha had a great chance to experience life and see its futility. This gave him the opportunity to sit in deep silence, undisturbed. Vipassana was discovered in these moments.
Source: from book “Hari Om Tat Sa” by Osho