Scene 1

(Channa, Siddhartha’s charioteer, is driving the Prince through the streets.)

SIDDHARTHA: Channa, I am so happy today. For the first time I have come out of the palace. I smell now the real fragrance of life. Look at this panoramic view. My entire being is in deep ecstasy.

CHANNA: O Prince, in your happiness is my happiness. I am always at your disposal.

(All of a sudden Siddhartha sees an old man before him.)

SIDDHARTHA: Channa, who is this man? He can’t even walk. How strange — his hair is white. My hair is black, and yours is, too. Everyone in the palace has black hair. What is wrong with this man’s hair?

CHANNA: Prince, he is an old man; therefore he is very weak. That is why he cannot walk properly. Old people have white hair. One day you and I also will grow old.

SIDDHARTHA: Me? I shall become old? Impossible! I feel miserable for that old man. Channa, I don’t think that I shall ever have to become old.

CHANNA: Prince, how I wish that you would never become old! But, unfortunately, nobody can escape old age.

SIDDHARTHA: Channa, I feel really miserable for that old man, who is so thin and weak. Let us go back to the palace. I hope that tomorrow I shall not have to see an old man.

CHANNA: Oh, no. Tomorrow I shall drive you along another road.

SIDDHARTHA: The very idea of becoming old in the future is making me sad.

CHANNA: Me too, O Prince.

Sri Chinmoy, Siddhartha becomes the Buddha, Sky Publishers, New York, 1973