Scene 4

(The next day. Siddhartha and Channa are in the chariot driving along the streets.)

SIDDHARTHA: Channa, we have covered a very good distance. Today everything is fine. Today I don’t have to see an old man, a sick man or a dead man. Today I shall see and enjoy only nature’s beauty, nature’s lustre, nature’s love, nature’s heart and nature’s soul.

(All of a sudden he sees someone meditating beneath a tree.)

SIDDHARTHA: Who is that man, Channa? What is he doing at the foot of that tree? Why are his eyes closed? What is he doing with a garland of beads?

CHANNA: I am answering your questions one by one, O Prince. Who is that man? He is a spiritual man. What is he doing at the foot of the tree? He is praying and meditating. Why are his eyes closed? He thinks that his prayers will be more sincere and his meditation will be more intense if he keeps his eyes closed. What is he doing with a garland of beads? He is repeating the name of God, and counting the number of chants on the beads.

SIDDHARTHA: I believe all that you say, but what will he get by leading this kind of life?

CHANNA: He will get infinite Peace and infinite Joy.

SIDDHARTHA: Infinite Peace? Infinite Joy? I must go and talk to him. Channa, come along. Let us go and speak to this peculiar man.

CHANNA: Indeed, that’s a nice idea.

(They leave the chariot and approach the spiritual man.)

SIDDHARTHA: May I know your name? What do you do for your living? (No answer from the spiritual man.) Do you know that I am Prince Siddhartha? My father owns this kingdom; he is the Lord of this kingdom. You are ignoring his son. I can do anything to you that I want. For God’s sake, don’t waste my precious time!

(No answer from the spiritual man.)

CHANNA: Prince, forgive me. I must tell you something. He is a spiritual man. He is praying to God; he is meditating on God. We should not disturb him. Who knows what is happening inside him? Perhaps God and he are talking inwardly. Perhaps God is telling him how he can have infinite Peace and Bliss.

SIDDHARTHA: I need that. I need infinite Peace and infinite Bliss, Channa. Do you think I will ever have that kind of Peace and Bliss?

CHANNA: Why not? Why not? Without fail you will have infinite Peace and infinite Bliss if you pray and meditate like this spiritual man.

SIDDHARTHA: Channa, then tomorrow a new life for me begins. I shall pray and meditate all day and night. My present life of luxury is no longer for me. I shall welcome the life of poverty. I shall embrace the life of renunciation. I shall put an end to suffering in this world. I know ignorance is the root of all suffering. I shall uproot the huge ignorance-tree, Channa; I shall exterminate it. The first day I saw an old man; the second day I saw a sick man; the third day I saw a dead man; today, the fourth day, I see a spiritual man. Either tomorrow, or in the near future, or in the distant future, I shall see another man, who has infinite Light, infinite Peace and infinite Bliss. My life is meaningless and useless without eternity’s Light, infinity’s Peace and immortality’s Bliss. The human in me ends its role today, Channa. No more for me this life of pleasure. The divine in me shall begin its role tomorrow. For me, from now on, only the life of universal Peace and transcendental Bliss.

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