Solace in wilderness
Siddhartha was about to give it up. It was sore in every way.
Wilderness was dark, yet he could hear and feel rustle of soft leaves. He looked up to watch clouds leaving the moon alone. Moon was skeletal a tad with a few days and nights to reach its ripe plane.
He had to look downcast in an instant, because what pierced through his neck and eyes was painful. His body was aching all over. He shifted body on terrain, a bed of leaves, and leaves of course gave out a little shriek as if it hurt them a lot. Ruins of these woods fitted Siddhartha enough, only if he could get wise to right muse.
He knew he could touch his spines from the front, he dared not. He was feeble, he dared not to contemplate on it. He has been with this tough mission now for six odd years.
It is but a chain in retrospect: renunciation, encounter with teachers Alara Kalama and Uddaka Rama Putta, outsmart them, penance and Siddhartha is now an ascetic through with absolutely nothing, save disappointment caked all over his face.
Is truth something that cannot be dug out? Or is there a thing called truth that exists actually?
Siddhartha rested his back against the tree. He set eyes on his mind's reel. His princely life at the palace. Soft-spoken father Suddhodana, seven days of infancy with mother Maha Maya, tender stepmother Prajapathi Gothami, caring wife Yasodhara, stubborn cousin Devadatta and friends faded in and out. He did not regret leaving them behind, that happiness would not last. But memories kept on stirring Siddhartha's peaceful mind.
A moment passed on. The rustle of soft leaves ceased inch by inch. It was uneventful, Siddhartha did not notice as yet - until the dark crept away too.
Siddhartha has never seen such a stony footpath before. It was dazzlingly lit, soothing Siddhartha's strained eyes. He could see a figure walk that footpath. Is it a hallucination, or just an offshoot of a tired mind, Siddhartha was at a loss.
That figure turned out to be a heavenly spirit. Her face betrayed her middle-age, but it was adorned with splendid features. She got closer and placed her divine hand on his head.
Maha Maya spoke up. Siddhartha closed his eyes to concentrate.
"Siddhartha my son. I fought many a time in this cycle of births to own the womb that bears the greatest being of this eon.
"I ached many a time to hear saints prophesy my son would conquer the cycle of births. It is no simple thing, my son, O the Greatest One. Prove them right. Be firm and solid, make me worthy to have borne you."
When he opened his eyes at length, he noticed she was gone. The woods were dark once again, with the rustle of soft leaves reigning the woods. Whether the footpath existed or not, Siddhartha was not sure in this dark.
He contemplated about holy life. He tried out everything. He cannot return to lay life. He doesn't want to. He knew penance would not help him discover the true meaning of this life. He was feeling tired again, and in a little while a tired Siddhartha dozed off.
Then it came to pass again. The dark crept away and the rustle stopped. He made out the figure this time: Prajapathi Gothami treading soft toward him.
She virtually followed her sister Maya, place the hand on Siddhartha's head.
"Siddhartha, my son. I fought many a time in this cycle of births to mother the greatest being of this eon. So rare O the Holy Being, is your birth in this world. Oh the Greatest Man of the earth do not turn back. Make me worthy to have mothered you. O Great Being make me worthy."
Then he watched Gothami walk back into the darkness slow and solemn, the footpath shrinking away.
It was the third watch of that night. Siddhartha was feeling like waiting for another guest.
He witnessed the footpath for a third time. He had a keen eye on the figure. He knew it should be no one else but Yasodhara, at length.
His memories raced back to those days of sweet-nothings. They aroused no emotions. They flared up no fires of lust. It was a long looked-forward-to meeting. He was amazed about his determination not to look back at her and their kid in the renunciation.
He was strong, and Yasodhara's presence made him feel even stronger. It now wove a spiritual link between them, anyone could hardly analyze this bond. He listened attentively to her soft voice seemingly frail but teemed with inspiration.
"Siddhartha, you are precious. You have that legacy buried deep beneath your soul. Exhume that and pass me down that legacy.
"O great being, I need you, this whole world needs you. Do not give up, do not turn back. Do not come back to me empty handed. Do not let evil hang over you. Be brave Siddhartha, for you can."
Siddhartha watched her make way back. The three most important women in his life, come at the darkest hour to rekindle the drained-down hopes of a great sage.
He knew it will be his strength to curve and bend his mind as he wishes. He knew it will be the strength to be the shield against the three tempting daughters of Mara.
He watched the sun rise - which he would liken to the wisdom later on - and invade the woods,. He was blessed feeling the sunrays touch the ground..
That dawn was a moment of solace in wilderness. Because wisdom was about to dawn upon him. He took a decision. It is a steady journey from the dark into the light; that footpath he was certain he would never turn back.