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Birth is Sorrowful, Life is Sorrowful and Death is Sorrowful

Gautama Buddha, with a firm resolve and a lot of penance, was able to achieve the state of enlightenment. One day, after coming to know that Buddha was begging for alms, his father sent this message to Buddha, "O my child, your grandfather was a king, your father is a king and you are also a king. I have heard that you, a king, coming from such a noble lineage, have been begging for your food. There is no dearth of property or wealth in this kingdom. There is no shortage of any luxury. You can have anything you wish. I am suffering untold pain knowing that you, who can enjoy all the luxuries and comforts of a king's palace, have taken to begging, and that you are lying down on the hard ground living an uncomfortable beggar's life. Please come back to the palace. I will welcome you and make all the proper arrangements for your return. The kingdom itself will be yours."

Buddha who heard all these things with total detachment replied to the person who brought the message, "Please tell the king, 'Yes, my grandfather was a king. My father is a king, and I too was a king. But now I have renounced this world. And I believe that my real parents are renunciates and that my true ancestors are also renunciates. If you want me to come back, you must first answer these questions: Do you have the power to save me from death? Can you keep diseases away from me and guarantee to keep me in sound health? Do you have the capacity to prevent old age and senility from descending on me? Do you have the power to free me from all these evils? If you can give me the correct answers to these questions, then I will immediately come back to the palace.'"

Buddha saw that birth was sorrowful, that life was sorrowful and that the end was also sorrowful. He replied to his father in the correct way. After having seen all the sorrows of life and after having watched so many people suffering, he could not continue to wallow in ignorance and illusion; that would have been sheer folly. Buddha's life can serve as an important lesson to you. In the limited time given to you, you have to realize your true nature. That is the real objective of human life. Your body is composed of the five elements, and some day it is going to perish. The indweller of your body is the only permanent entity. When you inquire into truth, you will realize that there is nothing like old age and there is nothing like death for the indwelling self. If you could understand that this indweller, who is your own reality, is the divinity itself, in all its fullness, then you will know the truth and enjoy infinite peace.