One day Gautama Buddha, whose body was thin like a bone, took a small chapatti with a little honey in order to retain his body. Seeing this his disciples, who had respected him so much and had been with him for six years, lost faith in him. His disciples decided that he wouldn’t attain jnana and so left him. Subsequently Buddha attained realisation but for fifty days afterwards he was very anxious, wondering,
‘Should I tell others about that experience or not?’
He thought, ‘If I tell several people, won't at least one get benefit?’
The inner voice in his heart said, ‘At least for that, it is good to tell.’
However, ‘Who should be told?’ was another question.
His inner voice said, ‘It is good if you tell the ones who had faith, served you for six years and then left’.
So he went to Sarnath searching for those disciples and that was the reason that the Buddha went there. It was at Sarnath that he gave his first speech to his disciples.
Devotee: Sarnath is only ten kilometres from Kasi, so why didn’t Buddha go to Kasi? What was the reason for him to stop in Sarnath? Did Buddha reject the Hindu religion? Or, was it that the Hindus did not allow Buddha to go to Kasi?
Sri Nannagaru:Buddha neither said that God existed nor that God didn’t exist. In those days the Hindus gave importance to yajnas and yagas - sacrifices of animals and of human beings and didn’t pay attention to how to discipline the mind. No matter how many austerities or yajnas are done, if the mind isn't disciplined, there is no chance to attain jnana. The most important of the Buddha’s teaching was that there must be discipline of mind and speech. The reason that the Buddha didn’t mention or discuss God was not because he didn’t have faith in God. He didn’t talk about God because he knew that if he said that God existed it would lead to an increase in the practice of human and animal sacrifice and thereby contribute to causing harm in God’s name. It was the Hindus that rejected Buddha and who did not allow him into Kasi.
When Ramakrishna went to Kasi he stayed in the same one room for the whole week. It is in remembrance of him that they have kept the room and bed just as they were. When Sri Nannagaru went to Kasi he went and saw that room. In Ramakrishna’s time, Trayee Lingeswara Swami (from Sri Kakulam District) was in Kasi. He used to sit in the lotus posture and remaining in that position would move across the water. Swami lived for two hundred years. During the week that Ramakrishna stayed in Kasi, he went to see Swami on only one day. For the remaining six days of that week, Trayee Lingeswara Swami himself went to see Ramakrishna. Although Ramakrishna used to ask many people to sit on the bed no one but Trayee Lingeswara Swami actually sat on it.
Gautama Buddha never gave importance to miracles. He even used to go to his own house for bhiksha. This is not a small thing. It is easy to speak things, but only if we ourselves do such a thing, will we know just how difficult it is.
Even Mahatma Gandhi used to get angry now and then but Buddha didn’t get angry even once. When he started teaching, how soft he spoke, and that same soft tone continued throughout his speech. He didn’t raise his voice even when someone couldn’t understand. He never lived for others. He would say, ‘Do this’ to someone but if they didn’t listen, he didn’t repeat it loudly, instead he was silent.
Seeing the flow of blood after the Kalinga war, Ashoka became disgusted and felt very bad.
He realised that, ‘The loss that the people experienced due to me is more than the gain I have achieved through that flow of blood.’ He renounced war and became very soft-hearted, and converted to Buddhism. Though he used to be fierce and hardhearted Ashoka changed very much after he accepted Buddhism. As per the wish of the people he had roads constructed and trees planted by the roads.
He said, ‘Even if I am in the bathroom, don’t hesitate to call me if it is necessary to listen to the woes of the people.’
Some devotee asked Bhagavan, ‘Buddha didn’t accept the religion of Hinduism, did he? Did he attain jnana?’
Bhagavan made his face big and said, ‘He was a great jnani’. The ten avatars also include the avatar of Buddha.
One man came to Buddha and asked, ‘I want to attain nirvana.’ Buddha told him to bring a plate of water and asked that man to wash his own feet in it. After he washed his feet, that water had a lot of dirt in it.Buddha said, ‘Your mind is also full of dirt like this - lose that and come, then I will give you moksha.’
We say moksha. The Buddhists call it the state of nirvana. When we get sick, we take medicines, don’t we? Does the illness go away or not? We observe that. Just like that, we always have to observe ourselves: are we giving discipline to the mind or not? If there isn't discipline in the mind, regardless of the number of pujas or japa we do, all are useless.