It was after this decision was made that he heard of the birth
of his son, and regarding the new born child as an impediment
rather than a blessing, named him Rahula meaning "fet er". It
was a clear indication that his heart was already turning away
from household life. On that night, he left his uncongenial pal-
ace and traded his princely robes for the lowly clothings of an
ascetic. His search for truth and peace had begun and it was
more from sympathy with the sufferings of others than from any
personal sorrow which he had no occasion to experience.
His departure from home was not a case of desertion of his be-
loved family, but an unprecedented case of historic renunciation.
He left his worldly life not in old age but in the prime of man-
hood, not in poverty but in the midst of plenty.
Fol owing the path of extreme asceticism, as was the custom of
those days, he was not able to seek what he sought for until he
gave up the practice of austerity some six years later.
e reat nlightenment
One day, in the forest at Buddha Gaya, after a last meal of milk
rice, Gautama sat down, crossed-legged, on a grass mat spread
under a "Bodhi" tree, and declared, "If I do not succeed in this
way of seeking the truth by searching within, I will not rise
from this place". His mind soon became tranquil and purified
and he then attained the Samadhi that he had experienced in
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