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Without are pleasant garden glades, flowing fountains, pure refreshing lakes, with every kind of

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flower, and trees with fruit, arranged in rows, deep shade beneath. . 188

There, too, are various kinds of wondrous birds, flying and sporting in the midst, and on the surface of the water the four kinds of flowers, bright colour’d, giving out their floating scent; . 189

Minstrel maidens 1 cause their songs, and chorded music, to invite the prince. He, hearing the sounds of singing, sighs for the pleasures of the garden shades, . 190

And cherishing within these happy thoughts 2, he dwelt upon the joys of an outside excursion; even as the chained elephant ever longs for the free desert wilds. . 191

The royal father, hearing that the prince would enjoy to wander through the gardens, first ordered all his attendant officers to adorn and arrange them, after their several offices: . 192

To make level and smooth the king's highway, to remove from the path all offensive matter, all old persons, diseased or deformed, all those suffering through poverty or great grief, . 193

So that his son in his present humour might see nothing likely to afflict his heart. The adornments being duly made, the prince was invited to an audience; . 194

The king seeing his son approach, patted his head and looking at the colour of his face, feelings of sorrow and joy intermingled, bound him. His mouth willing to speak, his heart restrained. . 195

(Now see) the jewel-fronted gaudy chariot; the four equally-pacing, stately horses; good-tempered

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and well-trained; young and of graceful appearance; . 196

Perfectly pure and white, and draped with flowery coverings. In the same chariot stands the (stately) driver; the streets were scattered over with flowers; precious drapery fixed on either side of the way, . 197

With dwarfed trees lining the road, costly vessels employed for decoration, hanging canopies and variegated banners, silken curtains, moved by the rustling breeze, . 198

Spectators arranged on either side of the path. With bodies bent and glistening eyes, eagerly gazing, but not rudely staring, as the blue lotus flower (they bent) drooping in the air, . 199

Ministers and attendants flocking round him, as stars following the chief of the constellation 1; all uttering the same suppressed whisper of admiration, at a sight so seldom seen in the world; . 200

Rich and poor, humble and exalted, old and young and middle-aged, all paid the greatest respect, and invoked blessings on the occasion: . 201

So the country-folk and the town-folk, hearing that the prince was coming forth, the well-to-do not waiting for their servants, those asleep and awake not mutually calling to one another, . 202

The six kinds of creatures not gathered together and penned, the money not collected and locked up, the doors and gates not fastened, all went pouring along the way on foot; . 203

The towers were filled and the mounds by the trees, the windows and the terraces along the streets; with bent body fearing to lift their eyes, carefully

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seeing that there was nothing about them to offend, . 204

Those seated on high addressing those seated on the ground, those going on the road addressing those passing on high, the mind intent on one object alone; so that if a heavenly form had flown past, . 205

Or a form entitled to highest respect, there would have been no distraction visible, so intent was the body and so immovable the limbs. And now beautiful as the opening lily, . 206

He advances towards the garden glades, wishing to accomplish the words of the holy prophet (Rishi). The prince seeing the ways prepared and watered, and the joyous holiday appearance of the people, . 207

(Seeing too) the drapery and the chariot pure, bright, shining, his heart exulted greatly and rejoiced. The people (on their part) gazed at the prince, so beautifully adorned, with all his retinue, . 208

Like an assembled company of kings (gathered) to see a heaven-born prince. And now a Deva-râga of the Pure abode, suddenly appears by the side of the road; . 209

His form changed into that of an old man, struggling for life, his heart weak and oppressed. The prince seeing the old man, filled with apprehension, asked his charioteer, . 210

'What kind of man is this? his head white and his shoulders bent, his eyes bleared and his body withered, holding a stick to support him along the way. . 211

'Is his body suddenly dried up by the heat, or has he been born in this way?' The charioteer, his heart much embarrassed, scarcely dared to answer truly, . 212

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Till the pure-born (Deva) added his spiritual power, and caused him to frame a reply in true words: 'His appearance changed, his vital powers decayed, filled with sorrow, with little pleasure, . 213

'His spirits gone, his members nerveless, these are the indications of what is called "old age." This man was once a sucking child, brought up and nourished at his mother's breast, . 214

'And as a youth full of sportive life, handsome, and in enjoyment of the five pleasures; as years passed on, his frame decaying, he is brought now to the waste of age.' . 215

The prince greatly agitated and moved, asked his charioteer another question and said, 'Is yonder man the only one afflicted with age, or shall I, and others also, be such as he?' . 216

The charioteer again replied and said, 'Your highness also inherits this lot, as time goes on, the form itself is changed, and this must doubtless come, beyond all hindrance: . 217

'The youthful form must wear the garb of age, throughout the world, this is the common lot.' Bodhisattva, who had long prepared the foundation of pure and spotless wisdom, . 218

Broadly setting the root of every high quality, with a view to gather large fruit in his present life, hearing these words respecting the sorrow of age, was afflicted in mind, and his hair stood up-right. . 219

Just as the roll of the thunder and the storm alarm and put to flight the cattle; so was Bodhisattva affected by the words; shaking with apprehension, he deeply sighed; . 220

Constrained at heart because of the pain of 'age;'

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with shaking head and constant gaze, he thought upon this misery of decay; what joy or pleasure can men take (he thought), . 221

In that which soon must wither, stricken by the marks of age; affecting all without exception; though gifted now with youth and strength, yet not one but soon must change and pine away. . 222

The eye beholding such signs as these before it, how can it not be oppressed by a desire to escape 1? Bodhisattva then addressed his charioteer, `Quickly turn your chariot and go back, . 223

'Ever thinking on this subject of old age approaching, what pleasures now can these gardens afford, the years of my life like the fast-flying wind; turn your chariot, and with speedy wheels take me to my palace.' . 224

And so his heart keeping in the same sad tone, (he was) as one who returns to a place of entombment; unaffected by any engagement or employment, so he found no rest in anything within his home. . 225

The king hearing of his son's sadness urged (his companions) to induce him again to go abroad, and forthwith incited his ministers and attendants to decorate the gardens even more than before. . 226

The Deva then caused himself to appear as a sick man; struggling for life, he stood by the wayside, his body swollen and disfigured, sighing with deep-drawn groans, . 227

His hands and knees contracted and sore with disease, his tears flowing as he piteously muttered (his petition). The prince asked his charioteer, 'What sort of man, again, is this?' . 228

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Replying he said, 'This is a sick man. The four elements all confused and disordered, worn and feeble, with no remaining strength, bent down with weakness, looking to his fellow-men for help.' . 229

The prince hearing the words thus spoken, immediately became sad and depressed in heart, and asked, 'Is this the only man afflicted thus, or are others liable to the same (calamity)?' . 230

In reply he said, 'Through all the world, men are subject to the same condition; those who have bodies must endure affliction, the poor and ignorant, as well as the rich and great.' . 231

The prince, when these words met his ears, was oppressed with anxious thought and grief; his body and his mind were moved throughout, just as the moon upon the ruffled tide. . 232

'Placed thus in the great furnace of affliction, say! what rest or quiet can there be! Alas! that worldly men, (blinded by) ignorance and oppressed with dark delusion, . 233

'Though the robber sickness may appear at any time, yet live with blithe and joyous hearts!' On this, turning his chariot back again, he grieved to think upon the pain of sickness. . 234

As a man beaten and wounded sore, with body weakened, leans upon his staff, so dwelt he in the seclusion of his palace, lone-seeking, hating worldly pleasures. . 235

The king hearing once more of his son's return, asked anxiously the reason why, and in reply was told--'he saw the pain of sickness.' The king in fear like one beside himself, . 236

Roundly blamed the keepers of the way; his heart constrained, his lips spoke not; again he

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increased the crowd of music women, the sounds of merriment twice louder than aforetime, . 237

If by these sounds and sights (the prince) might be gratified; and indulging worldly feelings, might not hate his home. Night and day the charm of melody increased, but his heart was still unmoved by it. . 238

The king himself then went forth to observe everything successively, and to make the gardens even yet more attractive, selecting with care the attendant women, that they might excel in every point of personal beauty; . 239

Quick in wit and able to arrange matters well, fit to ensnare men by their winning looks; he placed additional keepers along the king's way, he strictly ordered every offensive sight to be removed, . 240

And earnestly exhorted the illustrious coachman, to look well and pick out the road as he went. And now that Deva of the pure abode, again caused the appearance of a dead man; . 241

Four persons carrying the corpse lifted it on high, and appeared (to be going on) in front of Bodhisattva; the surrounding people saw it not, but only Bodhisattva and the charioteer; . 242

(Once more) he asked, 'What is this they carry? with streamers and flowers of every choice description, whilst the followers are overwhelmed with grief, tearing their hair and wailing piteously.' . 243

And now the gods instructing the coachman, he replied and said, 'This is a "dead man," all his powers of body destroyed, life departed; his heart without thought, his intellect dispersed; . 244

'His spirit gone, his form withered and decayed; stretched out as a dead log; family ties broken

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[paragraph continues] --all his friends who once loved him, clad in white cerements, . 245

'Now no longer delighting to behold him, remove him to lie in some hollow ditch (tomb).' The prince hearing the name of DEATH, his heart constrained by painful thoughts, . 246

He asked, 'Is this the only dead man, or does the world contain like instances?' Replying thus he said, 'All, everywhere, the same; he who begins his life must end it likewise; . 247

'The strong and lusty and the middle-aged, having a body, cannot but decay (and die).' The prince now harassed and perplexed in mind; his body bent upon the chariot leaning-board, . 248

With bated breath and struggling accents, stammered thus, 'Oh worldly men! how fatally deluded! beholding everywhere the body brought to dust, yet everywhere the more carelessly living; . 249

'The heart is neither lifeless wood nor stone, and yet it thinks not "all is vanishing!"' Then turning, he directed his chariot to go back, and no longer waste his time in wandering. . 250

How could he, whilst in fear of instant death, go wandering here and there with lightened heart! The charioteer remembering the king's exhortation feared much nor dared go back; . 251

Straightforward then he pressed his panting steeds, passed onward to the gardens, (came to) the groves and babbling streams of crystal water, the pleasant trees, spread out with gaudy verdure, . 252

The noble living things and varied beasts so wonderful, the flying creatures and their notes melodious, all charming and delightful td the eye and ear, even as the heavenly Nandavana. . 253


29:2 In this section we have an account of the excursion of the royal prince without the precincts of the palace, and the sights which affected his mind with a desire to leave the world.

30:1 Otherwise, singing-women.

30:2 Or, thoughts of happiness.

31:1 As stars following the constellation-king.

34:1 How can a man. not (desire) to remove it (i.e. old age) as a hateful thing?

Next: Varga 4. Putting Away Desire