A crore is ten millions.
Far from his kingdom, far from home and
The prince has gone, his flowing locks close shorn,
His rings and soft apparel laid aside,
All signs of rank and royalty cast off.
Clothed in a yellow robe, simple and coarse,
Through unknown streets from door to door he passed,
Holding an alms-bowl forth for willing gifts.
But when, won by his stateliness and grace,
They brought their choicest stores, he gently said:
“Not so, my friends, keep such for those who need—
The sick and old; give me but common food.”
And when sufficient for the day was given,
He took a way leading without the walls,
And through rich gardens, through the fruitful fields,
Under dark mangoes and the jujube trees,
Eastward toward Sailagiri, hill of gems;
And through an ancient grove, skirting its base,
Where, soothed by every soft and tranquil sound,
Full many saints were wearing out their days
In meditation, earnest, deep, intent,
Seeking to solve the mystery of life,
Seeking, by leaving all its joys and cares,
Seeking, by doubling all its woes and pains,
To gain an entrance to eternal rest;
And winding up its rugged sides, to where
A shoulder of the mountain, sloping west,
O’erhangs a cave with wild figs canopied.
This mountain cave was now his dwelling-place,
A stone his pillow, and the earth his bed,
His earthen alms-bowl holding all his stores
Except the crystal waters, murmuring near.
A lonely path, rugged, and rough, and steep;
A lonely cave, its stillness only stirred
By eagle’s scream, or raven’s solemn croak,
Or by the distant city’s softened sounds,
Save when a sudden tempest breaks above,
And rolling thunders shake the trembling hills—
A path since worn by countless pilgrims’ feet,
Coming from far to view this hallowed spot,
And bow in worship on his hard, cold bed,
And press his pillow with their loving lips.
For here, for six long years, the world-renowned,
The tender lover of all living things,
Fasted and watched and wrestled for the light,
Less for himself than for a weeping world.
And here arrived, he ate his simple meal,
And then in silent meditation sat
The livelong day, heedless of noon’s fierce heat
That sent to covert birds and panting beasts,
And from the parched and glowing plain sent up,
As from a furnace, gusts of scorching air,
Through which the city’s walls, the rocks and trees.
All seemed to tremble, quiver, glow and shake,
As if a palsy shook the trembling world;
Heedless of loosened rocks that crashed so near,
And dashed and thundered to the depths below,
And of the shepherds, who with wondering