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The Lord’s life as a Chadmastha

The Lord’s life as a Chadmastha
Followed by kings, Kaccha, Mahakaccha and others, who had taken the vow of mendicancy after him, the Lord began to wander over the earth in silence. The Lord did not obtain alms anywhere even on the day for breaking his fast; for the people at that time were thoroughly simple and were not familiar with alms-giving. Some people brought the Master, who had come for alms, horses surpassing in speed Uccaihsravas (Indra’s horse); others brought choice elephants whose strength was superior to that of the elephants of the quarters; some brought maidens excelling the Apsarases in loveliness; others ornaments that had the brilliance of lightning; others garments of various colors like twilight clouds; still others garlands and wreaths rivaling wreaths of the coral-tree; some brought a heap of gold resembling Meru’s peak; others a pile of jewels like the peak of Mt. Rohana; for they knew the Lord only as a king as before. Even though not obtaining alms, under pressed in mind, always wandering, the Master made the earth pure, like a living tirtha. Healthy, as if his body had been separated from the seven elements, the Blessed One endured trials, hungers, thirst, etc.

In the same way wander the kings self-initiated, following the Master like boats a wind. Then the ascetic-kings, worn out by hunger, etc., deficient in knowledge of the tattvas, thought in accordance with their own knowledge: “He does not take fruit even when it is sweet, as if it were kimpakas. He does not drink water, even fresh, as if it were salty. Indifferent to care of the body, he does not bathe nor anoint himself; he does not put on clothes, ornaments, nor wreaths, as if they were burdens. He is covered with dust of the road raised by the wind, like a mountain; he endures on his head excessive heat burning the forehead. Deprived of a couch, etc. he does not become fatigued; like a mountain elephant he is not exhausted by heat and cold. Verily, he does not consider hunger nor know thirst. Like a warrior who has an enemy, he does not resort to sleep. Now he does not favor us with a glance us who became his followers as if we were criminals, to say nothing of talking to us. We do not know what the Lord thinks in his mind, though he has turned away from possessions, children, wife, etc.”

The Lord’s life as a Chadmastha
Then the ascetics said to Kaccha and Mahakaccha, (former) attendants near the Lord, who had become foremost in their own group: “Why is the Master here victorious over hunger, and we like worms in regard to food? Why does he have thirst subdued, when we are like frogs for water? Why is he victorious over heat, and we like bugs for shade? Why is he unconquered by cold and we like monkeys in regard to cold? Why does he do without sleep when we are boa-constrictors for sleep? Why does he never sit, and we are lame from sitting? We have undertaken to follow the Lord in the vow, like crows undertaking to follow Garuda in crossing the Ocean. Shall we take our own kingdoms for a livelihood? But these have been taken by Bharata. Where can we go? Or, shall we go to Bharata himself for a livelihood? We are afraid of him, if we go after leaving the Master. Therefore, sirs, tell us who are confused about our course of action, what we are to do. Formerly always near the Lord, you know his intention.” They replied, “If one can reach the bottom of the Svayambhuramana Ocean, then one can fathom the Lord’s intention. Formerly, we always did what the Master commanded; now he has become silent and commands nothing at all. We know no more than you. The fate of all is the same. Say, what are we to do?” After taking counsel together, all apportioned the woods on the bank of the Gangas, and ate bulbs, roots, fruit, etc., as they liked. From that time there were here on earth ascetics, living in the forest, wearing matted hair, eating bulbs, fruit, etc.

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