Siddharth, the Sakya prince (Later Gautam Buddha) experienced the “Four Noble Sights” at an early age of 29, following which his life changed forever. The four life changing sights not only made him think about life one more time but also brought a fundamental change in his attitude towards that luxurious life, which he had been spending in the royal palace of Kapilvastu ever since he was born.
It happened one day that the young Siddharth for the very first time ventured out of his palace with Channa, his charioteer. No sooner he moves out from the boundaries of his palace than the very first sight, he sees is that of an old and a weak man. He asks Channa what it is all about and he replies that every person becomes old. This makes him think of the “decaying” nature of human body. The second sight which he sees is that of an ailing and diseased man. This sight shocks the young yet innocent Siddharth. Channa explains the young prince how every living creature is subjected to disease and pain. The second sight makes him witness the “sufferings” of the humans.
The third sight is that of a corpse lying in the bier. Here, Channa explains pale looking Siddharth that every human being has to die one day and nobody can ever conquer death. This devastates Siddharth as he thinks about “death”. Following these three sights, he then sees the final and the fourth sight – A monk meditating who has renounced all the worldly life in order to find the cause of suffering. The final sight gives Siddharth a hope that he too can renounce the worldly pleasure and choose the path in order to find the cause of human suffering.
So far this is the story which everybody is aware of. However, one cannot understand why the makers of Buddha, the historical drama which airs every Sunday in Zee TV missed it. Well, Siddharth of the television drama did not see all these four sights in a go when he ventures for the very first time out of the palace. He, in the serial instead first goes to meet Bimbisara, the Magadh ruler, sees the people dying (death) and then in another visit sees a person suffering from leprosy (pain). In addition, Siddharth in the TV serial faces some additional drama while witnessing these life changing scenes. Well, the person suffering from the leprosy who is staying in a secluded place blames Siddharth for all his sufferings.
Now, why does he blame Siddharth? Well, he reveals that his father Suddhodana made all the person suffering from disease, stay in a secluded area called naya nagiri so that his son Siddharth doesn’t see any kind of pain, agony or any other thing that could easily make him tread towards the path of a monk. Siddharth cannot bear this accusation and come home only to ask his parents why they did so.
First of all, it is clear that the four noble sights that changed Siddharth life were seen by him while he ventured out for the very first time with his charioteer, Channa. Next there is no folklore or written description neither in India nor China or any Southeast Asian country which has this description of Siddharth meeting a man suffering from leprosy.
Looks like it is the idea of the CVs, but isn’t the idea a slump because I don’t think during that era a common man could talk to the crown prince in such a haughty way, forget about blaming and cursing him for all the wrong things, let alone complaining.
By: Deepti Verma
Image Source: The Four Sights painting By User: Sacca via Wikimedia Commons