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Published on Jan 16, 2011
Writing on the day of Vaishakhi Purnima, when the Buddha was both born and achieved Parinirvana (demise), Nehru visualizes the prince Siddhartha noticing old age, disease and death for the fist time and then the life-forsaking Sannyasim (ascetic). The colourful Odissi dancer in court cannot divert him and he leaves ambience of the departure, of rigours in meditation, of many hindrances and finally, of the arriving at the Truth. In teaching, Nehru emphasized how the Buddha avoided extremes and adopted the doctrine of the Middle Way. Even the idea of Nirvana (enlightenment) was far from mere nothingness but the positive condition of life-affirmation. Two graphic parables on the brigand Angulimala catch the inner significance of Buddhism. Nehru points out how the images of Buddha radiate sublime serenity and complete faith in human redemption.