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Three Visions in the Life of Buddha

            The Life of the Buddha is a famous and ancient kavya in Sanskrit literature. The reader is introduced to the future Buddha, Siddhartha. A central component of the book is the young prince's encounters and reactions to the negative aspects of life such as old age, sickness, and death. Sight has a large influence on peoples' reactions, as Siddhartha panics and becomes heavily anxious when confronted with real world problems he did not know existed outside of his perfectly pampered lifestyle. Also, in times of deep worry or concern, people tend to approach their issues through religion. Siddhartha's troubling encounters take place on pages 69-83, with compassion, fear, and wonder being constant rasas. To clarify, the reader feels compassion or grief toward the prince for having to go through these rude awakenings, as he is without a doubt afraid of the obstacles associated with aging. He then constantly wonders about the inevitability of it all catching up to him. .
             When touring the royal highway, the prince sees people looking glamorous, but his eyes become stationed on an old man with a poor figure, holding on to a walking stick. Such an unexpected sight makes him persistently question his driver, who responds metaphorically: "Slayer of beauty, ravager of strength, the womb of sorrow, the end of pleasures, Destroyer of memory, foe of sense organs-this is called old age." The driver is attaching these negative capabilities to old age, which causes the prince to really wonder if he too will face that evil some day. His mood completely changes, as he wonders "How people do not become distraught, after seeing such a man with their very eyes." The Prince demanding to be taken back to the palace upon seeing this may suggest that he has a serious fear of aging. .
             After failure to find any solace at the palace, the prince begins to venture out once again. This time, he sees an ailing man with a pale and swollen look.

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