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Prince Siddhartha in the 6th Century B.C. abandoned his father's palaces and went out searching, went out searching. Was he crazy? Finally after a long search, one day he said, "I shall sit under this tree. And I shall sit in meditation, and I shall sit absolutely motionless until I have found the meaning of the cause of pain and the meaning of freedom." And he sat for forty-nine days and forty-nine nights, absolutely still. Forty-nine days and forty-nine nights he sat absolutely still until the awakening came to him.

And after many years of preaching thereafter with a band of his followers and monks, he returns to his father's kingdom, and begs in the streets as a monk should for his alms. First the word went into the palaces: "Your son is coming back, he's going to enter the city tomorrow." The king sends out a reception and decorates the city and all the streets are sprinkled with water and all the homes are whitewashed.

Then the next morning the message goes into the palaces: "Your son begs on the streets of your kingdom. Your son begs on the streets of your kingdom." The father sends a message: "What shame do you bring on me, your father, a powerful king? Do you not know that you are born of this lineage of great kings, that you demean yourself thus? Those who would be your subjects have to fill your begging bowl? Why do you not recognize your royal lineage and inheritance?"

Siddhartha is no longer the prince, but a Buddha, the enlightened one. He says to his father, "Father, Prince Siddhartha was of the lineage of the kings. I am of the lineage of the enlightened ones, who own nothing and to whom all these kingdoms mean nothing. I am of that lineage. And the only possessions the people of that great lineage carry are a begging bowl, for they have no use for all of these palaces and for all of this wealth and for all of this power. I am being true to my lineage."

From where does the power of a man with a begging bowl come that he can speak thus to his father, the king? What is the source of that strength? We live today in a success-oriented society. But that man did not have to work hard to be a successful king. Why would he abandon that? Or a Christ, to whom all the kingdoms of the world are offered, why would he not take them? What for?
What is the source of that strength? We live today in a success-oriented society. But that man [the Buddha] did not have to work hard to be a successful king. Why would he abandon that? Or a Christ, to whom all the kingdoms of the world are offered, why would he not take them? What for? Were they all crazy and we are intelligent? Which crazy man can sit absolutely still for forty-nine days and forty-nine nights? Which crazy man can sit absolutely still for forty-nine seconds?

This Self is the luminous being, far greater than the luminosity of the "I's" of the four billion human beings. If the luminosity of the "I's" of the four billion human beings of this earth were gathered together and put into a single diamond, it shall not equal the luminosity of your soul. You are of that lineage.

This Atman is the Self, the beam of Light that the yogis experience as themselves in their highest meditation. Then we dwell in fear, burdened, dependent, worried, depressed, enraged, not knowing from moment to moment whether the line of the graph is going up or going down and how far down and how far up, as though we are a dry autumn leaf tossed in the wind, mercilessly by some force of whom we do not know.