OLDEST KNOWN TREE IN THE WORLD. 159
trees in the world are matters of conjecture ; and such calculations, however ingenious, must be purely-inferential : whereas the age of this B-tree is matter of record, its conservancy has been an object of solicitude to successive dynasties, and the story of its vicissitudes has been preserved in a series of continuous chronicles, among the most authentic that have been handed down by mankind. Its green old age would almost seem to verify the prophecy pronounced when it was planted that it would 4 flourish, and be green for ever. ' " *
Gautama hesitated for some time, whether he should not keep the divine knowledge he had attained to himself. He revolved in his mind the unprofitable weariness that would be caused in trying to persuade men to believe in his simple doctrine of salvationa" salvation merely by self-control and love, without any of the rites, any of the ceremonies, any of the charms, any of the priestly powers, any of the gods, in which men love to trust." t But compassion for the sufferings of humanity finally prevailed, and he resolved to preach his doctrines to the world.
He accordingly proceeded towards Benares, and in the Mrigadwa wrood,J in the vicinity of that city,
* See 44 Ceylon," vol. ii., p. 613 ; " Buddhism," Rhys Davids, p. 232.
t " Buddhism," Rhys Davids, p. 41.
t Now called Dhamek, and is still a fine wood. In the third century before Christ, King Asoka built a tower there to commemorate the place wheret Now called Dhamek, and is still a fine wood. In the third century before Christ, King Asoka built a tower there to commemorate the place where