hope, that he had made this great renunciation. In his heart there lay no store of inner knowledge such as might seem to offer recompense for all he cast aside ; it was but a hope that shone before him, and not unseldom, we may be sure, a hope that seemed all but despairing. Surely somewhere, somehow, a sovereign remedy for all lifeas pain must hide ?
For six long years he sought itathat hope so near us all, and yet so hard to find. Men then believed that wisdom might be won only by starving, torturing the body;
through heights and depths of ecstacy. Of being so intense our thought can never compass it, just as in dreams we cannot grasp the clearer vivid consciousness of waking life. What the wise then knew, quickly the erstwhile prince now gathered, passing from sage to sage, learning their methods, and practising alike their modes of inward ecstacy and their austerities, until at last there lived no sage, no holy one amongst them all, who had won further into beingas depths than he ; or any wanderer so famed, even there in India, where asceticism
that higher self of all the universe, had also seen, in the light of the wide - reaching understanding that that attainment involvesa he saw that even here was no finalityano endless peace such as he sought for liberation of all life. There too, howsoever exalted, howsoever subtle and supreme that ultimate of life might beathere too reigns selfhood, and there, thence, desire, even as one of Indiaas ancient sages sang :aa In the beginning desire arose in that, which wras the germ, the origin of mind.a Subtle and high as it might be, it still lay under the bondage
they thought, like the ascetics of all climes and ages, that wisdom could be won only by treating as an enemy the body of this lile. As has been said, the religious of India in that time had won to depths of spiritual attainment far beyond aught that the West-Aryan yet has learned ; they knew the way, by intense inward contemplation, to wake up from this our waking state as a man wakes Aut of dreams; to enter realm after realm of spiritual attainment, depth after depth of beingas mystery ; so that, whilst the earthly body lay entranced, the mind wandered free
PONGYIS COLLECTING ALMS.
long had reached to the very ultimate of human endurance, for the awful rigour of his penances, the strictness of his vigils and his fasts.
To the very heights of being he attained ato that supreme, that ultimate of conscious being, known in India as the Brahman or the Paramatman : the uttermost of selfhood, the light of life whereto all this universe is as it were but a shadow. To that cosmic consciousness he won, and yet turned back to earth in what approached despair. For, as indeed all others who had thus reached
of desire ; and, as the Rishis taught, that Brahman, desiring, had emanated all this universe in its creative thought; and when at last, after the a Age of Brahma,a all living things had once again through paths of suffering life innumerable, won back to that supreme of life, even then, after the vast period of rest in the aa Night of Brahman a once more the undestroyed desire must spring ; and a new torture-teeming universe come forthaand so on to eternity.
But it was from this awful cycle of never-ending life, all of it involved in pain, thatBut it was from this awful cycle of never-ending life, all of it involved in pain, that