Unfortunately, with the passage of time, some powerful vested interests took control over Hinduism and started to eliminate the religion’s flexibility. They projected themselves as the only recourse for all religious aspirants, and thus reduced the religion to nothing more than dogmatism and ritualism. For furthering their own ulterior motives, these vested interests left no stone unturned in instilling superstitious fear amongst the masses.
It was at this particular point of time that Prince Siddhartha was born to a powerful emperor in a zone that is present-day Nepal, a neighboring country of India. Siddhartha lived a luxurious life, as was the case with all the children born in royal families. As a matter of fact, he was brought up in a highly protected environment so as to be totally unaware of all the negative facets of life. In due course of time, he got married to a beautiful princess, and subsequently both of them were blessed with a son.
On one occasion, which can conveniently be rated as the turning point in his life, Siddhartha, during an outing, happened to see an ailing person, an aged man, and a corpse, with all these things being totally new to him. When he came to know the truth about all these three things – sickness, old age, and death – Siddhartha went into a state of total shock, to say the least! His entire perception of life changed and he was bogged down by the all-important question, “Who am I? What is the truth?”
After that, it was too tough for him to be persisting with the life filled with luxuries, as the above question made Prince Siddhartha more and more eager to get aware of the answer. He realized that the same could not be attained amidst all the worldly matters, and that total renunciation is the sole means of knowing the truth. In this state of mind and during the middle of a night, he just walked out of the palace into the outside world, driven by his intense quest for truth. .