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Harischandra and Buddha
If you decide that a particular activity is good and sacred, you should not postpone it. You should immediately implement it and see to it that this good action is successfully carried out. This was the royal path laid down for all by the Buddha. Once Gautama Buddha realized that the body was impermanent, that none of the worldly things were going to last, he resolved to seek out and discover the unchanging truth. He gave up his family and his kingdom and went into the forest to realize the ultimate reality.
There was another great ruler who had an intense sense of sacrifice and detachment. His name was Harischandra. Although he was an emperor, through a series of unfortunate circumstances he lost everything he had in the world, his kingdom, his wife and family, and spent his days as caretaker of a cremation ground.
One day, when Harischandra first started performing his duties in the cremation ground, the corpse of a rich man was brought there by a large number of friends. They brought the body, set it on fire and immediately went back to their homes. Usually when a body is set on fire, a little weight is put on it. Otherwise, as soon as the heat comes, the body bends as if it was getting up, and then lies down again. Only Harischandra remained in the burning ground that day. No friends or relatives of the dead man stayed behind to keep a watch on the body. Harischandra went to get a little more fuel to put on the fire. Suddenly he saw the body lift itself up. He was surprised and went near it to have a closer look.
As Harischandra approached the pyre, he noticed that the body had by itself returned to a prone position. For an instant he thought that it was still alive as if sitting up to look for its relatives and friends, but then he realized that the whole episode was just a momentary illusion of a corpse appearing alive, caused by the heat of the fire. Harischandra thought to himself, "In the same way that I mistook this corpse to be alive, I thought this world to be real. But it is unreal, it gives only an illusion of reality."
Harischandra lamented that such a wealthy man whose corpse was brought there had no relatives or friends to stay with his body until the end. He thought, whatever may be the position and the riches of a person, not even his wife or children retain any attachment to him after his death. As a result of this experience, Harischandra developed an intense detachment towards the objects and forms of the world.