Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.

Marie Curie

Kissa Gautami

A woman lost her young son; just a few days before her husband had died. Kissa Gautami was her name, and now her only son had died. She was in great despair, naturally; the child was her only hope. Buddha was staying in the town; people said, “Don’t cry and don’t weep. Why don’t you take the child to the Buddha? He is so compassionate, he may revive him back to life.”

The woman rushed with the dead body of the child. Buddha looked at the woman, told the woman to put the child in front of him and said to her, “Yes, I will revive him, but you will have to fulfill one condition.”

The woman said, “I am ready to give even my life. Say any condition and I will fulfill it.”

Buddha said, “It is a simple condition, I never make big requirements of people, only small requirements; this is a very simple thing. You just go into the town and bring a few mustard seeds. Just remember one thing: the mustard seeds should come from a house where nobody has ever died.”

The woman was in an insane state, she could not see the point. How can you find a house where nobody has ever died? She rushed with great hope and she knew that every house has mustard seeds because that was the only crop the people were growing. The whole village was doing the same work, growing mustard seeds – so there was no problem.

She knocked on many doors, the people said, “A few mustard seeds? We can bring cartloads of mustard seeds, but we cannot fulfill the condition; many people have died in our house. So our mustard seeds won’t do.”

By the evening the woman came to her senses. She had knocked on many doors; slowly slowly, she saw the point that death is inevitable – it happens to everybody, that nobody can escape from it. She came back, she was a totally different woman when she came back in the evening. The child was there, Buddha was waiting. He said, “Where are the mustard seeds?”

The woman laughed, fell down at his feet and said, “Initiate me into your path, because I have understood your message, that everybody has to die. Today my son has died, a few days before my husband died, a few days afterwards I am going to die. Before I die I want to see the deathless. Now I am not interested in my child being raised from the dead. Now I am interested myself in seeing the eternal life.”

Buddha initiated Kissa Gautami.

Understanding can overcome any situation, however mysterious or insurmountable it may appear to be.

Norman Vincent Peale
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