ONE day, as Buddha was sitting under a banyan tree, a young woman went weeping to him with a dead child in her hands. 'Lord,' she said, 'my first-born, my only child, is dead. Take pity on me and bring it back to life.' And she wept as if her heart would break. The Blessed One knew the futility of reasoning with her in her then frame of mind. So he told her, 'Daughter, bring a handful of gingili seeds from a person none of whose relations have died, and I shall bring your child back to life.'
The young mother was overjoyed at this seemingly simple request She put her dead child tenderly on the lap of the world-teacher and went to the adjacent village. Her experience of the world was so little that she did not know the impossible nature of her quest. She went first to a house and knocked at the door. A young woman came.
'Will you please give me a handful of gingili seeds?' asked the young mother. Most willingly,' said the other and brought a handful of gingili seeds. The young mother took them and, as she was about to go, she said casually, 'I hope none of your relations have ever died.' At that the other burst into a loud moan and said, 'Why do you rake up my unhealed wounds? Don't you know that my only brother died but a month ago and that my father died only a year ago? ' The young mother said, 'I am very sorry for you, but I don't want your gingili seeds.'
She went to another house. She found an elderly woman there and wanted a handful of gingili seeds. The elderly lady brought them. Before receiving them, the young mother said, 'I hope none of your relatives have died' on which the other burst out into loud lamentations saying, 'My son, my only son, the boy whom I tended for twenty long years, he died six months ago. Who are you that remind me of my misery? The young mother said, 'I am very sorry, but I do not want your gingili seeds.'
She went to another house where she found a widow aged about sixty. The young woman said, 'Mother, give me a handful of gingili seeds if none of your relatives have died.' The old widow laughed and said, 'Daughter, I shall give you ten handfuls of gingili seeds if you want, but, of course, several of my relations have died. Why, my dear husband died thirty years ago. I felt it as an inconsolable loss then. But when I come to think of it now I don't feel so sorry. Unless people die, where is the room in this world for the babes who are born every day? The world will become overcrowded like Hell. Where is your father, his father, his father, and so on? Some of these must assuredly have died. Death is the one universal event in the life of every man who is born.'
The young mother felt how impossible her quest was and so returned to Buddha and told him about the fruitlessness of her search. 'Daughter,' said Gautama, 'go, bury your child. This is the way of the world. None can cure death here below.'
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