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The Double Wedding
 
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p. 115

THE DOUBLE WEDDING.
Charaka found by degrees and not without difficulties his mental equilibrium, which his friend Kanishka seemed to possess naturally. He unburdened his heart to the saintly old man and arrived at the conviction that he was not made for a monk and that his duties of life according to his disposition lay in other fields.

In the meantime King Kanishka had sent a messenger to Matura his chancellor and vicegerent at Gandhâra, to bring Princess Kamalavatî to Benares.

Princess Kamalavatî arrived, and when her betrothal to Charaka was announced the happy events of our story reached their climax. Açvaghosha solemnised the nuptials of both couples, Kanishka with Bhadraçrî, and Charaka with Kamalavatî; and he read to them from the Dhammapada the famous stanza:

p. 116


"Sweet in the world is fatherhood,
 And motherhood is sweet;
 But sweeter is the thought of good,
 If nobly our heart beat.

"Sweeter, a life to old age spent
 In truth and purity;
 Sweeter, to reach enlightenment
 And keep from evil free."25


When the marriage ceremony was over a feast was spread at the royal palace, and King Kanishka declared that he had a great respect for priests, but did not favor the idea that his friend, the physician royal, should resign his calling of wizard (as he was wont to call him) for the sake of becoming a monk. While there were plenty of good and honest men to wear the yellow robe, there was scarcely one man among a million who could perform miracles and save human lives, as Charaka had done.

Charaka denied that he was a wizard. His art was no magic but consisted simply in observation and experiment, and it was nature whose forces he had learned to guide; but for all that he accomplished things which astounded

p. 117

the world. They were better than the miracles of magicians, for they were more useful and of enduring benefit to mankind.

When his friends praised him, he replied: "My science is a beginning only and what I accomplish is the work of a tyro. The Tathâgata has preached the religion of enlightenment, he set the wheel rolling; it is now our duty to follow up his thought, to spread enlightenment, and to increase it. Amitâbha is infinite, and thus the possibilities of invention are inexhaustible. The wondrous things which man is able to do, and which he will do in the ages to come, can at present only be surmised by the wisest sages.

"But greater than the greatest feats of invention will be the application of the Lord Buddha's maxim of loving-kindness in all fields of human intercourse, in family life, in politics, in labor and social affairs, in our dealings with friends and foes, with animals, and even with the degenerate and criminal. The enlightenment of our souls is most important. Therefore we praise the Tathâgata above all other things.

p. 118


"Bright shineth the sun in his splendor by day
 And bright the moon's radiance by night,
 Bright shineth the hero in battle array,
 And the sage in his thought shineth bright.
 But by day and by night, none so glorious so bright
 As Lord Buddha, the source of all spiritual light."


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