At the moment when the child was born there dwelt on the Himalayas a great sage named Asita. Asita heard that the gods over the space of the sky were shouting the word “Buddha” and making it resound. He beheld them waving their garments and coursing hither and thither in delight. He thought, what if I were to go and find out the land in which he was born ? Surveying with his divine eyes the whole of the Jambudvipa, Asita saw that a boy was born in the house of Suddhodana shining with all brilliance and that it was over his birth that the gods were excited. So the great sage Asita with his nephew Nardatta rose up and came to the abode of Raja Suddhodana and stood at the door of his palace. Now Asita, the sage, saw that at the door of Suddhodana’s palace many hundred thousand beings had assembled. So he approached the door-keeper and said, “Go, man, inform the Raja that a sage is standing at the door.” Then the door-keeper approached Suddhodana and with clasped hands said, “Know, O Raja, that an aged sage, old and advanced in years, stands at the door, and says that he desires to see you.” The king prepared a seat for Asita and said to the door-keeper, “Let the sage enter.” So coming out of the palace the door-keeper said to Asita : “Please go in.” Now Asita approached King Suddhodana and, standing in from of him, said, “Victory, Victory, O Raja, may you live long, and rule thy kingdom righteously.” Then Suddhodana in reverence to Asita fell at his feet and offered him the seat; and seeing him seated in comfort, Suddhodana said, “I do not remember to have seen thee before this, O Sage ! With what purpose hast thou come hither? What is the cause ?” Thereupon Asita said to Sudhodana, “A son is born to thee, O Raja ! Desiring to see him, have I come.” Suddhodana said, “The boy is asleep, O Sage ! Will you wait for a while ?” The sage said, “Not long, O King, do such great beings sleep Such good beings are by nature wakeful.” Then did the child out of compassion for Asita, the great sage, make a sign of awaking. Seeing that the child had become awake, Suddhodana took the boy firmly in both hands and brought him into the presence of the sage. Asita observing the child, beheld that it was endowed with the thirty-two marks of a great man and adorned with the eighty minor marks, his body surpassing that of Sakra, Brahma, and his aura surpassing them a hundred thousand-fold, breathed forth this solemn utterance, “Marvellous, verily, is this person that has appeared in the world,” and rising from his seat clasped his hands, fell at his feet, made a rightwise circuit round and taking the child in his own hand stood in contemplation. Asita knew the old well-known prophecy that anyone endowed with the thirty-two marks of a great man, as Gautama was, has two careers open to him, and no third. “If he becomes a householder, he will become a universal monarch. But if he goes forth from the home to a homeless life, he will become a fully enlightened Buddha.” Asita was sure that the child would not remain a householder. And looking at the child he wept, and shedding tears, sighed deeply. Suddhodana beheld Asita Shedding tears, and sighing deeply. Beholding him thus weeping, the hair of his body rose, and in distress Suddhodana said to Asita, “Why, O Sage, dost thou weep and shed tears, and sigh so deeply? Surely, there is no misfortune in store for the child.” At this Asita said to the Raja, “O King, I weep not for the sake of the child. There will be no misfortune for him. But I weep for myself.” “And why ?” asked Suddhodana. Asita replied, “I am old, aged, advanced in years, and this boy will without doubt become a Buddha and attain supreme and complete enlightenment and having done so, will turn the supreme wheel of the Doctrine that has not been turned before him by any other being in the world; for the weal and happiness of the world will he teach his Doctrine.” The religious life, the Doctrine, that he will proclaim will be good in the beginning, good in the middle, good in the end, complete in the letter and the spirit, whole and pure. Just as an Oudumbara flower at some time and place arises in the world, even so at some time and place, after countless cycles, revered Buddhas arise in the world. So also, O Raja ! this boy will without doubt obtain supreme, complete enlightenment, and having done so will take countless beings across the ocean of sorrow and misery to a state of happiness. But I shall not see that Buddha. Hence, O Raja, I weep and in Sadness I sigh deeply, for I shall not be able to reverence him. The king thereafter offered to the great sage Asita and nardatta, his nephew, suitable food, and having given him robes made a rightwise circuit round him. Thereupon Asita said to nardatta, his nephew, “When thou shalt hear, Nardatta, that the child has become a Buddha, then go and take refuge in his teachings. This shall be for thy weal and welfare and happiness.” So saying Asita took leave of the Raja and departed for his hermitage. On the fifth day the ceremony of name-giving took place. The name chosen for the child was Siddharth. His clan name was Gautama. Popularly, therefore, he came to be called Siddharth Gautama. In the midst of rejoicing over the birth and the naming of the child Mahamaya suddenly fell ill and her illness became veery serious. Realising that her end was near she called Suddhodana and Prajapati to her beside and said : “I am sure that the prophecy made by Asita about my son will come true. My regret is that I will not live to see it fulfilled. My child will soon be a motherless child. But I am not worried in the least as to whether after me my child will be carefully nursed, properly looked after and brought up in a manner befitting his future. To you Prajapati, I entrust my child, I have no doubt that you will be to him more than his mother. Now do not be sorry. Permit me to die. God’s call has come and his messengers are waiting to take me.” So saying Mahamaya breathed her last. Both Suddhodana and Prajapati were greatly grieved and wept bitterly. Siddharth was only seven days old when his mother died. Siddharth had a younger brother by name Nanda. He was the son of Suddhodana born to Mahaprajapati. He had also several cousins, Mahanama and Anuruddha, sons of his uncle Suklodan, Ananda, son of his uncle Amitodan, and Devadatta, son of his aunt Amita. Mahanama was older than Siddharth and Ananda was younger. Siddharth grew up in their company.
He gave up his kingdom and claim to the throne in search of philosophical Truth. He tried all of the ascetic, extremist practices and reached high levels of tranquility and trance, but no ultimate liberation. Finally after six years of struggle in the forests of India including practices such as extreme fasting to the point of near death, he discovered that the middle way was best. By avoiding the extremes he attained enlightenment with full wisdom into the answers of birth, death, suffering, and the end to suffering. At the age of 29 Buddha left home and started wandering as a beggar and ascetic. After about six years he spent around Bodhgaya finally some time sitting under the Bodhi Tree or fig tree (Pipal, Ficus religiosa), meditating, tempted by demon Mara with all the desires of the world. Resisting these temptations, he received enlightenment. His face full with divine splendor and effulgence. He got up from his seat and danced in divine ecstasy for seven consecutive days an nights around the sacred Bodhi Tree. his foot prints found at all the important sites mark this incidence. After his enlightenment his heart was filled with profound mercy and compassion. He wanted to share what he had got with humanity. He traveled (Charika) all over India and preached his doctrine and gospel. Enlightenment came to him at the age of 35 in the year 528 B.C. He taught to all for 45 years (Buddha on Charika) until his death at the age of 80 in the year 483 B.C.
Buddha in his childhood confronted by three disturbing facts of life: old age, sickness, and death, and had an intense urge to overcome them. Leaving home, he performed extremely rigorous and tortuous practices, but was disillusioned by them, as these means did not cause any ethical and spiritual transformation within him. Hence he revolted against such practices. Ultimately on his own he attained Enlightenment whose essence was Wisdom and compassion. The two together, according to Buddha, cause a revolution in one’s attitude and behaviors, and set him on the path of progress in terms of personal and social morality. A person in the society is determined by the level of ethical and humanitarian consciousness he achieves in his moral practices through personal effort.
Buddha realised and preached the Four Nobel Truth: that life is painful; that suffering is caused by ignorance and desire; the beyond the suffering the life there is a state which cannot be described but which he termed nirvana; and that nirvana can be reached by following the Noble Eightfold Path.