Chapter 10: The Sermon at Benares
Sermon is a religious talk given by a prophet or Saint. It is showing the jou rn ey of Gautam Buddha from his prince hood to the pious life. He left his palace at the age of 25, when he saw the sufferings of the world, to seek illumina tion and enlighten. He wandered for seven years, here and there, and was under a Peepal tree at Bodhgaya where he got his enlighten. His first sermon was delivered at Benaras as it was the holiest pla ce because of the river Ganga.
He thinks that he who wants to get peace should draw out of the expression of grief, complaint and misery. He who has drawn out has become calm, and will gain peace of mind; and will be free from sorrow and be blessed.
In the story, Kisa Gautami was grieving over the death of her son and then she reached Gautam Buddha and requested him to make his son alive. Gautam Buddha agreed to it but he asked her to bring a handful of mustard seeds but from a house where no one had lost a child, husband, parent or friend
She went from door to door but was not able to find such a home. She was shattered and lost hope.This made her realize that lives are full of trouble and grief and no one can avoid death. She realized that death is inevitable.
Chapter 10: Poem – For Anne Gregory
It is both a sweet and a scathing poem. It is sweet for it makes us privy to the kind of lovely conversation the poet could have with the young girl Anne Gregory. This is proof of his intimate relations with the family of Lady Gregory. The compliment that the poet pays Anne at the end of the poem is another reason for calling it a sweet poem.
Young women often suffer from insecurities about the way they look, but as the poet assures Anne, if you are a beautiful person on the inside, then you can never look ugly. However, this poem has a somewhat hidden meaning. Rather, it would be better to say, it reveals certain stereotypes that are not generally noticed. The fact that yellow or blond hair is appealing cannot be denied.
However, Anne associates other hair colours or darker hair colours with ugliness. In young adult fiction, red haired women are often considered ugly. Moreover, in all fairy tales, witches are shown to have dark black or brown hair. These notions are put into our heads since childhood or adolescence, and hence, it is difficult not to be influenced by them.
That is perhaps why girls with dark hair or red hair always feel that they are ugly in comparison with those having blond hair. Such notions are of course reinforced by men. Men prefer women who are conventionally beautiful rather than those whose beauty is of a different kind. They generally look only at the physical appearance of women and not at what kind of person they are on the inside. They judge women by their looks, and so a girl who isn’t pretty but who perhaps has a great personality or some unique talent is not appreciated by her male peers in the same age group.