Siddhartha and Yasodhara were a happy couple. Being close relations and childhood friends they led a very pleasant married life, enjoying all the comforts they could wish for. Suddhodana had built for Siddhartha three beautiful mansions to suit the three different seasons. Sometimes Siddhartha spent the whole rainy season in the upper floor of his manson without coming down even once. During such times he was entertained throughout by dancers, singers and musicians.

Young Siddartha was very kind and wise. These two qualities made him very sensitive. While enjoying comforts himself he treated his servants and employees well. As he was eise, he did not get over attached to enjoyments and get blinded by them. He was alert and watchful about what was happening around him. He noticed that happiness is temporary and that happiness is followed by unhappiness. This fact became more clear to him when he began to see life outside the mansions.

The comforts, happiness and peace that were there in his mansions were not found outside. He saw how poor people suffered without enough food, clothing or even houses to live. He saw how people quarreled with each other, abused and fought with each other over very minor matters. On his trips outside the mansions he saw old and sick people lying helpless, abandoned on the wayside. Though death was not a common occurrence in his mansions it was very common outside. There were constant wars at the time, and Siddhartha clearly saw the miseries of war-severe injury, death and loss of dear ones. He was shaken and moved with compassion.

He gradually got disgusted with the enjoyment of pleasures. His wisdom urged him to find a way to put an end to this misery and unhappiness.

He found life in the mansion too busy. There was no peace and calm to contemplate. He saw others who had left household life to devote time to contemplate peacefully. Household life and become an ascetic and engage in search for the Truth.

Thirteen years passed. Yasodhara was about to give birth to a child. Though she knew Siddhartha’s wish she did not protest, for she felt that he was very wise and will never do anything wrong. When the parents came to know Siddhartha’s wish they felt sad. They remembered what the astrologers said. With tear-filled eyes they tried to prevent Siddhartha form leaving the mansion and becoming an ascetic, but they failed.

One day when Siddhartha returned to the mansion late in the evening he was informed about the birth of his son. Siddhartha at once felt a great attachment to his son; but soon he realized that his son will be another bond that will prevent him from leaving the mansion. So he decided to leave the mansion immediately. He called channa, his charioteer, and asked him to prepare his pet horse Kanthaka.

He was about to leave. All past memories crowded into his mind. He remembered how kind his father had been; how dearly his foster mother, Gotami had been caring for him; how friendly his foster brother Nanda was. He remembered the day he chose Yasodhara as his bride. He felt a great urge to see Yasodhara and his new born son. Quietly he peeped into their room. Yasodhara was sleeping with the baby by her side. Siddartha was choked with emotion. He felt as if something was blocking his throat. He could not bear any more, and soon he turned his eyes aside.

Seated on the sofa he pondered for long. It was almost mid-night. All were fast asleep. With determination and courage he mounted the horse and accompanied by channa, left the mansion. He traveled a fair distance and crossed the river Nerajara. There, on the bank of the river he changed his princely dress and wore the simple dress of an ascetic, cut his hair short with his own sword and bade farewell to Channa and Kanthaka.