Gautama went to every known master of the time. He was intellectually so brilliant and his longing so great – if he went to a place, what normally somebody would pick it up in years, he would do it in weeks. The eight types of Samadhis, he achieved all eight of them, but still he knew this is not fullness of life. Still longing. When nothing else worked, he took to an extreme path which is called a Samanas. One of the most basic aspects of their life is, they never ask for food. Just keep walking – walking, walking, walking. Gautama took the path so severely, that he didn’t walk in the direction as to where food is, he simply walked straight. In the process he destroyed his body so badly, his body became so weak. He became all skin and bones because he did not go in search of food. Unless it came to him, he never ate.
Then suddenly he [Buddha] realised, the problem was that – he was trying to realise
One day he came to the banks of Niranjana. This is a small stream just about two feet, flowing little swiftly. He came, he tried to cross. Halfway down he could not take another step. He did not have the strength in his body. There was a dead branch of a tree, he held onto it. We do not know how long he stood there. In his weakness, in his inability to stand there, holding on to this must have felt like a long time. It might have been just a few minutes, it may be a few hours, we don’t know. But in his experience, it was a long time. He just hung there. He has no strength to take the next step, but he’s not the kind to give up.
Then suddenly he realised, the problem was that – he was trying to realise. Not allowing that to take him. He’s trying to take that. He’s trying to realise something which is limitless, which is boundless. Then he became absent. Suddenly he had the strength to take those few steps across the river. Went and sat down under the Bodhi tree. He sat down and decided, I will sit here. Either I must become a part of it, or I will die here. I will not get up from this place. He just sat down. The full moon was rising and he attained to his fullest. And he sat there in a certain state of ecstasy and blissfulness.