The most magnificent story of the triumph of will-power is that of a man who did not ask from God a thing, who did not even acknowledge God. He is Buddha. And this proves the potency of the human will per se. It is inspiring to know this.
You all know the story of his life. After renouncing the world, his home, throne, wife,
a newly born son and all, Siddhartha became a monk. Then he went in search of a teacher. He studied under several teachers, learnt from them whatever they had to teach, but was not satisfied with anyone's teaching. All the teachers loved and respected him. But Siddhartha, not yet Buddha, stayed dissatisfied. He now realized that all these classical teachers had not the answer for his search which was to find a way out for the cessation of duhkha or miseries inherent in human life. So he decided to blaze his own path. Alone, homeless, this leonine seeker of truth came to Rajagriha and began to stay in Ratnagiri. There he became acquainted with king Bimbisara (who, after Siddhartha's enlightenment, became his disciple). It was at Bimbisara's court that Siddhartha offered his life in exchange of that of a lamb which was going to be sacrificed. From Ratnagiri for the convenience of quiet practice of spiritual disciplines he came to Uruvela which is now known as the famous Buddha-Gaya. At Uruvela, for six long years Siddhartha
practiced frightful austerities and reduced his golden body into skin and bone, his
resolution being… either I realize the truth or the body falls.
One day when, after bathing in the river Niranjana, he was returning to his cottage, he fell down out of sheer exhaustion! He was taken for dead. But he regained consciousness. Then Siddhartha realized this was not the path to enlightenment, this extreme austerity. One village maiden who had come to worship gave him rice-milk and he accepted the gift. When he had partaken of the rice-milk all his limbs were refreshed, his mind became clear again and he was strong to receive the highest enlightenment. As he reduced his austerities, firmer became his resolution for realization. Then on one full-moon night of the month of Vaisakha, he took his seat under the now famous Bo-tree with this resolution…Let my body dry out on this seat. Let my skin, bone and flesh wither away, but before attaining illumination which is rarely ever found even in many ages, I am not
going to move from this seat.