The Sermon of Benares Question and Answer |
NCERT | Class 10 | English | First Flight
Question 1 When her son dies, Kisa Gotami goes from house to house. What does she ask for? Does she get it? Why not?
Answer Kisa Gotami had only one son and he died. In grief she carried the dead body of her son in her arms and went from door to door asking for medicine to cure her child, but nobody could provide any medicine. For there is no such medicine available which can bring a dead person back to life.
Question 2 Kisa Gotami again goes from house to house after she speaks with the Buddha. What does she ask for, the second time around? Does she get it? Why not?
Answer When she met the Buddha , he asks her to bring a handful of mustard seeds from a house where death had never knocked at the door. She immediately agreed to his demand. Kisa Gotami went from door to door, but couldn’t find a single house where death had not taken a beloved away. She could not get it as death is inevitable and anyone who is born is bound to die one day.
Question 3 What does Kisa Gotami understand the second time that she failed to understand the first time? Was this what the Buddha wanted her to understand?
Answer After listening to everybody’s grief she realised and understood that death is common to all and she was being selfish in grief. There was no house where death had never knocked at the door. Yes, this is what Buddha wanted her to understand, that everyone who is born has to die one day.
Question 4 Why do you think Kisa Gotami understood this only the second time? In what way did the Buddha change her understanding?
Answer She realised that death was common to all and she was being selfish in her grief. She understood this only the second time because it was then she found that there was not a single house where some beloved had not died.
When she met Buddha , he asked her to get a handful of mustard seeds from a house where no one has died. He did this purposely to make her realise that everyone, at some point or the other, have experienced the death of their loved ones and death is a natural process. When she went to all the houses the second time , she realised that she could not gather the mustard seeds because there was no house where a beloved had not died. This way she got aware that death is common to all human beings.
Question 5 How do you usually understand the idea of ‘selfishness’? Do you agree with Kisa Gotami that she was being ‘selfish in her grief ’?
Answer A selfish person is one who only thinks about himself or herself, and to some extent Kisa Gotami was being selfish because we are humans and it is natural for us to die. We do not easily accept the death of our loved ones. Same has happened with Kisa Gotami. As it was her only child, she did not want him to die finally went to Buddha to ask for help.
Thinking about language
Question This text is written in an old-fashioned style, for it reports an incident more than two millennia old. Look for the following words and phrases in the text, and try to rephrase them in more current language, based on how you understand them.
• give thee medicine for thy child
• Pray tell me
• Kisa repaired to the Buddha
• there was no house but someone had died in it
• kinsmen •
(1) Give you medicine for your child
(2) please tell me
(3) Kisa went to the Buddha
(4) There was no single house that had not lost a person.
(5) Kith and Kin
(6) Notice /note /Listen
Question You know that we can combine sentences using words like and, or, but, yet and then. But sometimes no such word seems appropriate. In such a case we can use a semicolon (;) or a dash (—) to combine two clauses.
She has no interest in music; I doubt she will become a singer like her mother. The second clause here gives the speaker’s opinion on the first clause.
Here is a sentence from the text that uses semicolons to combine clauses. Break up the sentence into three simple sentences. Can you then say which has a better rhythm when you read it, the single sentence using semicolons, or the three simple sentences?
For there is not any means by which those who have been born can avoid dying; after reaching old age there is death; of such a nature are living beings.
Answer These sentences can be written as under :
(1) For there is not any means by which those who have been born can avoid dying.
(2) After reaching an old age there is a death.
(3) All living beings are endowed with such a nature.