NCERT Class 10 English Solutions: Chapter 10 – The Sermon at Benares
Thinking About the Text
Q. When her son dies, Kisa Gotami goes from house to house. What does she ask for? Does she get it? Why not?
A. Kisa Gotami’s went from house to house asking for medicine that would cure her child. However, no known medicine could have brought her dead son back to life.
Q. 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?
A. Buddha asks Kisa Gotami to get a handful of mustard seeds from a house with no death. That is where a house where one had ever lost a child, a husband, a parent, or a friend. Again, she was unsuccessful in her endeavours, as all the houses had suffered a death one time or other.
Q. 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?
A. Kisa Gotami understand the second time that death is common to all and that she was being selfish in her grief. There was no house where some beloved had not died. Yes, this was what the Buddha wanted her to understand.
Q. Why do you think Kisa Gotami understood this only the second time? In what way did the Buddha change her understanding?
A. Buddha brought to light the naked truth- death is the only reality. It is a fact just like sun rises everyday. Kisa Gotami understood that she was selfish in her grief. She was able to find sympathy that she was not the being targeted by death, everyone had their fair share of sorrows- all the houses in her village had suffered from bereavement.
Thinking About Language
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
A. Give you medicine for your child
Pray tell me
A. Please tell me
Kisa repaired to the Buddha
A. Kisa went to the Buddha
There was no house but someone had died it
A. There was no house where no one had died
You know that we can combine sentences using words like “and”, “or”, “but”, “yet” and “then”. However, sometimes no such word seems appropriate. In such a case was 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 sentence. 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.
A. The single sentence with semicolons separating independent clauses provides better flow of thought. Because semicolon produces smaller pause, parts of the sentence remain connected to each other expressing related thoughts.