Gautam Buddha renounced his kingdom and family in search of Truth. He tried to find enlightenment through near total deprivation of worldly goods, including food, practicing self-mortification. After nearly starving himself to death by restricting his food intake to around a leaf or nut per day, he collapsed in a river while bathing and almost drowned. He again decided to make another attempt for His Search. Then, sitting under a pipal tree, now known as the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, he vowed never to arise until he had found the Truth. After 45 days of intense meditation, at the age of 35, He remained totally blank. God or Truth was nowhere to be experienced.
In a distressed state of mind his frail frame moved down the narrow pathway that led to the river. He rinsed his face with water and said to him—“The all-powerful Lord that I was looking for has made me so weak that I can hardly walk. The path of self-abnegation has left no strength in my limbs. How can I capture the ‘Most Powerful One’ when I myself am drained of all energy?. The world I have rejected and Truth is nowhere to be found. My desire and efforts gone in vain; my youth wasted. Nothingness is my achievement.”
He wept and cried; admitted to his inner self that he has no idea of the Truth and as to how it could be found. And Lo! at that very moment he got a flash and the enlightenment dawned in Him. His inner awareness ‘spoke’ to him in ‘silence’ that he has remained a mere seeker of fulfilment of his desire rather than a knower of Truth or the Lord and that the prime cause of his suffering was the expectation of materialization of his desires. Truth lies in surrendering the “root of desire”. When Buddha realized that ‘desire and reward’ were the main stumbling blocks in his search for the Truth, He became the Janana---the Gyani—the enlightened one. This is in short the entire focus of Budhhism—the teachings of Nirvana-- as a precursor for knowing the Reality.