NCERT Solutions

Class 10 english

the sermon at benares
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Thinking about text:

1. When her son dies, Kisa Gotami goes from house to house. What does she ask for? Does she get it? Why not?
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?
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?
4. Why do you think Kisa Gotami understood this only the second time? In what way did the Buddha change her understanding?
5. How do you usually understand the idea of ‘selfishness’? Do you agree with Kisa Gotami that she was being ‘selfish in her grief ’?


1.When her Kita Gotami's son died, she went from house to house, asking if she could get some medicine that would cure her child. No, she did not get it as her child was already dead and no medicine could bring him back to life.
2.The second time Kita Gotami went from house to house looking for a handful of mustard seeds. She was asked by Buddha to get a handful of mustard seeds from a house where no one had lost a child, husband, parent, or friend. She could not get the seeds as there was not a single house where no one had died.
3.Kita Gotami understood that she was being selfish in her grief as death spares no one. It is common to all and there doesn’t exist a person who has not lost a beloved. Yes, this was what the Buddha wanted her to understand.
4.Kita Gotami understood the fact that death is common to all only in the second time as it was then she saw exposed to the grief of people. Until then, she could not see beyond her personal loss. When Kita Gotami went to Buddha to get a cure for her dead child, he asked her to get a handful of mustard seeds from a house where no one has died ever. On being unsuccessful to find such a house, she realized that death is the ultimate reality which can be skipped by no man. Thus, Buddha helped her to understand that death is natural and one can rise above pain by accepting the reality of death.
5.‘Selfishness’ is when a person only thinks about himself, his needs and desires. It is the incapability of seeing beyond someone’s own situations. Kita Gotami was being selfish in her grief as she was not exposed to the sorrows of the outside world. She was heavily saddened by her own loss but the moment she found that death is common to all her loss became lighter. She accepted the fatality of death and overcame her loss.

Thinking about language :

I. 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
  • Mark!


  1. Give you medicine for your child
  2. Please tell me
  3. Kisa went to the Buddha
  4. There was no house where no one had died.
  5. Relatives
  6. Listen

II. 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.


The single sentence using semicolon has a better rhythm. The three simple sentences are meaningfully connected to each other. The second clause throws light on the first clause and the third clause is connected to both first and second. The meaning is best conveyed and understood when the clauses are connected together. Independent sentences don’t convey any meaning.