The Sermon at Benares Summary

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The Sermon at Benares

The Sermon at Benares is a Class 10th Chapter of English. It can be found in the book ‘First Flight’. The chapter is important in the course of English in Class 10th. Below are the important details including the summary, author, and important questions that will help you learn this chapter better.

About the Author

Betty Renshaw was born in the Renshaw family on September 3, 1927. She completed her graduation as valedictorian from Shannon High School and further secured the Bachelor of Arts degree from Mississippi College. In addition to this, she completed her Master’s in Arts through one of the reputed universities.

She started her career as a preschool teacher and, in due course of time, shared her experience by teaching other preschool teachers. On December 23, 1950, Betty married Joseph Barber.


The story The Sermons at Benares highlights the early life of Gautam Buddha, who left all his amenities and worldly pleasures behind and went on searching for salvation. After seven years of wandering here and there, he finally attained enlightenment under the peepal tree at Bodhgaya. After this, he delivered his first sermon at Benaras, a city in Uttar Pradesh.

It is one of the holiest cities. Through his sermon, he made the lady Kisa Gotami realize that human beings are mortal and death is inevitable.

He also told her that one should not get upset about what is happening as it only increases the sufferer’s pain and sorrow.

Credit: Students Heaven

The Sermon at Benares Summary

Siddhartha Gautama was born into a royal family, full of worldly pleasures and amenities. At 12 years of age, he was sent to a place far away from home to study and understand the sacred Hindu scriptures. On his return from this place, he got married to a princess named Yashodhara, and both of them continued living prestigious life. One day, Lord Buddha (the prince) was on the hunt when he met four men. Initially, he met the sick man, then an aged man followed by a funeral procession and a monk who was begging for alms. The sight of these people shocked him to such an extent that Siddhartha decided to seek enlightenment. After seven years of effort, he finally got enlightened under a peepal tree named Bodhi Tree. The Bodhi Tree means a tree of wisdom. Eventually, he started teaching and sharing his knowledge which gave him his new name, ‘Buddha.’ The Lord Buddha gave his first sermon at the holistic place, ‘Benaras.’

Kisa Gotami

Kisa Gotami had an only son who died and made her grief-ridden. She picked up her dead son and carried him to her neighbours, hoping to get medicine to cure her child. The people thought this to be an insane act and called her absent-minded (not in one’s sense)as the child she carried was dead. During this time, she came across a man who addressed her request and advised her to visit the Buddha.

Kisa Gotami immediately went on to meet the Buddha and cried, “Lord and Master, give me the medicine that will cure my boy.” On this statement by the lady, Buddha asked her to get some mustard seeds for him on the condition that the mustard seed should be brought from the house where not a single person had lost a child, husband, parent, or even a friend.

The poor lady accepted the condition and started her search for a house that fits right in the state. Seeing her in grief, people used to try to help her out by offering mustard seeds, but she couldn’t find a single house that had not lost their dear ones.

This incident made her so hopeless and lost in her thoughts she went and sat down at the roadside, staring at the city’s flickering lights. To her notice, the flickering lights finally extinguished and spread the darkness everywhere. This made her think about her selfishness in grief and ultimately made her realize that death is common to all and not a single person can escape it. Buddha, in his sayings, compared the ripe fruits with mortals and said that the ripe fruits have the risk of falling in the same way mortals are in fear of death. In Buddha’s words, sorrow increases man’s suffering and leads to physical torture. Thus, he advises people that an intelligent man who understands nature’s functioning should never get upset at the things that are happening as this is the only path towards happiness.

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Very Short Answer Type Questions(1 mark each)

Q. What is the moral of the story,’ The Sermon at Benares’?
A. The moral of the story is that one should understand that human beings are mortal and no one can escape death. People must understand that thinking about bound situations will increase one’s stress and lead to sorrow. So, our primary focus should be on neglecting sorrows and focusing on things that make us happy.

Q. What is the meaning of a sermon?
A. Sermon means a lecture given by a preacher which consists of various life lessons and adds valuable insights to one’s life.

Q. What, according to Kisa Gotami, is the most significant grief of life?
A. According to Kisa Gotami, the most significant grief of life is the death of close ones. She gets upset over her son’s death and feels this to be one of the most significant sufferings of her life, but Lord Buddha explains to her about it, which gradually changes her thinking.

Q. Who is the author of the lesson, ‘The Sermon at Benares’?
A. Betty Renshaw is the author of the lesson, ‘The Sermon at Benares.’

These are all the important details that will help you learn the chapter ‘The Sermon at Barnes’ Class 10 NCERT Solutions. For more content and summaries for Class 10th subjects, stay connected with Leverage Edu!

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