4. On the quest
On the day Gautama decided to leave, he took a last look at his sleeping wife and the newborn baby. He did not want to wake them up. Silently he left the palace.
Gautama removed his princely clothes and possessions and put on a monks robe. He took a bowl and started walking barefoot, begging from village to village.
One day Gautama heard about a yoga teacher and decided to join him, with the hope of finding the answers to his questions.
He soon became very good at yoga and meditation. He was the best student and eventually became equal to his teacher. When the teacher could not teach him something new anymore, he offered Gautama to join him as a teacher.
But Gautama was not interested in that. Since he could not find the answers to his questions, he decided to leave instead.
Gautama subsequently joined another teacher. But it was the same story again. Disillusioned, he left and kept wandering.
Then he encountered a sect of extreme ascetics called Sramanas. The Sramana movement was flourishing in that part of India at the time of Gautama.
The Sramanas believed that the body was a hindrance toward inner knowledge and wisdom. They believed that if they could torture the body to make it less sensitive, they would transcend its power.
Gautama started following the path of the Sramanas with five others companions.