"I can think, I can wait, I can fast."

Buddha as an Ascetic
Public DomainBuddha as an Ascetic - Credit: Mountain
Living in austere conditions with the Samanas, amongst harsh natural conditions, embracing physical deprivation, Siddhartha learnt how to control basic instincts, to curb wants, and subsequently ignore desire, while learning to contemplate on the meaning of life. The essence of all austerities and a disciplined way of life is to make a person perseverant and patient, and give him the power to live with the most meager of the basic necessities of food, clothes and shelter.

When a person can live in the barest possible surroundings, in the ochre robes of an ascetic, braving the weather and unconcerned with the pangs of hunger, he is able to turn inward, conquer his feelings and contemplate on the Self. When the needs are curbed, the wants are subdued, and desire does not arise. Pure thought and puritan living are the consequences of such a disciplined life. Yogic practitioners also aim at reaching this state of pure thought by curbing the needs of the body, the wants of the mind, and desires of the heart.