Class 10 English Chapter 23 The Sermon at Benares

Class 10 English Chapter 23 The Sermon at Benares The answer to each chapter is provided in the list so that you can easily browse throughout different chapters NCERT Class 10 English Chapter 23 The Sermon at Benares and select need one.

Class 10 English Chapter 23 The Sermon at Benares

Also, you can read the SCERT book online in these sections Solutions by Expert Teachers as per SCERT (CBSE) Book guidelines. These solutions are part of SCERT All Subject Solutions. Here we have given Assam Board Class 10 English Chapter 23 The Sermon at Benares Solutions for All Subjects, You can practice these here…

The Sermon at Benares

Chapter – 23



Before you read :

1. What is a Sermon? Is it different from a lecture or a talk? Can this word be used in a negative way or as a joke (as in ‘my mother’s Sermon about getting my work done on time…’?

Ans: A Sermon is a spoken or written address on a religious or moral subject, especially one given from a pulpit in a church. It is different from a lecture or a talk.

This word can be used ironically in a negative seuss or as a joke.

2. Ans: Afflicted with: affected by suffering, disease or pain.

Be composed : be made up of, get under control, calm.

Desolation :in a ruined condition.

Lamentation :expression of sorrow.

Procure : to collect.

Be subject to :be under effect.

3. Have you heard of the Sermon on the Mount? Who delivered it? Who do you think delivered a Sermon at Benares?

Ans: Yes, the Sermon on the mount was delivered by Lord christ.

Goutam buddha delivered the Sermon at Benares.

Thinking about the text

1. When her son dies, kisa gotami goes from house to house. What does she ask for? Does she get it? Why not?

Ans: kisa gotami asks the people for medicine to cure her son. She doesn’t get it because there is no medicine to cure death.

2. Kisa gotami again goes form house to house after she speaks with the Buddha. What does she ask for, the second time around? Does she get it? Why not?

Ans: kisa gotami asks for a handful mustard-seed. She visits from house to house the second time. She does not get it because there was no house that faced no death.

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?

Ans: kisa gotami understand the second time that death is common to all living beings. This she  failed to understand the first time. Man’s life is like the lights of the city  that flicker up and extinguish again. Destiny decides everyone’s life. Yes, this was what the Buddha wanted her to understand.

4. Why do you think kisa gotami understand this only the second time? In what way did the buddha change her understanding?

Ans: kisa gotami understood this only the second time when she learnt that there was no house where death did not occur. People asked her not to remind them the death of their beloved ones.

Buddha made her understand that death is common to all.

5. How do you usually understand the idea of ‘selfishness’? Do you agree with kisa gotami that she was being ‘selfish in her grief?

Ans:’ selfishness ‘ means looking for one’ s own interest. Yes, kisa gotami was selfish in her grief because her only concern was her son. She didn’t see that other people too died. 

Thinking about Language

1. 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 ou understand them. 

1. Give thee medicine for thy child. 

2. Pray tell me. 

3. Kisa repaired to the Buddha

4. There was no house but someone had died in it. 

5. Kinsmen. 

6. Mark

Ans: 1. give you medicine for your child. 

2. Please tell me. 

3. Kisa went to the Buddha

4. there was no house in which nobody died. 

5. relatives. 

6. Look! 

2. You know that we can combine sentences using words like and, or, but, yet and then. But sometimes no such words seems appropriate. In such a case we can use a semicolon (;) or a dash (-)to combine two clauses. 

She has no interest in music;  I doubt she will become a singer like her mother. 

The second clause here gives the speaker’s opinion on the first clause.

Here is a sentence from the text that uses semicolon 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. 

Ans: 1. No living-being can avoid death. 

2. Death follows old-age. 

3. Living-beings are of such a nature. 


The Buddha’s sermon is over 2500years old. Given below are two recent texts on the topic of grief. Read the texts, comparing them with each other and with the Buddha’s sermon. Do you think the Buddha’s ideas and way of teaching continue to hold meaning for us? Or have we found better ways to deal with grief? Discuss this is groups or in class. 

1. A Guide to Coping With the Death of a Loved One

Martha is having difficulty sleeping lately and no longer enjoys doing things with her friends. Martha lost her husband of 26 years to cancer a month ago. 

Anya, age 17, doesn’t feel like eating and spends the days in her room crying. Her grandmother recently died. 

Both of these individuals are experiencing grief. Grief is an emotion natural to all types of loss or significant change

Feelings of Grief

Although grief is unique and personal, a broad range of feelings and behaviours are commonly experienced after the death of a loved one. 

1. Sadness. This is the most common, and it is not necessarily manifested by crying. 

2. Anger. This is one of the most confusing feelings for a survivor. There may be frustration at not being able to prevent the death, and a sense of not being able to exist without the loved one. 

3. Guilt and Self-reproach. People may believe that they were not kind enough or caring enough to the person who died, or that the person should have seen the doctor sooner. 

4. Anxiety. An individual may fear that she/he won’t be able to care for herself/himself.

5. Loneliness. There are reminders throughout the day that a partner, family members or friends is gone. For example , meals are no longer prepared the same way. Phone calls to share a special moment don’t happen. 

6. Fatigue. There is an overall sense of feeling tired. 

7. Disbelief. This occurs particularly if it was a sudden death. 

Helping Others who Are Experiencing Grief

When a friend, loved one, or co-worker  is experiencing grief- how can we help?  It helps to understand that grief is expressed through a variety of behaviours. 

Reach out to others in their grief.  but understand that some may not want to accept help and will not share their grief. Others will want to talk about their thoughts and feelings or reminisce. 

Be patient and let the grieving person know that you care and are there to support him or her. 

2. Good Grief


Soon after my wife died- her car slid off an icy road in 1985 – a school psychologist warned me that my children and I were not mourning in the right way. We felt angry; the proper first stage, he said, is denial. 

In late August this year, my 38 years old son, Michael, died suddenly in his sleep, leaving behind a 2 year old son and wife expecting their next child. 

There is no set from for grief, and no right way to express it. There seems to be an expectation that, after a great loss, we will progress systematically through the well know stages of grief. It’s wrong, we are told, to jump to anger- or to wallow too long in this stage before moving towards acceptance. 

But I was, and am, angry. To make parents bury their children is wrong; to have both my wife and son taken from me, for forever and a day, is cruel beyond words. 

A relative form Jerusalem, who is a psychiatrist, brought some solace by citing the maxim: we are not to ask why, but what’. The what is that which survivors in grief are bound to do for one another. Following that advice, my family close friends and I keep busy, calling each other and giving long answer to simple question like, How did your day go today? We try to avoid thinking about either the immediate past or the bereft future, we take turns playing with young window, and will be among those holding her hand when the baby is born. 

Focusing on what we do for one another is the only consolation we can find. 

Ans: The texts are related to death. In first Martha grieves over the death of her husband and in the second Anya grieves over the death of her grandmother Both of them reacted differently. Grief is a neutral emotion. In the sermon at benares kisa gotami grieved over her son. Grief is common to all. They need person like the Buddha to understand the reality. Buddha’s ideas and way of teaching still continue to hold meaning for us. 

In Good Grief we have seen that consolation lies in socialisati on. People should get together, talk and share their love and affection. 


Write a page (about three paragraphs) on one of the following topics, and add your own ideas and experiences to them. 

1. Teaching someone to understand a new or difficult idea. 

2. Helping each other to get over difficult times.

3. Thinking about oneself as inquire, or as one among billions of others. 

Ans: Teaching Someone to Understand a New or Difficult Idea

New or difficult ideas are usually beyond our understanding. So it is difficult to teach someone such ideas. It will be easy, in such case, to lead someone through such situations as are life’s real situation. And it will be easy to understand that idea relating to that situation. Any one who gets direct experience is automatically taught the idea that was difficult for him to perceive. 

Helping Each Other to get over difficult Times

The best may to get over difficult times is to help each other. Man is a social animals and cannot live alone. He is not independent but he is interdependent. So for one’s survival others are needed. Sorrow is lessened when expressed and joy increases. So to stand by others and helping we can have fellow-feelings and easily get over difficult times. 

Thinking about oneself as unique, or as one among billions of others

Ans: In fact every one is unique in this world. No two individuals are same. In characteristics qualities and all other aspect every individual is unique. But all are individuals and part of the total mankind. Death is common to all so is grief. Everyone feels this emotion in his own way. Still as a member of the society we all should follow the social system understanding the law of nature. The mortal law brings death to all living beings-earlier or later. 

1.A Letter to God
Dust of Snow
Fire and Ice
2.Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
A Tiger in the Zoo
3.Two Stories About Flying
I.His First Flight
II.The Black Aeroplane
How to Tell Wild Animals
The Ball Poem
4.From the Diary of Anne Frank
5.The Hundred Dresses – I
6.The Hundred Dresses – II
7.Glimpses of India
I.A Baker from Goa
III.Tea from Assam
The Trees
8.Mijbil the Otter
9.Madam Rides the Bus
The Tale of Custard the Dragon
10.The Sermon at Benares
For Anne Gregory
11.The Proposal

Comprehension questions and answers

Q:-  Read the passages car and answers the questions choosing the most appropriate options given below :-

1. Gautam Buddha (563 b. C. – 483 b. C) began life as a prince named siddhartha gautama, in northern India. At twelve, he was sent away for schooling in the Hindu sacred scriptures and four years later he returned home to marry a princess. They had a son and lived  for ten years as befitted royalty. At about the age of twenty-five the Prince, here to fore shielded from the sufferings of the world, while out hunting, chanced upon a sick man then an aged man, then a funeral procession, and finally a monk begging for alms. These sights so moved him that he at once went out into the world to seek enlightenment concerning the sorrows he had witnessed. He wandered for seven years and finally sat down under a peepal tree, where he vowed to stay until enlightenment came. 

Enlightened after seven days, he  returned the tree the bodhi tree (tree of wisdom) and began to teach and to share his new understandings. At that point he became as the Buddha (the awakened or the enlightened). The Buddha preached his first Sermon at the city of Benares, most holy of the dipping places on the river ganged, that Sermon has been prepared and is given here. It reflects the Buddha’s wisdom about one inscrutable kind of suffering. 

Questions :-

1. Gautam Buddha began his life as a – 

a) Prince.

b) Scholar.

c) Cultivator.

d) Businessman. 

Ans: a) Prince.

2. What did he study? 

a) Arts.

b) Science.

c) Commerce.

d) Hindu scriptures. 

Ans: d) Hindu scriptures. 

3. He went out into the world to seek-

a) Money.

b) Wisdom.

c) Enlightenment.

d) Religion.

Ans: c) Enlightenment.

4. Gautam Buddha delivered his first sermon in-

a) Sarnath.

b) Kashi.

c) Bodh gaya.

d) Benares. 

Ans: d) Benares.  

2. Kisa gotami became weary and hopeless, and sat down at the wayside watching the lights of the city, as they flickered up and were extinguished again. At last the darkness of the night reigned everywhere. And she considered the fate of men, that their lives flicker up and are extinguished again. And she thought to herself, “How selfish am I in my grief! Death is common to all, yet in this valley of destruction there is a path that leads him to immortality who has surrendered all selfishness”. 

Questions :-

1. Where did Kisa gotami sit? 

a) Under a tree.

b) Near gautam Buddha.

c) At the wayside.

d) On her bed. 

Ans: c) At the wayside.

2. What did she watch? 

a) The traffic.

b) The pedestrians.

c) The building.

d) The lights of the city. 

Ans: d) The lights of the city. 

3. Seeing the lights she considered – 

a) The life of man. 

b) The fate of man. 

c) Mortal nature of man.

d) Happiness and sorrow. 

Ans: b) The fate of man. 

4. She felt she was selfish in her – 

a) Joy.

b) Work.

c) Grief.

d) Pain.

Ans: c) Grief.

Short answers type questions

1. Who was gautam buddha? How did he begin his life? 

Ans: Goutam buddha was a prince . he was born in 563 b. C. His name was siddhartha gautama. He began his life as a prince. At the age of twelve he was sent to school to study the Hindu scriptures. After schooling he married a princess. They had a son. 

2. Why did he seek enlightenment? 

Ans: Goutam buddha went out for hunting at the age of twenty-five. Till this he was shielded from the sufferings of the world. But at this time he saw a sickman, an aged man, a funeral procession and finally a monk begging for alms. These sights so moved him that he went out to seek enlightenment concerning the sorrows. 

3. What did gautam buddha do leaving his house? 

Ans:  After leaving his house goutam Buddha wandered for seven years. Finally he sat down under a peepal tree. He vowed to stay there until he got enlightenment. He was enlightened after seven days. He began to teach his new understanding thereafter. 

4. Why did Kisa gotami come to Buddha? 

Ans: Kisa gotami had a son. Her only son died. She wanted to get her son’s life back. Someone told her to meet goutam Buddha. So, she came to goutam buddha. 

5. Who can get peace of mind? 

Ans:-  According to Buddha he who can draw out the arrow of lamentation, complaint and grief and become composed will get peace of mind. 

Long answer type questions

1. Why did kisa gotami come to goutam buddha? What did he advise her? What did she learn? 

Ans: Kisa gotami’s only son died. She begged her neighbours to give her son medicine that might revive him. She was in  deep grief. A man told her that he knew a physician who could give medicine. He was goutam, the Buddha. Kisa went to Buddha and begged him to give back her son’s life. The Buddha told her y to bring a handful of mustard-seed from a house where death never occurred. Kisa tried her best and became tired. She sat watching the lights of the city that flickered up and were extinguished again. There was darkness all over. She considered the fate of men, their lives flickered up and were extinguished again. 

2. What did goutam, the buddha say in his first Sermon? 

Ans:-In his first Sermon goutam, the Buddha said that the life of mortals in this world is troubled and brief and combined with pain. There is on way to avoid this both young and old, fools or wise fall  into death. They are led to slaughter like an ox. 

Peace cannot be obtained by grieving. But it can be had if one can overcome grief. He who can overcome all sorrow will become free from sorrow and be blessed.

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