Gautama set out on his quest for the cause of sufferings (Klesha). He undertook severe austerities by fasting continuously. In this he was accompanied by five disciples. But his frail and pampered body could not stand up to this self-inflicted punishment and one day he fainted. Realizing that this was not the way to arrive at the truth, he gave up the austerities. Horrified at their Master's apostasy the five disciples left him. But undaunted, Gautama continued his quest for the cause of sufferings. He seated himself under a fig tree (Mahabodhi tree) and decided not get up unless he found answers to his questions. His enlightenment is said to have come suddenly and was exceedingly simple - viz., that all pain is caused - by desire, and therefore peace comes when one ceases to crave for anything. This thought was new at that age and it struck him with blinding force, and not only influenced his future life but left a lasting imprint on Buddhist philosophy. Freedom from all desires was said to release a person from the cycle of re-birth and lead to his salvation (Nirvana).