ASANGA gave up. Twelve long years of meditation and spiritual practices, and still no vision of the future Buddha Maitreya.
He yearned to connect with Maitreya to receive teaching directly, which would accelerate his progress on the Bodhisattva path.
“Every new Bodhisattva or initiated great Adept is called the ‘liberator of mankind,’ Helena Blavatsky explains in footnote (20) in The Voice of the Silence:
“Now bend thy head and listen well, O Bodhisattva,” she wrote, “Compassion speaks and saith: ‘Can there be bliss when all that lives must suffer? Shalt thou be saved and hear the whole world cry?’”
After the first three years of spiritual practices to no avail, Asanga left his solitary cave, disheartened. But then he saw a little bird pecking a hole in a rock to build a nest in it, and he felt ashamed at his lack of persistence. He went back up to his cave.
After the next three years, Asanga gave up again. As he descended the mountain, he met a man who was grinding down a thick rod of iron with a cloth to make needles. When the man showed him some needles he’d already made this way, Asanga hung his head and went back up the mountain.