Retelling the Story of Yasodhara
In the nightly cold of the full moon day,
perhaps she felt an abrupt rush of the bizarre wind
in her usual entanglements – the cozy and pacifying dreams
as He looked at her on the sly
for a one last moment
to bid silent farewells
He saw the huggable baby in its gentle cradle
feathered with downy pillows
The candles lit beside the bedstead melted away
with the milky tears trickling down hastily
Then He crossed the border of Anoma Nadee
and left behind on the other side
the beloveds in the elegant edifices
to embrace the Renunciation
in search of the perpetual Truth
She threw the glinting jewellery away
and also the silky garments of splendid embellishments
Swathed in a yellow robe,
she confined herself to the barren cell upstairs
No longer did she taste the luscious royal dishes
She even dared rebuff the love suit of many eminent lords
Sans answers, she is saturated in acute melancholia
“Are you sleeping on a flower-laden divan in the Himalayas?
Does it ache your sweet feet when you stroll barefoot?
Are the divine gods sentineling you with no deficiency?
As majestic as a regal tusker, my dearest, where have you disappeared?”
Immersed in reminiscence,
she would do nothing, but utter incessant prayers
“May all the wild berries and drupes be delicious!
May the disciples abound as a swarm of bees for a flower!
May the scorching rays of the blinding sun shine diminish!
May celestial palaces emerge from league to league!”
Note: The ideas for the stanzas in the italic form have been derived respectively from the verses 98 and 100 of the Sri Lankan Sinhala folk poem, Yasodharavata (The Story of Yasodhara) the author of which is unknown.
Yasodhara – The princess Yasodhara was the wife of prince Siddhartha who later attained the Great Emancipation (Nirvana) and became known as Lord Buddha in the name of Gautama
Esala – The full moon day of the month of July. It was on such a day that the prince Siddhartha relinquished the worldly life in order to practice as an ascetic with the great expectation of attaining Nirvana.
Anoma Nadee – A river in the vicinity of Kapilavastu of the Southern Nepal
Himalayas – The Northern face of the Mount Everest and it has a profound influence on the Buddhist culture.
Wake Up and Shout Out!
(In protest at the incident of a five-year-old girl being assassinated after sexual harassment on September 12th, 2015 in the Kotadeniyawa area of Sri Lanka)
She was just five
Now reclining mutely inside
the wooden box
lost in a deep siesta
All day long she would
sprint here and there
in the compound
stalking with her hands clasped together
to catch the butterflies
that were buzzing around
the flowery bushes
Or she would cook some sand rice
using a coconut shelf as a mould
and urge her mother to eat them
While jumping from square to square
sketched in the courtyard
she would incessantly blabber
some lines of songs
that she heard playing on the radio
Such a chatterbox
sleeping long in the daytime
without muttering a word
No, no way,
She must be masquerading as asleep
just to act fool with her mother
How could her tiny childish thighs bear it?
Perhaps she screamed
while cold tears poured down
her fresh rosy cheeks
And then, there was this noose
made out of a strip of cloth
that tightened around her slender neck
Oh, little girl,
you can’t vanish into the soil like that
Wake up from sleep,
march along the streets
and shout out
for the sake of your sisters!
Indunil Madhusankha (B. H. I. Madhusankha) is currently an undergraduate in the Faculty of Science of the University of Colombo. Even though he is academically involved with the subjects of Mathematics and Statistics, he also pursues a successful career in the field of English language and literature as a budding young researcher, reviewer, poet and content writer. Basically, he explores the miscellaneous complications of the human existence through his poetry by focusing on the burning issues in the contemporary society. Besides that, Indunil’s works have been featured in several international anthologies, magazines and journals.