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Showcasing Yashodhara in new light

Showcasing Yashodhara in new light
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Woman and man are the only two living dynamic forces of human life. Behind every successful man, there is a woman standing with all her strength and...

Woman and man are the only two living dynamic forces of human life. Behind every successful man, there is a woman standing with all her strength and tenacity. ‘Yashobuddha’, a Telugu novel penned by the eminent writer Volga, once again tells us this universal truth. A short novelette from the pen of Volga shows us the elegance and eminence of Yashodhara, Siddhartha’s wife in making him attain enlightenment. Unlike many other stories, we read about Yashodhara, here in this short novel Volga give us a different picture of the lady.

Yashodhara, a character not much written about, had attracted the attention of the writer and she tried to pen portrait Yashodhara in all her dignity and grace. Volga’s Yashodhara is not a meek princess, a wife, and a lonely mother of Rahul when Siddhartha left home.

In this book (of 119 pages) Yashodhara’s character has been given myriad shades of a soulful woman. Yashodhara sees Siddhartha in his penance and falls in love with him and marries him. She too has the same feelings as he does towards the religious rituals. She convinces her parents and gets married to Siddhartha. She has a taken up her life’s mission to support him attain enlightenment. From the beginning, they both enter into many discussions on life, spirituality and religion.

She supports the argument of Siddhartha against killing animals in offering in yagnas. His kindness towards animals and his concern for the human beings impress her. His attitude against the wars among people too wins her heart. She takes up her life as his spouse, not in the physical level but also in the spiritual level. Her behaviour brings agony and worries to Gauthami, stepmother of Siddhartha. She worries that if both man and wife are into this spirituality then the kingdom would be left with no heir. But her desire is fulfilled when Yashodhara gives birth to a male child who is named Rahul.

It is Yashodhara who persuades Siddhartha on his spiritual pursuit. She tells him to leave when the time comes and need not worry about them. That she would take care of his parents and child. After Siddhartha attains enlightenment and turns Buddha she feels accomplished. And later she turns a Buddha Bhikku and serves people. She keeps, knowing the whereabouts of Buddha. And when she learns that he has accepted women too in the monkhood she feels happy for Gauthami matha.

Service to the mankind to the sick and the needy, give Yashodhara satisfaction. She tries to nurse and help the sick and poor people. Yashodhara finally leaves her body and Kusaala the one and only companion all through her Bhikhu life announces her death to the others. Volga tries to show us the character of Yashodhara in a graceful manner and how she is behind Siddhartha in his pursuit.

Volga’s Yashodhara is not that helpless wife left by her husband without her knowledge, but she herself supports him in all his pursuit of knowledge. Giving a new perspective on the character of Yashodhara Volga achieves a convincing success from the readers. But one dissatisfaction is, that the theme should have been dealt more deftly in portraying the totality of the characters. There could have been more elaborate discussions, which would have given more depth. Many questions raised but not discussed in detail, which the Volga could have done disappoints the reader in a way. But as the book gives a new insight into the character of Yashodhara leaves the reader with a new feel.

In a meeting chaired by the reputed litterateur, Dr Yarlagadda Lakshmi Prasad and eminent writer Kalipatnam Rama Rao released this book in Visakhapatnam library on November 29. This story of Volga shows us another shade of not only Yashodhara but also of Volga. Till date there are a few stories and poems written about Yashodhara but not in this line. Volga’s Yashodhara is the dynamic force behind the successful pursuit of Buddha.

Literary critics Ramateertha, Prasad Varma, and Dr Krishnamurthy spoke on the book. In her author’s response, Volga depicted Yashodhara as a dignified realistic understanding woman but not as a helpless being. She shared her love for the character of Yashodhara and how she believed that but for her, he could not have been the Buddha. This she says in her foreword too. Volga hence names the book too ‘Yashobuddha’ as they are inseparable.

Symbolically it also reveals that the power and pursuit of man and woman are not different. They are the two forces which end up in the success of attaining liberation. A different feel astounds the reader while reading the book. Designed and made by another reputed poet Jugash Vili gives the book covers elegance and Volga fondly dedicate her work to her friends Dr Gavarasana Satyanarayana, and Gavarasana Subhadra (USA).

By: Jagaddhatri

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