By Indunil Madhusankha
(Previously published in the 2016 October issue of the Sentinel Literary Quarterly)
In the nightly cold of the Esala 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 Anomā 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 jewelry 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 Himālayas?
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, Yasodharāvata (The Story of Yasodharā) the author of which is unknown.
Yasodharā – The princess Yasodharā was the wife of prince Siddhārtha who later attained the Great Emancipation (Nirvāna) 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 Siddhārtha relinquished the worldly life in order to practice as an ascetic with the great expectation of attaining Nirvāna.
Anomā Nadee – A river in the vicinity of Kapilavastu of the Southern Nepal
Himālayas – The Northern face of the Mount Everest and it has a profound influence on the Buddhist culture.
Indunil Madhusankha is currently a Lecturer in the Department of Decision Sciences at the Faculty of Business of the University of Moratuwa. 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 focussing on the burning issues in the contemporary society. Moreover, Indunil’s works have been featured in many international anthologies, magazines and journals.