THE LIFE OF SAKYAMUNI BUDDHA
23. The Story of Princess Yasodhara
When the Buddha had taken his evening meal that day, all who knew him as Prince Siddhartha, except Princess Yasodhara, came to talk to him. All of them were surprised but happy to see their prince dressed like a monk.
Yasodhara stayed in her room thinking, “Prince Siddhartha is now the Enlightened One — the Buddha. He now belongs to the line of Buddhas. Is it right for me to go to him? He does not and cannot need me. I think it is better to wait and see.”
After a while the Buddha asked, ” Where is Yasodhara?”
“She is in her room,” said his father.”I shall go there,” said the Buddha and, giving his bowl to the king, he went to her room. As he entered he said to the king, “Let her pay me respect as she likes. Say nothing.”
As soon as the Buddha entered the room, even before he took his seat, Yasodhara rushed to him. She fell to the floor, held his ankles, placed her head at his feet and cried and cried until his toes were wet with her tears. The Buddha kept quiet and nobody stopped her until she was tired of crying. King Suddhodana then said, “Lord, when my daughter-in-law heard that you were wearing yellow robes she also robed herself in yellow. When she heard you were taking one meal a day she did the same. When she heard that you had given up lofty couches, she lay on a low couch and when she heard that you had given up garland and scents she too gave them up. So virtuous is my daughter-in-law.”
The Buddha nodded and said, “Not only in this last birth, O king, but in a previous birth too, Yasodhara was devoted and faithful to me.”
EXERCISE 23. The Story of Princess Yasodhara
1. What did the people do when the Buddha had taken his meal?
2. Who was not present?
3. What did Yasodhara do when she saw the Buddha coming to see her?
4. What did the king say?