I’d read and loved Liberation of Sita by Volga so it was with high expectations that I picked up Yashodhara by the same author. Here’s a quote from the book that made me think:
I can’t become a path finder though I have the desire to become one. So, I must make the path of the pathfinder more comfortable for him to tread upon. That shall be my aim and my life’s noblest ambition.Volga, Yashodhara
I get Yashodhara’s point of view here. It’s an unselfish perspective, where she’s thinking what’s best for the world, rather than of her own personal journey and that is definitely appreciable.
Yashodhara and Siddharth were a perfect match – two souls who thought the same thoughts, felt the same emotions. If anything, Yashodhara was the more evolved of the two (as depicted in the book). And yet she gives up her desire to be the ‘pathfinder’ because she realises that, being a woman, she wouldn’t be able to impact the world as Siddharth would and a valuable message would be lost to the world. And so she decides to take a backseat, letting Siddharth go, allowing him to become The Buddha, while she remains a ‘facilitator’. It’s only a long long time later that she is able to complete her journey.
There are many things about the Yashodhara-Siddharth story that have troubled me ever since I was a child. Finding out that Yshodhara was just as much a thinker as Siddharth only made it worse.
Perhaps, what she did was the right thing to do, specially in the context of the times she lived in.
What’s sad though, is that even today, a lot of women are content to play supporting roles rather than take centre stage. The tired old saying ‘Behind every man…’ gets to me sometimes. It’s as if the woman is given a consolation prize so she stops fighting for the Gold. Perhaps I am being harsh here and I do get that it isn’t always intentional however one does need to rethink this whole facilitator role that women are permanently cast in.
One needs to remember that sometimes they shoulder roles left to them unwillingly, protesting all along, at other times they step back and don’t push themselves enough to take centre stage and sometimes they actually delight in the sacrifice, in giving up their dreams for the men in their lives thanks to years and years of conditioning.
That’s just sad. The world would be a better place if people took up roles best suited to each one, irrespective of gender.
Perhaps then Yashodhara would have been the Buddha.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
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