This time around, Siddhartha
let Yashodhara go to attain nirvana
instead of you.
In your colourful palace
she sits forlorn.
The colours fail to brighten her day.
They disgust her.
Yashodhara will leave you
with a delicate flower in your bosom.
Not to worry,
you’ve attained enlightenment, right?
You’ll figure this one out too.
Look at the forlorn
footprints behind me.
These will help you attain another nirvana.
I don’t know
what you gained under the Bodhi tree.
Under that same tree, Yashodhara will seek
nirvana too, shunning the comfort of your palaces.
She will leave you with a flower in your bosom,
put you on the path to another sort of knowledge
and seek nirvana herself.
Dr. Vanita is a well-known Punjabi poet. She won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 2010. Here’s an article about her: (http://www.newindianexpress.com/thesundaystandard/Princess-of-Punjabi-Poesy/2015/04/11/article2759257.ece)
Translated by Karthik Venkatesh: A few words about myself. I am originally from Bangalore, but circumstances took me to Punjab where I lived and worked for more than a decade. This resulted in a keen interest in things Punjabi – history, literature, culture and politics. I have written on aspects of Punjabi history (http://thewire.in/19294/malerkotla-where-tolerance-is-a-way-of-life, http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/comment/let-us-understand-bhagat-singh/212340.html) and translated Punjabi poetry (http://raiot.in/love-books/, http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/sunday-special/columns/chandigarh-needs-city-fathers/172873.html). I’m now back in Bangalore and work as an editor with a publishing firm.