Updated: Aug 27, 2020
King Dandapani’s palace was shining like a jewel with twinkling lights and beautiful flowers. I
It seemed like all the stars had come to the earth to light up every nook and corner. It was indeed a sight to behold as the palace was being readied with last minute torches to welcome the bridegroom who was to wed King Dandipani’s beautiful daughter, Yashodhara. Dressed in bridal finery, her breath taking beauty enhanced by sparkling jewels from head to toe, the young Yashodhara simply glowed.
As the marriage procession approached, everyone wanted to have a glimpse of the young and handsome Prince Siddhartha, son of King Shuddhodhan of Kapilavastu. The groom, resplendent in his royal robes, sat on an Elephant, accompanied by musicians playing songs of joy and celebration. The people lining both sides of the path showered the wedding procession and it seemed as if the Gods themselves were showering their blessings from the heavens above.
The procession finally reached the gates of King Dandipani’s palace where the entire royal family stood to welcome the guests. The bride and groom’s families were no strangers as they were related to each other. Princess Yashodhara and Prince Siddharth were both sixteen years old and even shared the same date of birth. Their wedding to each other had been decided many years ago, and now the auspicious day had finally arrived.
There was another reason King Shuddhodhan wished for an early marriage of his son. When young Prince Siddhartha was born, the wise and learned Royal Astrologers had made a prediction about him that was somewhat disturbing. According to them, his stars would either lead him to become a great ruler who would be kind and just towards his people, or he would renounce all worldly possessions and go away in the search of truth and enlighten people with his knowledge and teach them the right way to live.
The King was always worried about the latter part and wanted to tie down his son to a life of wealth and responsibility. Yashodhara’s mother was also afraid of what might come, and had told her daughter all about it, trying to deter her from this alliance. But the young Princess was determined to marry Siddhartha, and nothing her mother said could change her mind. And so, with fear in her heart and a prayer on her lips, Yashodhara’s mother tearfully bid her daughter goodbye, as she left for her new home with her Prince by her side.
King Shuddhodhan’s palace in Kapilavastu shone with the lights of thousands of lamps, in preparation for the welcome of the new royal couple. The beautiful bride took away everyone’s breath as she stepped into the royal palace with her handsome husband.
Gradually, as the wedding celebrations died down and all the King’s guests departed for their homes, life in the palace settled into a steady routine. Siddhartha participated in the affairs of the state and sat in on meetings with his father. Yashodhara, meanwhile, started taking interest in the running of the palace and the people who worked there. She was firm yet kind to everyone and anyone who met her could not but love and respect her.
Yashodhara always remembered her mother’s words regarding the prediction. She did her level best to keep Siddhartha tied up in matters of their home, his kingdom and, of course, herself. Time seemed to have a pace of its own as the days and weeks merged into years of peaceful bliss.
One morning, the palace rang with giggles and laughter. The grapevine buzzed with happy tidings and very soon, the news spread all over. Yashodhara was soon to give birth to a little prince or princess who would bring more joys to their already happy world. There was happiness, anticipation and prayers all around for the well being of the little one. All the elderly women of the kingdom came together to bless the child and the wonderful, lovely mother who was to bear him.