The dedication says: “In honor of Yasodhara... and all women throughout history who have been minimized, ignored or solely remembered as an appendage to their family or spouse...” Has Gabriel Constans by writing this book “Buddha's Wife” actually honoured the women that he mentions here or have they been reduced , transformed to a state of “reductio ad absurdum”? It was the title “Buddha's Wife” that made me notice this book when I picked it up from the shelf. Did Buddha have a wife? Who is the Buddha? Why is he known as the Buddha?
Another writer- Radhika Abeysekera- writing on Yasodhara in her book “Relatives and Disciples of the Buddha” says: “the relationship between Yasodhara and Prince Siddhartha was long and deep-rooted... she aspired to be his consort and help mate and support him actively in his quest for Buddha-hood.” (chapter 4 Relatives and Disciples of the Buddha). Excerpts from Ranjini Obeysekera's “Yasodhara” are especially meaningful today for they clearly demonstrate Buddha's compassionate and non-discriminatory attitude towards women in general and Yasodhara in particular. “The Theri Yasodhara.... went to see the Buddha and said... Great Hero I apprise you- when I was travelling through Samsara if I have done you any wrong, forgive me.” The Lord said “There is no woman comparable to Yasodhara in this entire Buddha era. This revered person is one who has the knowledge to see uncountable eons of past lives. She has acquired the Divine Eye and Divine Ears and has the unique and special powers of sight and hearing. She has extinguished all defilements. She has arrived at the summit of the Three Kinds of knowledge. She has super-normal powers not second to the Buddha.... She went to the nunnery and that night attained Nirvana they said... Later the Buddha with a host... performed the funeral rights... the Buddha... had a Stupa constructed... offered flowers and lights...” (page 79 Yaso Ranjini Obeysekera). Buddha himself declares the greatness of Yasodhara Theri and also says that her powers are similar to his, which is a great compliment, appreciation and admiration of all her sacrifices and love and shows the high degree of eminence in which he held her. In Obeysekera's “Yasodhara” we see the actual final realization of a glorious life. Yasodhara, whose life has inspired many women throughout the world, stimulating many poetic and artistic creations, is sainted by the Buddha himself.