Before long, Amrapali and Bimbisara fell in love. When she learned his true identity, Amrapali asked Bimbisara to leave and cease his war. Bimbisara, smitten with love, did as she asked. In the eyes of the people of Vaishali, this incident made him a coward. Later, Amrapali bore him a son named Vimala Kondanna. He was so moved by her beauty that when Amrapali was imprisoned, he burned the whole of Vaishali. Almost everyone died in the massacre, except his beloved Amrapali, but when she saw the condition of her motherland, she renounced her love for him.
One day Amraplai was standing on her terrace and she saw a young Buddhist monk. A Buddhist monk who had nothing, just a begging bowl —a young man, but of a tremendous presence, awareness, and grace. It is a strange psychology, we may watch it in ourselves : to be attached to a place it takes us at least four days. For example, the first day in a new house we may not be able to sleep, the second day it will be little easier, the third day it will be even easier, and the fourth day we will be able to sleep perfectly and peacefully at home.
If he allows me, I will come.
I told her that I will ask my master. People were really angry — one day was already too much; but four months …! They rushed to the Master dragging Amrapali with stones in their hands, ready to stone her to death.
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Let him arrive. He has not agreed to stay; he will agree only if I allow him. She has asked me to stay for four months in her house. I have said to her that I will ask my master, so here I am … whatever you say.
Buddha stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. It is said he was writing all the sins of the world. And Buddha said to her, Neither do I condemn you: go, and sin no more. Four months will pass and I trust you. I have looked into his eyes — there is no desire. I trust in my monk, in his awareness, in his meditation.
It is now a question between meditation and a biological attraction. Just wait for four months. I trust my young man. He has been doing perfectly well and I have every certainty he will come out of this fire test absolutely victorious.
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Nobody believed Gautam Buddha. The man is too young; he is too fresh and Amrapali is much too beautiful. They are taking an unnecessary risk. After 4 months, the monk met Buddha and touched his feet followed by Amrapali dressed as a Bhikshuni Nun.
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She narrated her attempt to seduce the young monk and losing to his discipline and awareness which led her to completely transform. She donated her land including a large mango grove and other earthly possessions to the Sangha. Amrapali became a devotee of Buddha, in course of time, she was enlightened and remained an important disciple of Buddha.
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She proposed that he should take her in his Sangha as a bhikkhuni Nun , but at first he refused to do so. He told her that there was no arrangement for bhikkhuni in the Sangha. However, interspersed with all that native terminology, one finds some modern vocabulary which stands out. I found this inconsistency disconcerting. The use of modern terminology while narrating an ancient tale is not something new.
Stephen Pressfield carries this out to perfection in his Afghan Campaign. Free medication was provided from dispensaries across the city. Medical camps were organised in the ….. Just before the wedding ceremony where Amrapali was to marry her sweetheart Pushpakumar, just before everything went wrong, Amrapali accidentally spills some salt. Also Judas is supposed to have split salt during the last supper.
Throwing it over the left shoulder is meant to hit the devil lurking behind. I wish Anand had mentioned an ancient Indian superstition or bad omen rather than make Amrapali spill salt.
From what I remember of my history lessons, the Huns came into contact with Indians only during the time of the Guptas — 5th century AD or so. Later in the tale, Amrapali acquires a posse of Mongolian Xiongnu bodyguards. We are told that the Xiongnu from Mongolia are ferocious fighters and later on in the story, they do perform spectacularly well.
PS: Could the publishers fix the glaring typo on the inside of the front cover? Posted by Winnowed at Labels: Book review. Newer Post Older Post Home. Subscribe to: Post Comments Atom. Search This Blog. About Me Winnowed I am a professional who works the usual long hours. Writing is a hobby I indulge in when I get some spare time.
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