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Siddhartha’s Marriage

 

By the time Prince Siddharth finished his education, he was sixteen year old. His parents also were anxious to get him married. There was a Sakya by name Dandapani. Yeshodhara was his daughter. She was well known for her beauty and for her character i. e. 'sila." Yeshodhara had reached her sixteenth year and Dandapani was thinking about her marriage. According to custom Dandapani sent invitations to young men of all the neighbouring countries for the Swayamvar of his daughter. An invitation was also sent to Siddharth Gautama. They asked him to go to the Swayamvar and offer his hand to Yeshodhara. He agreed to follow his parents' wishes. From amongst the young men Yeshodhara's choice fell on Siddharth Gautama. It was love at first sight. However, Dandapani was not very happy. He felt doubtful about the success of the marriage. Siddharth, he felt, was addicted to the company of saints and sages. He preferred loneliness. How could he be a successful householder? Yeshodhara, who was determined to marry none but Siddharth, asked her father whether to be in the company of saints and sages was a crime. She did not think it was. Knowing her daughter's determination to marry no one but Siddharth Gautama, the mother of Yeshodhara told Dandapani that he must consent. Dandapani did. The rivals of Gautama were not only disappointed but felt that they were insulted. They wanted that in fairness to them Yeshodhara should have applied some test for her selection. But she did not. For the time being they kept quiet, believing that Dandapani would not allow Yeshodhara to choose Siddharth Gautama so that their purpose would be served. But when Dandapani failed, they made demand that a test of skill in archery be prescribed. Dandapani had to agree. At first Siddharth was not prepared for this. But Channa, his charioteer, pointed out to him what disgrace his refusal would bring upon his father, upon his family and upon Yeshodhara. Siddharth Gautama was greatly impressed by this argument and agreed to take part in the contest. The contest began. Each candidate showed his skill in turn. Gautama's turn came last. But his was the highest marksmanship. Thereafter the marriage took place. Both Suddhodana and Dandapani were happy. So was Yeshodhara and Mahaprajapati. After a long term of married life Yeshodhara gave birth to a son. He was named Rahul.

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