Two wives for a perfect life: Nag'mati and Padmavati in Jayasi's Padmāvat as symbols of the integration of bhoga and yoga
- 1. Introduction
- 2. A sacred love poem
- 3. Padmāvat's way of love
- 4. Daily life and ascetic life: the choices of Indian Sufism
- 5. The story of two wives
- 6. Yoga and bhoga in Padmāvat
- 7. Two wives for a perfect life
- 8. Epilogue
Urged by the love for a damsel of perfect beauty, who dwells in a distant island, a Raj'put prince named Ratan'sen (Ratan’siṃhi )abandons his wife and his unsatisfactory life, becomes an ascetic and sets off in search of her. But after overcoming the afflictions of a long journey and finally experiencing the divine joy of meeting the girl, he still feels a sense of separation. Indeed, no part of a man's life may ever be left out: enjoyment (bhoga) only proceeds from discipline and austerities (yoga), but discipline is useless if it does not lead to full participation (bhoga) in everyday life. Taking his second wife with him, he thus comes back to his kingdom and resumes his daily duties as a husband, as a ruler and as a warrior: a war, in fact, is now imminent. A fascinating description of court life and heroic deeds follows. At last, Ratan'sen accomplishes the fate of his caste by dying in a duel; Nag'mati, his first wife, and Padmavati, the second one, jointly enjoy a perfect union with their husband by sacrificing their life on his funeral pyre. Soon after that, the huge army of the Muslim emperor Alauddin will conquer the city of Cittor.
The experience of translating Jayasi’sii Padmāvatiii has deeply influenced my studies, my ideas and my perception of life. It was a long task, consisting in three full years of daily contact with the text. This demanding absorption was required both by the intrinsic difficulties of the translation, and by a sort of mutual relation of faithfulness which soon appeared clearly before my eyes.
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