Sumangalamata (600 BC?)

“‘Sumangala’s Mother,’ the wife of a maker of hats and shade-umbrellas, was a member of the earliest community of women followers of (Shakyamuni) Buddha. Many of these Pali-speaking women left accounts of their practice in poems, which were then collected in a volume known as the Therigatha.”

A Women Well Set Free

At last free,
at last I am a woman free!
No more tied to the kitchen,
stained amid the stained pots,
no more bound to the husband
who thought me less
than the shade he wove with his hands.
No more anger, no more hunger,
I sit now in the shade of my own tree.
Meditating thus, I am happy, serene.

  • Sumangalamata

From: Women Writers through the Ages

Another Version of:

A Women Well Set Free

A woman well set free! How free I am,
How wonderfully free, from kitchen drudgery.
Free from the harsh grip of hunger,
And from empty cooking pots,
Free too of that unscrupulous man,
The weaver of sunshades.
Calm now, and serene I am,
All lust and hatred purged.
To the shade of the spreading trees I go
And contemplate my happiness.

Translated by:  Uma Chakravarti and Kumkum Roy

From: “Women Writing In India”


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