What are the rites and Rituals that were performed in the marriage of Sita with Rama?
---Compilations from four different Ramayanams (Sanskrit, Tamil, Malayalam and Hindi)
Many of you might have attended the Sita Kalyanam performed by Bhajan groups. What is normally enacted is a typical south Indian marriage between Sita and Rama .But both Rama and Sita were kshatriyas by birth and there is a possibility that the marriage ceremony/rituals followed would be very much different. Since I had already translated Valmiki Ramayanam , Kamba Ramayanam and Adhyathma Ramayanam , I decided to read The rama Charitha Manas of Thulasi Das also and to compare the marriage rituals. The period in which these Ramayanas were written according to historians is
1.Valmiki Ramayana -4th centaury BC/8th centuary BC
2.Adhyathma Ramayana-14th centuary AD
#.Kamba Ramayana-12th Centuary AD
4.Ramacharitha Manas (Hindi) -15th centuary AD
It is but natural that the period of writing the epic would have influenced the description of the marriage between Lord Rama and Sita.
1.Did Rama See Sita earlier to the marriage?
1.Valmiki Ramayana - No.They never met each other
2.Adhyathma Ramayana – Sita garlands Rama as soon as the Shiva’s bow is broken , i.e.before marriage ceremony.
3.Kamba Ramayana – When Rama entered Mithila among the people who saw Rama , Sita was also one.Rama saw her and mutually fell in love
4.Ramacharith Manas –Sita witnesses the bow breaking by Rama
2.Who all came from Ayodhya to the marriage?
1,Valmiki Ramayana –Only male members of family of Dasaratha , their Guru and male soldiers came to Mithila for the marriage . They are later joined by BHaratha’s uncle (Kaikeyi’s brother) .
2.Adhyathma Ramayana - Dasaratha comes along his queens and Vasishta along with Arundathi for the marriage at Mithila.
3.Kamba Ramayanam- Dasratha with all his queens and with huge accompaniment goes to Mithila but stay in their quarters and sdo not attend the marriage.
4.RAmacharitha Manas- There is no mention of the queens of Dasaratha or Arundathi in the procession. Vasishta and Dasaratha rode in the leading chariot. Later it is revealed that they did not come to Mithila
3.What are the rituals conducted in the marriage .
1.Valmiki Ramayana ;
a.Prliminary rituals for the groom and bride are done separately
b. Earthen vessels where seeds are put for germination are brought to the hall.
C,Janaka gives Sita in Kanya dhan (the presence of Janaka’s wife is not indicated.)
d.Pani grahana and spatha padhi take place.
e.The queens of Dasaratha see their sons and brides only after they return to Ayodha.
a.Though the queens of Dasaratha have come to Mithila they do not attend the marriage ceremonies.
b.Janaka does Kanya Dhan without the presence of his wife.
c. Saptaha padhi and going round the fire is done by the couples.
d.Laja Homa with Puffed rice is performed,
e.Ammi mithithal i.e the groom lifting the feet of the bride and keeping on a rock takes place.
f.The couple see Arundathi who was a guest of the marriage.
g.After the marriage the couple go to their mother’s place of residence in Mithila.
a. The priests Vasishta and Sadananda to homa
b. The feet of Rama is washed by Janaka and his wife , Janaka sprinkles the water of washing on his and his wife’s head.
c,Kanya dhan takes place.
1.Preliminary rites are performed by sage Vasishta and Sage Sadananda
2.Sita performs Gauri pooja
3.Janaka and his queen sunayana wash the feet of Rama.
4.Kanyadhan and Panigrahan
5.End of garments of bride and groom tied
6.They go round the fire and later sit together
These descriptions of the marriage to a certain extent coincide the practice in North India .Even in case of Kamba Ramayanam where more of modern day rituals are included , the queens of Dasaratha do not attend the marriage as they stay in their quarters in Mithila.