Wednesday, February 10, 2016

What are the rites and Rituals that were performed in the marriage of Sita with Rama?

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.

2,Kambha Ramayana.
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.

3.Adhyathma Ramayana.
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.

4.Ramacharitha  Manas
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. 


Divya Balakrishnan said...

Nice compilation. But why the Queens did not attend the marriage in Valmiki Ramayana?

P.R. Ramachander said...

I have heard that In Kshatriya community of North India, the Ladies do not attend the marriage.