Husband’s Goals….Wife’s Roles (Panchakanya-3)

Husband and wife relation has to maintain very delicate balance to make the family a success. In this regard let us see how Panchakanya (Ahalya, Draupadi Seetha, Tara, Mandodari) interact with their husbands in times of crisis. Draupadi is not covered as we are looking into Valmiki Ramayana only. We have already defined the their husbands as Chauvinistic (See Tara(Panchakanya) Ideal wife…….Love(1) ).

Ahalya is not much of a case for this post. That she commits infidelity( 1-48-19) and gets cursed by her husband Gautama( 1-48-29,30) a great saint, and Indra also got malediction ( 1-48-27). But our present post does not cover this. One point to note was the story in Valmiki Ramayana is different and Ahalya was cursed to disappear not converted into a stone. She is absolved of the curse when Rama comes there.

Tara has many lessons for us. When Sugriva challenges Vali the second time, Tara intervenes and humbly says Sugriva cannot come again( 4-15-11) unless he has the backing of Rama ( 4-15-13). Advices him to sort out matters with Sugriva( 4-15-23). When Vali dies, killed by Rama she identifies the cause of killing rightly (as his- Vali’s- misbehavior with Ruma wife of Sugriva ( 4-20-11)). This is exactly what a wife’s role should be to identify major gaps or major pitfalls in husbands actions and warn him at right time. Vali of course side steps her and faces the consequences and pays very dearly with his life.

Manodari plays a pivotal role when Seetha insults Ravana by saying he is no comparison to Rama ( 5-58-72). Ravana in his anger goes to kill Seetha ( 5-58-74). Mandodari who has nothing to lose by Seetha’s death intervenes ( 5-58-75) and counsels Ravana. The quitened Ravana tamely goes back to palace ( 5-58-78). This shows how Mandodari stops her husband from committing a sin in fit of anger. This again is a role of wife to understand her husband and handle him correctly and diligently averting calamities.
Seetha to follow….

                                              Part of Rama….. a human character!!!

Referaence of Slokas

Sanskrit English
मुनि वेषम् सहस्राक्षम् विज्ञाय रघुनंदन |
मतिम् चकार दुर्मेधा देव राज कुतूहलात् || १-४८-१९
“Oh, Rama, the legatee of Raghu, though knowing him as the Thousand-eyed Indra in the guise of her husband Gautama, she is inclined to have intercourse ill-advisedly, only to satisfy the impassion of the King of Gods. Back
तथा शप्त्वा च वै शक्रम् भार्याम् अपि च शप्तवान् |
इह वर्ष सहस्राणि बहूनि निवषिस्यसि || १-४८-२९
वायु भक्षा निराहारा तप्यन्ती भस्म शायिनी |
अदृश्या सर्व भूतानाम् आश्रमे अस्मिन् वषिस्यसि || १-४८-३०
“On cursing Indra thus the sage cursed even his wife saying, ‘you shall tarry here for many thousands of years to come without food and consuming air alone, and unseen by all beings you shall live on in this hermitage while contritely recumbent in dust. [1-48-29, 30] Back
मम रूपम् समास्थाय कृतवान् असि दुर्मते |
अकर्तव्यम् इदम् यस्मात् विफलः त्वम् भविष्यति || १-४८-२७
” ‘Oh, dirty-minded Indra, taking hold of my form you have effectuated this unacceptable deed, whereby you shall become infecund.’ Thus, Gautama cursed Indra. Back
त्वया तस्य निरस्तस्य पीडितस्य विशेषतः |
इह एत्य पुनर् आह्वानम् शंकाम् जनयति इव मे || ४-१५-११
“He who is undone earlier by you, particularly after torturing by you, his coming here again and inviting you for a duel is causing a doubt in me. Back
न असहायम् अहम् मन्ये सुग्रीवम् तम् इह आगतम् |
अवष्टब्ध सहायः च यम् आश्रित्य एष गर्जति || ४-१५-१३
“I do not think that Sugreeva has come here unaccompanied, and on whom he is dependant must be an unflinching support foregathered by Sugreeva Back
यौवराज्येन सुग्रीवम् तूर्णम् साधु अभिषेचय || ४-१५-२३
विग्रहम् मा कृथा वीर भ्रात्रा राजन् यवीयसा |
“Oh, king, let Sugreeva be decorously and quickly anointed as prince regent, and oh, resolute one, let there be no hostility to your own younger brother. Back
सुग्रीवस्य त्वया भार्या हृता स च विवासितः |
यत् तत् तस्य त्वया व्युष्टिः प्राप्ता इयम् प्लवगाधिप || ४-२०-११
“By which reason you have snatched away Sugreeva’s wife, oh, chief of fliers, and even expelled him from Kishkindha, that is the reason why you got this result. Back
न त्वम् रामस्य सदृशो दास्ये अपि अस्या न युज्यसे || ५-५८-७२
यज्ञीयः सत्य वाक् चैव रण श्लाघी च राघवः |
” ‘You have no similarity with Rama. You are unfit even to do service to Rama. Rama performs sacrifices. He speaks only truth. He is a lover of battle’.” Back
विवृत्य नयने क्रूरे मुष्टिम् उद्यम्य दक्षिणम् || ५-५८-७४
मैथिलीम् हन्तुम् आरब्धः स्त्रीभिः हाहा कृतम् तदा |
” ‘Rolling his cruel eyes and lifting his right fist, Ravana was about to kill Seetha. Then, an alarm was raised by a women there’.” Back
स्त्रीणाम् मध्यात् समुत्पत्य तस्य भार्या दुरात्मनः || ५-५८-७५
वरा मन्द उदरी नाम तया स प्रतिषेधितः |
“Springing up from the midst of those women, a royal woman named Mandodari, the wife of that evil-minded Ravana, ran to him. He was restrained by her.” Back
ततः ताभिः समेताभिः नारीभिः स महाबलः || ५-५८-७८
उत्थाप्य सहसा नीतो भवनम् स्वम् निशा चरः |
“Thereupon, those women together propitiated that mighty Ravana and quickly took him to his palace.” Back

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. M H Gopalakrishnan
    Sep 07, 2011 @ 14:58:04

    You have mentioned 5-58-75 where Hanuman reports to Monkeys that Mandodari saved Seetha. The quotation is correct. But it was a mistake done by Hanuman as the person who intervenes in sundarakanda to save seetha is
    उपगम्य ततः शीघ्रं राक्षसी धान्यमालिनी || ५-२२-३९
    परिष्वज्य दशग्रीवमिदं वचनमब्रवीत् |
    Her name is Dhanyamalini and not Mandodari. Hanuman had done a mistake and you have compounded it by accepting it.


  2. Pi Laminar
    Sep 14, 2011 @ 23:02:11

    Panchkanya is not in authoritative scripture and Hariharan ji , Hanuman has given an incorrect information as pointed out by MH Gopalakrsihna


  3. C.S.Ramalakshmi
    May 28, 2012 @ 17:28:16

    Pancha kanya is relevant today.
    Life is a choice.U can chhose ur own role models.
    Sita is ever pure by herself and in her love for Rama.
    Ahalya is a redeemed soul.
    Tara is faithful to sugriva, when she is given protection by him.
    Draupadi is the eternal service oriented wife to the five husbands,actually, she gave birth to only Arjuna’s sons, but what faithfully in attendance to al brothers.
    Mandodari served even a wicked husband.


  4. Ramalakshmi Chatta Subramaniam
    Jun 12, 2013 @ 12:29:18

    Pancahakanya are archetypes of women we see in every day life.
    In the human avatara of Sri Ramachandra, he has said, by his actions that there is redemption, justice/retribution ,,rehabilitation, or grace for every type of woman,when she prays to Lord Rama.Lord rama is a friend to all types of women, whatever their state be
    1)Ahalya committed adultery.She repents,and after her penance, her husband takes her back.They live happily ever after.Sadnanda, the son of Ahalya and Sage Gautama, in Janaka’s court enquires of Vishwamitra, have my parents got reconciled, are they happy now?Vishwamitra tells him all is well.Ahalya who was scorned by society,is now a Rishipatni, and gets back her respect in Society as respected wife of a preceptor,because Lord ram,the Holy Prince has redeemed her.
    2)Draupadi is one of the panchakanyas,is elevant for the discussion although she is vyasa’s heroine.Who else is greater admirer of Lord Rama, than vyasa?So, let us study his heroine also.She lives as wife of the 5 pandavas.A life of polyandry.What were her compulsions, or were they an outcome of some demographic imbalance, we do not know.
    It is her definition of chastity that the Lord takes into account.She is outraged at the vastra harana and calls out to Krishna and he sends her the ‘abayam’.Lord is agin the rescuer.
    3)Sita.She is Lord rama’s consort.Both Lord Rama and mata Sita have to set high standards for society.We have so many chaste women, and chaste women, but who has given the ‘pariksha’, except Sita?So, she is even superior to all.
    And yet, when people of ayodhya questioned her ‘proof’,saying that testimony was given only before vanars/bears and rakshasas,at the battle field,and even gods(agni) and pitrus(Dasarath) were ‘amanushya pramana’, non.human testimonies,Lord rama ordained that she live a life of hardship and austerity for all the world to see.
    As the goddess, she descended on earth, for showing by example,the following lessons for womankind:
    a) married women should not be lured by ‘vesha’ of a sanyasi.They should always be suspectful of alien overtures.
    b)the ethical line of lakshmana rekhs should not be crossed by married women.
    Please note:It is said no mention of lakshman Rekha is mentioned in Valmiki.
    It is Ravan who tells Sita at the gymanaseum ;dharmalopam api karishyathi”(you have crossed the line of dharma’.
    c)the most potent of all panchakanya-relationships(all panchakanyas are married women) is that of Sita only. It is an equal relationship between man and woman.I think a more complete treatise on matrimonial law and practice is not there other than valmiki.
    It is a study that Harvard University can embark upon.So much depth, so much nuances, so much undersatnding of mind of man and woman,is there in valmiki’s treatment of ram and sita.All in the human level all related to human laws and humanitarian laws, nothng ‘amanushya’ in it.
    If you get a husband like ram, the Maryada purushottam, agin pariksha is inevitable.
    If you dont want to take the agni pariksha,dont cross the ethical line.
    And put youslef into trouble by trusting wrong strangers.
    If you have to avoid the dilemna of to trust or not trust, dont desire illusory gains(kanchna mriga)
    If you want to avoid a life of struggle, lead a protected life in Ayodya.You dont really have to go to vanavas.It is not cmpulsory to do so.
    Women are of avried tendencies, traits,and levels of stamina.
    All have a place in Lord ram’s bhakta samrajya.You call him, He will come.
    All this tests and testimonies are there only for the consort of maryada Purushottam, Ram,the Holy man of perfection, the eternal king of self discipline.
    4)Not for tara,the vanara princess.She is the wife of vali.When she becomes widowed she takes on the protection of Sugriva,may be as his wife, may be as his mistress,it is all well with the vanara clan.
    Lord ram does not impose his standards upon the vanara clan.Their values are different.He respects them.
    But when he sends off Sugrava and Angada at Ayodya, after the coronation, he gently advises Sugriva that he may follow the ethical standards of His Ramarajya, when he goes back to Kishkinda.Ram is a kind God.On people who follow a different pattern of life, he only gently suggests that there could be a better way, but does not impose his values upon them
    5)then comes mandodari, my favourite.She does her duty so well, she is the epitome of unconditional love.She has set upon herself to correct her husband, not leaving him.I have seen women married to alchoholics, gamblers, always bearing the insult, and hoping against hope that self realisation will dawn on their erring husbands.
    Lord ram is so sympathatic to her sorrowful outbursts, he is moved by her.Entire srgas are devoted for her wailings.No wonder she got the Vishwaroops darshanam of Lord ram.
    Thinking of all these panchakayas in the morning every day is a great blessing for all women.Added to this sis a sloka, on Damyanati also.
    Ahalya, draupadi, Sita, tara, mandodari thatha;panchakanya smareha nityam, maha papaka vinachanam.Karkota kasya nagasya, rthiparnasya, raja rishi, keerthanam kali nasanam.
    Ram ram


  5. Ramalakshmi Chatta Subramaniam
    Jun 12, 2013 @ 12:33:23

    corrrection:If you dont want to lead a life of struggle…


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