Generation after generation has debated whether to love Vibhishan for siding with Dharma or deride him for being disloyal to his family. But no one can ever doubt his complete love and faith for Lord Rama. His wife Sarama also remained loyal to her husband’s faith in Lord Rama and did everything she could to follow Dharma. Sarama’s role in Ramayana is one the most important ones but is hardly talked about. She not only played a pivotal role as Vibhishan’s wife but she had a mind of her own and did what she felt was right. Sarama’s character has an integrity that is hard to ignore.
Who Was Sarama?
Sarama was a rakshashi (demon) and Vibhishan’s wife. While not much is known about Sarama’s ancestry, in certain scriptures she is considered to be born a Gandharva’s daughter and it is said that Ravana himself chose her to be his brother’s wife. While all is conjecture, one thing that is widely accepted is the fact that she supported her husband’s thought and action wholeheartedly. Sarama was always by Vibhishan’s side.
Related Reading: Why It Was Important For Kaikeyi From Ramayana To Be Wicked
Vibhishan was destined to be with Rama
When we want to imply that an enemy is inside the walls of our home, we imply it’s someone from the family. And the name of Vibhishan is given to that enemy. Vibhishan is known as the betrayer, Ravana’s brother, who left his side and fought with Rama against his own brother.
But very few people know that it was Vibhishan’s destiny to be with Rama. Vibhishan had meditated for years and finally Lord Brahma came to give him a boon. Vibhishan wanted to serve Vishnu all his life. Brahma granted him that boon. So Vibhishan served Ram, who was a re-incarnation of Vishnu. While Vibhishan was fulfilling his destiny so was his wife Sarama. They had a predestined role to play in the war between good and evil.
Related Reading: Urmila and Lakshman: The Little Known Love Story of Ramayana
Sarama was always with Sita
When Sita was kept captive in Ashok Vatika by Ravana after he abducted her, it was Sarama who was her only friend and confidante, bringing the divine lady the news about all the developments taking place for her release.
Sarama became a true friend of Sita during her days of captivity. They talked of Sita’s childhood days, her marriage and exile. She kept Sita’s spirits high by time and again assuring her of the arrival of Lord Rama to end her plight.
When Ravana used a deceitful ploy to frighten Sita into believing that Rama had been killed, it was Sarama who assured Sita that everything was a lie and nothing could harm the Lord.
Sita had another guardian angel
There was another woman who kept a watch on Sita and averted many disasters that came her way. It was Ravana’s wife Mandodari, who was an exquisite beauty and some say she was even more beautiful than Sita.
She was completely against Ravana’s abduction of Sita and kept warning him of the consequences. But he did not listen. One day enraged by Sita’s complete nonchalance to his advances and proposals, Ravana decided to kill Sita. Mandodari came to her rescue. She brought Ravana back to his senses.
Related Reading: Oh My God! A take on Sexuality in Mythology by Devdutt Pattanaik
Women with virtuous hearts
While Vibhishan left his brother and joined the princes of Ayodhya, his wife stayed back to be a conduit for her husband and his immensely powerful brother. Their daughter Trijata also followed in her parents’ footsteps in being a rakshasi with a virtuous heart.
Mandodari on the other hand kept a close watch on Sita despite knowing that the monkey army had arrived and the days of Lanka were probably numbered. But she had the confidence that the arrow that could kill Ravana was safely hidden in her bedroom and no one could get it.
You may like to read: Birth of Legendary Veda Vyasa Through A One-Time Stand
Sarama helped in clinching victory
During the epic battle when the mighty Ravana was proving to be too powerful, it was Sarama who again helped her husband and the Lord by divulging the secret yagna place, the destruction of which led to Ravana’s defeat.
But the story goes that Rama and his army could not distract Ravana from the yagna and if he completed the yagna he would gain more power.
That was when Mandodari was dragged by the hair to the place where Ravana was conducting the yagna. Some accounts say that she was dragged out, naked. That enraged Ravana so much that he immediately got up from the yagna. The purpose was served. The yagna could not be continued.
The formidable duel between Rama and Ravana started. Hours before that Hanuman had gone in the disguise of a Saint and got the deadly arrow from Mandodari’s bedroom. Ravana fell and Mandodari cried helplessly over his dead body. She truly loved him.
Rama suggested Vibhishan marry Mandodari
Did Mandodari marry Vibhishan? Yes, Mandodari became Vibhishan’s second wife. Rama had suggested that Vibhishan marry the Queen of Lanka so that he could take over the throne and his reign would be accepted by the people of Lanka.
Apparently Vibhishan had ascended the throne and married Mandodari. There are some sculptures and research that say that the marriage had happened but there is no mention of this marriage in the original Valmiki’s Ramayana. Instead Valmiki wrote that unable to accept her husband’s death Mandodari went into mourning.
Some sources say that after the battle had been won Sita took Vibhishan’s wife Sarama and daughter Trijata with her to Ayodhya. Sarama was a devoted wife to Vibhishan and followed her Dharma till the end. How did she feel when Mandodari became Vibhishan’s second wife? Betrayed? Devastated? Did she feel angry at Rama for wanting and blessing the marriage? These are things that we will never know. But Sarama’s character will remain etched in our mind as the virtuous lady who did everything to help Sita in distress.
In the end Vibhishan did what destiny expected from him. Everyone followed their respective Dharmas.