Episode 86 – “Mama suthaa – Saha Dharma Chareethava” – The most important purpose of a marriage!


In the previous episode we commenced our deeper exploration into the most important sloka of Valmiki Ramayana, depicting the auspicious Sita-Rama wedding. In this all-important sloka, King Janaka officially offers his divine daughter Sita in marriage to Rama. So far we’ve seen the reason as to why King Janaka starts by saying “Iyam Sita” which means, “Here is Sita, with all her beauty!” We saw very interesting explanations pertaining to this.

However, Rama was not impressed and convinced with this phrase of King Janaka. He did not turn back and look at Sita’s beautiful face! Rama was thinking within himself, “Oh! Just because a girl is beautiful, can I marry her? Sometimes this beauty may lead to many problems!” King Janaka was quick enough to spot that Rama is not convinced yet and continues to say, “Mama Suthaa”!!

We saw the meaning of the phrase “Mama suthaa” in the previous episode, which simply means, “My daughter”. Why is King Janaka specifically mentioning “Mama Suthaa” here, although as we saw in that he was a “Raja-Rishi” with absolutely no blemish? He never has that “I-me-mine” attitude in his life and yet he says “Mama Suthaa”. Why? Let’s continue the interesting exploration further in today’s episode. The simple reason is that, Sita is so flawless in her beauty as well as her character, that upon seeing this girl, anybody in this world would feel proud to say “Oh! She is my daughter!” In this way, King Janaka was no exception! Although he is completely blemish less, upon looking at the beautiful girl with both her internal and external beauty, King Janaka is in tears of joy and utters, “Mama Suthaa!” with all his emotions seen in his two eyes! It is to be noted that while this marriage ceremony was taking place, Rama was twelve years old and Sita was six! Thus, it might astonish all of us that even at the tender age of six, Sita was such a “Gunavathi” (A woman with noble character)!

Rama was still not convinced! He was thinking within himself “Just because Sita is your daughter, can I marry her? I want more explanation!” It is at this stage that King Janaka explains the most important aspect! He says “Saha Dharma Chareethava!” It means, “Oh Rama! If you follow the path of Dharma (Righteousness), she will follow you in it! However, if you deviate from the path of Dharma, she will not deviate along with you, but she will correct your actions and bring you back to the path of Dharma!” What a beautiful way of summing up the importance of a marriage!

Thus we now come to a very important point in describing the very purpose of a marriage, which is very much applicable even to the modern day! Why at all do we get married? It is for us to realize that both the wife and the husband should follow the path of Dharma together, hand in hand! Thus, a marriage is nothing but a union between two people to follow Dharma!

Now let us look at King Janaka’s words again – “Saha Dharma Chareethava”! Every woman in this world should have this characteristic of following the path of Dharma along with her husband and if there is a deviation, she should have the power and knowledge to correct him and bring him back to the right path! (Of course, when the husband is already following the path correctly, the wife needn’t ask much!) This ideology should exist mutually between both the husband and wife – That is, if the husband deviates, the wife should correct him, and if the wife deviates, the husband should correct her!

So when we say “Saha Dharma Chareethava”, it doesn’t mean that only the wife should keep correcting her husband! The vice-versa also holds good! It is beautiful to witness that even in those days, both genders were given equal preferences and treated on the same page! Nowadays we talk a lot about gender equality, glass ceiling, woman empowerment, etc. in the management arena! And how interesting is it to note that all these concepts were spoken about in the Ramayana itself! It’s also extremely interesting to learn from the Ramayana that all these concepts of modern day management start from home!

Thus, the message from this important phrase of “Saha Dharma Chareethava” is that, the marriage is done so that both the husband and wife complement each other to follow the path of Dharma! A marriage is a happy bonding and is perhaps the happiest event in a person’s life! The real happiness between the couple will arise only if both of them follow Dharma! On the contrary, what are we doing in the modern day? We go behind money, dowry, property, gold, etc.! Modern day parents are more specific in terms of money and jobs – On a lighter note, I’ve personally heard some parents asking “Oh! Is your son/daughter working with TCS or CTS?” 🙂 Of course, the IT industry today is in a downtrend and nowadays this question has become a bit irrelevant! 🙂 However today, people have gone to an extent by putting pre-conditions for a marriage like, “The boy/girl should be a student of IIT or IIM! He/she should have more than 90% marks! He/she should be a gold medalist! He/she should earn atleast Rs. 1 lakh per month!” Let us think for a moment – Where are we heading to today? Is this the “Dharma” that we follow in the present day? Of course, I’m not saying that money and status is not important. Yes, it is required! But my question is about the “preference”! Is money and social status more important or character more important? If character and purity is present, money and status would automatically follow! Isn’t it true? So, which is the “Dharma” that we need to follow? Let us take some time and ponder over it!

Now coming back to the context, King Janaka sees that Rama is still not convinced even after saying “Mama Suthaa.. Saha dharma chareethava”! King Janaka was puzzled for a moment! He thinks, “What is this guy expecting? Why is he not convinced still?”

Why was Rama still not convinced? Let’s wait and find out in the next episode! 🙂


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