Till now for the past few episodes we have been experiencing the beauty of the auspicious Sita-Rama wedding and meanwhile we were also talking about the significance of various rituals that are performed as part of a marriage ceremony. Particularly in the previous episode we had discussed the significance of two of the major rituals – “Sapthapathi” and “Laaja Homam” and why are they performed! Today we shall conclude the discussion on the marriage ceremony by extending the discussion on “Laaja Homam” forward and taking it into the all-important “Thirumangalya Dhaaranam”.
During the discussion about the “Laaja Homam” I had mentioned that in this ritual, the wife prays to Agni Bhagawan for the longevity of life for her husband. On a lighter note, we can say from all these rituals that, the husbands are a little bit smarter! 🙂 In a way, even the “Shaastraas” indirectly make the wives pray for the long life for their husbands! But does the vice versa happen? 🙂 We should indeed think for a moment! This now leads us to the very important and the culminating ritual of a marriage ceremony – The “Thirumangalya Dhaaranam”. Basically this ritual, as all of us know that this entails the husband tying the “Thiru Maangalyam” around the neck of his wife. The basic significance of this ritual is that, this “Thiru Maangalyam” in the neck of a woman is the one, which indicates that her husband is alive! Thus, this ritual of “Thirumangalya Dhaaranam” signifies that the husband and wife should live together for a long time!
We have a very famous sloka that is associated with this ritual. If we actually look deeper, this particular sloka is not part of the Vedas nor is it a “Manthra”. It is just a sloka. The sloka is as follows:
“Maangalyam thanthunaa anena mama jeevana hethunaa!
Khande bhadhraami shubage tham jeeva sharadasshatam!!”
Thus, this is just a sloka and not a manthra! Interestingly, the Vedas doesn’t give much importance to this “Thirumangya Dhaaranam” but only gives prominence for the “Saptha Pathi”. Of course, in the modern day wedding, we give so much of importance to the “Thirumangalya Dhaaranam”.
Anyway, now let us explore the meaning of the above sloka: It says, “Khande bhadhraami shubage”, which means, “Oh my dear wife! I’m tying this sacred thread containing the “Thirumaangalyam” around your neck!” Why is this sacred thread being tied? “Maangalyam thanthunaa anena mama jeevana hethunaaa!” – The husband says, “It means that this thread is the proof that I’m alive! With this sacred thread around your neck, oh my dear wife! You also live with me for a long time!” If the husband says like this, what does he mean? J He is indirectly requesting his wife to pray for his long life! 🙂
Thus, this “Thirummaangalya Dhaaranam” is a ritual that is performed as a prayer for a long life together as a couple! It is thus; Sita and Rama married each other and prayed for a long lasting life together as a “Dhivya – Dhampathi”.
Before we conclude the discussion on the Sita-Rama wedding, I received a question from one of my readers that was very interesting to me! I shall address this question before I conclude this discussion: It goes like this: “Sita and Rama are Goddess Mahalakshmi and Lord Vishnu incarnates on this world! They are already married for so many “Yugas”! Now when they are born on this earth, why do they need to get married again in this elaborate fashion?”
It’s a really interesting and a valid question! I shall try to give an answer to this. My answer has two parts:
Firstly, as I had been mentioning for so many episodes right from the commencement of this blog, the very purpose of the “Rama – Avatar” by Bhagawan is to teach us the way of living a righteous life by following the path of Dharma. Thus, “marriage” is a very important dharma for a human life! It is only to illustrate this “Dharma” and show us how we should live together as a couple, Lord Rama marries Sita! Thus, for the question pertaining to why did Sita and Rama get married, one of the main answers is that, it is not for their pleasure – It is for us to understand the significance of a marriage!
Secondly, another reason why Rama and Sita married each other is to bless all of us – “Jeevaathmaas” together as a couple! If Rama were alone without marrying Sita, he would definitely end up killing all of us, for the amount of sins that we’ve accumulated over so many births! This, can be witnessed all through the entire Ramayana story – Any killing or punishment meted out by Rama would have been when Sita was away from him! For instance, the Maareecha and Shubaahu episode – Sita was not there with Rama; The killing of Thaataka – Sita was not there with Rama; Killing of the 14,000 Raakshasas – Again Sita was not there near Rama; Killing of Vaali by Rama – Again, Sita was not there near Rama; Ultimately, when Rama killed Ravana, Kumbakarna, etc. during the war, Sita was not there near him! Hence, we can see at every instance of the Ramayana that, whenever Sita and Rama are together, Rama doesn’t kill anybody! He is a “Karunaa – Murthy” (The Lord who is always merciful) to all his devotees when he is with his beloved wife! For instance, when the “Kaakaasuraa” came and attacked Sita in the presence of Rama, ideally Rama should have killed him! However, due to the presence of Sita near him, he let him off! Thus, it becomes evident as to why Sita married Rama!
Moreover, If we as devotees go and stand in front of Bhagawan when he is alone, we can be sure that we would be burnt down to ashes by him, for the amount of sins that we keep committing every day! The Vishnu Sahasranaama describes Bhagawaan’s eyes as “Chanda sooryouscha nethre!” – It means, Bhagawan’s one eye is as cool as a moon and the other is as hot as the sun! When we go and stand in front of him, we would never know which eye would focus on us! If our sins are very high in number, it is for sure going to be the eye that burns us down! It is for this reason, we should always go to the person whose both eyes are as cool as the moon – And this person is none other than Goddess Sita Devi! Her eyes are full of mercy for Her children and she is the person who will forgive us for all our sins and unite us with Bhagawan! Ultimately she is our Divine Mother! 🙂
Hence, it is for this main reason that Sita and Rama are together! I hope I had answered the question of my reader in a satisfactory manner! Anyway, after all the marriage rituals were over, King Dasharata along with his sons and his newly wed wives, leave from Mithilapuri and start their journey towards Ayodhya. What happened next? Did all of them reach Ayodhya safely? Were there any hindrances that they had to face? Let’s wait and see in the next episode! 🙂