In the previous episode we witnessed that Soorpanaka, Ravana’s sister had accidentally come across Rama at Panchavati and she has fallen in love with him at first sight! Hence she approaches Rama by changing her form into a young beautiful girl and introduces herself to him. In turn, Rama also introduces himself to her and in due course we also witnessed the important life lesson of being straightforward and honest at any situation in life. Eventually Rama asks Soorpanaka the reason as to why she’s there in front of him and upon that she replies that she intends to marry him and she has fallen in love with him the moment she saw his handsome appearance!
Upon hearing this from Soorpanaka, Rama was surprised, but at the same time he didn’t get angry on her for what she had uttered! Yet, he tried to explain to her calmly. Rama says,
“Sweschayaa svakshayaa vaachaa smitha poorvamathaabhraveeth!
Kritha dhaarosmi bhavathi bhaaryeyam yayithaa mama!!”
From the above sloka, Rama replies to Soorpanaka, “Oh Young woman! Please realize that I’m a married man (“Kritha dhaarosmi!”) and I cannot marry another woman in this birth!” Here, “Dhaaraaha” means “wife”.
“Tva vidhaathu naareenaam sudhurthaartha svabhaha pradhaa!
Shreemaan akritha dhaarasya lakshmano naama veeryavaan!!”
Rama continues in his reply: “Moreover, even if I marry you, over a period of time, you might also not like to be a “second wife” of a man. You can see my brother standing besides me isn’t it? His name is Lakshmana and he is unmarried!!! (“Akritha dhaarasya”) Maybe you can try and approach him!”
From this above reply of Rama we can find an interesting twist in the tale! What is that? Rama is asking Soorpanaka to approach Lakshmana, who is “Unmarried”! Now this seems a gross statement! How can Lakshamana be told that he’s unmarried? Isn’t he married to one of Sita’s sisters, Urmila? We might be surprised here as to how did Rama utter a lie?
Even Valmiki Maharishi was utterly surprised by this “peculiar” reply of Rama! So how do we interpret this controversial statement made by Lord Rama? Let me explain it in a bit more detail. In Sanskrit, “Dhaaraa” means “Wife”. There are other similar terms used to denote a wife – “Kalathram”, “Dhaaraha”, “Pathnee”, “Bhaaryaa”. All these words mean “wife” in Sanskrit. In Sanskrit language, only “Shabdhas” will have the “Masculine” and “Feminine” differentiation (Pullingam and Streelingam) and not individual words! We’ve to differentiate this very carefully here! Here, “Dhaaraaha” is a “Shabdha” and is considered to be “Masculine” (Pullingam). “Pathnee” is another shabdha and is considered to be “Feminine” (Streelingam). However, both these “Shabdas” indicate the term “Wife”. In other languages however, this kind of a “Masculine” and “Feminine” differentiation is done only with respect to people and not with respect to phrases and words! Hence, the phrase “Akritha dhaarascha” should be read as “A-saha kritha dhaarascha” which means that the person is married, but “his wife is not currently physically near him”.
Thus, we can infer from this explanation that, Rama is not denoting Lakshmana as an unmarried person, but he is trying to say that Lakshmana is married, but his wife is not with him at this moment! This is how we need to interpret the above phrase.
Thus, Soorpanaka thinks to herself, “Alright! Even if we are not lucky enough to marry this Rama, atleast we can try our luck with Lakshmana! He also looks equally good and handsome!” She now approaches Lakshmana and proposes to marry him! What was Lakshmana’s reply? Did he accept the offer or reject it? Let’s wait till the next episode to find out! 🙂