Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Shanta – The Sister of Rama

Shanta – The Sister of Rama
If you believe in folktales, then you might have heard, she is the one who rebuked Rama when he followed street gossips and abandoned Sita. She was none other than but his elder sister, Shanta.

Shanta is not celebrated like her four brothers Rama, Lakshmana, Bharat and Shatrughana and never being related to them, in original Valmiki’s Ramayana. And there is very little mention of her, and that’s as wife of Rishyashringa, rishi who performed the putra kamesthi yagna for Dashratha. Yet, she survived the time, to be known as sister of Rama.

According to the legend about her birth, she was born handicap (as a result of near cousin marriage of Dashratha and Koushalya). Sage Vashishtha who was examining Shanta advised Dashratha to gave her in adoption to a divine couple, and with time, she will be fine. So, Dashratha and Koushalya gave Shanta in adoption to childless Angadesh King Lompada and his wife Vershini. And, as sage Vashishta suggested, Shanta was able to walk freely and there was no sign of any disability.

In alternative versions of her birth’s story, when Lompada and Vershini visited Ayodhya, they fell in love with beautiful Shanta. As they were childless, they mindlessly blurted out their wish to have a girl child like Shanta in front of Dashratha and Koushlaya. Dashratha who is known for his vachanas, gave away Shanta in adoption to Lompada and Vershini.

Shanta is mentioned again in the legend of Rishyashringa, where she was used as puppet by her father Lompada and Indra to seduce young sage Rishyashringa. Though not because of her father and Indra’s dirty trick, but out of pure love, she made Rishyashringa agrees to perform yagna. In lighter version of this legend, her hand was given in marriage to Rishyashringa as he successfully performed yagna, and finally it rains in Anga.

Though I cannot confirm whether Shanta is related to Rama and Dashratha; whether such events ever happened. But the thing is, as somebody have described me, there are thousands of Ramayanas, and it depends on us, what Ramayana we choose, and what we choose, we become that. I believe same is with Shanta’s Ramayana.

People, who decide not to celebrate the daughters, chose the famous one. And people who do not, decide to choose the other one. In the end, all I want to say “how much we try to silence our daughters, her silence can speak louder than any words, just like her, i mean Shanta.”

Image Credit: Unicorn Garden

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