Hi hear is my more articles about urmila……she is a forgotten heroine in ramayan. ……
When we remember Ramayana, we invariably recall the characters of Rama, Lakshman, Bharata, Shatrugna, Hanuman, Vali, Sugreeva; even as Kosala, Sumitra, Kaikeyi, Sita, Mandodhari, Sabari. All of them admirably fulfilled their assigned roles dutifully with a sacrificial intent.
How many of us recall Urmila? What did she achieve?
Urmila, sister of Sita! Wife of Lakshman. Urmila marries Lakshman at the time Rama is married to Sita. When Lakshman accompanies Rama and Sita to the forest, the scene shifts completely to their Vanvas and revolves around them. There is little talk about what happens in Ayodhya.
However, before Rama leaves in exile, if we give some attention to the detailed happenings at the palace, we capture some vital information on Urmila.
On knowing that he was not to be king and had to go into exile, Rama pacified mother Kosala, got her blessings and proceeded to tell Sita about his predicament. Sita was determined to accompany him into the wild.
She argued, “ Swami! Would you not take your mother with you if she insisted?”
“Yes, Sita! Mother was adamant that she would go with me. I told her that as per practice she had to look after her husband being his wife and queen. She accepted my logic.”
“ Well said, Swami! The code of responsibility for a woman equally applies to me, don’t you see!” said Sita. Rama had no argument to persuade her to stay in Ayodhya.
Lakshmana also obtains permission to accompany him citing Dharma applicable to a brother. However, he was concerned as to how to meet Urmila’s argument to go with him as that might interfere with his duties as younger brother to serve Rama in the forest.
When he reached Urmila’s chamber apprehensively, he was shocked to find Urmila had beautified herself and was wearing the best royal garments as though she was very happy with what has befallen Rama when the whole of Ayodhya was immersed in sorrow. She was seated in majestic grandeur on her seat. Lakshmana’s eyes reddened with anger and he shouted, “Why are you rejoicing when the whole city is in mourning with your choicest clothes and jewels so gaudily?”
Urmila looked aside as though to avoid eye contact and shot back, “Only Sri Rama has to go to the forest. Nobody asked you to go! Why then are you dressed up in such simple attire ready to go with him?”
Lakshman was overcome with concern that Urmila perhaps has gone mad. He softened and spoke softly and tried to convince her that what she was doing was unbecoming of her lineage and position. But Urmila would not budge.
“ You are a prince of Kosala. I agreed to marry you on the assumption that I can enjoy the riches of the royal household. If it is Rama’s fate to have to renounce the kingdom and go into exile, why do you have to partake of it? Why should I lose the comforts of royalty?”
In seething anger, Lakshmana looked at her with disdain as though she was an Asura woman. He said to himself that she was a shame to womanhood and considered it his misfortune to have such a wife.
“ You demon! You are worse than Kaikeyee! You desire royal comfort more than the company of your husband! I shall not consider you as my wife any longer; our sacred bond is broken. I go my way” said Lakshmana and left in haste.
Having suppressed all her emotions, Urmila broke down and wept profusely.
Urmila knew that Lakshmana would not be able to serve Rama and Sita wholeheartedly while in exile if he is tormented by the absence of his beloved; she therefore intended to create a dislike for her by this drama and in the process made herself into an pious offering in the sacrificial fire of her affection for Sita. She lived the life of a hermit all the fourteen years till her sister returned with Rama.
She never spoke of this to anyone. Lakshmana remained unaware and disgusted.
After the Vanvas Rama was crowned king. Lakshman avoided the look of Urmila. Sita guessed there was something unusual and queried Urmila. After much persuasion and insistence Urmila explained the situation. Sita was astonished.
“ Urmila! Even a thousand Sitas cannot equal your glory! I will speak to Lakshmana and seek an end to this agony!”
Sita was waiting for an appropriate time to speak to Lakshmana. Based on gossip of a washerman, Rama ordered Lakshmana to leave expectant Sita in Valmiki’s Ashram in exile.
Lakshmana took Sita on a city tour; suddenly changed route and headed to the woods. Sita spoke to Lakshmana about Urmila’s great sacrifice and made him see reason and be proud of her sister. “ Your Royal Highness! Thanks for the good news about my wife. However, I have the most unpleasant duty to break the bad news to you. My brother, the King of Ayodhya has commanded me to leave you in exile in this forest. I seek your pardon!”
Sita, though perturbed, did not show any displeasure! “ Lakshmana, Whatever the King does must have a sound reason. In order to establish justice, he has awarded me this sentence. I accept it gracefully. However, I have an earnest request to you! Promise me that you will never award such a sentence/punishment to Urmila! It would be a travesty of Dharma!”
Lakshmana returned to Ayodhya with a heavy heart; straight went to Urmila and prostrated before her and let his tears fall on her feet!
Sita believed that Ayodhya was wherever Rama was; accompanied him into the wilderness being subject to unspeakable agonies; underwent AgniPravesh.
Bharata did not care for being a King despite the royal edict given by the King on his mother’s wish; ruled the kingdom as a servant of Rama’s Padhukas for fourteen years.
Lakshmana accompanied his brother and sister-in-law into the forest spurning royal comforts although he had no need to do so.
All three above characters are eulogized for their exemplary sacrifice.
Urmila suppressed her sentiments; did not insist on accompanying her husband so that he will not be distracted from his duty towards his brother; ensured he does not remember her in loving terms by acting as though she was selfish; remained a Sanyasini inside the palace for fourteen years.
Why her glory is not widely spoken of? Is her sacrifice any less?
Credit to: zara