When Sita turns Vaidehi

Published - September 26, 2019 09:32 pm IST

Soorpanakha is bowled over by Rama’s handsome appearance, and wants to marry Him. She is, however, humiliated by Lakshmana and goes wailing to her brother Khara. But when asked to narrate what happened, she has only words of praise for Rama. She should have abused Him, but instead she says good words about Him. That is a great quality of Rama, said Akkarakkani Srinidhi in a discourse. Even when those who, strictly speaking, should have been angry with Him, end up singing His praise.

Soorpanakha says that Rama and Lakshmana, sons of Dasaratha, are handsome, strong, wise and composed. They have the attributes of celestials, says Soorpanakha, adding that she is unable to tell whether they are gods or not. Khara’s 14000-strong force is destroyed single-handedly by Rama. While this battle is taking place, Sita takes refuge in a cave, and Lakshmana stays guard. When the battle with the demons is over and Khara has also been eliminated, Sita emerges from the cave. She is very pleased with her husband’s acts of courage, and here Valmiki refers to Her as Vaidehi.

There is a significance to the use of the name Vaidehi here. When Rama was banished to the forest, Sita wanted to accompany him but Rama had rejected the idea pointing to the dangers in the forest. Sita had angrily wondered whether Her father, the King of Videha, would have got Her married to Rama if he had known Rama would be so lacking in courage. Now that Rama has got rid of 14000 demons all alone, Sita is pleased at this proof of His courage. There is no reason for Her father to feel He has chosen the wrong man for his daughter. That is why Valmiki now uses the name Vaidehi — meaning daughter of the King of Videha — here.

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