Whenever we hear the story of Ramayana, our Discourse makers inform us that King Dasaratha ruled the Kingdom Ayodhya, and that he had three queens. But realty was different. He had 350 wives. But, they have not been given the full-pledged status of DHARMA-PATNIS (married by following sacred religious rituals, and who are permitted to participate in sacrifices and other religious ceremonies by the side of the husband) or OFFICIAL QUEENS. While other Ramayanas may say anything, our base document, the Valmiki Ramayana is very clear in this respect. Pl. go through the verses below.
Even Shri Rama may have several women in his life, but who are not given the status of DHARMA PATNI. But evidence is not as strong as in case of Dasaratha. Dharma Patni was only one: Sita.(Also called VAidehi, janaki, maithili et al). Hence we should not, till fresh evidence comes to light, call Rama a bahu-patni-vrata (polygamy), instead of the hither-too Ekapatni-vrata (monogamy)
2-34-10, Sanskrit Verse
Sumantra~ aanaya mee daaraan
ye keecit iha maamakaaha
daaraihi parivruttaha sarvaihi
drasht`um icchaami Raaghavam"
Before Raama started for forests, Rama made his last visit to Dasaratha. Dasaratha sent the Minister-cum-charioteer Sumantra to gynaecium to bring all his (Dasaratha's) wives.
Sumantra! Call all my wives. Surrounded by all my wives, I wish to see Raama.
2-34-13, Sanskrit Verse
Ardha sapta shataaha taaha tu
pramadaaha taamra locanaaha
Kausalyaam parivaarya atha
s`anaihi jagmur dhruita vrataaha.
Sumantra went to the gynaecium and brought all the wives. They were all with Kausalya and they came along with her. There were altogether 350 wives.
Half of 700 those red eyed determined women came following Kausalya.
*At the rate of one wife per day, 350 + 3 queens, Dasaratha needs one year for a single coverage of the gynesium. Since Dasaratha spent all his nights with Kaikeeyi, the 350 wives would have been virtual prisoners, denied even the basic sex needs.
*In Putra Kaamesht`i sacrifice he gifted them to the Administrator of the sacrifice. See post No...
Also see 2-39-36, Ayodhya Kanda
etAvad abhiniita artham
uktvA sa jananiim vacah |
trayah shata shata ardhA hi
dadarsha aveksya mAtarah || 2-39-36
ContextRama was getting ready to go on the forest exile. Dasaratha directed his minister Sumantra to bring a cart laden with gold, for sending Rama out of DaSaratha's territory.
Dasaratha also arranged his 350 wives to be brought to the place.
Gist: After consoling Kausalya that he would come in no time, Rama pensively looked at his three hundred and fifty step-mothers.
To continue. Corrections may take place.