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According to Wikipedia and other blogs, when Ravana's sons and brothers perish in the war, he performs a Yajna to ensure his success. At that time, Rama sends his army to disrupt the Yajna and as a part of the disruption, Angada and the other Vanaras drag Mandodari to the Yajnashala by her hair and torture her in front of Ravana, forcing him to leave his Yajna to rescue her. Thus Ravana's Yajna is disturbed. The story is mentioned to be present in Valmiki Ramayana. But this story is neither present in valmikiramayan.net nor in the copy I have. So which Valmiki Ramayana is this story in?

Furthermore pulling a lady's hair is supposed to be a heinous crime, at least when Duhshasana does it. So why are the Vanaras spared of punishment?

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    Wikipedia claims it's from the Valmiki Ramayana, but it cites this book, which is not an actual translation of the Valmiki Ramayana: books.google.co.in/… This book is based on a bunch of different versions of the Ramayana, including the Krittivasi Ramayana. – Keshav Srinivasan Mar 24 '16 at 14:34
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    It looks like this story is from the Adhyatma Ramayana: books.google.com/… I tend to put little stock in the Adhyatma Ramayana and the Adhbuta Ramayana. – Keshav Srinivasan Mar 24 '16 at 14:36
  • @Keshav In any case, what the Adhyatma Ramayan says is that Angada was worse than Duhshasana and he escaped without censure... – Surya Mar 24 '16 at 15:44
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    As far as the versions of Ramayana is concern Valmiki Ramayana is the standard and if any clarification of issues is concerned we go back to puranas from veda vyasa. There are many versions of ramayana are available including Hanumad Ramayanam, but the Valmikam is the standard. Coming to your question I feel rama can never order some one to do such act upon chaste women, because on from yuddha kanda on day 1 of war when ravana was tired and unable to fight, Rama asks him to leave the field and come back tomorrow! If his goal is to kill Ravana in 1st place he would have done it. – P Sabbineni Mar 24 '16 at 15:55
  • What about how Lakshmana manhandled Ayomuki? He cut her breasts off, but Rama did not oppose Lakshmana's actions at all. – Knowledge Seeker Feb 18 '18 at 7:09
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Yes, they did according to Adhyātma Rāmāyaṇa:

CHAPTER X

(Rāvaṇa's Homa)

  1. Having thus deliberated in council with his ministers, Rāvaṇa went out to fight Rāma with the remnant of his Rākṣasas, like a moth rushing together with other moths into a blazing fire.

2–3. All those Rākṣasas were killed by Rāma in battle with sharp arrows. Himself pierced in the breast by the sharp arrows of Rāma forthwith Rāvaṇa entered Laṅkā in great distress.

  1. Having more than once witnessed the superhuman prowess of Rāma as well as of Hanumāna, Rāvaṇa went to Sukra Achārya, the preceptor of the Asuras.

5–6. Having bowed to him, the ten-faced Rāvaṇa said with folded hands, "Sir, Rāghava has destroyed Laṅkā with its hosts of Rākṣasa leaders. All the great Daityas, together with sons and relations, have been slain. How can I suffer such a load of misery with thee my good preceptor living?" Thus addressed by the ten-faced Rāvaṇa, the preceptor said to him.

7–9. "Do thou make heedfully libations unto the fire. If there be no impediment in the homa, from the fire there shall arise for thee a great car, horses, quiver, bows and arrows armed with which thou shall become unconquerable.

10–12. "Take thou the mantras communicated by me and make the homa speedily. Thus directed, Rāvaṇa, the king of the Rākṣasas, forthwith went to his palace aud there made a cavern like the nether regions.

Having carefully closed all the entrances of Laṅkā and collected all the ingredients of the homa as prescribed in books treating of magic shāstra, (abhicharaka) he entered the cavern and silently began to perform the sacrifice.

  1. Seeing the smoke arising, the brother of Rāvaṇa (Vibhīshaṇa) greatly agitated with fear showed to Rāma the smoke of the homa.

  2. "See Rāma, Rāvaṇa has commenced performing the homa. If this homa is completed, he becomes unconquerable.

15–16. "Therefore for throwing obstacles in the performance of homa, do thou despatch the leaders of the monkeys." "Very well," so saying Rāma sent Sugrīva, Aṅgada, Hanumāna, and other powerful warriors.

16–17. Having jumped over the ramparts of Laṅkā and gone into the palace of Rāvaṇa, ten crores of monkeys pounded to dust the guards of the place, the horses and the elephants of the asura king in a moment.

  1. Then in the morning Sarsa, the wife of Vibhīshaṇa, indicated by a sign of the hand the place of the homa sacrifice.

  2. Having by his kicks broken the stone which had covered the mouth of the cave, Aṅgada of great strength entered it.

  3. Seeing Rāvaṇa sitting there in a firm posture with his eyes closed, all the monkeys forthwith entered the cave by order of Aṅgada.

  4. There they made tumult, beating the sacrificial priests, and from all sides threw into the fire the things collected for the homa.

  5. Hanumāna, the leader of the monkeys, having angrily and with force snatched off the sacrificial ladle from the hand of Rāvaṇa, forthwith struck him.

  6. Although the monkeys were biting with teeth, striking him with sticks on all sides, yet Rāvaṇa did not leave off his meditation from desire of victory.

  7. Having entered the palace of Rāvaṇa, Aṅgada forthwith found Mandodari, his good queen, and brought her dragging by the hair.

25–27. There in presence of Rāvaṇa as she was weeping like one without a protector, Aṅgada tore off her dress which was studded with gems. Her garment tom there fell on the ground with all its jewels. The knot of her nether garment which was studded with gems was also broken and the garments fell on the ground in sight of Rāvaṇa. All her ornaments were scattered on all sides.

  1. The daughters of the Devas and Gandharvas were then brought by the monkeys in great joy to the place of homa.

29–32. Then Mandodari crying piteously in presence of Rāvaṇa said to him.

"Thou art a shameless creature, thy wife is being dragged by the enemy in thy presence and yet thou art performing this homa and is not ashamed of it.

"He whose wife is being attacked by vile enemies in his presence, should die that very moment. His death is better than his being alive.

"Ah, Meghanāda, thy mother is being thus insulted by monkeys. If thou wert alive, how could there be such misfortune for me.

"My husband has from desire of life renounced his wife as well as shame."

  1. Hearing that piteous moaning of Mandodari, Rāvaṇa rose up sword in hand saying "leave off the queen."

  2. The ten-faced Rāvaṇa then struck Aṅgada forcibly on the thigh. Then having broken the sacrifice, the monkeys left the place and went to the forest.

...

The translator however notes, this episode is likely a late addition to the text:

NOTE – The story of the visit of Ravana to Sukra Acharya, his performance of homa and the assaults of the monkeys to throw obstacles in his way, do not find a place in the Valmiki. There is also no allusion there to Aṅgada having brought Mandodari to the place of the sacrifice and torn off her garments and insulted her or her appeal to Ravana's sense of shame. All these appear to have been taken by the Adhyatma from some later source.


This story is also found in Raṅganātha Rāmāyaṇa (Hindi translation) and the Mandodarī manhandling scene is also depicted in the mural paintings of the Venugopala Parthasarathy temple in Chengam, Tamil Nadu:

Mandodari held by hair

Detail from the eastern panorama. Anumāṉ pulls maṇṭōtarī (extreme right, mostly faded) by her hair. To the immediate left, there is another figure of maṇṭōtarī (bent over) which is much clearer. The artist has gone much further than the text in depicting the violence here. It can be seen clearly that maṇṭōtarī is disrobed, her blouse flying in tatters. Anumāṉ and aṅkataṉ are manhandling, monkey-handling, her. A caption, in Tamil, just over the arched figure of maṇṭōtarī describes the violence and identifies the actors.

  • Nice answer! Yes I agree with the translator, this cannot have been present in the original whichever Ramayana. – Surya May 14 at 12:37

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