In Sundara Kanda, a mention was made about Dhanyamalini, wife of Ravana.

After a heated debate with Sita, Ravana reminds her, with a mind full of lust and anger, of the deadline of 2 more months for surrendering to him. Then Dhanyamalini pacifies him and takes him back to his mansion.

उपगम्य ततः शीघ्रं राक्षसी धान्यमालिनी || ५-२२-३९ परिष्वज्य दशग्रीवमिदं वचनमब्रवीत् |

Thereafter an ogre named Dhanyamalini quickly neared Ravana, embraced him and spoke these words.

मया क्रीड महाराज सीतया किं तवानया || ५-२२-४० विवर्णया कृपणया मानुष्या राक्षसेश्वर |

O king! Sport with me. O lord of ogres! Of what use to you is this Seetha who is colorless and a wreched human.

एवमुक्तस्तु राक्षस्या समुत्क्षिप्तस्ततो बली || ५-२२-४३ प्रहसन्मेघसम्काशो राक्षसः स न्यवर्तत |

Thus spoken to by that ogre that Ravana who was strong equalling a cloud, thereafter being taken away turned back laughing.

While narrating his exploits in Lanka to vanaras, Sri Hanuma says as follows:

विवृत्य नयने क्रूरे मुष्टिम् उद्यम्य दक्षिणम् || ५-५८-७४ मैथिलीम् हन्तुम् आरब्धः स्त्रीभिः हाहा कृतम् तदा |

Rolling his cruel eyes and lifting his right fist, Ravana was about to kill Seetha. Then, an alarm was raised by a woman there

स्त्रीणाम् मध्यात् समुत्पत्य तस्य भार्या दुरात्मनः || ५-५८-७५ वरा मन्द उदरी नाम तया स प्रतिषेधितः |

Springing up from the midst of those women, a royal woman named Mandodari, the wife of that evil-minded Ravana, ran to him. He was restrained by her.

Here Sri Hanuma was saying that it was Mandodari, who stopped Ravana.

Can anybody explain whether Mandodari and Dhanyamalini are one and the same? If not, why did Sage Valmiki mention two different names indicating the same woman?

  • It could be that Hanuman was not familiar with the people of Lanka. After he just saw Mandodari once in the night. So he must have assumed that this wife of Ravana's is Mandodari.
    – Surya
    Nov 16, 2015 at 6:15
  • @Surya:It was Sage Valmiki, who mentioned 2 different names indicating one woman. Why? Nov 16, 2015 at 6:27
  • Valmiki first mentioned Dhanyamalini during his own narration. Then while quoting Hanuman, he said exactly what Hanuman said, reflecting Hanuman's understanding.
    – Surya
    Nov 16, 2015 at 7:28
  • Btw it is Dhaanyamalini not Dhyanamalini. :)
    – Surya
    Nov 16, 2015 at 8:06
  • Thanks for pointing out the mistake. I will take a note of it. Nov 16, 2015 at 8:09

1 Answer 1


Are Dhanyamalini and Mandodari one and the same?

No, Dhānyamālinī (a.k.a Dhānyamāli and Dhanyamālā) and Mandodari are not the same person.

In Yuddha Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, Vibhishana while explaining to Rama who Atikāya is, says that he's the son of Dhānyamālinī:

yasya bāhum samāśritya laṅkā bhavati nirbhayā |
tanayam dhānyamālinyā atikāyamimam viduḥ || 6-71-30

He is Atikaya, the son of Dhanyamali. Lanka is feeling fearless, by resting on his arm.

The translators at valmikiramayan.net also note that Dhānyamāli is one of the other wives of Ravana:

Seeing Atikaya, the colossal demon, coming towards him on a chariot, Rama asks Vibhishana who he is Vibhishana introduces Atikaya, as being a son of Ravana and Dhanyamali (another consort of Ravana).

Interestingly, citing Kamba Rāmāyana, the Puranic Encyclopedia says that Atikāya was the adopted son of Dhānyamālinī:

2) Birth. There is a story about the birth of Atikāya in the Yuddha Kānda of Kamba Rāmāyana: After his victory over Kubera, Rāvana was returning in his Puspaka Vimana. On his way he saw some beautiful Gandharva women playing in the valley of Mayuragiri. Their leader was Citrängi, the wife of Citrängada. Rāvana seduced her and had a secret union with her. At once she became pregnant and gave birth to a dazzlingly bright baby. The mother handed over the child to Rāvana and returned to the world of the Gandharvas. Rāvana, in his paternal love, took the child into the Vimana and proceeded. On the way, the vimāna knocked against a mountain peak and the baby was thrown overboard and fell in the forest. Ravana stopped the Vimána and made a search for the baby in the forest. He found the child without the slightest injury, smiling and lying on a flat rock in the deep woods. He failed in his attempt to take it up even though he used ten of his hands. The child began to grow steadily in size. Then he tried again to lift the baby up using all his twenty arms. The boy, who had by this time grown into enormous size, suddenly sprang up and getting into the Vimána took his seat in it. Rāvana gave him the name Atikāya. On his arrival in Lañkā, he presented him as adopted son to the barren Dhanyamālā, Atikāya was brought up by Dhanyamālā.

Why did Valmiki mention two different names narrating the same incident?

One explanation could be, to avoid being repetitive, Valmiki, the poet, has only mentioned one incident (involving Dhānyamālinī) when it was happening live in front of Hanuman, and the other incident (involving Mandodari) at a later time. Also, after all, as Hanuman narrates, Ravana was accompanied by multiple wives on his way to see Sita in the Ashoka vana:

tato aham parama udvignaḥ svarūpam pratyasamharam |
aham ca śiṃśapā vṛkṣe pakṣī iva gahane sthitaḥ || 5-58-63

'Then, I was very much frightened and contracted my physique. I, on my part, remained hidden like a bird in that Simsupa tree dense with foliage.'

tato rāvaṇa dārāḥ ca rāvaṇaḥ ca mahābalaḥ |
tam deśam samanuprāptā yatra sītā abhavat sthitā || 5-58-64

Then, the mighty Ravana and his wives reached that place where Seetha was staying.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .