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I strongly believed that Rama has a single wife, Sita. But I know that Krishna has multiple wives.

But this blog says that Rama has multiple wives and it's told in Valmiki Ramayana. Is it true? Did Rama really have multiple wives like Krishna?

Which one is more credible? Ramayana by Valmiki or Tulasidas?

EDIT:

Here's the verse from Valmiki Ramayana (Manthara speaking to Kaikeyi):

hṛṣṭāḥ khalu bhaviṣyanti rāmasya paramāḥ striyaḥ |
aprahṛṣṭā bhaviṣyanti snuṣāste bharatakṣaye || 2-8-12

Rama's great wives will get delighted. Your daughters-in-law will be unhappy because of Bharata's waning position.

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    Valmiki's version is the much much older version, his was the original. I did a study almost 20 years ago on the differences between Tulasidas's version and Valmiki's version. There are subtle differences. I don't remember a reference to multiple wives. One of the biggest differences is that Tulasidas makes Lord Rama into a brahmin instead of a kayastya. I no longer have a copy of Tulasidas's Ramayana. It is better to refer to a hardcopy book than an internet version. – Swami Vishwananda Dec 10 '15 at 5:13
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    @SwamiVishwananda Where does Tulasidasa make Rama into a Brahmin? Wasn't he a Kshatriya of Raghukula? And what is Kayastya? – Surya Dec 10 '15 at 7:16
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    You should know that Rama had only one wife. – prem30488 Dec 10 '15 at 12:15
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    Rama has only one wife. – user1195 Dec 10 '15 at 13:56
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    @moonstar2001 yes, you are right. misspelling on my part. – Swami Vishwananda Dec 11 '15 at 5:01
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Rama's father Maharaja Dasaratha had 3 Queens and 350 other wives. On the other hand, Rama is Ekapatni Vrata, the man who wedded only once. Sitadevi is his only wife.

This is illustrated many times in the Ramayana, prominently in the episode of Surpanakha, where he denies her proposal saying he is Krta Darah, meaning one who has already married - this implies his Ekapatni Vrata.

Moreover, the chapter linked in the question contains a monologue by Manthara, who was at that time in the process of poisoning Kaikeyi's mind. So her opinion of Rama is not really reliable. Even so, the words she speaks are to be noted:

She says:

Hrshtah Khalu Bhavishyanti Ramasya Paramah Striyah|
Aprahishtah Bhavishyanti Snushaas Te Bharata-kshaye||

Here, she says, Bhavishyanti, which means, "Will become". So the verse, if put into the following anvaya:

Hrshtah, Paramah Striyah Ramasya Khalu Bhavishyanti,

it means, being delighted (Hrshtah), the princesses (Paramah Striyah - literally great women) will become Rama's (wives).

So it does refer to marriages of Rama after he becomes the King.

Furthermore, in the Uttara Kanda, the priests of Rama advise him to marry someone else, so that he would be able to perform the Ashvamedha Yajna, which would not have been said if Rama had multiple wives. Even at this point, Rama refuses to marry and instead seats beside him a golden image of Sita.

Also, the idea that what we follow today is Tulasidasa's Ramayana, and not Valmiki's, is another fragment of Mr CR Sreenivasa Iyengar's wild imagination.

The Ramayana as we know it is definitely influenced by Tulasidasa, in places like the meeting of Rama and Sita in Mithila Gardens and Lakshmana's Rekha, but on the whole, most versions remain faithful to Valmiki.

(And by most versions, I include only versions entitled 'Ramayana', not 'Ramacharitamanas' or 'Kamba Ramayana' or any others.)

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  • @sv. Means I will cite suitable sources and complet the answer. The link is which hanugm referred to. It's in the question. – Surya Dec 10 '15 at 2:03
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    @sv. Well I wasn't going to leave my answer just like that. Your research into the legal aspects is amusing. I never delved into that area. – Surya Dec 10 '15 at 6:03
  • @Surya nice explanation. All these kind of misapprehensions in Sanatana Dharma will vanish if everyone learn our scriptures in Sanskrit. – The Destroyer Dec 10 '15 at 8:47
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    I agree with @sv. - you shouldn't just post an incomplete answer and then fill it in later. You should wait until you've finished writing the answer and then post something. In the mean time copy what you've written to Notepad or something if you're worried it will be lost from a browser crash. – Keshav Srinivasan Dec 10 '15 at 14:02
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    Yeah, I know you complete the answers later on, but in future why don't you just hold off on posting the answer until it's done? – Keshav Srinivasan Dec 10 '15 at 14:42
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Rama is a Ekaptni Vrata. I have quoted what was mentioned in valmiki ramayan, In valmiki ramayan, manathara tells the below words to Kaikeyi, Thus, if you become Kausalya's servant-maid along with us, your son Bharata will be Rama's attendant. Rama's wives will get delighted. Your daughters-in-law will be unhappy because of Bharata's waning position."

Comment: The words 'Rama's wives' here do not indicate that Rama had multiple wives. Manathara refers to a possible future where Rama being a King would marry other women. It was a norm then for a king to have more than one wife.

Pl. refer to the below link, http://www.valmikiramayan.net/ayodhya/sarga8/ayodhya_8_prose.htm .

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    The commentary is by the translator (Sri K. M. K. Murthy), it's not part of actual Valmiki Ramayana. So, IMO, it cannot be a conclusive answer to OP's question. – sv. Dec 10 '15 at 6:40
  • This is the correct answer. – user1195 Dec 10 '15 at 13:56
  • Logically make sense for me – Vipul Hadiya Dec 10 '15 at 16:29
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Let me again post conclusive evidence of Rama’s Ek Patni Vrata. (All the reference are from the critical edition Valmiki Ramayana, Princeton university press by Pollock)

Dasrath ( to Rama) in Ayodhya Kanda

Therefore today you and your wife must take a vow to remain chaste this night, too fast and sleep upon a bed of darbha grass. Have your friends guard you warily today at every turn (4-20- 25, Ayodhya Kanda)

Dashrath to Vashistha

When he had given Rama his instructions regarding the 5.1consecration on the coming day, the lord of men summoned his family priest Vashistha and said: “Go, ascetic, and assist Kakutstha and his wife in undertaking a fast today, so that ´my son, a man strict in his vows, may gain majesty, glory and kingship.” “So be it,” said the holy Vas´ıshtha, greatest of Vedic scholars, in reply to the king, and he went himself to Rama’s residence. (5-1, Ayodhya Kanda)

Valmiki reporting

When the family priest had gone Rama bathed and then, restraining his desire, he worshipped Narayana in the ´company of his large-eyed wife. (6-1, Pollock)

At the sight of him approaching they at once informed Rama and his wife, eager to announce the news. Pollock (14-5)

Ayodhya Kanda is repeatedly implying ONLY one wife

Other members of this site have given a very convincing answer too.

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Commenting on the verse, C. V. Vaidya, in The Riddle of the Rāmāyaṇa, says that the current Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa suggests Rāma had more than one wife, Sītā being the mahiṣī, the consecrated queen.

According to the present Rāmāyaṇa, Rāma appears to have had many wives. Kālidāsa and later poets mention that he had one wife only (ananyajāneḥ saivāsīdyasmājjāyā hiraṇmayī). The present Rāmāyaṇa seems to represent that Rāma had one mahiṣī or crowned queen but had many other wives (not concubines) as was usual with Kṣatriya princes in his days. Says Mantharā to Kaikeyī in the Rāmāyaṇa:

hṛṣṭāḥ khalu bhaviṣyanti rāmasya paramāḥ striyaḥ |
aprahṛṣṭā bhaviṣyanti snuṣāste bharatakṣaye ||

The commentator says nothing on this śloka; in fact it is impossible to suggest that striyaḥ simply means the handmaids and attendants of Sītā for that word is evidently in contrast with snuṣāḥ or daughters-in-law. And this śloka also goes to show that Bharata too had many wives. Daśaratha also is said in the present Rāmāyaṇa to have had 350 wives besides his three queens. When he called his wives together as Rāma was about to depart for Daṇḍakāraṇya, "Three hundred fifty young women with red eyes surrounding Kauśalyā slowly moved in the observance of a vow."

ardha sapta śatāḥ tāḥ tu pramadāḥ tāmra locanāḥ |
kausalyām parivārya atha śanaiḥ jagmur dhṛta vratāḥ ||

No doubt is left about their status as further on they are styled as the mothers of Rāma. Thus it appears that Daśaratha and Bharata and Rāma all had many wives besides their consecrated queens. And in this way only can we explain so far as the present Rāmāyaṇa is concerned, the fact that when Sītā was banished by Rāma, he had her golden image for his wife at the time of the performance of a sacrifice. For, a consecrated queen alone can participate in the performance of a religious ceremony. In the sacrifice of Daśaratha, only his three queens and notably Kauśalyā took part in the actual performance of the ceremony. However, we may interpret this fact of the golden image of Sītā we cannot get over the śloka quoted in the beginning of this paragraph; the import of which is plain and unquestionable and we have the strange fact before us viz., that Rāma is represented in the present Rāmāyaṇa to have had more wives than one.

He however adds this note:

Probably, this śloka has been put in by the last compiler under influence of the manners of his days. The original Rāmāyaṇa of Vālmīki probably showed Rāma to have had one wife only.


In Sheldon Pollock's translation and notes, we can see how various traditional Rāmāyaṇa commentators explain the phrase, rāmasya paramāḥ striyaḥ:

Sarga 8

  1. "Delight is truly in store for Rama's exalted women, and all that is in store for your daughters-in-law is misery, at Bharata's downfall."

NOTES

  1. "Rāma's exalted women" (rāmasya paramāḥ striyaḥ): The plural has exercised some commentators, since Rāma's monogamy is repeatedly stressed in the text. The simple explanation, given and defended at length by Cg [Bhūṣaṇa], is that all the women who attend Rāma are meant to be included (Ck [Amṛtakataka], "'Rāma's women,' namely, those who are on his side"; Cm [Tattvadīpikā], Ct [Tilaka] "the plurals [here and in the next clause] denote the friends of Sītā and those of Bharata's wife, respectively"). But in 5.16.15 (see 18.16), as in MBh 15.41.18, the locution seems to mean "wives," and to have almost a technical sense. Moreover, the plural "daughters-in-law" in the very next line would seem to suggest (despite Cg) that the princes, like their father, all had more than one wife (5.26.14, cited by Cg, supports this notion, to some extent, and see also Book Six, App. I, No. 10, line 91; for Bharata, see also 75.7 and 94.42). The NR [Northern Recension] reads the singular in both places (139*; we see no reason to believe that the NR has retained "a genuine older tradition," with Shah 1980, p. 98; M4 is a contaminated and virtually worthless manuscript).
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