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?

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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. – Curiosity 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

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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  • What do you usually mean when you say "Answer Reserved?" Which link are you referring to? – sv. Dec 9 '15 at 22:37
  • @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
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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

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

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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