In a family, when the mother is not only the care taker, but also the friend of the children, then the children enjoy an atmosphere of fun and care together. Such was the atmosphere in the royal palace of Ayodhya, when Queen Sumitra was around.
Queen Sumitra was the second consort of Maharaj Dasarath. She belonged to the kingdom of Kashi. She was married to Maharaj Dasarath after Kaushalya. She treated Kaushalya as her elder sister and sought guidance from her and they both were very close to each other. Although they knew that Kaikeyi was the favourite of the king, they never had any jealousy on her and treated her like their sister. Kaushalya was the principal queen, and Kaikeyi was the favourite queen and although Sumitra did not enjoy any special status, she was totally devoted to her husband and co-wives.
Maharaj Dasarath offered the divine Payas obtained from the Putrakamesthi Yagn to both his wives Kaushalya and Kaikeyi. In turn, they offered half a portion from their own share to Sumitra and the twins Lakshman and Shatrughan are born to her.
Just like Kaushalya and Kaikeyi, Sumitra too loved all the four children equally. Just as her name defined her (Su- good and Mitra – friend), she became their good friend and taught them the importance of togetherness, which in turn strengthened the relation between all the four brothers. All the four boys would always feel very happy to spend time with her because of her friendly nature towards them. She taught Lakshman and Shatrughan to follow their elder brothers and be devoted to them, and thus Lakshman becomes devoted to Shri Ram and Shatrughan becomes a follower of Bharat. It is because of Sumitra’s upbringing that both the twins were instilled with values of service and devotion towards the elder ones in the family. She gave unconditional love to Urmila and Shrutakirti, her daughters in law, and considered them above all.
Kaikeyi sent Shri Ram to the forest to make Bharat king. On the contrary, Sumitra sent her own son Lakshman to the forest to serve Shri Ram. When Shri Ram was hesitant to take Lakshman along with them, she dispelled all doubts and encouraged Lakshman to go along with them and serve his brother. She gives Lakshman counsel that as a sevak, he should serve Shri Ram and Mata Sita, day and night and forget his own comfort, sleep and food. Her blessings gave Lakshman all the strength to face the hardships of the forest and he served Shri Ram and Mata Sita with total devotion. It is because of the sacrifice of sleep and food that Lakshman also gained the power to kill the valorous Indrajeet in the future course of events.
When even Bharat leaves for Nandigram, Sumitra became the strength of the family and guided Shatrughan in handling the responsibilities of the palace. She hid her own grief and became the greatest comfort for all and always motivated them to look towards the future when Shri Ram, Sita, Lakshman and Bharat would be back to Ayodhya and the family would be together again.
Sumitra with her friendly, patient and calm nature sets an example that adjustments in the family are a part of strengthening it and the happiness of the whole family is always greater than individual happiness.