The bonds of a sibling are very beautifully depicted in the Ramayan. Shri Ram along with his brothers Bharat, Lakshman and Shatrughan define the relationship between siblings among brothers in the most idealistic way. But another less talked sibling relation, yet important one to be reflected is that of Mata Sita with her sister. Their bonding was which is as equal to that of Shri Ram and his brothers and stands at par with them.
Shri Ram wins the hand of Mata Sita in the Swayamvar by breaking the Shiv Dhanush. According to custom, Maharaj Janak and the elders fix up an auspicious time for their marriage rites to be performed. Rishi Vishwamitr then suggests that along with Shri Ram, his three brothers too should be married to Sita’s sisters who were Urmila, Mandavi and Srutakirti as their were suitable to the brothers in all aspects. This was wholeheartedly agreed by Maharaj Janak and the marriage ceremonies began with the happiness spreading in the cities of Mithila and Ayodhya.
Shri Ram’s bonding with Mata Sita was celebrated with great joy. Bharat was married to Mandavi, Lakshman to Urmila and Shatrughan to Shrutakirti. The sisters were as noble as the brothers and very fond of their elder sister Sita. Very soon, they won the hearts of all with their humble and caring nature in Ayodhya.
Following their husbands, all the four sisters conducted their duty of Dharma too as their prime duty. Mata Sita followed Shri Ram to the forests and faced hardships of life with a smile. Urmila, faced the greatest challenge. She was ordered by Lakshman to stay back at Ayodhya, instead of following him to the forest and serve their parents as they were in grief on the separation with their dearest Shri Ram. Urmila takes all the pain of separation and does her duty of taking care of Maharaj Dasarth and Queen Kaushalya for the cause of Shri Ram and her sister. She never shows any anger on the turn of events and never vents out her grief, but takes all in her stride with courage. Urmila is represented as an epitome of sacrifice and duty in womanhood.
When Bharat leaves for Nandigram, after Shri Ram’s exile, Mandavi also stays back at the palace to take care of the Queens. With Maharaj Dasarath’s passing away, the family is in grief and in the absence of Shri Ram, Sita, Bharat and Lakshman, the palace is in grief. Bharat gives Mandavi the duty of taking care of Mata Kaushalya and comforting her. Thus both husband and wife are separated for fourteen years , but Mandavi never complains. Shrutakirti joins her sisters as the obedient one and all do their individual Dharma towards their family and the Royal Palace.
The conduct of Dharma is not confined to any set of individuals. As the princesses of Ayodhya, the four sisters always saw to it that the respect of the family was never broken. Queen Sunaina’s upbringing and wise counsel always gave them the support to follow their duty in their in laws place and they played an integral part in keeping the family united.
In today’s world, where sibling relations are in the danger of becoming mechanical, the bonding of these sisters gives us a strong message that a woman is the main strength of pillar for the family. Being women and also sisters, the four sisters displayed exemplary qualities of love, affection, duty and sacrifice for the sake of family, which made them the ideal sisters in the realms of Ramayan.