We have known each character of Ramayana by heart. But in the course of the fight between the good and the evil, there are some characters which we have known very less about. One of them is Mandodari, the wife of the Lankan king Ravana. The whole lot of adjectives signifying a good person seems to be empty when it comes to describing the Queen of Lanka. The Hindu Epic Ramayana describes her as pious, beautiful, and righteous. She is eulogized as one of the five girls or Panchkanya, the recital of whose names banishes the sins. To know more about her scroll down to read about the Life story of Ravana’s wife Mandodari.
Strange Birth Story
Mandodari was the adopted daughter of Mayasura, son of Saptarishi Kashyapa and Hema. The duo had 2 sons hence longed for a daughter. They performed penances to seek the boon of a daughter from Lord Shiva. Meanwhile, a heavenly nymph Madhura visited Mount Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva to pay him respect. Seeing Parvati’s absence she performed clandestine coitus (Source) with Lord Shiva. As Parvati returned she found traces of ashes from the body of Lord Shiva on the breasts of Madhura.This agitated her and she cursed Madhura of being a frog living in a well for 12 years. Consoling the Apsara Lord Shiva told her that she will turn into a beautiful maiden after these 12 years and would marry a valorous man. She is sent in the well near to the spot where Mayasura and Hema were performing prayers. After the course of 12 years, she cried from the well and her cry reached the ears of the duo wishing to have a daughter. They adopted her and this is how Lord Shiva granted their wish of having a beautiful daughter whom they named as Mandodari.
Once Ravana visited King Mayasura’s Palace where after looking at the enticing beauty of Mandodari, he fell in love with her. He kept forward the proposal of marrying to Mandodari which was confronted with a denial. To this Ravana threatened Mayasura and finally, she had to accept the proposal of marrying Ravana. She bore the Lankan king 3 sons Meghanada, Atikaya, and Akshayakumara.
Though she was pushed into a forceful marriage she was an ideal wife. The epitome of honesty and devotion, Mandodari performed all her duties in the best ways possible. Despite Ravana’s easy falling nature for beauty, she stood by him. She pleaded him for leaving Sita as she knew that this would take him towards his downfall. She taught him that killing a woman was a heinous crime due to which Ravana refrained himself from killing Sita. Being a dutiful wife she always tried taking Ravana towards the path of Dharma.
Mandodari was so beautiful that Lord Hanuman mistook her to be Sita on his first visit to Lanka.
The controversial relationship of Mandodari and Sita
Ravana used to store the blood of very sage he killed. He drank it so that he could achieve the supreme yogic powers of all the sages he had killed. Meanwhile, sage Gritsamada stored the milk in a pot from Darbha grass. He purified it with Mantras so that he could bear a daughter. A day came when Ravana killed him and mixed the milk with the blood of the prior killed sages. Enraged by this Mandodari, in order to commit suicide drank the entire pot of blood. Instead of dying, she gave birth to an incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi whom she buried into the soil. This child was found by the king of Mithila and was given the name of Sita. This is why some sources believe that Mandodari was the mother of Sita.
Re-married to Vibhishan
After Ravana’s death, Lord Rama made Mandodari remember her duties as the Queen of Lanka. He advised her to marry Vibhishan following the continuation of her reign in Lanka. After Lord Rama’s departure, she disconnected herself from the outside world. Sources tell that abiding by his words she returned and as an act of statesmanship she married Vibhishana. This took the region of Lanka towards a righteous path.