Urmila
Ramayana - Marriage of Rama Bharata Lakshmana and Shatrughna.jpg
Marriage of Urmila and her three sisters
AffiliationAvatar of nagalakshmi
TextsRamayana and its other versions
Personal information
Born
Mithila
Parents
  • Janaka (father)
  • Sunayana (mother)
SiblingsSita (adoptive sister)
Mandavi and Shrutakirti (cousins)
SpouseLakshmana
ChildrenAngada
Chandraketu[1] Somada (daughter)
DynastyVideha (by birth)
Raghuvanshi-Ikshvaku-Suryavanshi (by marriage)

Urmila (Sanskrit: ऊर्मिला, IAST: Ūrmilā)) is a character in the Hindu religious text Ramayana. She is the younger sister of Sita and the wife of Lakshmana, the younger brother of Rama. She is considered to be an avatar of Nagalakshmi.

Life

Urmila is the daughter of King Janaka of Mithila and Queen Sunaina, the younger sister of Sita. She was married to King Dasharatha's third son Lakshmana. They had two sons - Angada and Chandraketu. She is described to be as dedicated to Sita as Lakshmana was to Rama.[2] According to some folklore, it is said that she also bore a daughter called Somada. She is considered avatar of Nagalakshmi (shirsha).

When Lakshmana joined Rama and Sita in their exile, Urmila was ready to accompany him, but he hesitated and asked her to stay back in Ayodhya to take care of his aging parents. According to a legend, Urmila slept continuously for fourteen years. It is believed that during these fourteen years of exile, her husband also never slept to protect his brother and sister-in-law.[3] On the first night of exile, when Rama and Sita were sleeping, the deity Nidra appeared to Lakshmana, and he requested her to offer him the boon of not requiring sleep. The goddess asked him that she could grant his wish, but someone else would have to take his place asleep. Lakshmana wondered if his wife could sleep instead of him. After hearing this, Nidra enquired Urmila regarding this, and the latter happily accepted the task. Urmila is notable for this unparalleled sacrifice, which is called Urmila Nidra.[4][5]

According to another legend, it is said that when Lakshmana came to inform Urmila of his decision to join Rama in his exile, she was dressed as a queen. Lakshmana grew angry with her and compared her with Kaikeyi. This is stated to be a deliberate act of provocation to alleviate Lakshmana's guilt of leaving her behind so that he could take care of her sister and brother-in-law. When Sita learned of this, she remarked that a hundred of her would not be able to match Urmila's sacrifice.

It is said that Urmila, along with Mandavi and Shrutakirti, died in the period between the demise of Sita and their mother-in-law's death.

Worship

In Bharatpur district of Rajasthan, there is a temple dedicated to Lakshman and Urmila. The temple was built in 1870 AD by the then ruler Balwant Singh of Bharatpur and is considered as a royal temple by the royal family of Bharatpur State.[6]

References

  1. ^ Ramayana – Conclusion, translated by Romesh C. Dutt (1899)
  2. ^ source needed
  3. ^ source needed
  4. ^ Reeja Radhakrishnan (28 March 2014). "Urmila, The Sleeping Princess". Indian Express. Chennai. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  5. ^ "Ramayana: Check 13 lesser-known facts". Jagranjosh.com. 5 August 2020. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  6. ^ "Temple Profile: Mandir Shri Laxman Ji". Government of Rajasthan. Retrieved 1 June 2016.

Further reading