By the orders of Vishvamitra, King Janaka sent his messengers to Dasaratha with signed letter detailing all the instances endorsed by the former. They reached Ayodhya in post haste.
Reading the letter from Janaka, Dasaratha, his family and coterie set out immediately. They received a very special welcome and reception at the newly decorated palace of Janaka where all the citizens of Mithila had congregated.
The entire confluence of the two great kingdoms was in joy ecstatic. After exchanging pleasantries, Janaka said to Dasaratha:
“O king noble, you have four sons and so do me, four daughters. We shall ceremonies their marriage on the immediate auspicious occasion.”
This suggestion was gladly accepted by Dasaratha and saint Vasishta.
Under the priesthood of Vasishta and Sataneeka, Janaka’s chief priest and preceptor, the mahurat for marriage was identified. After a great yajna and pujas the marriage ceremony was solemnised.
Sri Ram wedded Sita.
Bharata wedded Mandavi.
Lakshmana married Urmila, and
Satrugna married Srutakeerthi.
After all the ceremonies and rituals, Janaka bade farewell to Dasaratha and his companions. Janaka donated tons of gold and jewels, elephants, horses and servants as gifts to the grooms. He held Sri Ram and Sita close to his chest and hugged them. Like-wise he embraced and blessed the other grooms and brides also. As they parted, Janaka wiped his tears unnoticed by others.
The world saw the union of the most congruent couples – the ideal brides and the ideal grooms.
-KK Shanmukhan ( To be concluded )