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Indumati – Aja - Story of Father And Mother Of Dasharatha - Raghuvamsa Of Kalidasa

Indumati was a princess of Vidarbha and her story is immortalized in Raghuvamsa of Kalidasa. Indumati married Aja and they were parents of Dasharatha, father of Rama, in the Ramayana. Thus they were the grandparents of Sri Ram.

Indumati was the sister of King Bhoja of Vidarbha. King Bhoga organized a swayamvara for Indumati choose her spouse. Swayamvara is choosing a suitable husband from an assembly of prospective grooms from various regions.

Indumati entered the hall with a garland in hand, where the princess had assembled.
Many brave and handsome princesses had gathered to wed Indumati.

As she moved from one prince to another, Indumati’s friend Sunanda described the achievements of each.

She passed on from one prince to another and each turned pale as she passed them.
At last, Indumati chose Prince Aja of Ayodhya from the Ikshvaku dynasty. The marriage was solemnized. However, the princes who were left out attacked Aja out of jealousy.

Aja, a brave warrior, used his smmohan weapon and rendered them all unconscious. Raghu, the king of Ayodhya, was very happy when Aja arrive with Indumati in the capital.

In course of time, the king handed over the reins of the kingdom to Aja and went to the forest, as was the custom.

A son was born to Aja and Indumati and he was named Dasharatha (father of Rama).

Once, Aja took Indumati to a lovely garden. As she was resting, a garland from heaven fell on her and she died.

Aja was inconsolable. He broke out into a lament. The same has been described as one of the most moving passage in Sanskrit poetry.

He said “You are my wife, my counselor, my companion in solitude, my beloved pupil in the fine arts; by taking you away, tell me, has not merciless death robbed me of everything?

The family preceptor, Vasishta consoled the king:

“First of the mighty, you should not, like a common man, fall prey to the power of sorrow. What difference is there between the tree and rock, if in the wind both tremble alike….?” (Raghuvamsa Chapter VIII – verses 67, 90)

Source –
Kalidasa – Translations of Shakuntala and other works (1914) – W. Arthur Ryder - E P Dutton and Co New York
Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume V – page 178 - IHRF