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Sumantra In Ramayana – Minister Of King Dasaratha Of Ayodhya

Sumantra in Ramayana is one of the eight ministers of King Dasaratha of Ayodhya. Sumantra was very close to Dasaratha, who placed full confidence in him. Valmiki describes him as the ‘best of ministers’ as well as ‘wise in counsel’.

It was on his advice that Dasaratha decided to bring the Sage Rishyasringa, son of Vibhandak, to perform the Asvamedha Yajna. In the narrative by Valmiki, when Kaikeyi thwarts the plans of king Dasaratha to make Rama the crown prince, it is Sumantra who goes out to fetch Rama into the king’s presence. Rama, who knew nothing of Kaikeyi’s designs, exclaims – “What a happy augury that the king, in consultation with his beloved consort, has sent as a messenger Sumantra, who is ever intent on furthering my wishes.” (Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodhya Kanda, Canto XV).

Sumantra swoons as Rama affirms his resolve to go to the forest despite his father’s pleadings. His anger swelling up, Sumantra rails at Kaikeyi, alternately pleading and berating. He tells her – you will be the death of your husband and, ultimately, the destroyer of the race’. Recalling an incident in the life of Kaikeyi’s own mother, who was wicked and evil-minded, Sumantra tells Kaikeyi, ‘you are as little worthy of your noble lineage as your mother,’ Comparing her mother to the neem tree, he says, ‘honey does not flow from the neem.’ (Valmiki Ramayana Ayodhya Kanda, canto XXXV.)

Sumantra drives Rama to the forest, serving him as his charioteer. He takes Rama along a different route lest the people should know that Rama is not to be crowned.

After Rama’s departure, and Dasaratha’s demise, Sumantra continued to be a minister in Bharata’s regime of fourteen years and also remained so when Rama took charge of Ayodhya as the ruler. He is looked up as a wise, tactful, and obedient minister ever loyal to the rulers of Ayodhya.