Sumitra

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For the Indian actress, see Sumithra (actress).
Sumitra gives birth to the twins (centre, top).

Sumitra (Sanskrit: सुमित्रा, Tamil: சுமித்திரை, Burmese: Thumitra, Malay: Samutra, Khmer: សមុទ្រ) in the Indian Ramayana epic, was the second[1] of King Dasaratha's three wives and a queen of Ayodhyā. She was the mother of twins Lakshmana and Shatrughna. She came from the ancient kingdom of Kashi. She was supposed to be the wisest of the wives of Dasaratha. She was the one to first realize that Rama was the incarnation of Lord Narayana. She even encouraged Lakshmana to accompany Rama and serve him during his exile.

There is a popular story about why twins were born to Sumitra. Dasaratha, despite having three wives had no children and none of the queens had been able to give him an heir to the Ikshvaku dynasty. The thought of his dynasty ending with him saddened Dasaratha and he was very eager to have a son who would take care of the throne of Ayodhya.

Guru Vasistha who was the raj (royal) purohit of Ayodhya asked the King the reason for his sadness and the King conveyed his worries about the lack of a male heir to his dynasty. On Vasistha's request, Dasharatha did a Yagya at the end of which he gave a plate of sweets each to Kausalya and Kaikeyi and asked them to share their plates with the third queen Sumitra. Sumitra got one bite from Kausalya’s plate and one from Kaikeyi’s and thus gave birth to twins. With Kausalya and Kaikeyi each bearing one son. Sumitra’s sons were later named by guru Vasistha as Lakshmana and Shatrughana.

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