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Sumitra gives birth to the twins (centre, top)
Sumitra (Sanskrit: सुमित्रा, Telugu: சுமித்திரை (i//), Burmese: Thumitra, Malay: Samutra, Khmer: សមុទ្រ, Thai: สมุทรเทวี Samutthra Thewi) in the Indian epic Ramayana, was the third of King Dasharatha's three wives and a queen of Ayodhya. She was the mother of twins Lakshmana and Shatrughna. She came from the ancient kingdom of Kashi. She was third wife of King Dasharatha. She was 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. Sumitra often helped Dashratha with his problems.
There is a popular story about why twins were born to Sumitra. Dasaratha, despite having three wives had no children except a daughter Shanta from queen Kaushalya and from none of the queens he had been able to give 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. It is believed that Sumitra already knew Rama was actually Lord Vishnu when he appeared before her.
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 Yajna 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. That is why the following is considered - Lakshmana is the son of Kaushalaya's plate making him close to Rama, and Shatrughna from Kaikeyi's making him close to Bharata.
Portrayals of Sumitra in mass media
Sumitra has been portrayed by several actresses television adaptations of the Ramayana:
|Year||TV series||Channel||Country||Played By|
|1986-87||Ramayan (1986 TV series)||DD National||India|
|2008||Ramayan (2008 TV series)||NDTV Imagine||India|
|2015-16||Siya Ke Ram||Star Plus||India||Sampada Vaze|
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