5 Lesser Known Ramayana Characters Which Played Important Roles

Ramayana is the first ever epic which is still popularly shown as television shows and movies. Indian people can still relate to its culture and characters in their life.

Here 5 important characters who got overshadowed by other Ramayana characters.

1. Angada

Angada was Sugriv’s nephew. He was the son of King Bali and Tara. After Bali’s death, Sugriv raised him. Angada helped Ram in finding Sita with Sugriv. He searched every possible area of South India up to the seaside, Rameshwaram. Ram shared his wish with Angada to avoid war with Ravana. Hence, Angada sent his messengers to share this wish with Ravana and influence him to release Sita avoiding war. However, Ravana was not ready to release Sita. Angad killed Devantak, Ravana’s son.

2. Guhan

Guhan was not like any ordinary mortal or hunter. He was a man with great reputation and power as the Chieftain of the Nishadas tribe. His meeting with Sri Ram and Lakshmana in his kingdom was special. His unlimited affection for Sri Ram made him hesitant to speak out words while greeting them.

3. Manthara

Manthara was the maid who convinced Queen Kaikeyi that her son Bharata deserves the throne of the Maharaja and not crown-prince Ram her step-son. She also convinced her that Ram should be exiled from the kingdom.

During Ram’s childhood, Kaikeyi loved and cared for him even more than her own son. However, Manthara was always jealous of Ram and regularly tried to instill the same jealousy in Kaikeyi. Kaikeyi was initially happy to hear that King Dasharatha was to make Ram prince regent as he was the eldest son. However, Manthara somehow succeeded in her motives.

4. Shabari

A hunter’s young daughter Shabari wasn’t good in looks but had a huge heart. She was about to get married. However, she got scared seeing the custom of sacrificing thousands of goats and sheep before the wedding. Hence, she ran away into the forest to avoid such custom.
Now, she wanted to attain true wisdom from any Guru. However, she got rejected from every Guru as she was of low caste.Sage Matanga agreed to become her Guru, in spite of several rishis and yogis opposition and criticism. He treated her like his daughter and asked her to take care of daily chores in the Ashram. She used to take cows to the pastures.
Sage Matang, while taking his last breath, informed Shabari that she has to wait till Lord Ram blesses her soul to merge with her Guru (Matang).

Shabari spent many years waiting for Lord Ram’s blessing. She regularly collected berries from the forest for Ram. One day, old Shabari went to Pampasar, stunning giant lake, to get some water. A Rishi saw an outcaste woman touching the lake’s ‘pure’ water. He threw a stone at her. It hit her leg and the drop of blood fell into the lake turning the whole water into blood.

Shabari went back to her Ashram because of unbearable pain. The Rishi started shouting and informing everyone about the incident. There was no water left. They tried everything from mantras to Yagnas and Havanas, but nothing worked. Even Ganga and Yamuna water were of no use. They called Lord Ram for help.

Ram tried everything from touching the water to walking, dipping and cleaning mouth from the blood. Nothing worked. Lastly, he asked about the incident which made the water turn into blood. After hearing about the whole story, he said it wasn’t Shabari’s blood, it was blood from his heart. He informed that he won’t be able to clean it. He asked them to bring Shabari as he has to meet her. As Shabari came running to meet him, the soil from her feet fell into the lake turning it back to water.

Lord Ram explained to the Rishis how the dust from the feet of the real devotee purified the water. Shabari welcomed Ram to her hut which was decorated with flowers. She offered him sweet berries in a bowl. Each berry was tested by her to make sure it was sweet. Lakshamana thought the berries were not good to eat as it was half eaten. Ram ate it and informed that these berries were the sweetest berries he ever had.

Ram asked Shabari to make any wish as he was pleased by her devotion. She asked him to unite light of her soul with the light of her Guru’s soul. Ram blessed her. Shabari disappeared as her soul merged with her Guru.

5. Sumantra

Sumantra was the CM and main royal minister in the court of King Dasharatha and Ram. He was respected by everyone. He took Ram, Lakshman, and Sita in the forest. They lived there for 14 years. He also arranged Rajtilaka ceremony when Ram returned to Ayodhya. Sumantra scolded Kaikeyi who forced Ram to stay in the forest.

There are lots of other unfamiliar characters in Valmiki’s Ramayana. However, the above characters played a significant role in the epic Ramayana.

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