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46-Raam and His Ring

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How Come Raam Had His Ring?, and
Why Raam Gave His Ring to Hanumaan?
[From - Valmiki Ramayan 4/43]

These are the two debatable issues that:

(1) "When Raam took off His all regalia, how come that He had one ring on His finger?"
(2) "When Angad was the leader of the search party, why Raam gave His ring to Hanumaan only?"

Raam's ring assumes a great importance in the course of Raamaayan. Although Vaalmeeki says nothing about it. After the two foots of 12th Shlok are read, the following foot is also read in affection:
  Suvarnasya su varnasya su-varnasya angulyaakam

That is to say: "suvarnasya" means "golden ring..."; "su varnasya" means "greatly glittering... and  "su-varnasya" means "good lettered...". "That ring which is golden, that too highly glittering, (rather high in carats, maybe 48 carats) and has very good letters on it...". That ring has one jewel on upper side and two jewels below that. The upper jewel has a carving of the letter Shree and lower two Raa and M... so goes the tradition.

When Raam took off everything and no other jewelry was on his body, though his bow and arrows had golden finishing, why this lone ring was still there with him...? is the debatable question. This indicates the custom of exchanging the rings in marriage. This is the ring got prepared by Seetaa in her Mithilaa house and she herself put it on His finger in their marriage as "Var Varan", means "selecting the wooer...". 

When Hanumaan gave this ring to Seetaa in Sundar Kaand, the reaction of Seetaa was: "on taking the adornment of her husband's hand she looked at it..." at [Valmiki Ramayan, 5/36/4]. This ring to men is almost like the Mangal Sootra (the sacred marriage-time pendant) to Hindu ladies. Thus, none can ask a man to remove his wedding ring as long as his wife is alive and attached.

(2) Next, "in giving such ring to Hanumaan, bypassing the authority of troop leader Angad, Raam slighted the imperial protocol..." and "Sugreev being a king why did he eulogize Hanumaan, a simple minister, this much. Is it to deify Hanumaan..?" is another objection.

For this Dharmaakuutam gives a vivid and extensive commentary, saying it is not at all a violation of protocol. The objection is:  - "When prince regent Angad is there entrusting some work to Hanumaan independently, that too after eulogizing him thus far, is unbefitting...".

This is countered by the commentator saying that: "still Angad has not gained the confidence of the king, though he is anointed as prince regent, thus entrusting a piece of work to Hanumaan by Sugreev is reasonable...'. Then the counter-question is "then why Angad is anointed as prince regent, at all...?"

For this it may be said: "Only a blood relation is to be anointed as a prince regent to look after the affairs of the kingdom, and here too, Angad is nominated as the troop leader of the expedition to look after the safety of this particular troop, and it does not preclude the king to entrust certain work to some of his true believable adherents..." This being so, Angad also expresses his resentment against Sugreev and openly criticizes Sugreev at the end of this canto, when they are unable to leap the ocean.



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Created by Sushma Gupta on 5/27/03
Updated on 04/13/13