It is said that the great epic ‘Ramayana’ shall be sung and rehearsed for all times to come. It is a story of ‘Dharma’ i.e. duty. If we think of the world as a stage, then in the Ramayana each character has performed his or her dharma as per the role allotted to him or her in the stage of life to perfection.

Kaikeyi, the wife of Lord Dashratha announced that Shri Rama should be banished from the kingdom of Ayodhya for fourteen years and should live in exile. She wanted her own son Bharata to be the king. Rama, being an obedient son started preparing to go to the forest. He came to his mother Kaushalya’s chamber to pay his respects and ask for leave from her. Kaushalya pleaded with him, to change his mind but he said that he was only fulfilling the wishes of his father as per the instructions given to him by his second wife Kaikeyi. Kaushalya then requested him to take her along with him too. Then Rama said, “Mother, your first dharma is to be by the side of your husband in this hour of need. At this time father is sick, sad, lonely and dejected. Only you can give him the emotional support that he needs. Please give me leave to go.”

Now, it was time for Sita, Rama’s wife to speak. She said, “Mother, my husband Rama, wants to leave me here, while he leaves for the forest. I shall die without him. Please tell him to take me along.”

Rama said, “The forest is full of wild animals, demons and other dangers. There shall not be the comforts for the palace there. You, Sita are used to resting your dainty feet on silken carpets, how shall you walk barefoot on the rough grasses full of thorns? I can not take you, please do not insist.”

But Sita was adamant. At this juncture, Kaushalya, rebuked her son Rama and said, “You were preaching to me, about the dharma of a woman. Now, you are telling your wife to stay in the palace while you live in exile. She shall die if you leave her. Is it not her dharma to be a part of every up and down in life? You should respect her, for being willing to leave the comforts of the palace, just to be with you. As for the dangers and perils of the forest, you have to protect her. How can my dharma, as a wife, be different from Sita’s dharma as a wife? You shall have to take her with you.”

Rama had to give in. Sita accompanied Rama to the forest. The rest is a long story.
But what is significant here is the role a woman is expected to perform vis-à-vis her husband. Marriage is the sacred union of two souls. When you take the vows together, you agree to stand by each other through thick and thin. A couple that stays ‘in-love’ after they age in years is truly blessed.

It doesn’t matter how many times you say, “I love you’, but it does matter, how many times you make your spouse feel that you really love him or her!

Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breaths away!