The Two Fathers

Dasharatha and Janaka“In the three worlds, nothing could compare to the two. Dasharatha was equal to Janaka and Janaka equal to Dasharatha.” (Janaki Mangala, 129)

tīni loka avalokahiṃ nahiṃ upamā kou |
dasaratha janaka samāna janaka dasaratha dou ||

In order to have the perfect wedding, the parents must be there. You can’t control events, for the world we live in is temporary. This means that the things you want the most may not be around when you need them. You may want your parents there on your special day, but if circumstances dictate otherwise, you are bereft of the cherished association. A famous marriage a long time ago was perfect in every way, as it was arranged by the master coordinator, the person who passively directs the movements of the material creation and passionately takes the helm for the affairs of His devotees.

There are two sets of parents in the ideal wedding; the bride’s side and the groom’s side. So many things can get in the way. Perhaps the bride’s parents are not happy with the choice the bride has made. Perhaps the groom’s parents think the son is making a terrible mistake. Then there are class distinctions to consider. What if the bride comes from a rich family and the groom from a poor one? If the bride is accustomed to a certain lifestyle going into marriage, how is she going to survive on the modest income of the groom?

There are social conventions in play as well. The classes generally stick together. If the classes are determined by income level, then it would make sense that those with a low income would spend more time around those with a low income. The same for those in a higher income group. Friends are made among equals, so it is difficult when there are differences in stature. If the statures of the two families going into a marriage are markedly different, how are the bride and groom supposed to form a friendship?

In Janakpur a long time ago, the match for a beautiful bride was left up to a contest. Forget trying to find the perfect husband through family tradition and horoscopes, which were the tried and tested methods during this particular time period. This bride had special circumstances surrounding her birth. Her father essentially adopted her. She didn’t belong to anyone before. As a baby, she was found in the ground. The king was ploughing that earth with the intention of performing a religious sacrifice, a kind of worship. What he didn’t know at the time was that he found the most special girl, the best object of worship for those who have real intelligence.

Sita DeviHolding affection for her immediately and then taking her into his family, with time the king knew that she was something special. Therefore he decided that her wedding wouldn’t be arranged in the traditional way. Instead of worrying over finding the ideal match, he decided to hold a contest. Strength would be tested. In this way the victor would prove to be the most capable of protecting the precious daughter, who was named Sita because she was found in the ground.

Since the husband was to be determined from a contest, there was every possibility of a non-traditional match being found. Janaka was the king, and he was famous around the world for his character. He had the highest stature imaginable. A king is a ruler, and Janaka was no slouch in this area. He could protect his citizens very well. He also gave high deference to righteousness. He never committed a sin. He followed his occupational duties with detachment. He wasn’t swayed one way or the other by personal desires or worries over missing out on fun. He knew what was right, and in that way he set the best example.

What if the winner of the contest came from a family that wasn’t so high in stature? What if the father of the groom was evil and wicked-minded? It wouldn’t be a good match for Sita. Janaka wasn’t so worried on this front, as the contest was very difficult. The winner would be the first person to lift an extremely heavy bow. There was every chance that no one would be able to do it.

From the above referenced verse from the Janaki Mangala, we see that the match in family for Sita could not have been more perfect. Here the two fathers are meeting. Shri Rama from Ayodhya won the contest. His father was King Dasharatha, who was invited to Janakpur to attend the marriage ceremony. Goswami Tulsidas says that there is nothing in the three worlds that can compare to that image of the two fathers meeting.

Dasharatha_with_RamaImagine if you found the perfect person. Alter the definition of perfect to suit the circumstance. In this instance, Janaka was the perfect king. He had no flaws in him, and his daughter was an extension of his greatness. Now imagine that you found an identical match and had him meet Janaka. It’s like getting a pitcher in baseball to pitch two perfect games in a row. It’s like having a bowler bowl two consecutive games of 300. Actually, this meeting was even more difficult to imagine, as both Dasharatha and Janaka were equal to one another. Dasharatha was pious like Janaka, and Janaka had wonderful children like Dasharatha. It was as if God had ordained that the two families should be joined.

Of course that is exactly what had happened. Rama is the Supreme Lord and Sita His wife. Rama is an incarnation of the original Personality of Godhead, who is all-attractive and thus known as Krishna. Krishna can accept an unlimited number of wives, while Rama accepts only Sita. As Sita and Rama thus have a unique relationship, the relationship between the two fathers is not surprisingly unique as well.

In Closing:

At vision of kings meeting you stare,

Realize nothing in three worlds to compare.


Janaka ideal in every way,

Same of Dasharatha to say.


Since contest outcome not known,

Possible mismatch in Sita’s hand to own.


As if God Himself did ordain,

Perfect match of Shri Rama came.

Categories: janaki mangala

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