MANDODARI : THE WIFE OF RAVANA
The king of the giants, king Maya was married to an elf Hema. A beautiful daughter was born to them. But the elf neither had any affection for Maya nor for the newborn baby. So when the gods called her, she deserted the baby and went to heaven. In the absence of his wife, Maya showered all his love and affection on the baby. He named her Mandodari and always kept her with him.
Once, Maya was wandering on the earth along with his daughter. By that time Mandodari had attained the age of 15 years and was having lot of radiance and beauty. They were in the dense forests when Ravana, the demon king of Lanka happened to meet Maya. The king of the giants and the demon king introduced themselves to each other. Introducing his great lineage, Ravana begged Maya for his daughter. Maya gladly accepted the proposal and on an auspicious moment married Mandodari to Ravana and gave him a lot of divine and deadly weapons as gifts. Mandodari, the daughter of Maya came to be known as the better half of Ravana.
Though Ravana had married many women who hailed from the demigods, god and Naga communities, but Mandodari always remained his favorite among them and the most beloved to Ravana. Mandodari always wished well for Ravana and tried to maintain him on the pious path. She always protested though humbly of his misdeeds. The chastity of Mandodari already intimated her that all-pervasive almighty, Lord Rama had taken birth in Ayodhya. When Ravana abducted Sita craftily, Mandodari quietly and humbly tried to convince Ravana: "O my lord, Shri Rama is not an ordinary person. He is none other than the almighty, omnipotent, Satchidananda, Supreme Being Himself. Do not disrespect Him. Having enmity with Him might be disastrous. Vaidehi Sita is none other than Jagadjanini (mother of all beings), Yogamaya herself. This enmity is not good for you. Please return Sitaji to Shri Rama. We should then hand over the kingdom of Lanka to Meghanaad and go to the forests to concentrate our minds in Kausalendra (the lord of Kaushala- Lord Rama). He is the ocean of pity, He will definitely show grace on us".
Thus Mandodari prayed to Ravana not once but many uncountable times. All of her nights used to pass like that. But Ravana did never show disregard for her words, nor did he ever scold her. He simply used to laugh away at her talks, such a serious matter that led to his destruction at last. The behaviour of Ravana towards Mandodari was remarkable because when his real brother Vibhishan tried to convince him to return Sita and make friends with Rama, he had kicked Vibhishan out of the court. On another occasion, Ravana badly reprimanded his maternal grandfather Malyavana for a similar matter. But he never scolded Mandodari for he knew for certain that his wife had always wished well for him in her heart.
But destiny had something else to offer to Mandodari. Ravana was killed by Rama in a fierce battle. Mandodari was mourning on the dead body of Ravana when Shri Rama saw her with grace. Lord Rama bestowed the full grace on the daughter of Maya and instantly the mantle of illusion that was surrounding her disappeared. Nothing then remained like mourning or attachment.