Definition - What does Manthara mean?

Manthara is a hunchbacked character in the epic Hindu poem, "Ramayana." The evil servant of Queen Kaikeyi, Manthara played a key role in the exile of Lord Rama. Although manthara means "hunchbacked" in Sanskrit, her name has also come to mean “someone who conspires.”

"Ramayana" is the story of the life of Rama, a prince who was believed to be the seventh major incarnation of Vishnu and, in the context of yoga, is seen metaphorically as the supreme yogi.

Yogapedia explains Manthara

In some versions of the story, the gods oppose the coronation of Rama as the successor to King Dasharatha and so prevail upon Goddess Saraswati to use Manthara to stop the coronation. Manthara implores Kaikeyi, who is Dasharatha's second wife, to name her son, Bharata, as his successor and to banish Rama. Eventually, Dasharatha dies, but Bharata refuses the throne and urges Rama to return.

Another version of the tale involves Manthara, also known as Kooni, playing a stick-and-ball game with a young Rama who becomes angry and breaks Manthara's knee with a stick. As the story goes, Manthara held a grudge against Rama, setting the stage for her later actions that led to his exile.

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