Article: Rājīmatī

Contributed by M. Whitney Kelting

Related rituals

This manuscript painting shows Prince Nemi’s renunciation in two parts. First he visits his fiancée Princess Rājīmatī and then he flees the scene, upset by the distress of the animals about to be killed for his wedding feast

Nemi's renunciation
Image by Wellcome Trust Library © Wellcome Library, London

The story of Nemi and Rājīmatī has strong associations with renunciation and marriage, clearly brought out in rituals performed each year and frequently at weddings. At first glance the two concepts of renunciation and marriage might seem to be direct opposites, but they can be thought of as complementary states for Jains within the notion of the fourfold community.

Devcand’s 18th-century text, Nemanāth Saloko, is recited annually on Śrāvaṇ bright fifth, the day on which Nemi and Rājīmatī were to be married and on which Nemi renounced the world.

The annual recitation is linked to the Saubhāgya Pañcami Tap – 'Auspiciousness Fifth Fast' – which blesses a woman with a long and healthy marriage. Nemanāth Saloko has also been recited at weddings, as this act is widely believed to bless marriages.

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