Lord Rama, the most
famous incarnation of God, appeared on Rama-navami He is known as Maryada
Purusottama and is the emblem righteousness. His life and teachings of
morality in office are as relevant for us today as when He appeared nearly
20 million years ago:
"The emperor [Dasaratha] held his four
mighty sons, who had issued from his body, as dear as his own arms. Of the
four, Lord Rama was the king's most beloved son, and like a Brahma He
excelled all others in virtue. Indeed, He was the eternal Lord Sri
Vishnu, and had advented Himself in the world of men on behalf of the
Devas, who desired the slaying of Ravana."
"He was a son unequalled in the world,
and resembled Dasaratha in the possession of good qualities. He never
spoke an untruth, He offered all respect to the learned and the elderly;
the people adored Him, and He loved the people. His transcendental
body was free from disease and the influence of old age. He was eloquent,
beautiful, and adaptable to circumstances. He knew the heart of every man
on earth [being omniscient], and He alone was aloof from the world of
matter. He alone was possessed of all conceivable qualities who was the
king's son, and was as dear to the people as their own hearts."
"He was loved by His father's
subjects, and ever increased His sire's delight. Lord Rama was endowed
with dazzling transcendental qualities, and He was haloed as if by the
rays of the sun. The earth personified adored Him who was possessed of
such virtues, who was unconquerable, who was courageous, and who was the
unequalled Lord of all."
story of Ramayana is not only a book of virtues and deeds performed by Sri
Rama as Avatar of Vishnu, but is also a book of love. Love in various
forms as Bhakti, is in fact behind the reason why Lord Vishnu has decided
to take birth in a mortal body as Sri Rama and bring back to humanity the
experience of true love which at that time seemed to be badly neglected.
Humanity was very much engulfed in material life experience, the spiritual
site of human life being almost forgotten.
whole divine play ('lila') of Ramayana epic was orchestrated in heaven.
Lord Vishnu has accepted to come to earth in a human form as Lila Avatar
('a divine incarnation in order to perform a divine play') as Sri Rama.
The Lord accepted that in the beginning of his play on earth, not to be
aware about his divine nature, but his awareness has to come in a natural
way under the circumstances encountered. His beloved wife Lakshmi came
along as Sita, so the Lord will not miss her, as she was his better half.
Sita is thus born in the kingdom of Videha. Her birth was a mystery from
the beginning. It was said that she was found in a container in the form
of an egg on a furrow, on a day when King Janaka was doing some work in
the field. This mysterious birth seems to have deep significance, Sita
being thus born by the Mother Earth from an egg that signify any future
creation. King Janaka took the 'daughter of the Earth' with him and rose
her as his own daughter.
childhood Sita received a good education. She liked to sing, thus king
Janaka arranged to train her in playing musical instruments. Her voice was
sweet, her presence was lovely and enchanting. People around loved her
very much. Her musical skills were so proficient that other versions of
Ramayana beside Valmiki's, described her as being a Gandharva girl, a
heavenly musical virtuoso. Thus her skills and abilities were able to
match the best Gandharvas in heaven. But Sita was much more, as Valmiki
and later on Tulsidasa in his devotional Ramayana known as
Ramacharitamanasa has written.
many years, the time for Sita's marriage has arrived and king Janaka
knowing that something unusual was about his adopted daughter, has decided
to marry her only with an unusual man. Thus he setup a contest involving
Shiva's bow, a mighty weapon that was seen as impossible to be used by any
mortal. King Janaka was convinced that his daughter has divine origin and
only a man of similar extraction could marry her.
before considering the marriage of Sita to Rama, some issues about Sri
Rama has to be taken into consideration. Rama was the elder son of King
Dasharatha, his mother being Kaushalya. Rama's birth has also mystery
involved, his mother becoming pregnant only after drinking a divine
essence (Payasa) that was obtained by King Dasharatha after a successful
performance of Putra Kameshti Yajna fire-sacrifice. All Dasharatha's
queens became pregnant approximately in the same time period, giving birth
to four sons at short interval one of each other. However Kaushalya was
Dasharatha's major queen and Rama was born first of all brothers. These
issues have also significance. Rama's brothers were, according to the
divine plan masterminded in heaven, Vishnu's manifestations or attributes.
Thus it was from the very beginning that the four brothers were all united
and all love each other very much. However Rama emerged as leader of all
brothers, his qualities and way of behaviour were in such a way that all
brothers obey naturally to their elder brother Rama. As Ramayana story
unfolds, various other forms of Bhakti are practiced and expressed by Sri
Rama, the brotherly love was just one of them.
youth was full of joy and marked by a solid education given by the family
high priest Vasishtha. Vasishtha was an important player of the entire
game. As one of the seven seers (Sapta Rishis) Vasishtha was a star in the
Ursa Major constellation and came along with Lord Vishnu as Sri Rama to
participate actively in the entire play. Other gods or demigods came also
by taking partial or full incarnations all players being well described by
Ramayana story all along. Some gods and demigods stay in heaven and were
watching closely the development of the play. Ramayana describes them as
being attentive to what was going on. During significant occasions, gods
and demigods in heaven were showering flowers, Gandharvas (heavenly
minstrels) were singing and Apsaras (heavenly nymphs/ damsels) dancing.
Thus it might be considered that one party was taking place on earth and
another party in heaven, gods and demigods witnessing Vishnu's play by
monitoring his moves, decisions and the entire game with great interest.
the play started really in motion when Vishvamitra, a seer a Gayatri
Mantra, arrived at Ayodhya in order to ask for Rama and Lakshmana's help.
Dasharatha reluctantly agreed, later on it was proved that Rama and
Lakshmana have indeed successfully protected Vishvamitra's fire-sacrifice.
Then, Vishvamitra, Rama and Lakshmana, they all went to the kingsdom of
Koshala where King Janaka was reigning. On their arrival they found out
about the contest for Sita's hand and Rama under Vishvamitra's advice
decided to compete. The news spread out and Sita heard also about two
princes from Ayodhya visiting King Janaka but she has not seen them yet.
From this point on the story takes a significant turn with the chance
encounter of Sita and Rama in a garden.
was a lover of flowers and nature. While she was walking as usually in her
favorite garden she saw a handsome young man collecting flower and
perspiring. Sita was very much surprised by the seeing of the young man
and could not understand why he was perspiring from such an effort of
picking up flowers. On the other hand Sita was mesmerized on the spot my
seeing Rama. Her feminine intuition was telling her that is something
special about this man. She has the feelings of recognizing Rama:
"Oh, this is my darling!" she said to herself. However the
reason intervened in Sita's thought and a multitude of questions arose,
but certainly she could not explain what was going on.
his turn Rama was spell bound by seeing Sita. His emotions were so high
that he spontaneously started to sweat and Sita has seen him in such a
condition. Rama's feelings run high, he has the urge to go and embrace
that lovely girl, but reason came along telling him to control himself
from such a behaviour, as Sita was not his wife. The two young people were
deeply marked by the encounter and Sita has inquired about that young man
she saw in the garden. On learning that he was prince Rama from Ayodhya,
she was trilled at first by knowing this. But later on Sita became worried
about Rama's prowess to be able to lift and string the mighty bow of
Shiva, as she saw him perspiring in the garden by simply collecting
the first encounter between Sri Rama and Sita the most significant moment
of the whole play has arrived. The condition set up in heaven was that
both Rama and Sita will be aware about their divine origin gradually.
Although Rama was educated by a high priest like Vasishtha, he did not
awaken by studying scriptures or listening to holy Satsang, although he
has the inexplicable feelings of being something unusual about himself.
However, Vasishtha knew about Rama's divine origin but he kept this secret
canceled considering that Rama was immature and unable to be awakened by
anything but his divine Shakti.
is a deep significance in this. Rama as embodiment of the pure
consciousness that is Lord Vishnu cannot be manifested in nature without
the help of Maya, that being his manifestation in the universe. His Maya
in the form of Sita on the other hand, does not have awareness but only
the power of manifestation as the classical Advaita Vedanta philosophy
points out. Thus the process of awakening of the two main protagonists of
the play, Sri Rama and Sita, started. From that moment on, a process of
gradual awakening occurred, both of them becoming more and more aware
about their divine nature.
divine plan starts to develop quickly. Rama manages to lift, string and
break the bow thus he wins Sita's hand. It was a great jubilation both on
earth and in heaven, as gods and demigods shower flowers, Gandharnas sing
and Apsaras dance. Preparations for the marriage begin, envoys were sent
to King Dasharatha to invite him and all his entourage to the great
was the greatest marriage the world could ever seen. This is mainly for
the deep significance of the event, as God in the form of Sri Rama
descends on earth to set things up right. But the marriage was great also
at earthly level, as both Kings Janaka and Dasharatha have done their best
to provide everything needed. Although King Janaka was responsible for
providing all necessary for to wedding to be performed, the high priest
Vasishtha has used the power of his divine cow Surabhi to provide anything
else needed for the event.
people were present, Brahmanas, sages and priests from other kingdoms came
to participate in the event. Various gods and demigods were present, the
most relevant being Lord Shiva's presence. Lord Shiva's presence with his
retinue was paramount. As scriptures say, Lord Rama was Lord Shiva's Ishta
Devata, he was even present when Sri Rama was born. Food, music and dance
were in abundance. For a couple of days the joyous atmosphere was
penetrating far beyond the area of earthly compound, the whole heaven was
in a joyous mood as their Lord Vishnu as Lord Rama marries his beloved.
Participants were well dressed as much as everyone could afford, there
were gifts to Brahmanas and people around, all in the name of Sri Rama
himself. As appropriate to his position as bridegroom, Sri Rama has
received various gifts. However for Sita, the beauty of ornaments of gold,
grand saris and other feminine articles could not be described. Rama was
highly enchanted by the beauty of Sita so nicely dressed and his love for
her grew deeper.
moment of performance of the marriage itself has arrived in the last day.
The time for various priests to do their duties was ready. There were many
priests from other kingdoms, followers either of Sun or Moon traditions.
One by one the priests consecrated the marriage of Sri Rama to Sita in
their traditional way, but it was King Janaka who put Sita's hand in
Rama's. This handling is highly significant, the moment marks the marriage
of consciousness (Cit) to nature (Prakriti). God becomes manifest and
nature becomes conscious. It was a high spiritual moment marking the setup
in motion of Sri Rama's mission on earth.
the two protagonists, Sri Rama and Sita were not carried out totally by
events. Although they participated fully into all the happenings, the
process of merging one in each other has stared. It was music and
happiness around but Sita's mind did not loose the attention towards her
Lord, as Rama's mind was towards Sita also. Divine love manifested in
their every move, Lord Vishnu has found his Shakti after a brief break
that was a personal sacrifice indeed.
marriage ceremony concluded, people went to their homes but Sri Rama and
his new Sita Devi stayed for a couple of more days in Janaka's palaces.
The divine play of love started to be beautifully manifested between the
two lovers. Kaushalya, Rama's mother, has taken the duty of instructing
Sita about Rama, what he likes and how he should be treated in order for
him to be happy and for Sita to gain the best out of their love. Rama was
very happy that Sita has taken such good lessons from his mother and just
adored Sita seeing how she behaves and how much she was devoted to him.
was definitely Madhurya Bhavana, the attitude of manifesting with
sweetness of feelings one to each other. King Dasharatha enjoyed very much
to see his favorite son being happy and adored by such a beautiful and
lovely woman. He was deeply moved by seeing scenes of tenderness and
affection of the new couple. Being very old King Dasharatha was
contemplating the idea of being born again in the next life as a child of
such divine lovers, Rama and Sita.
lovely couple gradually learned about their divine origin and their
purpose on earth. As they became aware of what they were doing on earth,
what followed was no more but a play in which they consciously
participated. Thus things will develop according to the plan, gods and
demigods in heaven monitoring the game and taking delight in seeing the
forces of evil gradually annihilated.
a while, King Dasharatha's entourage returns to Ayodhya and the life
continues until the next ingredient of the play arrives. Rama instead of
being installed as King in waiting, he is forced on moral reason, to go
and live in the forest for 14 years. Being well aware about this
development he takes along with him Sita and Lakshmana and goes to live in
the forest traveling south of India. However the so called punishment is
not quite so, both Rama and Sita find great peace and contentment to live
in the forest amid of beautiful rivers, birds, forest animals, grass,
trees and flowers that enchant the three people. Lakshmana, Rama's
brother, was very careful to provide any facility that makes Rama and Sita
happy, he constructs huts and provides food in abundance.
the forest life, Rama and Sita were happy indeed. They left the city life,
the noise and many obligations to settle in such an environment where love
could blossom and the earthy life is made a paradise. The epic describes
in beautiful words the life of Sita, Rama and Lakshmana in the forests.
Many acts of bravery were done against demons infecting the forests.
During the forest life Rama, Sita and Lakshmana have the chance to visit
many hermits, retired sages that were part of the play itself. Famous high
spirits like Agastya, Atri and his devoted wife Anasuya, Bharadvaja,
Shabari, Sharabhanga, Sutikshna were visited and many blessings obtained.
At this point, the epic has to develop in a more conclusive way and the
episode of Sita's abduction has arrived.
abduction is in fact the allegory of separation of lovers. When love that
flourishes is interrupted, disaster struck and great tribulations arrive.
The reason for the big confrontation, that of abduction of Sita by Ravana, the King of
is well chosen. Thus interruption of love is seen as a great sin and
whoever did it deserves severe punishment. Confrontations occurred and a
big war seems to escalate, as Sita was kept safely guarded by women in a
grove mountain. As Sita is far away, Rama was able to concentrate on his
main work as Avatar, that of destroying forces of evil humanity was almost
mastered by. He forms strategic alliances and manifests great bravery.
Finally the forces of
darkness led by demon king Ravana are being destroyed.
Sita is safely recovered and Rama, Sita and Lakshmana go back to Ayodhya
where the faithful brother Bharata has acted as proxy on the royal throne
on behalf of Rama.
this point on love takes another twist, Rama's coronation takes place and
finally he is installed king
by the high priest Vasishtha and Sita becomes his queen. They have
obligations in their royal duties, their love takes now more the form of
love for humanity. This love is more difficult that any other love,
various versions of Ramayana end up with a different story regarding how
the story concluded. Some scholars consider Valmiki's Ramayana ending with
chapter six containing Rama's return to Ayodhya, his coronation and the
teachings he gives to humanity. A so-called trial of Sita's purity
occurred in various versions. However, the conclusion of Ramayana story
has to come as consistent with the whole writing. Interpolations can
occurred usually after such a long span of time since the writing of
Valmiki's Ramayana (during the 3rd millennium BC), the base of all
are good reasons to consider this. Gradually, as progress is made in the
development of the epic, all Rama's qualities are well explained, his love
for justice, his good conduct and behaviour towards people, his exemplary
love for his wife, etc. All the good teachings are already explained in
the six chapters of Valmiki's Ramayana. The last chapter containing the
banishment of Sita to the forest to live in the ashram of Valmiki does not
make any sense and does not look at all to be a logical continuation of
chapter six. As Valmiki's Ramayana is the oldest version, all other
Ramayanas created later on, even they might integrated very well into the
new version the disputed last chapter of Valmiki's Ramayana, this
integration is really non relevant. This is a statement on logical
there is also a spiritual ground that is even more relevant. Why Lord
Vishnu as Lord Rama has to banish his beloved Lakshmi Devi as Sita Devi?
The goal of vanquishing the forces of evil has been achieved.
Reconstruction of moral values of the new humanity had started and Dharma
was revitalized. The Lord did not come to teach humanity that God could
listen to the nonsense of folk people and fulfill their gossiping by
taking the decision to banish to the forest his beloved eternal Shakti.
Ramayana is a story of bravery, dignity and moral values of the Hindu
Dharma and has nothing to do with an intrigue that is a way of life at the
level of village people. It was such an intrigue inserted in the Ramayana
story that basically triggers the so-called banishment of Sita by Rama in
order to make happy his subjects.
act cannot be Dharma, but just another trick of the forces of evil that
were able to modify the original Ramayana of Valmiki and create confusion
for the prophecy to be fulfilled later on. This confusion has created a
lot of anguish over many centuries, people trying to find an explanation
of Rama's act of banishing Sita on moral grounds of Dharma in various
ways. But these kinds of explanations are really nonsense, the so-called
banishment of Sita is another trick forces of evil play.
coming to earth in order to teach Dharma, the Lord has clearly indicated
from the core of Ramayana of Valmiki his exemplary love for his eternal
wife. The whole episode of banishing Sita to the forest by God Himself
does not look to be a valuable teaching at all. Such an end to a beautiful
love story will throw humanity in chaos and the whole lesson to humanity
done by Lord Rama after such a great effort will be seen as futile. If
Rama as God is not able to protect his own wife who else is able to do
this then? After all, after such a great war and destruction occurred in
order to save his wife, it appears without any consistency that he will
decide to depart with his beloved wife because some people in a village do
question her chastity according to their village rules. By doing this
Rama's status as hero would be considerably diminished and unable to
recover no matter what other acts of virtues he might do in the future for
his subjects in kingdom of Ayodhya.
separation from Sita will deny his very quality as God and the embodiment
of Bhakti because the consort is inseparable from him. The whole Hindu
tradition has a firm foundation in Bhakti and the belief that major gods
have the dual inseparable aspect as male and female. Divine love goes
beyond the common understanding, there is no way of separation of a divine
couple and there is no valuable teaching to follow without a happy end to
a love story. This is Sanatana Dharma of the spotless eternal love of Sri
Rama and Sita