Oct 01, 2023
Oct 01, 2023
Amongst all the characters of Indian Epics, Sitaji stands out as a shining example for us all, men and women, to follow. In philosophical terms, all those who have "desire", are classified as "Prakirti" - female. Only those of us who are completely without desires of any sort; undisturbed by pangs of "want, wish and desire", are classified as "Purush" - male. In her various forms, the Prakirti can be fierce - like Kali, innocent and playful - like Radha, or if its desires are of a nurturing sort, she is classified as "mother". Hence, Sitaji is an ideal role model for us all. She personifies the primordial "Mother Goddess" and embodies all the characteristics of the ideal "mother".
Amongst all the great role models of our history, and mythology, Sitaji is one of the most down to earth. Perhaps, that is why she chose Earth as her "Mother". Like the Earth, She too is full of compassion, patience, generosity and forgiveness. We ruthlessly plough the earth with sharp metal tools, yet she forgives us and grants us bountiful crops to sustain our lives. Everyday, we carelessly "kick" her with our feet, and yet, she bears it with infinite patience, saying, "Child is bound to kick in the mother's womb. I am glad that my children are full of such vigor. " We mindlessly squander earth's precious resources with such terrible haste, yet, she is ever compassionate and forgives our thoughtless exploitations.
Similarly, Sitaji was also full of kindness and understanding, even to those who had wronged her. For example, after the battle of Lanka, Hannumanji came to bring her the good news of Ravan's death. Seeing Hanumanji's wrath, the rakshashies of Lanka sought Sitaji's protection. Having already seen how the female guards of Sitaji had harassed her earlier, Hanumaji said, "Mother, let me now punish these wicked creatures who tormented you so mercilessly. Now they hide behind your skirts, but they surely deserve severe punishment for all the evil they have done in the past." Eternally compassionate, Sitaji calmed him down by saying, "Son, these poor wretches were simply carrying out their orders. Just as you follow your master's orders with such zeal, so did they. Is it right to punish servants for the folly of their masters? Forgive them for my sake. They have really shown me great lenience, and only pretended to harass me in front of Ravan. In his absence, they often comforted me and gave me hope of seeing my be loved Lord again."
With tearful eyes, Hanumanji bowed his head, "Mother, you are more compassionate than Lord Rama. His wrath consumed the entire army of Lanka, were as you will not let me singe a single hair of these wicked women. You are truly kindness personified."
Having just returned from the fourteen years exile, Sitaji was sent on yet another exile by the people of Ayodhaya. Malicious rumor and cruel gossip separated the loving pair. At least in the first exile Sitaji had the company of her husband and brother-in-law to protect her and comfort her. In this second exile, she was all alone. The pain and hurt of a pregnant woman, abandoned all alone in the jungles of central India, must have been intense. Yet, she did not falter. Perhaps the first "Single Parent" of the Hindu epics, she raised her twins in the Ashram of Rishi Valmiki. Never did she let her pain and hurt color the minds of her children. Lavaa and Kush grew up to respect their "King".
At her final meeting with her Lord, Sitaji was firm in her resolve - never to be doubted again. With great confidence, she requested her mother - Goddess Earth, to reclaim her and vindicate her in public - Once and for all. When Mother Earth came to comfort her daughter, the universe witnessed Sitaji's piety and blameless past. No one could ever question her character again. Patient and dutiful to the last, Sitaji never wavered in her compassion for all humanity. She requested Lord Rama to forgive those who had caused her such grief, and not to pursue her in the nether regions of the Universe. "Needs of the many, out-weigh the needs of the one. Kingdom of Avadha needs the leadership of Lord Rama. That is his primary duty. All personal considerations pale in to insignificance."
Shri Rama-Krishna Pramahansa, guru and guide of Swami Vivekananda, had a vision of the eternally compassionate Sitaji. So charmed was he by her kind smile, that the Goddess granted him Her smile as Her parting gift. Every time Shri Rama-Krishna spoke of Sitaji, tears would roll down his cheeks. "She suffered so much, but blamed no one. Instead, she blessed those who designed to hurt her. Her compassion is truly boundless."
More by : Bhagwat K. Shah