Continued from Previous Page
Sita under the Simsupa Vriksha isn the Asoka Vana wonders for long as to whether what she hears in the song from somewhere is a reality, a demonic deception or indulgence in mere day-dreaming or wishful thinking.
She remembers Lakshmana at this juncture for he alone is the one who can see through the tricks and deceptive charms of the demons. After seeing the Kapi in the foliage, her wonder grows.
She remembers her experiences with her lord in the vana. She thinks of the various paricharyas and chores she has left behind for Lakshmana to perform. Rama's sacred and delicate feet get hot owing to the tapas of the seers around. They need the attention and service of a devout servant. Her musings with all her sensibility and a delicate, pathetic concern in the epic move the readers to tears. Here as always, Sita appears an embodiment of marital devotion at the highest level of the ideal.
She wonders whether her imagination and wish would ever be fulfilled. Would she be taken to her lord, or would the lord come seeking her ?
She thinks of the people waiting earerly for their return at the end of the 14-year exile, exposed to the rgours of the hot sun.
These musings reveal Sita's concern for the people, for her mother-in-law her sisters and to everyone who has admiration for her lord.
Sundara Kaanda reads like acommentary on the Samhita in Taittreya Upanishad. Upaasana needs to be done for the lokas, for the people and their welfare. Ramas is the aakasa tattwa. She, being the mark of the ploughed earth is the prithwitatwa. Ra is symbolic of agni, Aa of Surya and Ma of chandra. The one who bridges the two is the sandhana karta Vaayu. Hanuman is Vaayuputra the one who brings liaison.
Anjaneya is Agni and Vaayu. He is also the acharya who makes possible the liaison between vidya and the learner. The Sundara Kaanda is a subtle commentary on the metaphysical secret reality.
28th August 1987
On being assured by Sita that she is Sri Rama's wife. Hanuman's joy knows no bounds. Having told her the story of the great lord to the extent he narrated to convince her of his authenticity, he prostrates once again before here. He continues that Sri Rama asked him to tell her that he (Rama) has been well. On seeing the empty cottage he calls out loudly in all the ten directions till be becomes hoarse. At this stage Hanuman pays the greatest tribute to Lakshma, who, out of devotion to his brother and his sister-in-law, has suffered his hair to go into knotted plaits.
Then he tells her of the brief and vital message of Jataayu and his death thereafter. Sita breaks into a wall and wipes her tears on the soiled saree fringe. This gesture of Sita makes Hanuman conclude that she is born of the earth-every atom of her being having the quality and fragrance of the earth. The earth is gandha (fragrance). “Gandhavati pruthivi”, our scriptures say. Since, she inheres in her the best and the basic qualities of the elements, the Supreme Mother is invoked to enter through the door of fragrance in the prayers. Gandha dwaraam dura darsham nitya pushtaam karishineem. When once she hears of the sad news of Jataayu's death, her eyes seem to have given up the earth quality and assumed the sky quality and the water quality. From her eyes come out tears of sadness to deep for words.
The Upanishad says : Apa yeva sasarja aadau. Between karma and jnaana lies Upaasana. Upaasana is like a lamp in the deoorway shedding light both in the room and outside. It wipes both karma and jnaana. To the ordinary eye Sita would appear just as an ordinary woman shedding tears of grief. Put in her eye the Yogi Hanuman sees a jasmine in full blossom and gets the divine fragrance emanating therefrom.
The reference to jasmine (malli) would suggest Mallikarjuna. Lataanta is flower. In the female appearance the Kavisamrat indentifies Sita with Ananadavalli, a creeper with a flower at its tip – Ananda. Sita still suspects him to be Ravana or his agent. She warns him that wiles could only lead him to disaster.
18th September 1987
Sita warns the person approaching her in the form of a brahmachari that wiles could lead one only to hell. She reminds him of the nature of a buffalo which refuses to be led. Wiles and guiles would destroy his entire vamsa from the very roots.
She tells him that she does not care for her body. He could if he so desires cut her into pieces, roast and eat them before her Lord would make his appearance there. If only she had willed she could have stopped the nabhilagnapavamaana, the breath, in him.
This makes Hanuman shed tears again. Sita sees the tears held in the dent left by Indra's blow on Hanuman's cheek and realises that he could not be the enemy or his agent.
To elicit more amout him and to verify his authenticity she asks him to tell her Raamakatha. If he were really a messenger from her Lord he should be able to describe the lotus-eyed, the delectable faced Rama with a body, the chest of dharma-dharma manjooshika gaatra.
Hanuman is happy and makes obeisance again and tells her more or Rama. What Hanuman tells Sita in this context reminds us of Agnidyotana in the Mahabhaagavatha. He tells her that Rama has been made for her and she for Rama. Agnidyotana says the same of Sri Krishna and Rukmini. Hanuman tells sita that he has seen in her kundalini personified. He has seen her snake like enger.
The Chandogya Upanishad speaks of Agnisomeeya Vidya which enables a saadhaka to keep the balance of heat (fire) and coolness (moonlight). When Rama is agni Sita is soma. The two can never be separated. This is the significance of parama Siva going to the cold mountain. The Lord and his consort cannot be separated. If a coin is split into two loses its value altogether.
The Ramayana reveals tatwa, dharma and yadhaaratha all at the same time. What is more, it is intesely human. Epics like these are the perpetual life-giving streams sustaining us and our culture.
20th September 1987
Hanuman tells Sita that her heart is the mirror which has in it Rama's image. He convinces her how he has been blessed to understand her. He sees Rama in her and would describe him accordingly. He is Tripura Sundara and she is Tripura Sundari.
Rama's face is such that whoever is blessed to have a glance at it would enter a state of samaadhi. Aasana Suddhi, concentration and the resultant enihanted condition all would follow without any conscious effort. A smile would always be dancing on his face even when he is slightly angry. The tingle and the radiance of a smile would never fade from his face. He goes on to describe Rama's cheeks lips, chin and their symmetry. He describes his arms reaching up to his knees. His fingers on the bow send out music as from a veena. Veena naada is significant here. Naada is the manifestation of the divine Supreme. Naada is Brahma.
Hanuman asks Sita if he who had come with his left foot first into Lanka could be an emissary of Ravana. He tells her how he has come crossing the hundred Yojana ocean to see her and deliver the lord's message. He goes on with the efforts to convince her.
Rama's body is hot and his eyes wet in the night. Lakshmana has sent her his pranaams. He is Yatiloka and Atilokaseela a Charanasarasa bhakta.
Sita is addressed a vaarnidhi. Anjaneya leapt the ocean only to see a mightier one in Sita.
He is puzzled as to why he who is trusted by Rama is not being trusted by Sita. He bemoans that all his efforts would be laid waste if she would not trust him. He finally tells her that the head which is bowed before her is the head which bowed before Sri Rama.
Hanuman is the yogi who has mastered vaak. The Taittreya Upanishad brings out the significance of Hanus and Anjaneya is none other than Hanuman.
September, 22nd 1987
The Supreme Being is not only beyond words but also beyond ordinary thought. So says even the Upanishad : Yatovaachonivartante apraapya manasa saha. Hanuman describes Sri Rama to the best of his ability to convince Sita of his acquaintance with him. His words reveal his intuitive comprehension and anubhuti visesha. Hanuman looks at Sita's feet and realises that there can be no words to describe them. Such are the feet of Sri Rama too.
Comprehending the Supreme Being with the intellect is almost impossible. What is needed is the ability to feel and experience with instinct. Hanuman narrates to Sita how very soon she would be able to see her Lord's face. The Lord's face has the symmetry of lotus. It has asthami chandra sobha. The radiance is immense. In the Suklapaksha on the eighth day, there is half moon and on the same day in the Krishnapaksha there is the other inverted half. Reckoned together, these have the 16 kalas which can be seen in the samyoga of the Supreme Being and the Supreme Mother. Hanuman sees before his mind's eye the unity and the oneness of the divine pair of fet. In his bhaavana he sees the feet inseperably together. He realises their viyoga to be self-imposed, self-ordained and if suffered.
Sri Rama has his eyes in the shape of the first fish reminiscent of the Matsyavataara. The Lalita sahasranaama describes the Supreme Mother's eyes in mucfh the same way : Vaktralakshimi pareevaha chalan meena-bhalochana.
Sita asks Hanuman to describe to her the sareera-samsthana, the symmetry of the body of the Lord. It is not merely an attempt to verify the authenticity of the messenger. Sita's purpose is deeper. One who has been an ardent devotee of her Lord and one at such close quarters with a divine gift would be able to notice and understand the saamudrika lakshanas of her Lord too. The gifted devotee should be able to tell her the future of their reunion. Sri Rama's success in the impending battle and so on.
Hanuman tells Sita in placid terms that when he arrived in Lanka he did so in the belief that he was born to be Sri Rama's messenger alone. He has enough knowledge of the quality of jagadoddharana in Sri Rama and hence his reference to the eyes of the Lord which bring to our mind his earlier incarnation Matsyavataara.
The point that sage Valmiki as well as the Kavisamrat make is that there is a resemblance between the figures of Sri Rama and Sita. In the Ushah Khanda the white radiance emerges breaking and dispelling the black of the darkness and this is an omen foreboding abhyudaya. What is abhyudaya for Sita is destruction for Ravana.
29th October 1987
Maunavyakhaya (silent explanation) is the quality of the great preceptor. Surya is such a guru and Hanuman is his disciple. Sri Surya is “Karmasaakshi” also. Hanuman's leap over the ocean is symbolic. He has transformed the radiance of the “jeevi” into sound and he prays to Sri Surya in words.
The light that radiates the splendour of Sri Sita is in Sri Rama Separated from her lord, she is benefit of radiance. With Hanuman's arrival in Lanka her radiance is restored.
Hanuman narrates in detail the sequence of events that led to his leaping over the ocean to deliver the Lord's message. With his detailed descriptions, he wins her confidence and tells her that Sri Rama would arrive there within a month and set her free.
In a moment of supreme enlightenment he tells Sri Sita that her separation from the Lord is just for the confusion and grief of the ordinary. In reality the Lord and his consort are inseparable. The two have ever been one, safe and secure in each others' hearts. Only the innocent and the credulous would believe that they suffer the pangs of separation and suffer the agony themselves. Hanuman thus pities the ignorant. This makes Sita wonder who this one could be who has such a deep concern, sympathy and affection for the world. She asks him to tell her his history.
The Supreme Mother hearing of Hanuman's feat tells him that it is the nature of a monkey to leap. While praising him, she subtly restrains his pride. Sri Rama would shoot an arrow he would not leap. She asks Hanuman to go back to Sri Rama and fetch him soon so that the place of her bondage may be set fire to. This in fact suggests the idea of setting Lanka on fire.
Sita speaks with concern about Lakshmana and praises the Vaanaras for being blessed with the presence of her Lord emaciated by “viyoga”. He would look more enchanting than ever in that condition. She herself would have burnt Lanka but it is for her Lord to destroy evil. Hanuman learns restraint from her.
At this stage, Sita asks Hanuman a very intricate question. Man's feeling for his wife could be either “Swamyatwa” (feeling of ownership) “Swatmatwa (feeling of oneness and identity). Of the two which is Sri Rama's attitude towards her ? Hanuman makes it clear that the pangs of separation suffered by Sri Rama revealed not so much his “Swamytwa” as his “Swatmatwa”. Sri Rama's “Viyoga” is of a different quality from that of Sugreeva's. His desolation is for his consort, his “aatmalakshana” and “aatmaswaroopa” that is Sita.
But Sita tells him that Sri Rama is more “Raja Rama” than Sita Rama. He is in fact many : Ayodhya Rama. Kausalya Rama. Dasaratha Rama and Raja Rama.
It is the model of a perfect king that predominates his personality. He is a consummate exemplar of state-craft.
If die she must she would die after having a darshan of her Lord. Hence her entreaty to Hanuman to go back to her Lord.
4th November 1987
Sita contemplates on the eyes of her lord and breaks into lyrical exuberance. She remembers her lord leaning on her after offering prayers to Sandhya and looking at the golden swans in the lake touched by the raidance of the setting sun.
Sita is the mainfestation of Sandhya. At that time the swans are reflected in her and she is reflected in her golden hue in the swans. Whenever Rama leans either to the right or the left, either at dawn or dusk he contimplates on the feeling of she being himself. That is sohamevabhava. The two together make the day and the night.
Sri Rama contemplates akhanda kaala swaroopa. Sita realises that her lord knows that she is he. Sita in her sati dharma dwells in ecstatic joy envisioning the beautiful eyes of her lord which she describes in lyrical variations.
Sri Rama's eyes are such that a look at them would remove the dross on the mirror that her manas is. This she does always, repeatedly. Of all the bathes, the bathe in His name is the holiest.
Hanuman understands that Sita is yogini, pure an embodiment of the highest morals, a pastmaster in warcraft, a devotee and a deena on top of all she is described at nootanagnishika, a new flame of fire.
Agni, fire, has three qualities : It ean consume, enlighten and cook by pervading from within. Hanuman entreats her to keep herself alive with her yoga sakti till Rama arrives. A flame that she is, She is capable of burning herself too.
The next moment Hanuman calls her a mass of the coolness of the moon suggesting that she is the cool and benevolent mother. He offers to carry her on his shoulders to the utter dismay of the demons and take her back. But the divine mother tells him that her feet would touch the ground if she sat on his shoulders. Thus she subtly restrains his pride. But very soon she praises the deflated and dejected Hanuman. He has the power but still it is for her lord to punish the evil demon. Hanuman finds in Sita's eyes the quality of a cloud in saratkaala which has aardrata, a kind of soft coolness. Sita understands that Hanuman is hurt. To alleviate it she speaks softly and praises his achievement.
Asked for an abhijna, token, she tells him that his power and truth alone would do for that. Then the very ring which he would take back would show that the vapour from her tears has left its impress thereon. She tells him that he would go away leaving her alone and wretched the moment she gave him a token.
18th December 1987
None else but the blessed poets could have envisioned with their hearts the beauty in the wanderings of Sri Rama with Sri Sita and Lakshmana through forests. The bees mistake their hands for the lotuses they pluck. Sri Sita describes to Hanuman at the juncture of being asked for an abhijna the sports of her Lord.
She narrates to him the episode of Kaakasura. When the Lord is asleed in her lap, a crow bothered her scratching at her breast with his beak. The redness is noticed by Sri Rama when he got up for a while. He jests. “how full of raaga you are;” saga Valmiki describes this at length. The Kavisamrat too does this though briefly with lyrical sweetness. It is not merely the story of the crow as Sri Sita tells Hanuman. The incident is an intimate detail known only to her and her Lord.
Sri Sita tells Hanuman the nature of a woman. She does not complain to her Lord about the bother and the suffering. When Sri Rama learns the reson for the streaks of red on her bossom. He shoots the Brahmaastra which makes the crow fall at this feet after trying in vain to get the protection of several powers. Another significance of the episode is Sri Sita's subtle suggestion that if the crow deserved such punishment why not Ravana ?
The people with whom Sri Rama is connected are of three types. The first type are those that show great affection at first and later harm him like Kaikeyi. The second is the one who troubles first and later comforts like Kabandha. The third is the one punished by him but ultimately forgiven like Kaakasura.
Telling him that she depends on him and his capacity to persuade Sri Rama to come to rescue her she gives him the choodamani. It was the rare jewel that once king Dasaratha gave to Kausalya to assuage her grief for his not visiting her more frequently. She wanted to keep it for ever. She even thought of using it to end herself as a last resort.
The moment Hanuman receives the token he is shaken, he could not withstand its stupendous heaviness. The choodamani in his hand makes what is not sabda. What is nirguna becomes saguna. Paraaroopa transforms itself into Vykhariroopa and manifests as sabha. The choodameni, is a symbol of parabrahmatatwa . It is like hiranyagarbha, the cosmic state of mind in swapna the middle stage among the three jaagrat, swapna and sushupti the secrets of which are unravelled in the Maandookyaupanishad.
7th November, 1987
The Chudamani in his hand makes Hanuman shiver a huge mountain convulsed by a frightful storm. He realises that, his vaunts apart, he is just a doota.
Sita conveys the message to be delivered to her Lord. The very dust on the Lord's feet is the crimson mark in the parting of hair.
The dust on the lotus feet of the Lord is a symbol of his power and his glory. The sand and dust come down to land from the mountain through the waters of the rain. The sacred Ganges comes down from the Lord's feet. Aakasa is “Viehnupaada” “Asksahstallingath”.
While speaking of the grace of her Lord. Sita tells Hanuman how she asked him once for a red-bordered black saree with which the lord mischievously wiped his feet after returning from a stroll. This kind of upachara to the Lord is sanathana dharma-the quality of a devoted wife, saadhwi lakshna,. Sanathana is not merely the age old but also the ever lasting.
Sita is woe-begone that she had not the good fortune of wearing the dust of his feet on her forehead for such a long time since her abduction. Her thoughts are suggestive of Sri Sankara's description. “Taaneeyamsum paamsum tava charana pankeruha bhavam”. Hanuman in his reply continues the trope. He assuress her that the Lord would scatter the flower dust from the creeper of his bow. Pranava is the bow, aatma is the arrow and the target is Brahma. Then the jasmine bud of her face would blossom making everything around sweet with the ripening of spring into vaisakha.
Sita observes that Hanuman looked disappointed when she asked him not to kill Ravana. She tells him that like valour, flow of life, longevity, and like one's own action, so is commitment and success. It is time and the Lord's grace that make what one is and renders one what one is.
Thus she unravels what strikes Hanuman as the mysterious reason for her restraining him.
Hanuman arrives safe for he carried the Lord's token, the auguleeya. He would also return safe for he carries Her token now. He has learnt the mantra and mastered it now. The Rigveda says-agnimeelepurohitam. In Usha-khanda he has the darshan of the mother. In the Diva-khanda he is going on his own charged with the power obtained through her blessing.
20th December 1987