The Devas, Gandharvas and rakshasas, having witnessed the end of Ravana, slain by Sri Rama, returned from the lively but peaceful atmosphere of Lanka to their respective places, relating to another on their return journey, the incidents that culminated in the removal of the rakshasa gaint, which according to many is the climax of Ramayana. Undoubtedly it was as much a climax as it was a crowing success for Sri Rama and his righteous forces. But an alarming complication to the turn of events and a new climax was in store not only for Sita, the dame in distress, but for all readers of the great epic, after the exit of Ravana!
A glorious symbol
Before we reach the most distressing situation and dreary chapter in Valmiki’s epic it is necessary to know the chronological order of events leading to what the author feels was the vital factor that raised Sita’s name to the level of illimitable glory – a glorious symbol of Indian womanhood. Valmiki’s portrayal is brilliant but the atmosphere that descended later was poignant and tear-jerking.
The subject that figured prominently in discussions among the Devas, Gandharvas and the rakshasas centered round the killing of the mighty warrior Ravana, the fierce strength and indomitable courage of Sri Rama, a just war fought by the Vaanaras, Sugreeva’s ministerial capability, the over flowing but dedicated love and affection, respect and loyalty that both Hanuman and Lakshmana had towards Rama, besides their valour and fighting qualities and, above all, Sita’s righteous conduct and her imperishable dhyana every second of her Lord Sri Rama despite being subjected to mental torture that seemed to shatter her unbounded physical energy in Ravana’s wretched captivity in the abominable atmosphere of the Ashoka Vana in Lanka. These were topics that filled the satisfied hearts of those who had witnessed events that led to the fall of Ravana.
The chariot of Gods
Sri Rama was adept at priorities and the first thing he did was to return the chariot of Gods given by Indra specifically for the purpose of arming the former to fulfil his obligations successfully in the epic battle with Ravana. The chariot was not an ordinary one but glowing with divine effulgence, studded as it was with myriads of topaz lights and jacinth work like the adornments of a bejeweled and requested him to take it back to Devaloka. After the usual formalities, Maathali got into the chariot and flew towards Devaloka.
The moment Maathali left, Sri Rama gave a very loving hug to Sugreeva as a token of gratitude for the signal service rendered by him and his entourage. The arch villain of Ramayana was no more!
Lakshmana offered prostration to Rama, his elder brother, as a fitting finale to their joint efforts at vanquishing the enemy.
The commanders of the Vaanara army then paid their ceremonial and customary respects before they all retired to the army barracks.