Agony and the Ecstasy

In accordance with Sri Rama’s command, the righteous Vibheeshana began to make arrangements befitting a queen to bring Sita to Rama’s vicinity. The first direction he gave as to ask the people who had gathered there to keep themselves at a respectable distance. Soldiers in uniform wielding sticks went about pushing all including the Vanaras and rakshasas to the background to make way for Sita. Then they stood around Rama as if in defence. The Vanara warriors stood and others stepped backwards as commanded by Vibheeshana’s men. But the atmosphere was not calm but very turbulent and as stormy as the weird sound generated by oceanic waves lashed by tempestuous winds. The commanding soldiers looked like winds of a tempest and the receding Vanaras and leapt like the waves lashed by nature! Commotion and confusion rent the air. The voice of Vanaras and the rumbling of the rakshasas and the jarring notes of the rest seemed to disturb the joy and solemnity of the occasion.

There was, however, one common aspiration which was the cause of all commotion. The whole gathering was very keen on having a glimpse of the queen of virtue, Sita Devi.

 

The Agony

It was not for long for Sri Rama to take a stock of the situation which appeared for a moment to go out of control and defeat the very purpose of all arrangements to bring Sita to Rama’s presence in the midst of all loving people. In a swift action mixed with impatience and lenience, he restrained Vibheeshana’s soldiers and dissuaded them from further imposition of restrictions. He ordered that nobody needed to go back.

With an indignant look seemingly serious enough to consume Vibheeshana, with a flurry of furious words. Sri Rama started admonishing him for the unwanted exercise against the people and the soldiers present.

“Without knowing my true intentions” said he, “why are your soldiers causing embarrassment to me by troubling these people? Better you stop at once one that causes anguish among them. All those who have assembled here are our own people. There are no aliens.”

 

Rama then proceeded to clarify his point to Vibheeshana:

“Na grihaani na vastraani na praakaaraastiraskriyaaha,

Naedrushaa Rajasatkaara vrittamaavaranam striyaaha

 

Neither houses, dresses nor forts can bring about secure embellishments to women. This kind of royal reception calculated to drive out people cannot bring credit to women. For them, good character constitutes an impregnable security.”

In times of grave difficulty or danger,” said Rama, “in times of bodily and mental afflictions, in wars, marriages, yajnas and Swayamvaras, if women see one another or even if ordinary people have a glimpse of women, no taint is associated with it; no taint is attached to it.”

“Accordingly,” he clarified, “Sita is in a difficult situation in this battlefield. Mentally also she is worried. There is therefore nothing wrong in others having a glimpse of her, nor in her seeing others. This apart, when she is coming to meet me, there is no question of any impropriety whatsoever. So let Sita come here watched by all. There is no need to stop anyone nor to push the onlookers back.”

“Let Vaidehi step out of the royal carriage,” directed Rama, “and come on foot to me. And as she comes down, let all the Vaanara soldiers take a glimpse of her.”

 

Vibheeshana thought over Rama’s words but decided it was proper to comply, with his command. With adherence to all courtesies that the occasion demand, he brought Sita to Rama’s place.

Agonizing was the reaction of Lakshmana, Sugreeva and Hanuman to Rama’s words. They were unhappy.

They thought that Rama no longer had any love for Sita considering what they imagined Rama’s mischievous behavior that was seemingly enough to suggest possible erosion of interest in her:

“Kalatra-nirapekshaisoha ingithairasya daarunaihi

Apreetham-iva Sitaayam tharkayanti sma Raaghavam”

(Ra. Yuddha Ka.Sa:  164: 33)

 

The Ecstasy

In accordance with Sri Rama’s directions, Sita got down from the royal carriage and started walking slowly towards Rama. There was an obvious expression of visible embarrassment in her gait with so many looking intently at her. Followed by Vibheeshana, she proceeded towards Rama and stood before him. She was sporting at that time the most peaceful facial expression. The daughter of Janaka, who had thought that the husband was heavenly God, witnessed the handsome countenance of Sri Rama with awe and reverence, love and affection, joy and cheerfulness.

Her being in Sri Rama’s presence greatly relieved the hangover of an agonizing past. Rama’s face was also effulgent like the brilliance of the rising moon. Added to it, face-to-face meeting after a long lapse of time had made her ecstatic and look like the blemishless moon.

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