Seated among the brothers with down-cast eyes was Sri Rama sporting only a place face.
He said to Lakshmana and others:
“Sarve srunuta bhadram vo
maa kurudhwam mano-anyathaa,
Pouraanaam mama Sitaayaam
yaadrishee vartate kathaa.” (U. Ka 45 – 2)
“Brothers!” he said, “God bless you! Without diverting your mind and attention on other matters, know what our people are talking in their respective homes about me and Sita.”
Referring to what he called “pouraapavaada,” Rama said to them, “people in towns and provinces have only a very low profile of and an opinion about me. This has been cutting into the vitals of my physical frame like a veritable knife.”
Sita’s conduct unassailable
“I was born” defended Rama, “in the great family tree of the great Ikshvaakus. In the same way, Sita hails from the illustrious family of Janaka.”
“Lakshmana! You are well aware how, in the uninhabited Dandakaaranya forest, Ravana abducted Sita and how I killed him to rescue the unimpeachable Sita. Then the puzzling question as to how I could take back one, who had spent such a long time in Ravana’s palace, confronted me. In order to prove her supreme purity, Sita fell into the fire in your very presence. And in the presence of all the devatas, Agni deva manifested himself and declared that Vaidehi was blemishless. Vayu, Chandra and Surya also proclaimed in front of the devatas and Rishis present that she was free from taint. It is only after being cleared by all that Sita had sacred inviolable frame that I accepted her personally in the presence of all from the foremost of devatas, Indra.”
“Even from the innermost recesses of heart” continued Rama, “I know that the reputed Sita is a perfection of purity. For this reason alone, I had brought her back to Ayodhya. But the news of the charge of impurity has spread in all directions. The people of the country in general and of the towns in particular have put a burdensome accusation on me against the way I have accepted Sita. This public ridicule has made me extremely sad.”
Impact of public ridicule
Sri Rama explained the impact of dis-reputation a person suffers from and public ridicule he exposes himself to with the words:
loke bhatasya kasyachit
yaavat-shabdaha prakeertyate: (U. Kanda: Sar 45, Sl.12)
Whenever a person’s dis-reputation becomes the subject of public discussion, such a person will be virtually consigned to hell and remain so as long as the discussion continues.”
The devatas condemn dis-reputation in the whole gamut of the universe. In the same way, however, they praise reputation. All the plans and deeds attributable to Mahaans or Mahatmas take genesis only for the sole purpose of achieving reputation.”
Apyaham jeevitam jahyaam
Kimpunarjanakaatmajaam? (Sar 45, Sl:14)
“Great among men!” said he, “In order to avoid fear of public ridicule, I am prepared to give up my life. I may give up you too! If that is so, what can I say anything about giving up even Sita?”
“You see how I am immersed in an ocean of sorrow. I do not remember to have gone through a state more of sorrowful experience.”
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