Sita’s distress

Lakshmanasya vachaha srutwaa

daarunam Janakaatmajaa,

Param Vishaadam-aagamya

Vydehee nipapaataha (U. Kan. Sar: 48 Sl; 1)

Sita’s reaction to what Lakshmana said is obvious from the above sloka. It was so distressing to swallow them that she lost her balance and fell down. A little later, she recovered from the shock she sustained and said to him:

“Lakshmana! Really it looks as if Brahma has created my body only to experience suffering. I have therefore become an embodiment of sorrow.”

 

Past karma of Sita?

“In the previous life,” she asked, “What sin had I committed? Or had I separated, one from one’s wife? Although I am possessed of an unimpeachable and pure record of the past, hasn’t the Maharaja given me up? Even in the recent past in the forest when I had to undergo trials and tribulations, I was quite happy in the forest ashram by serving Sri Rama as his constant companion.”

 

“But Lakshmana! queried Sita, “How can I live in this ashram without people dear to me around? Grief stricken as I am, with whom should I have my trials and tribulations? Sumitranandana! I would have cast off my body in the holy waters of Ganga by now. But that would have meant an end to my husband’s family tree. Hence I cannot do that. Lakshmana! You act according to Maharaja’s command, whatever it is. Overwhelmed with sorrow that I am, you may leave me alone. But for your part, dedicate yourself to Sri Rama’s service. Besides, I want a favour from you. On my behalf, offer equal pranams to my three mothers-in-law. In the same way, offer prostration to the Maharaja and make kind enquiries about his health. In addition pay due respects on my behalf to all the ladies in the palace and tell them all about me. I have also a message you should convey to the Maharaja who is ever wedded to the path of righteous administration.”

 

Sita wanted Lakshmana to convey the undermentioned  message:

“Jaanaasi cha yathaa shuddhaa

Sitaa tattvena Raghava

Bhaktyaa cha parayaa yukata

hita cha thava nityashaha” (U. Kan. Sar: 48, Sl; 12)

 

“Raghava!” Sita wanted Lakshmana to tell Rama, “you are well aware that the supremely devoted Sita ever interested in your welfare is a pure soul. Afraid of public ridicule, you have left me. Whatever is the cause of public criticism levelled against you or whatever may be reason for which I am the instrumentality, it is my obligation to dispel the underlying doubt. For, you are my supreme source of support.

 

“Lakshmana!” said Sita, “you should without fail convey one more message to the Maharaja.” it read:

“Maharaja! Just as you are totally immersed in righteous intercourse with people, in the same way, you should carry on with your brothers. That is the best course of righteous action for you. And in this way, you will earn everlasting fame of a high order. It is in the fitness of things that you should deal with the citizens in consonance with dharmic tenets. I for one do not bother or worry about my physical frame. You should adopt such policy that enables you to avoid accusations being levelled against you. For a woman, however, the husband is the God, the Guru and the relative. So whatever she does that is very dear to him is more than her own life.”

 

Sita was particular about another important message:

“Nitreekshya maadya gatcha

twam-ritukaala-ativartineem” (U. Kan. Sar: 48 Sl; 18)

 

Suggesting the fact of her carrying Sri Rama’s child, not known to anyone except Rama himself. This explains the reason why she did not choose to die by casting off her body in the river. This was as much to Lakshmana and Rama as to the whole gamut of their subjects. But having known the subjects too well, she revealed it to him as part of and prelude to public revelation, thus driving one more nail into the coffin of suspicion against her – against the possibility of erroneous public opinion that she started her pregnancy only after she entered the forest, as it was not true.

 

Lakshmana felt very unhappy with her predicament. He was crying loudly. He could not do anything to solve her problem. All that he could muster was to compose himself to tell her she was beyond all shadow of sin. After offering prostration to her, he felt the place, exposing Sita to the vagaries of the forest. He crossed the river and crestfallen, got into the chariot soon. Sita saw the chariot until it disappeared from her vision.

There was nobody to care for her, bar the sound of the forest peacocks. She burst into tears again.

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