“He is the source of light in all luminous objects. He is beyond the darkness of matter and is unmanifested. He is knowledge, He is the object of knowledge, and He is the goal of knowledge. He is situated in everyone’s heart.” (Lord Krishna speaking about His Paramatma feature, Bhagavad-gita, 13.18)
When Lord Krishna advented on earth as Lord Rama many thousands of years ago, He was much loved and adored by the citizens of Ayodhya. Maharaja Dashratha, the king of Ayodhya at the time, desperately wished to have a son, and the birth of Rama fulfilled that wish. When Krishna incarnates on earth, knowledge of His divinity is usually unknown to most except for His most confidential associates. From His very birth, people could tell that Lord Rama had extraordinary qualities though they didn’t know that He was God Himself. Since Rama was a very pious prince, dedicated to the principles of dharma, or religiosity, He captured the hearts and minds of all those who knew Him. People loved Him so much that they would compare Him to the sun by saying that Rama possessed an effulgence greater than that exuded by the sun itself.
The sun is the ultimate source of energy. An astral body capable of providing warmth and light to the entire solar system, its potency is unconceivable to the mortal man. Scientists have studied it since the beginning of time, and they have yet to get their arms around how it functions and how it is able to sustain itself. Its potency is so underrated that mankind mistakenly attributes gradual increases in temperatures to the activities of humans. The modern day phenomenon of global warming is actually a result of increased solar activity. People tend to think that by driving their cars or by flying in airplanes, the earth’s average temperature is increasing. According to Vedic philosophy, the sun is the driving factor in our lives and is thus worthy of worship. Without the sun, we would not have the necessary light and energy to grow our food, without which we would all starve to death. Even with our advancements in technology, our electric lighting system pales in comparison to the natural light provided by the sun. For this reason, the Vedas prescribe daily worship of the sun in the morning. The famous gayatri mantra is directed at the sun. This mantra is so powerful that Lord Krishna Himself would regularly chant it as part of His daily routine while living as a king in Dvaraka.
Since the sun was considered such an important object, the people of Ayodhya used it as a reference point when comparing the brilliance of Lord Rama. In making such a comparison, they were actually giving us a hint into the divinity of Lord Rama. According to Vedic philosophy, Krishna, or God, is the original source of energy in this world. The light emanating from Him is much greater than that of the sun.
“The Supersoul, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the source of light in all luminous objects like the sun, moon, stars, etc.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 13.18 Purport)
God is realized in three distinct aspects: impersonal Brahman, Paramatma, and Bhagavan. His glaring effulgence, known as the brahmajyoti, is the source of the impersonal Brahman, which pervades this material world. Paramatma is God’s expansion as the Supersoul, which rests in the hearts of all living entities. Bhagavan is the original Personality of Godhead, represented by God Himself who is a person. This aspect of God is the one naturally conceived of by living entities.
“The total material substance, called Brahman, is the source of birth, and it is that Brahman that I impregnate, making possible the births of all living beings, O son of Bharata.” (Bg. 14.3)
Similar to the sun, Brahman is actually much more powerful. At the end of each creation, the entire material world merges into God, and then is released again at the time of the next creation. Similar to the concept of the sun rays emanating from the sun, the living entities are sparks released from the original source who is God.
“Henceforth, if people through ignorance say that the sun has not that burning flood of light which in Rama does shine forth, woe to them, it is falsehood.” (Sita Devi speaking to Lord Rama, Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodhya Kand, Sec 29)
Sita Devi was the incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi, whose appearance on earth coincided with that of Lord Rama’s. In the spiritual world, God is always served by His pleasure potency expansion, known as hladini-shakti. Krishna is the energetic, and His consorts are His energy. Lakshmi is always serving God in the spiritual world, so naturally she performs the same functions when appearing in the material world. Sita was married to Rama, and the two were enjoying married life for several years when suddenly their peaceful life was disturbed. Dashratha had chosen Rama to succeed him as king, however he was forced to change his mind due to the request of his youngest wife Kaikeyi. Instead of becoming the new king, Rama was ordered to renounce the kingdom and live in the forest for fourteen years. The Lord had no problem with such a request, but He was worried how His wife would handle the news. Upon hearing the new plans, Sita insisted that she serve the exile period with Rama. The Lord was against such an idea because forest life was very dangerous and not fit for a woman. After putting forth a series of cogent and religiously sound arguments in her favor, Rama still rejected her request. Finally, Sita resorted to psychological tactics by comparing the Lord’s actions to that of a woman. In the above mentioned passage, she says that people must have been wrong when they claimed Rama to be more effulgent than the sun. Now obviously Sita knew that the citizens were correct, for Rama was God Himself. She was only making such statements out of loving affection. By making fun of her husband, she was hoping that the Lord would change His mind and allow her to come along. That is eventually what happened, so one can conclude that her tactics were successful.
The lesson to be learned from Sita’s statement is that God is actually much more powerful than the sun. In His personal form as Bhagavan, He is the ultimate source of energy. There is a class of transcendentalists known as the Mayavadis who prefer to worship only the impersonal Brahman. By trying to negate all activities, the Mayavadis hope to one day merge into the brahmajyoti and achieve liberation from the cycle of birth and death. However, we can see from history that souls merged in the Brahman effulgence don’t necessarily stay there forever. The living entities, being spirit souls that are part and parcel yet separate from Krishna, relish their individualism at their core. Merging into the brahmajyoti means losing one’s individuality. Since this isn’t our natural tendency, there remains all the possibility of being released from that energy and returning to the material world.
The highest form of worship comes from realizing God in His original feature of Bhagavan. This realization can be achieved by following the principles of bhakti yoga, or devotional service. Devotees prefer to keep their individuality and serve God instead of merging into Him. In the spiritual planets of Vaikunthaloka and Krishnaloka, which are above the brahmajyoti, devotees have personal association with God in His various forms. The relationship in the spiritual world is in the manner that the devotees want. Some serve as Krishna’s friend, servant, or conjugal lover. These mellows are known as rasas and they represent the highest form of liberation. Sita Devi was a perfect practitioner of bhakti yoga, for she served God directly while He enacted His pastimes on earth. We should all follow her lead and practice the principles of bhakti yoga and ultimately enjoy eternal association with the Lord.
Categories: glories of sita devi