“He who follows this imperishable path of devotional service and who completely engages himself with faith, making Me the supreme goal, is very, very dear to Me.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 12.20)
Adultery, also known as extramarital sexual activity, involves a married person having intimate relations with another person whom they are not married to. Though very common in modern times, it is still an act frowned upon by most in society. All the major religions of the world shun the practice.
Adultery is viewed so negatively because it represents infidelity. Fidelity means faithfulness to one’s obligations or duties. It is a highly regarded quality because faithfulness reveals personal characteristics of a person. A faithful person can be counted on in times of trouble, someone you can trust when you need them. We have all been burned by people who have either lied to us or cheated us. It is never a good feeling because it brings about a sense of insecurity. Whether we like it or not, we depend on others for our livelihoods, and trust is an integral part of that dependence. A person who commits adultery demonstrates that they are not able to be faithful to probably the most important relationship in their life, their marriage. If one cannot depend on their husband or wife, then they really can’t depend on anyone. This loss of faith leads to feelings of mistrust in everyone, which leads to people turning into misers. The modern day litigious society is an outgrowth of the general feelings of mistrust that exist in people. Everyone thinks that everyone else is cheating them, so they must be very defensive and protective to counteract the actions of others.
A marriage is between a man and a woman for life, and it involves firm faith and commitment to one another. This is the declaration of the Vedas, the ancient scriptures of India. Accordingly, the husband and wife are each appointed specific duties in the marriage. The husband is given the duty of providing full and complete protection to his wife, and the wife is obligated to serve and follow her husband wherever he may go. The marriage system was invented by God so that people could have a regulated form of sex life. Not only is the act of adultery frowned upon in the Vedas, but all sexual activity done for mere sense gratification, even with one’s spouse, is considered detrimental to one’s spiritual advancement. According to Vedic injunctions, sex life should only occur between a husband and wife, and then only for the purpose of procreation. The Vedas strongly regulate sexual activity because it leads to overstimulation of the senses.
Through overeating, intoxication, gambling, and illicit sex life, our senses become unnaturally stimulated. The sense organs are our form of enjoyment in this material world, but left unchecked, one can become a slave to them. This repeated attempt at satisfying the senses causes the spirit soul to be bound to this material world. According to Vedic philosophy, the living entities, which include human beings, animals, and even plants, are all spirit souls at the core. We have been given various bodies in this material world due to our desires and past karma. Karma means that activity which produces a positive or negative material reaction. Since most of our activity is done on this platform, we naturally build up our karma. Karma is determined by our activities, which are driven by our desires. At the time of death, our desires from this life are tallied, and we are given a new body in our next life suited to fulfill those desires. The problem is that our desires are endless since they involve sense gratification. The senses can never truly be satisfied, thus we are forced to repeatedly take birth. The Vedas advise one to regulate their senses so that they may take up the task of understanding God in this life. People who understand Krishna, or God, and think of Him at the time of death, don’t return to this material world, but instead go to Krishna’s spiritual world where they remain for eternity.
“And whoever, at the time of death, quits his body, remembering Me alone, at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt. Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, that state he will attain without fail… That abode of Mine is not illumined by the sun or moon, nor by electricity. One who reaches it never returns to this material world.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 8.5-6, 15.6)
Serving God is not on the platform of karma, for it is completely spiritual and yields no material result. In this age of Kali, the concept of regulating sense gratification is unknown to most. Instead, we have all becomes slaves to our senses through unrestricted sex life and incessant intoxication. The goal of life should be turn the tables and reach the point where the slave becomes the master. The living entity, when fixed up in Krishna consciousness, becomes the master of the senses.
Lord Rama, an incarnation of Lord Krishna, appeared on this earth many thousands of years ago to enact His pastimes and restore the principles of dharma, or religiosity, to society at large. In one of the incidents of His life, the Lord was ordered by His father, the king of Ayodhya, to spend fourteen years in the forest as an exile from the kingdom. This was actually the request of one of the king’s wives, but the king was obliged to grant the request due to previous promises he had made to her. Lord Rama had no problem with this order, but He knew that His wife Sita would not take the news too well. Sita Devi, the incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi, had been married to the Lord for several years at the time of the incident. Being God’s wife, she was completely pure and chaste. There was not even the slightest hint of sin to be found in her. Her life was completely dedicated to her husband.
“I have not, like one bringing stigma on her line, ever in my life thought of a second person, but of you whom I must follow into the forest.” (Sita Devi speaking to Lord Rama, Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodhya Kand, Sec 29)
Naturally, Lord Rama did not want Sita to come with Him to the forest. The woods are reserved for the wild animals and beasts. Amongst men, only the great sages, who had their senses completely under control, would even think of living in the forest. So the Lord tried His best to dissuade Sita from following. However, she was very obstinate and demanded that she be allowed to come. She put forth a series of arguments and the above referenced quote was one of them. Never in her life did she ever think of anyone except Lord Rama, who was God Himself. Her fidelity and dedication to Rama meant that she was the most commendable person on earth. Lord Rama was born into a very famous and pious dynasty known as the Ikshvakus. The Lord was dedicated to preserving the legacy and good name of His family. It was for this reason that He insisted on accepting His father’s demand, for to do otherwise would have meant that the Lord’s father had lied to his wife who made the request of exile. Unlike today’s political system where the ability to lie is considered a resume enhancement, kshatriya kings were dedicated to truthfulness and abiding by their word. A king who went back on his word was greatly scorned by the citizens and not treated very well in the afterlife. Sita, knowing her husband better than anybody else, knew that He was dedicated to preserving the good name of the Ikshvakus. It was for this reason that she made sure to mention that she had not brought their family any shame, for she was faithful to her husband not only in her actions, but in her thoughts. Sita, marrying into the Ikshvaku line, made the dynasty shine even more.
Sita Devi was the most faithful wife, but more importantly, the most faithful devotee of God. Throughout the course of her life, this faith would be severely tested, and she passed every single time. She easily could have remained in the kingdom and enjoyed the protections afforded to a princess, but she instead chose to remain faithful to her husband and follow Him no matter the time or circumstance. The Lord would eventually acquiesce and allow her to come, and as events played out, Sita would end up being kidnapped by the evil Rakshasa demon Ravana. While a prisoner in his kingdom, Sita was repeatedly propositioned by Ravana, but she never gave in. She told him that she would rather die than ever think of any other man except her husband. Even at the risk of death, she firmly remained on the path of devotion. We should all follow her example and be equally as faithful to Krishna.
Most of us seek enjoyment through acts of sense gratification. This is only natural since that is the animal instinct, and we are all born animal-like in quality. It is only through training from our parents, guardians, and spiritual guides that we become civilized. Aside from being detrimental to our spiritual advancement, addiction to sense gratification actually means we are being unfaithful to God. Krishna is the ultimate reservoir of pleasure, a fact which can be realized by practicing the principles of bhakti yoga, or devotional service. If we constantly chant the Lord’s names, offer prayers to Him, read about Him in the Vedic literatures, and learn to love Him, we will be on the road to liberation. Our goal should be to one day be as faithful to God as Sita Devi was.
Categories: glories of sita devi