Homesickness is the feeling of distress that comes from being away from one’s home for any extended period of time. We all have some sort of attachment to the place where we live and spend most of our time. Being away from such a place can bring about feelings of separation anxiety. Our home is where we feel safest and most comfortable since we are used to its surroundings. It is the center of our family life.
Our mother and father are two people we have great affection for. They are our caretakers and friends from the very beginning of our lives. One doesn’t have to learn how to love their parents, for it is a feeling that comes naturally. Our parents love us more than anybody else since they dedicate their lives to securing our well-being. Parents set aside their own interests for their children’s. For any person, it is very important to feel loved and cared for. According to Vedic philosophy, this material world is a place where miseries are guaranteed for everyone. The four primary miseries are birth, death, old age, and disease. At one point or another, we all suffer through times of chaos, murkiness, despair, tumult, humiliation, etc., so it is nice to have our family around to act as a support system.
Unfortunately, attachment to family and home can be detrimental if such an attachment hinders our spiritual growth. In the Shrimad Bhagavatam, it is said that one shouldn’t be a father, spiritual master, or leader unless they can deliver their dependents from the repeated cycle of birth and death. The living entities are all spirit souls in their original constitutional position, but they are forced to accept material bodies due to their desires, or karma. If one still has material desires at the time of death, then nature willingly obliges and gives another body in the form of a new life. In this way, birth and death are always repeating. The parents’ duty is to raise children that will hopefully be liberated from this cycle. This liberation can be secured by training the children in the traditions of Vedic culture with the aim of making devotees out of them. If one is taught to become attached to Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then they will surely think of Him at the time of death. By achieving such a consciousness, the soul is guaranteed to never take birth in the material world again.
“Therefore, Arjuna, you should always think of Me in the form of Krishna and at the same time carry out your prescribed duty of fighting. With your activities dedicated to Me and your mind and intelligence fixed on Me, you will attain Me without doubt.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 8.7)
So if we are fortunate enough to have parents that imbibe us with this spiritual knowledge, having attachment to our family is most beneficial. However, if our family is completely engrossed in material sense gratification, then too much attachment to them can be very detrimental. The Shrimad Bhagavatam gives us an example of such a case. A long time ago there was a great king by the name of Bharata Maharaja who was very pious. After performing his kingly duties, he took to a life of asceticism. Performing austerities, he focused all his time and energy on thinking of God. However, one day he came across a deer and became very attached to it. The deer became the focus of his life, so much so that at the time of his death, Bharata Maharaja could only think of the deer’s welfare. Due to this consciousness, he was forced to take birth as a deer in his next life. Eventually he would be successful in elevating himself to the platform of God consciousness, but the lesson to be learned is that we should not be overly attached to our loved ones.
In the case of Sita Devi, her attachment to her husband proved to be most beneficial, for she was married to God Himself in the form of Lord Rama. Lord Krishna expands Himself into human form from time to time when there is an increase in the practice of adharma, or irreligion.
“Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion-at that time I descend Myself.” (Lord Krishna, Bg. 4.7)
Many thousands of years ago, there was an evil Rakshasa demon named Ravana who was rising to power. All the brahmanas, or priestly class of men, were afraid of him since Ravana was dedicated to terrorizing them by disturbing their sacrifices and feasting off their flesh after killing them. For this reason, Lord Krishna personally appeared on earth in human form as Lord Rama. The Lord was an expert archer born in the kshatriya, or warrior, race. For His marriage, Rama won the hand of the beautiful princess of Videha. Janaki, better known as Sita Devi, was the daughter of Maharaja Janaka, the king of Mithila. She was the incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi, God’s consort in the spiritual world. The couple was married and living happily in the kingdom of Ayodhya, which was ruled by Maharaja Dashratha, Rama’s father. The couple’s marriage was tested on one specific occasion. Due to unforeseen events, Dashratha was one day forced to order his favorite and eldest son, Rama, to exit the kingdom and spend fourteen years as a recluse in the forest. Lord Rama had no problem with such a request since He was the ultimate renunciate. We all possess the quality of renunciation in varying degrees, but God exhibits this quality to the fullest extent. He is atmarama, meaning He is self-satisfied. He has no need for anything because He is complete in Himself. Ready to pack up and head for the forest, the Lord had one matter to take care of beforehand; telling His wife Sita of what had transpired. In telling her, the Lord requested Sita to remain in the kingdom and faithfully serve the royal family. He wanted to protect her from the dangers of the forest, for it was no place for a woman. The forest had none of the scented roads that existed in Ayodhya. One would have to tread on a hard ground filled with thorns and prickly grass along the way. For eating, one would have to survive on simple fruits and roots.
“I shall never think of my father, mother, or my home; I shall enjoy fruits and flowers growing in various seasons.” (Sita Devi speaking to Lord Rama, Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodhya Kand, Sec 30)
The conditions of the forest stood in stark contrast to those that existed in Ayodhya. Sita, however, had no problem giving up the regal life. She was determined to go with her husband, even if it meant going against His wishes. She protested the Lord’s request very firmly, and eventually her arguments won Him over. The above referenced quote unequivocally states that her prime attachment was to Lord Rama and not to her parents or home. Sita’s parents were highly pious individuals who taught her the rules of dharma from her childhood. Having an attachment to them wouldn’t be a bad thing at all. However, Sita was the greatest devotee of God, so her attachments were to Him. For devotees, their home is always with God. Be it temple, a house, or even the work place, if God is worshipped, talked about, and respected, then the devotee will feel at home. Bhaktas, or devotees, always keep Krishna in their hearts, thus they never feel homesick.
Through her thoughts, words, and deeds, Sita Devi proved to be an exemplary devotee. She is the mother of the universe, so we should all accept her as our original mother. Just as we love and respect our own parents, we should give the greatest deference to Sita’s teachings. We should always keep God with us and have an attachment to Him. This is the knowledge she wished to impart on future generations. By engaging in any of the nine processes of devotional service (hearing, chanting, remember, worshiping, serving the louts feet of the Lord, offering prayers, carry out the Lord’s orders, becoming friends with God, and surrendering everything to the Lord), we can gradually develop our attachment for Krishna. Our relationship with God transcends any relationship we may have in this material world. In fact, loving Krishna will actually make us love our friends and family even more. Let us all take up the process of devotional service by chanting the holy names of the Lord. By so doing, we can go back to our real home after this life, back to Godhead.
Categories: glories of sita devi