“Bhagavan means the Almighty God who is the controller of all opulences, power, fame, beauty, knowledge and renunciation. He is the protector of His pure devotees.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.1.12 Purport)
When God came to earth in the form of Lord Rama, He spent fourteen years ranging the forest as an exile with His wife Sita and younger brother Lakshmana. Around twelve years into their exile term, they were living in a cottage they had set up, when a Rakshasa in the guise of a deer came by and caught the eye of Sita.
At the time, the Rakshasas, an evil race of demons who lived off the flesh of humans and other animals, were wreaking havoc throughout the forest, disrupting the sacrifices of the sages. Their leader was Ravana, the ten-headed one. Ravana was feared by all, for he had procured various boons from the demigods that made him almost invincible. His sister Shurpanakha had come by Rama’s cottage previously and propositioned Rama, which then led to an argument, with Lakshmana eventually disfiguring her. In retaliation, the Rakshasas mounted an attack against Rama, which the Lord easily thwarted. Fourteen thousand Rakshasas were slain by Rama in that battle, a fact which greatly angered Ravana. Ravana then devised a plan whereby another Rakshasa named Maricha would come in the guise of a deer and distract Rama and Lakshmana, leaving the path clear for him to swoop in and kidnap Sita.
Upon seeing the deer, Sita wanted to have it, alive if possible. Lord Rama loved His wife very much, so He was more than willing to accept her request. Lakshmana had a strong feeling that the deer was in fact Maricha, but Lord Rama insisted on catching the deer anyway. Unfortunately, events would play out as Ravana had planned, with Rama chasing and killing Maricha, Lakshmana coming to the Lord’s side, and Sita being kidnapped by Ravana.
Now this was all preordained by the demigods, since they needed an excuse for Rama to go after Ravana and to kill him. Kshatriya warriors strictly follow the codes of conduct, which state that an enemy shouldn’t be attacked without cause. Sita Devi was the ticking time bomb, if you will, which led to Ravana’s demise. The Lord agreed to chase after the deer because He treats His devotees differently that He does ordinary people. Sita Devi never asked for anything in her life. She was completely devoted to the Lord’s welfare, even following Him to the forest just so she could support Him in His darkest hour. She easily could have remained in her father-in-law’s kingdom of Ayodhya, but she chose to bear the austere life in the woods simply for the sake of her husband. Rama knew the sacrifices she had made for Him, so He was more than willing to return the favor.
This same type of behavior is exhibited by parents. All children are different, each having their own qualities and needs. If a child is very obedient and nice and never gets into trouble, the parents tend to be more lenient when that child makes a mistake. On the reverse side, if a child is very mischievous, always looking for ways to break the rules, then the parents tend to be much stricter and less likely to grant favors to such a child. God is the same way with us. If we are devoted to Him and only seek to make Him happy, then He rewards our devotion by removing all our sinful reactions. It is said that if one simply eats prasadam, food first offered to the Lord, all sinful reactions become eradicated. The reason for this is that such food is completely spiritual and immune from the effects of karma. If we prepare food for our own satisfaction, it is considered sinful since it keeps us bound to the material world. Any attachment we have for material things keeps us tied to the repeated cycle of birth and death. Eating prasadam brings us in contact with Krishna, which helps us break the attachment we have to the material world.
“It goes against tradition, looks unseemly, and smacks of willfulness on the part of a wife to command her husband in this way, but I am sunk in surprise seeing the countenance of the deer.” (Sita Devi speaking to Lord Rama, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, Sec 43)
Sita Devi was so nice that she felt bad asking the Lord for this one favor of catching the deer. She apologized for even making such a request, for she knew it was against the standard Vedic etiquette prescribed for wives. In loving relationships, we often see women asking for nice things such as jewelry and expensive clothing. Men naturally like to please their significant other, so they are usually quite willing to go the extra mile to secure their happiness. The Valentine’s Day holiday is built around this concept. On that one special day each year, women expect gifts from their paramours, and the men feel the pressure to live up to the expectations of the female. Sita and Rama’s relationship was above this, for it was something out of the spiritual world. Prior to leaving for the forest, Sita gave away all her valuables to the brahmanas and their wives. Along with her husband, Sita was the ultimate renunciate. Rama knew all of this, and that is why He didn’t hesitate in responding to His wife’s request, for He knew how rarely she ever asked for anything.
God always goes the extra mile to please His devotees. When Krishna personally came to earth, He showed similar favoritism to His wives in Dvaraka. As a great king, the Lord simultaneously maintained 16,108 wives. They all loved Him very much and cherished association with Him, so the Lord expanded Himself in order to simultaneously be with each wife separately. Narada Muni came to earth and witnessed this phenomenon. During the rasa-lila in Vrindavana, Lord Krishna similarly expanded Himself so that each gopi (cowherd girl) could enjoy personal association with Him. This was all done to please those who completely depended on Him for everything. Let us all become top-notch devotees so that we too can enjoy VIP treatment from the Lord.
Categories: glories of sita devi