“Loving attachment for Me is entirely absorbed in Vaidehi, and loving attachment for Sita is well absorbed in Me.” (Lord Rama speaking to Lakshmana, Valmiki Ramayana, Kishkindha Kand, 1.52)
This one statement tells us all we need to know about God and the relationship He has with His devotees. Through this one undeniable truth given to us by Lord Rama, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we get insight into the thought patterns of the Supreme Lord and also of those who depend upon Him for everything. Sita Devi, who is also known as Vaidehi, the princess of Videha, is the wife of Lord Rama and during her time on earth, she was faithfully engaged in the service of her husband. This devotion is known as anuvrata, and it showed that Sita was always thinking of Rama and dedicated to His welfare. From the Lord’s statement, we see that He was equally as devoted to her.
The concept of God conjures up different images in the minds of different people. Some take Him to be an old man, while others believe the Divine is a giant void, an all-powerful energy from whence this entire creation sprung. The Vedas, which emanate from India and are the oldest scriptures in existence, give us a different picture of the Supreme. As ananta-rupam, God can take to as many different forms as He chooses. This means that He can assume the guise of an old man, and also that of an impersonal energy. One of the ways to realize God is through understanding Brahman, the impersonal effulgence that emanates from the spiritual world. When we speak of effulgence, we refer to a light or sparkle, something similar to sunshine. While sunshine is certainly wonderful to behold, one cannot understand its nature without understanding its source: the sun. In a similar manner, one cannot understand Brahman without knowing where its properties descend from.
What does God look like? What are His features? Is He even a man? Vedic information states that of all the different expansions and forms, the original Godhead is Lord Krishna. His form is that of a young child, Shyamasundara. He has the complexion of a dark raincloud and is exquisitely beautiful. The word Krishna itself can mean blackish or all-attractive. The Lord is dark skinned, and His beauty attracts everyone. They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As a result, objects of beauty such as jewelry and ornaments may only appeal to certain people. Since God is all-attractive, He is appealing to everyone. He even attracts the atheists, or the non-believers. Since Krishna can take so many different forms, He has an expansion that suits every person’s desires. The atheists are attracted by matter, which is nothing more than an expansion of Krishna’s external energy.
“The symbol of devotional service in the highest degree is Radharani. Krishna is called Madana-mohana, which means that He is so attractive that He can defeat the attraction of thousands of Cupids. But Radharani is still more attractive, for She can even attract Krishna. Therefore devotees call Her Madana-mohana-mohini-the attractor of the attractor of Cupid.” (Shrila Prabhupada, The Nectar of Devotion, Ch 1)
When we see pictures of Krishna in His original form, there is usually a woman by His side. This woman is Shrimati Radharani, and she is more than just Krishna’s wife or girlfriend. Lord Krishna attracts everyone, but Radharani is so great that she even attracts Krishna. How does she do this? Since Radharani is a pure manifestation of the Lord’s energy, her devotion to the Lord is what catches His eye. Her heart is pure and everything she does is aimed at giving satisfaction to Krishna. In this regard, she is worthy of respect and worship from those seeking Krishna’s association.
Radha and Krishna represent the meeting of the energy with the energetic. Krishna is the original, so He is the source of all energy. In order for there to be an energetic, there must be energy. Radha is that energy, which is technically known as hladini-shakti, or pleasure potency. These terms are important to know because they can relate to us. God is the only energetic, but there are unlimited energies. As energy expansions of the Lord, we too are meant to give Krishna satisfaction. Currently we are in a separated state, unaware of our true nature and purpose.
Though Krishna is the original form of Godhead, He is kind enough to expand into other forms to attract devotees. If Krishna is all-attractive, why would He need other forms to attract people? The reason is that each one of us has a tendency to worship the Supreme Lord in a different way. Some of us like to think of the Lord in terms of a law-giver, the epitome of piety and virtue. Others like to think of Krishna in terms of a lover, a supreme object of pleasure. There are yet others who want to offer their service to God through parental affection, taking care of the Lord and making sure He is given every comfort.
To facilitate the desires of the devotees, God takes to different expansions. Many of these expansions make appearances in the material world. These forms are known as avataras, meaning those who descend from the spiritual world. The avatara has an eternally existing spiritual body which transcends material nature. One of Krishna’s most famous avataras is Lord Rama, the handsome and pious prince of Ayodhya. Lord Rama especially appeals to those who worship the Lord in the mood of chivalry and piety. Taking birth in the famous Ikshvaku dynasty, Rama gave special attention to dharma, or religiosity. He always wanted to set a good example for the citizens of Ayodhya, showing them how to abide by one’s prescribed duties in life.
While Krishna came to earth as Lord Rama, at the same time, Radha appeared as Sita Devi, the daughter of King Janaka of Mithila. One of Krishna’s primary incarnations in the spiritual world is that of Lord Narayana, the four-handed form of God who resides on the Vaikuntha planets. Narayana is very opulently dressed and full of awe-inspiring splendor, so He attracts those who view God as being all-powerful. Narayana’s wife is Lakshmi Devi, an expansion of the perfected pleasure-giving potency. Technically, Sita and Rama were incarnations of Lakshmi and Narayana, but there is really no difference between the forms of the various personal expansions and pleasure potency expansions. Vaishnavas, or devotees of Vishnu, generally worship Lakshmi-Narayana, Sita-Rama, or Radha-Krishna.
Since Lord Rama was so pious, it made sense that His wife Sita would be the same way. If one were to carefully study Sita’s life’s activities, they would be astonished by her behavior. Her kindness, generosity, and dedication to her husband were unmatched, firmly establishing her as a person not of this material world. To this day, Sita is an authority on issues pertaining to women’s rights, the proper role of a man and woman in a marriage, serving the elderly, raising children, worshiping the saintly class, and devotional service to God. Sita was a surrendered soul who did everything for the pleasure of her husband. This devotion would be put to the test on many occasions, the most notable of which was when she was forced to live as a prisoner on the island of Lanka.
Lord Rama was so nice that He never wanted anyone to suffer on His account. The Lord’s father, Maharaja Dasharatha, had a lapse of judgment which led to Rama’s exile from the kingdom for fourteen years. The Lord took this unpleasant turn of events in stride, but Sita and His younger brother, Lakshmana, refused to live without Rama; thus they came along to the forest with Him. While in the forest of Dandaka, Sita would be kidnapped by Ravana, a powerful demon that was capable of assuming different guises at will. While Rama and Lakshmana were searching for Sita’s whereabouts, they were advised to visit a beautiful lake called Pampa. When they reached the lake, springtime was approaching, so Rama started pointing out the different signs of the season to Lakshmana.
While discussing the natural beauty of the surroundings of the Pampa Lake, Rama remarked how Sita especially loved the spring season and how it increased her devotion to the Lord. She would see nice flowers coming to bloom and point them out to her husband. From Rama’s above referenced statement, we see that not only did Sita always think about Him, but the Lord also always thought about her. The lessons we can take away from this one statement are too many to count, but there is one issue that really stands out. There are many varieties of religion and worship, and if we take to one of these methods, we may not be sure if the Lord is watching us. “Is my worship really successful? Can God hear me? Can God see me?” From Lord Rama’s statement, we can understand that He most certainly does see and hear His devotees.
“When one is firmly convinced that Vishnu is the only object of love and worship and that there is no one else-not even a demigod-worthy of receiving devotional service, one feels intimacy in his love relationship with God, and this is approved by such personalities as Bhishma, Prahlada, Uddhava and Narada.” (Narada-pancharatra)
The ingredient that gives devotional service its potency is love. If we are genuine in our loving feelings towards the Lord, He will most certainly reciprocate. He will never leave us hanging. He will never leave us lonely. Now that we understand this, what is stopping us? Let us all take up devotional service. Let us chant the holy names of the Lord, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare”, as often as possible. This transcendental sound vibration is so powerful that not only does Lord Rama hear it, but Sita does as well.
Eventually Sita and Rama would be reunited after a fierce battle which saw the defeat of Ravana and his band of Rakshasas. After spending thousands of years together, Sita would have to spend her remaining time on earth separated from Rama. Nevertheless, Sita and Rama are always worshiped together, because no matter where they are or what they are doing, they are always in each other’s thoughts. In this way, they have the most beautiful relationship. We too can have this same relationship with the Lord, but we shouldn’t focus our worship on Him alone. If we worship Sita and Rama together, we stay connected with the energetic and the energy. Just as God is an object of pleasure, so are His pleasure potency expansions. They give pleasure to the devotees through their activities and their kind service offered to the Lord
Success in spiritual life comes through controlling the mind. From the words of Shri Rama, we see that Sita was the perfect yogi in that her thoughts were always focused on Rama. One of Krishna’s names is Yogeshvara, which means the master of all mysticism. Yoga practice generally brings about many perfections, or siddhis. The greatest perfection, however, is to be able to always focus the mind on God. In this way, Sita was also a master of mysticism. Sita directed all her affection towards Rama, and Rama directed all His affection towards Sita. We should be equally as kind and direct all our affection towards both of them. They are the root of the giant tree known as the spiritual and material worlds. By giving them our love and devotion, all the leaves and branches represented by the innumerable universes also become benefitted, and thus we can all live happily ever after.