“(For her) fourteen thousand Rakshasas of dreadful deeds were slain in the forest of Janasthana by arrows that were like tongues of fire.” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 16.9)
catur daśa sahasrāṇi rakṣasām bhīma karmaṇām |
nihatāni jana sthāne śarair agni śikha upamaiḥ ||
Wives shouldn’t get into a competition over who has the best husband, but it is natural to think that the person you are married to is the best in the world. If you love your parents, will you not think they are the best? Will you not wonder what you did to deserve such a wonderful combination of mother and father? In appreciating their standing, you will review the many things they have done for you, in the process supporting your claim that they are the best parents in the world. When seeing Sita Devi from afar in the Ashoka grove, Hanuman reviewed some of her husband’s heroic acts, which showed that Sita was indeed married to the best man in the whole world.
“Will you slay dragons for me? Will you protect me for the rest of my life? Will you risk your life for me?” These are legitimate questions voiced at least internally by the wife to be. Manliness is the desirable attribute in a male and chastity in a female. Manliness is best exhibited in protection of the wife, and so the man who can best protect his wife would be considered the best husband. To assess the ability to protect there must be real-life tests, and fortunately for the world Shri Rama was tested on many an occasion.
Rama is the Supreme Lord as an incarnation. Not that He is an ordinary man or a mortal being who goes through the cycle of birth and death. In the Bala-kanda of the Ramayana it is said that Lord Vishnu agreed to descend to earth in human form to help the demigods, who are sort of like saintly characters that reside in the heavenly realm. A fiend was wreaking havoc across the world at the time, and it was only a human being who could defeat him. But it would take the best human being, and for that role Vishnu kindly agreed to appear.
If He agrees to appear, it means that He is not forced into the material realm, which is known as mrityu-loka, or a planet where death takes place. Everything must die; not just living entities. Housing structures don’t have souls in them, but they are nevertheless fixtures for a certain period of time. No matter how sturdy the construction, eventually the buildings will crumble. If this is the case for strong matter, it also applies to weaker collections of matter such as the bodies of the living entities.
Birth and death for the personal incarnations are more accurately referred to as appearances and disappearances. We have no control over the material elements, but the Supreme Personality of Godhead does. That is why He can appear at will and do anything with His body that looks material on the outside but is completely spiritual. As proof of this fact, only a spiritual body could defeat 14,000 of the most powerful fighters in the world without any outside help.
Rama had to perform this task while in the forest of Janasthana. He was there with His wife Sita and His younger brother Lakshmana. Rakshasas are a cruel species; they feast off animal flesh. They will even eat other human beings. It is not that they just go to the restaurant to eat the flesh of animals killed elsewhere; they will do the killing themselves. They don’t attack only the miscreants, either. They go after the most innocent members of society. The saintly priests were living in Janasthana at the time, and so the Rakshasas loved to invade in the nighttime and then find their fare.
The leader of the Rakshasas was Ravana, and his sister one time approached Rama and propositioned Him. Being rejected, she realized that Sita was her competition. So she tried to go after Sita, at which point Lakshmana stepped in and lopped off the hideous creature’s ear and nose. She returned home disfigured and complained to Ravana about what had happened. In response, Ravana sent 14,000 of his best fighters to Janasthana to attack Rama.
The best husband in the world told Lakshmana to take Sita away into a nearby cave. Rama would handle these fiends by Himself. He shot arrows from His bow. These arrows were like tongues of fire, and they chased the Rakshasas like heat-seeking missiles. The Lord did away with these fiends by Himself, and He did it all for Sita.
The act quickly became legend, and Hanuman also heard about it. Hanuman and his forest-dwelling friends aligned with Rama later on after Ravana came and took Sita away in secret. Hanuman hadn’t met Sita, but when he saw her from afar inside of the Ashoka grove in Lanka, he could see why Rama had killed those 14,000 Rakshasas for her. She was the most beautiful woman in the world, and any man would want to move heaven and earth to please her.
Previously, to marry her Rama lifted an extremely heavy bow belonging to Lord Shiva. This proved that only He was worthy of Sita’s hand in marriage. After they were married, He continued to fight for her by battling attacking Rakshasas in the forest. And when she went missing, He used His trusted servant Hanuman to discern her whereabouts. In this way Sita’s glory was enhanced further. She had a husband who slayed demons for her. She also had a husband who had the best messenger in the whole world, someone uniquely qualified for the most difficult reconnaissance mission in history.
That special lady is the goddess of fortune herself, and she is forever with Rama. Hanuman to this day continues to worship the divine couple, always chanting their names and singing their glories. He found her in the Ashoka grove after a long journey, and through seeing her and later meeting with her, all the effort became well worth it.
When prospective groom the bride sees,
She wonders, “Will he slay dragons for me?”
“Will he drive enemies away without fear,
And in that way to me always remain dear?”
For Sita Shri Rama did that and more,
Killed 14,000 fiends for wife whom He adored.
Hanuman immediately appreciated this fact,
When he discovered Sita’s location exact.
Goddess of fortune has husband the best,
And His servant too passes every test.
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