“Hearing his words, Sita was delighted by the mention of Rama. She then spoke the following words to Hanuman, who was seated on a tree.” (Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 33.14)
sā tasya vacanam śrutvā rāma kīrtana harṣitā ||
uvāca vākyam vaidehī hanūmantam druma āśritam |
In the Vedas we get many different names for God. He is Ajita. This means “unconquerable.” No one can defeat Him. Losing is only for the fallible. Since God is infallible, another name for Him is Achyuta. Since He is without a beginning, He is anadi. As He is the cause of all causes, another term to describe Him is sarva-karana-karanam. Since He is full of transcendental pleasure, Rama is also a way to address Him. Rama is a personality too, appearing on earth as the son of King Dasharatha of Ayodhya.
Just as God has many names, the same applies for His eternal consort. Playing the role of Rama’s wife on earth, one of her names is Sita. This name is very endearing, as it is given by the father Janaka, the king of Videha. Since she hails from that land, she is also known as Vaidehi. In the spiritual world, she resides by the side of her husband Narayana, who is the source of all men. She is Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune. She is also Chanchala, since fortune is known to be unsteady, not staying for very long. Since she is Janaka’s daughter, Sita is also known as Janaki.
These many names describe relationships and characteristics. In the verse quoted above, we see another way to understand Sita. She is someone who takes delight at the mention of Rama. This is a very important description, because it speaks to her dharma, or defining characteristic. Fortune comes and goes. Sometimes God’s eternal consort appears as Radharani as well, who is the daughter of King Vrishabhanu. She appears as the daughter of the ocean when coming to this world as Lakshmi.
So appearances and relationships vary based on time and circumstance, but the defining characteristic is always the same. The goddess of fortune is happiest when hearing about her husband. The mere mention of His name puts her into a better mood. That happens for sure when she is living in a palace filled with her closest friends. Even if she has Rama by her side, she gets thrilled hearing someone speak nicely of Him.
In this situation, the conditions aren’t ideal. She is in an enemy territory. The only reason she is hearing about Rama is that someone was sent by Him to look for her. Not that she wandered off in anger or got lost enjoying the scenery of the forest – Ravana took her away by force. He did it in secret too, for he knows that Rama is Ajita. Rama would not have lost to Ravana in a fight, so the evil king of Lanka devised a scheme where he could take Sita away while Rama was not within vicinity.
Hanuman has introduced himself by speaking about Rama. This place isn’t conducive to the practice of devotional service. It is not known for godliness. The signs of atheism are prevalent, shown primarily in the excessive sense gratification. Control of the sense urges is on the side of godliness, as only with sobriety in thought can one appreciate, remember and honor the Supreme Lord.
By speaking about Rama, giving words that were true, Hanuman showed himself to be a friend. He delighted Sita by his words. She was not so much interested in praise of herself. She did not need to be flattered in such a way. She takes more delight in hearing nice things about her beloved.
This verse removes any doubt over the effectiveness of chanting the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. That chanting is also kirtana. It is a mention of Rama, and it is also a glorification of Him. When coming from the devoted soul it has more effectiveness. The more one chants this mantra, the more devoted they become, and in the process the more they please the goddess of fortune, Rama’s beloved.
Like husband not limited to form any,
Goddess of fortune appearing in ways many.
As Sita to act as Shri Rama’s wife,
Service to Him her vow throughout life.
Through praise just mention of His name,
So pleasing, as if by her side the same.
Hanuman such delight to Sita brought,
Doubt over Rama kirtana remove any thought.
Categories: sita and hanuman