“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 |
If you’re really missing someone, isn’t it better to just forget about them? Not to insult the relationship you have to them, and not to downplay what they mean to you, but forget them for a short while as a means of coping. Isn’t this option better than constantly longing for the reunion, whose time and existence are uncertain? From the reaction of Sita Devi in the Ashoka grove in Lanka, we see that when it comes to the association of the Supreme Lord the devoted souls are helpless. They must long for His association when separated, and conversely they must feel tremendous delight when gaining His company, even if it is through a mere mention.
Everyone has this longing originally. This means that everyone has tried the option of forgetfulness. Instead of missing the person of only good attributes, gunas, the separated living entity chooses to do anything else. That anything else is known as the material existence. The life is characterized as such since the focus is on that which is not the Supreme Lord. He is indeed everything, but the spiritual is what represents Him directly. The material is the association indirectly, and it is the shelter for those who choose forgetfulness.
sarvasya cāhaṁ hṛdi sanniviṣṭomattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ cavedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyovedānta-kṛd veda-vid eva cāham
“I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas am I to be known; indeed I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the knower of the Vedas.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 15.15)
Indeed, it is through God’s sanction that forgetfulness is even possible. He is the source behind remembrance as well. When the child emerges from the womb and gradually learns how to walk and talk, it is due to the natural intelligence provided by the Supreme Lord. Forgetfulness of Him is a choice we make, and He does not interfere with our decision.
Let’s say that we made this choice a long time back. The Supreme Lord gives us forgetfulness, so that means that we can’t remember when we made this choice. We can’t remember when the option was presented to us. Nevertheless, now we are in a material existence. We still have attachments. Leaving one place does not mean that we have permanently left behind longing.
Every day so many attachments are formed. We innocently decide to watch a television game show one day. Then we develop a habit. Pretty soon we have our favorite players. We want them to win. When they lose the big game, we are sad. We wish for their success, and failure leads to unhappiness. All of this came about through an attachment formed at the beginning.
The original separation from God did not bring us the peace of mind we thought it would. In fact, the life of longing for Him is superior to the life of forgetting Him, even if the circumstances seem to say otherwise. For example, in the land of Lanka a long time ago Sita Devi found herself separated from her friends and family. Practically none of the people in this land were her well-wishers. The evil king had dragged her there against her will. She was already married, but Ravana did not care. He wanted to make her his chief queen.
Aside from her own misfortune, there was the terrible longing that Sita felt. Her husband possesses the best qualities. He is the source of remembrance and forgetfulness, the person to whom every living thing is intimately tied. Sita was with Him in the personal form of Rama, happily going with Him wherever He went. Now she was separated from Him, wondering if she would ever meet Him again.
Based upon the previous analysis, one option for her would be to forget. Simply eliminate the thought of Rama. Pretend like she never knew Him. Take shelter of the present surroundings, which offered every material delight. Indeed, so many would choose this option as a way to cope, but for Sita it is impossible. When separated from Rama, she must feel longing. And when hearing of Him, she must feel delight.
In this situation the delight came through Shri Hanuman, who did Rama-kirtana. The word “kirtana” is generally associated with chanting the holy names, such as in the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Kirtana also means “to describe.” Hanuman did that when he first approached Sita. He was sent to find her by Rama, and he had succeeded in that. He needed a way to introduce himself, though.
Kirtana can also mean “to mention.” All it takes is a mere mention of Rama in a good light for Sita to become happy. Rama-kirtana brings her great pleasure, irrespective of other conditions. Even if Rama is apparently not presently by her, just hearing about Him gives her some relief. That relief, even if brief, brings more happiness than any kind of so-called enjoyment available in a life of forgetfulness.
Each person is meant to reawaken their longing for God, who promises to come to anyone who genuinely wants His company. This means that He will not necessarily be with the person who asks Him for things that will lead to further forgetfulness. Money, fame, women, wine, opulence, beauty and the like – God can give these very easily to any person. Yet as standalones, none of these will bring remembrance of Him, so they will also not bring His association, even if He is the one granting them.
The constitutional position of the living entity cannot be changed. Even if there is perfection in mystic yoga, with nirvana achieved, the fact of the individual spirit soul being delighted by Rama-kirtana will not change. Rama is also Krishna and Vishnu. He is known as Hari as well. So any kind of kirtana of the Supreme Personality of Godhead will bring a variety of delight far superior to what is available under any other consciousness.
When mind on departing is set,
Supreme Lord allowing you to forget.
Experience showing that not the wisest choice,
With new attachments to longing to give voice.
Better if for God’s company to long,
And gain it through maha-mantra’s song.
Rama-kirtana to Sita to bring delight,
Whether in peace or in perilous plight.
Categories: sita and hanuman