“If Rama kills the ten-headed one along with his relatives and then departs taking me, that would be suitable for him.” (Sita Devi speaking to Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 37.62)
यदि रामो दशग्रीवमिह हत्त्वा सबान्धवम्।
मामितो गृह्य गच्छेत तत्तस्य सदृशं भवेत्।।
yadi rāmo daśagrīvamiha hattvā sabāndhavam।
māmito gṛhya gaccheta tattasya sadṛśaṃ bhavet।।
Though he is strength personified, Hanuman is also a wealth of kindness and compassion. He very well understood the mission assigned to him, respecting the command of the higher authorities, but empathy overwhelmed him for a moment. Like a true Vaishnava, he could not tolerate witnessing the suffering of another, especially someone as innocent and blameless as Sita Devi, the wife of Shri Rama.
He came up with an idea. A flash of brilliance, perhaps, but the idea wasn’t well thought out or deliberated upon. He proposed to take the princess of Videha back with him, to reunite her with her husband. She scoffed at the suggestion at first, and so Hanuman displayed the giant form he used to cross over the vast ocean to reach Lanka in the first place.
Sita very well knew his capabilities, and in response she listed some potential issues with the plan. A wise person can see into the future this way, going beyond emotion.
1. She would fall off
This is simple logic. If a person crossed the ocean by themselves the first time around, who is to say they can repeat the feat while carrying someone? I may be able to walk two miles every morning. This is my routine prior to going to work. Suppose the next morning I am asked to do the same, but carrying a twenty-five pound weight in each hand. The past success is no guarantee of the future outcome.
2. The speed would be too much for her
This was another compliment to Hanuman. One of the Sanskrit descriptions of his ability is vegavan. This refers to a person who is very swift. The amazing servant of Shri Rama can not only increase his size, but the speed is not hampered a bit. Being the son of the wind, Hanuman can course through the air using a single leap.
Perhaps the high altitude combined with the speed would be too much for Sita to take. If her safety was compromised, then the purpose would be foiled. Good intentions are one thing, but the proper judgment comes from the outcome.
3. The Rakshasas would defeat a distracted Hanuman
These were the people who were holding Sita captive. They were like man-eating ogres, and they had no care for dharma and its principles. They, too, had special powers, and working together they would present a formidable foe for Hanuman.
They would not take too kindly to Sita being taken away, and so they would surely mount some resistance. What if Hanuman couldn’t fend them off because he was carrying Sita at the same time? Then they would punish Sita even more, making it difficult for Rama and His younger brother Lakshmana to find her.
4. It would be wrong to touch another man
Sita followed dharma as strictly as her husband did. This was her nature since birth, from the time that King Janaka found her in the ground while preparing a field for a yajna. Though a baby at the time, there was something special to her. Her association was so magical that Videha, the one who was detached from the senses, felt tremendous affection immediately.
As Sita was dedicated to her husband, she did not want to touch the body of any other man. The ten-headed leader of Lanka had previously taken her by force, and so there was no choice on her end. Hanuman was pious in every way, but if there was a chance to maintain proper behavior, Sita would take it.
She proposed a better option. Let her husband arrive in Lanka and do away with Ravana. All the friends and relatives of the Rakshasas would be destroyed, as well. This was seeing into the actual future, not just a potential vision. Hanuman would play an active role in Rama’s victory, and the final war was possible because of his brave journey into a foreign and hostile territory.
The Vaishnava makes a sober assessment of the future in a similar way, understanding that the only way to the best destination is continued devotion to the Almighty, in the same manner as Hanuman. By serving, thinking, hearing, and remembering in a devotional mood, the doors to the imperishable realm open, revealing a place without birth and death, and with no need to follow dharma, since every moment is spent in seeking the pleasure of the all-attractive one.
After Hanuman idea proposing,
Sita with concerns disposing.
That to carry another person how?
When enemy fighters now.
Dangers in swift journey long,
To touch another man wrong.
Better if Rama there to come,
Lesson for ages through victory won.