“Then a voice, sounding like a human being, was heard from the sky which said, ‘O king, this child is rightfully your daughter.’ Thereupon my father, the righteous King of Mithila, was greatly pleased. Obtaining me as his daughter, that ruler of men felt highly blessed and fortunate.” (Sita Devi speaking to Anasuya, Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodhya Kand, 118.31-32)
अन्तरिक्षे च वागुक्ताऽप्रतिमाऽमानुषी किल |
एवमेतन्नरपते धर्मेण तनया तव ||
ततः प्रहृष्टो धर्मात्मा पिता मे मिथिलाधिपः |
अवाप्तो विपुलां बुद्धिं मामवाप्य नराधिपः ||
antarikṣe ca vāguktā’pratimā’mānuṣī kila |
evametannarapate dharmeṇa tanayā tava ||
tataḥ prahṛṣṭo dharmātmā pitā me mithilādhipaḥ |
avāpto vipulāṃ buddhiṃ māmavāpya narādhipaḥ ||
Sometimes the entire family of brothers is included, but usually the worshipable image has the same group of four. The picture is transcendental, meaning whether on paper, canvas, or in statue form worshiped in the temple, the effect of contact is the same.
The depiction is not based off imagination. These are historical personalities described in great detail in the sacred texts known as the Vedas and their derivative works, like the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas.
1. Sita Devi
Going from right to left, first there is the daughter of King Janaka. He found her one day while preparing a field for a yajna, which is religious sacrifice. The famously dispassionate ruler of Videha was overwhelmed with joy upon finding this baby girl. He named her Sita due to the origins of her arrival into the family.
She is worshipable due to both her pious qualities and her association to the Divine realm. Sita is the same goddess of fortune, Lakshmi Devi, who resides eternally by the side of Narayana, who is the Supreme Lord.
In the Rama Darbar image, she is in her preferred and suitable place, next to her husband. She serves purely; no outside motivation. Whether Rama is the prince of Ayodhya or a penniless mendicant roaming the forests, Janaka’s daughter remains by His side, dutifully serving. She is capable of showering endless blessings upon those dear to her husband.
2. Shri Rama
Next to Sita is her husband, who is the same Narayana from the spiritual world. Just as the ocean gave away Lakshmi in marriage to Vishnu and as the mountain king offered Uma to Mahadeva, Janaka arranged for the marriage of his daughter with the only suitable match, the lone person to lift the amazingly heavy bow of Lord Shiva in the great contest.
Rama is not the only form of God, but the image helps to give a clearer understanding of someone who is beyond the bounds of material qualities, gunas. He carries a bow in His hand to symbolize His commitment to defending the sadhus, who are the saintly people representing Him on earth.
He is a hero in the truest sense, having the most ability but never boasting about His accomplishments. He speaks as much as necessary, allowing His example to set the standard for others to follow. He is the delight of mother Kausalya and the object of endless contemplation and appreciation by saints like Valmiki and Tulsidas.
3. Shri Lakshmana
Shri Rama has three younger brothers in Ayodhya. They are also sons to King Dasharatha, but Lakshmana is the one closest in terms of association. This son of Queen Sumitra cannot tolerate any injustice perpetrated against Rama. He forgoes food and sleep in order to see to Rama’s comfort. He is something like the best bodyguard, unfailing in his defense of righteous principles.
4. Shri Hanuman
Likely the most amazing aspect of the image is the inclusion of someone outside the human species. Hanuman is a Vanara by birth, which is something like a forest-dwelling monkey. He is a fearless, capable, magnanimous and dedicated servant. He requires only a single meeting with Rama to voluntarily enlist in pure devotional service. Sita and Rama cannot find a way to sufficiently repay him for his bravery and sacrifice, and so he is honored eternally through association.
The Rama Darbar is one of many worshipable images descending from the Vedic tradition. All aspects of God and His principal energies are represented. There is the transcendental effect of lack of exhaustion. The meaning is that a person can meditate on this image every single day, for year after year, and never be bored. As the time spent in the Divine shelter increases, the more they appreciate the objects of worship, who are endlessly benevolent in their reciprocation.
When Rama Darbar found,
Eyes to it immediately bound.
Daughter of Janaka starting on the right,
Husband with bow a beautiful sight.
Lakshmana the dutiful brother,
Hanuman a servant like no other.
Worship today and in future endlessly so,
Knowledge, dispassion and love to grow.
Categories: the four