“That one in whom there was no pain, nor fear, nor distress when giving up the kingdom, which was an indication of His righteousness, and when leading me by foot in the forest – I trust He is keeping firm in heart.” (Sita Devi speaking to Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 36.29)
धर्मापदेशात्त्यजतश्च राज्यं मां चाप्यरण्यं नयतः पदातिम्।
नासीद्व्यथा यस्य न भीर्न शोकः कच्चित्स धैर्यं हृदये करोति।।
dharmāpadeśāttyajataśca rājyaṃ māṃ cāpyaraṇyaṃ nayataḥ padātim।
nāsīdvyathā yasya na bhīrna śokaḥ kaccitsa dhairyaṃ hṛdaye karoti।।
“This one really hurts. I can’t explain it. Nothing has changed from a physical standpoint, but it feels like there something inside of me. Entirely mental, I will admit, but the effect is the same.
“I was so close. No one saw this coming. Everything was going in the right direction. Then, in an instant, the carpet yanked from underneath me. I am in a freefall, and I don’t know when the descent will reach its completion.”
“I can’t get over what these people did to me. How could they be so cruel? What did I ever do to them? What kind of revenge are they looking for? Was my original sin that deep and cutting? I certainly don’t remember ever wishing this kind of harm on anyone else.
“Just think of the number of people affected. I am not the only victim here. People were invested in this particular outcome. They were joyous at the initial news and they prepared for a festive celebration. Now none of that will occur.”
“How in the world am I going to move forward? The advice from the professionals is to try to move beyond the episode, to turn the page. That is easier said than done. What else do I have? Everything I ever worked for was part of that desired outcome. That is no longer possible, and so I have no direction in life. I don’t know how I will proceed. I have no motivation for getting up in the morning.”
These are some of the symptoms that could have plagued Shri Rama when He was suddenly ousted from the kingdom of Ayodhya. He was the deserving heir to the throne, having dutifully followed dharma since He first was expected to.
Rama was heading off into the unknown. Forced to spend fourteen years in the wilderness. Homeless and without support from the royal kingdom, how could He not be affected? Was there no bitterness or resentment? Was not He afraid of the great unknown? The typical city-dweller has a difficult time roughing it in the outdoors for just a few days – imagine transitioning to that setting for a permanent stay.
As Sita Devi later explained, Rama reacted to the news without any fear, pain, or distress. It was as if nothing bad happened. Sita came along, as she vowed to dutifully follow her husband wherever He went. Rama’s younger brother Lakshmana also accompanied the group.
The episode highlights the immeasurable quantity of renunciation found within the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is not affected by negative events. He is never a loser, though others may attempt to take things away from Him. He is never hurt by the circumstances, though others may try to inflict harm.
Rama is never afraid, even if fourteen thousand of the world’s greatest fighters descend upon Him at the same time. Though I am constantly worried about the unknown, I have someone to save me. Though I experience distress at even the smallest negative turn, there is someone to help. Though I remember the pain of loss and separation from times past, there is someone who will always remain by my side.
His presence is a constant, in a relationship dating back countless lifetimes. He is my greatest well-wisher, whether I acknowledge His presence or not. He has nothing to lose, and I have everything to gain. In that respect, I choose bhakti-yoga as the path forward, knowing that there is no reason to fear.
No reason to fear,
With outcome clear.
That whether up or down,
Always on solid ground.
Since my friend by me steady,
For shelter and comfort ready.
Sita and Lakshmana following Him,
Even exile to forest a win.
Categories: the three