“Taking the oath, Janaka gave away Sita to Rama in all politeness and happiness in a beautiful scene that was reminiscent of when the king of mountains gave away Parvati to Shiva and when the ocean gave away Lakshmi to Vishnu.” (Janaki Mangala, Chand 18.1)
सन्कल्पि सि रामहि समरपी सील सुख सोभामई |
जिमि सन्करहि गिरिराज गिरिजा हरिहि श्री सागर दई ||
sankalpi si rāmahi samarapī sīla sukha sobhāmaī |
jimi sankarahi girirāja girijā harihi śrī sāgara daī ||
The Sanskrit word is yajna. This has several meanings, with the most common context of sacrifice. This is in the religious sense. You follow a certain ritual, under the guidance of authority. The rules might be written down and passed through the generations within a single family.
The yajna can be elaborate or modest in size. For instance, a person can conduct a sacrifice within their home. Designate an area for such activities within a room. Then, after proper purification, both internal and external, sit down and begin the procedure. Husband and wife can cooperate, following the necessary steps.
On the surface, it looks like no one is watching. You worry that perhaps this is an outdated practice, without the stamp of approval from the modern scientific community. Maybe it is a matter of faith alone, wherein the results won’t manifest until the afterlife, of which no one is entirely sure.
Vedic literature tells the story of significant events occurring in the past, present and future. They sometimes expand beyond the reach of perceivable limits, but that is one of the reasons for the interest. Tales of the supernatural, but with an underlying explanation, relating to the origin of everything.
With these amazing events, there is always some kind of sacrifice. Yajna is associated, as another meaning to this word is Vishnu. This refers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead in a specific form. Yajna is ultimately for his benefit, whether the people involved are aware or not.
1. Parvati marrying Shiva
The material world is like the largest prison compound. The inmates are stuck inside, proven by the walls surrounding the area. Those walls form something like a fort which is difficult to overcome. The Sanskrit word is durgam.
The three sources of misery fortify the prison-like environment. These sources are symbolized in the trident held by Durga Devi. She is something like the superintendent of this prison. Her consort is Lord Shiva, who is also known as Mahadeva. He is the conqueror of lust, and so he is the most renounced person in the world.
Though they are in charge of the material world, there is also a story to their union. These are the mysteries to the Vedic explanation which the mind can never fully understand. Shiva is first married to Sati, who later takes birth again as the daughter of the mountain king.
She is thus named Parvati, and she soon learns from her horoscope that she is destined for a life of austerity. She understands that Mahadeva will be her husband, and so she chooses the route of sacrifice. She follows austerity to the highest level, eventually winning the favor of her husband from the previous birth.
2. Dasharatha receiving sons
His name refers to someone who can fight chariots coming in the ten directions simultaneously. He was one of the respected leaders of the Ikshvaku dynasty, and the demigods called on him regularly to deal with the constant attacks from the asura class.
Just one thing was missing: a son. There was no heir to the throne. After a chance meeting with a respected personality, Dasharatha decided to conduct a yajna. He went the route of sacrifice, and directly from the remnants of that ritual arrived four sons at once, to the three queens.
One half portion of the remnants was Vishnu Himself, taking birth as Shri Rama. The other half was again divided in half, yielding the three other sons: Bharata, Lakshmana and Shatrughna. The underlying impetus was continuation of the reputation of the family, of the protection of dharma, and through yajna the desire was satisfied and much more.
3. Janaka finding Sita
Within the same time period, another king was also following dharma. While preparing a field for yajna, Janaka found a baby girl within the ground. She was alive, and he accepted her as his daughter. A voice from the sky confirmed the link, that this was Janaka’s daughter in all righteousness.
Janaka would later hold a contest of the bow that led to the union of that daughter with Dasharatha’s eldest son. The scene of Sita marrying Rama reminded the participants of Parvati marrying Shiva and Lakshmi Devi, the daughter of the ocean, uniting with Vishnu.
To amazing unions directed,
Always to yajna connected.
Like Janaka finding in ground,
Bringing bow’s shattering sound.
Dasharatha with a chance meeting,
Remnants of sacrifice his wives eating.
Rama and brothers soon arriving there,
To kingdom finally an heir.
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