“Since he was childless, and due to affection for me, he placed me on his lap and said, ‘This is my child.’ Thus he developed feelings of love and affection for me.” (Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodhya Kand, 118.30)
अनपत्येन च स्नेहादङ्कमारोप्य च स्वयम्।
ममेयं तनयेत्युक्त्वा स्नेहो मयि निपातितः।।
anapatyena ca snehādaṅkamāropya ca svayam।
mameyaṃ tanayetyuktvā sneho mayi nipātitaḥ।।
It is such a nice story that the revered Anasuya asked to hear about it directly. She was already strong based on asceticism. She already had a large bank of pious credits due to the allegiance to her husband. Though she was supposedly in a dependent state, she had the freedom to rise to the heights of honor and respect.
Anasuya asked to hear about the story from one of the main participants. Sita Devi happened to be travelling through the area. Sita was with her husband, Shri Rama, and the union of the two took place in the most unique way. The story not only brought delight to Anasuya, but it continues to inspire and warm hearts to this very day.
1. Preparing the ground
The story goes that King Janaka of Mithila was preparing a ground for a sacrifice. We can think of it like setting up the home for an important function. Doing the work yourself, along with help from others.
Leaders during those times were known as rajarshis. These are rajas who are like rishis. Though they are at the head of administrative affairs, they maintain a saintly nature. The thought to conduct a religious sacrifice, yajna, aligns with the rajarshi character.
2. A baby found
Janak happened to find a baby. Within the ground. Who would ever expect such a thing? Amazingly, the child was intact. There was dust covering the body, but Janaka was able to remove it to a sufficient degree.
The arrival of a daughter within the family can be compared to Lakshmi Devi paying a visit to the home. Lakshmi is the goddess of fortune. She is forever with her husband, Narayana, who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
3. Joy abound
Janaka was not frightened by the situation. He did not consider the many days of struggle involved with taking care of a baby. He was not in a rush to leave the place and pretend that no interaction took place.
Rather, Janaka was filled with joy. It was like he had found the greatest fortune. The response is interesting considering that Janaka was also known as Videha. The literal translation is “without a body,” but within the spirit of the human existence the meaning is a person who transcends the effects of the body.
A self-realized soul. A true yogi. A person renounced from temporary interest, though still engaged in work that has accompanying effects, which are temporary. The meeting with the baby was as if the advancements in yoga receded, for but a moment.
4. Validation sound
As Janaka found the baby and felt great joy, a voice from the sky validated the relationship. This was Janaka’s daughter, in all righteousness. It was within the system of dharma to take her home, to raise her as his daughter.
Janaka did just that. The chief queen took care of the daughter, who was named Sita. This name refers to the unique way in which she was found, in that ground that would forever be known as sacred.
5. To contest bound
Sita Devi describes that Janaka felt like a wealthy person about to lose a great fortune. This was when Sita reached an age suitable for marriage. How was Janaka going to find the appropriate match? Who could ever live up to the glorious characteristics found within that special child?
Janaka decided upon a contest. There was an illustrious bow that had been passed down within the family. No one could lift it. Moving it required a combined forced.
Sita’s marriage would be in the svayamvara style. This is self-choice, but the choice would be decided by the contest. Whichever prince could first lift the bow in a gathered assembly would prove himself worthy of the union.
It so happened that Shri Rama visited the area while the contest was going on. At the request of Vishvamitra Muni, Janaka allowed Rama to take an opportunity. Rama not only lifted the bow, but applied string to it. This took place within the unit of time measurement known as nimesha. This is the twinkling of an eye.
लव निमेष परमानु जुग बरस कलप सर चंड।
भजसि न मम तेहि राम कहँ कालु जासु कोदंड।
lava nimeṣa paramānu juga barasa kalapa sara caṃḍa।
bhajasi na mama tehi rāma kaha~ kālu jāsu kodaṃḍa।
“Mind, why are you not worshiping Shri Rama, whose bow is like time, with weapons of arrows representing the different units of time, such as paramanu, lava, nimesha, barasa, yuga, and kalpa?” (Dohavali, 130)
It was like Lakshmi being married to Vishnu. This was true in the literal sense, as the Vedic seers understand the Divine nature to Shri Rama. They know the true identity to Janaka’s daughter, who is forever serving her beloved husband, the one who proved His strength in front of the entire world.
Baby unexpectedly found,
In sacrificial ground.
Sky’s confirmation sound,
For Janaka joy abound.
Later to contest bound,
The participants downed.
When Rama in a moment to break,
A husband for Sita to make.
Categories: the five