Kannada Article by: Vadhi Raj Prasanna
English Rendering by: M R Bhashyam
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It was ten months since the Monarch of Shri Lanka, Raavana, had abducted Seeta and kept her a captive in his pleasure orchard, the Ashokavana. Having begged Seeta for her love many times and having been repeatedly rejected, Raavana reaches the limit of his frustration. He gives her one last two-month deadline, and in anger, orders his servants that, if Seeta were not to accede to his request, she be made mince- meat and served for breakfast.
Seeta has no wish to address directly the evil-doer Raavana, but keeps a piece of grass in-between and says "You may eat me or do whatever you may wish to, but you cannot take away my celibacy, my devotion to my Husband (paativratya). Besides, you will not be able to win a war against Raama and you will be annihilated by his sharp arrows".
Having been pushed to the depths of despair, Seeta decides to give her life up. She ties her long hair to a branch of a tree and attempts to commit suicide. At that very moment, Hanuman, Shree Raama's emissary in search of Seeta, arrives in Ashokavana. His first sight is that of Seeta trying to end her life. Without getting perturbed, with great composure and presence of mind, he melodiously sings the glorious saga of Raama's dynasty, so as to induce composure in her and to turn her away from her attempt. He also muses that he was seeing the personality of Seeta as described by Raama in the lady before him - the height, the color and other features. Listening to these words, Seeta is distracted and searches for the soothing voice whence it came from. Soon Hanuman comes near Seeta and hands over the ring given by Raama and tells her that he was Shree Raama's messenger and had come in search of her. We all know the subsequent happy ending for this story.
It has been thousands of years since this story was enacted. It is relevant even today. Raavana, forgetting what legitimately belonged to him, falls prey to the temptation of his senses seeking things that were not his and unattainable, thus violating the bounds of Dharma. We see similar things in our society too. Raama destroys the evil Raavana and protects Dharma. As such, Seeta too, in her depths of despair, disturbed by the situation she was in, comes to the wrong conclusion. We too face similar situations.
Hearing from Hanuman, nectarine instances from the history of Shri Raama's lineage at the right time, Seeta gains confidence. Hanuman, having placed himself entirely at the service of Shree Raama, with a great presence of mind, saves a disaster from occurring, at the vital moment. Having dedicated his life to Raama, Hanuman had placed Raama at the substratum for all his acts of service. The crossing of the ocean by Hanuman mirrors the crossing of the ocean of life with the grace of the lord of the universe, Raama. Hanuman by stoking memories of Raama fills Seetha's heart with courage, conviction, patience and fortitude for the wait for Raama's arrival. With his heroics in the battles and his skillful arguments and by his action of setting the city of Lanka ablaze, he torments Raavana's heart with anxiety, at the same time espousing the incomparable valor and heroism of Shree Raama, and the superiority of the path of righteousness, Dharma.
Thus, having completely absorbed Shree Ramaa's heart and acting in consonance with it, Aanjaneya pours the nectar of Shree Raama's saga into the heart of all readers and listeners. Our salutations to that master tutor, the prime life force- Mukhya Praana, who showed to the world what was meant by ideal devotion to Lord Shree Raama.
Note: The Kannada version of this article can be viewed at AYVM blogs.
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