In the previous episode, we had witnessed that Sage Vishwaamithra along with the two children Rama and Lakshmana enter into the city of Mithilapuri, and reach the palace of King Janaka. Upon seeing the three of them, King Janaka was overwhelmed and welcomed all of them. Subsequently in this context, Valmiki Maharishi has given us a very interesting annexure regarding the history of King Janaka as narrated by Janaka himself, which we had discussed in the previous episode. In today’s episode we are going to witness the interesting facts about the “Shiva Dhanush”, as described by King Janaka to Sage Vishwaamithra, Rama and Lakshmana.
As we move on, let’s witness a few more interesting points continuing from where we left yesterday. Since the subsequent kings after Devaratha were born out of the “Mathanam” (Excavation) of his body, this kingdom became to be known as “Mithila”! Since all these kings were born from a human being that didn’t exist, they were called “Janaka” – “Jananam” means “Taking birth”, and “Janakam” means “Taking birth from a body that was dead! (It is to be noted here that all the subsequent kings from King Devaratha were called by the name “Janaka”. Hence, the name “Janaka” is like a family name!). Since Sita was born in this dynasty in the city of Mithilapuri, she is also referred to as “Mythili”. Since Sita was the daughter of King Janaka, she is also referred to as “Jaanaki”. Since she was born in the clan of the “Videhas” (It is to be remembered here that King Devaraatha was cursed that he lose his human body and thus became “Videha”), she is also referred to as “Vaidehi”. Thus, Sita has numerous names like “Jaanaki”, “Mythili”, “Vaidehi”, etc.
Finally, let’s see why is her name “Sita” – “Sita laangula patdhathihi” – King Janaka was childless for a long time and he wanted to have a son. Thus he was preparing to perform a Yagna for the same. While preparing the “Yaaga-Shaala”, (Place of the divine offering), he was drilling the ground for making it. Thus, the term “Laangula” is the instrument with which the earth is drilled. While drilling deeply over an area of land, it leaves a mark on the ground and this is called “Sita”. It was while drilling the ground that Sita was born!! Since Sita was born directly from the earth, without any human interface, she is also referred to as “Bhoomija”! This place of Goddess Sita Devi’s birth can be worshipped even today! It is a place called “Sita-Mari” in the country of Nepal. There is a big lake at this place and this lake is the venue of Sita’s birth! It is a place filled with natural beauty and is a must-visit place for all of us!
Now Sage Vishwaamithra says to king Janaka “Ok fine! Enough of your history! Now come to the context of the Shiva Dhanush!” Immediately Rama was thinking to himself “Ha!! So far during the journey, this Sage Vishwaamithra was narrating and boring me with his own stories! Now when my father-in-law is narrating his story why is he getting angry? Anyway, Sage Vishwaamithra is known for his anger and I do not want to interfere unnecessarily!” Hence Rama and Lakshmana were waiting patiently and looking on what was happening.
Now King Janaka starts the story of the “Shiva Dhanush”. Once upon a time, there was a war-like situation between Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. (Of course both the Gods wouldn’t fight, however their disciples would keep on fighting every time! We can see that even today – Between the “Shaivaites” and the “Vaishnavites”!) Thus, both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu were standing in front of each other and getting ready for a battle. Lord Shiva was having this “Dhanush” in his hand and was preparing himself. Lord Vishnu was preparing himself with his “Chakra” and was doing the “Hum-Kaara” (It’s just like sending out a message with sounds, to the enemy that they are ready for the fight to begin!). It is said that the moment Lord Vishnu did the “Hum-Kaara”, that was enough for this big and heavy Dhanush to break away! Since the “Dhanush” was broken, both of them decided to make peace and not fight further! It was this “Shiva Dhanush” that Lord Shiva had given to King Devaraatha when he was alive. This Shiva Dhanush has been with them for the past six generations and is now with the present King Janaka. Thus King Janaka has decided that he would give his daughter in marriage to the person who lifts and breaks this “Shiva Dhanush”.
Thus, this is the brief history of the “Shiva Dhanush”. Narrating this history, King Janaka had arranged for a “Syamvara” for Sita’s marriage and had invited many kings from across different kingdoms. It was at this time did Rama and Lakshmana enter the palace of King Janaka, along with Sage Vishwaamithra. Starting from the next episode, we shall see the interesting events that took place during the “Syamvara” and subsequently enter into the auspicious “Sita-Rama” wedding ceremony! Stay tuned!