Till the previous episode we witnessed the most beautiful event of the entire Ramayana story – The Sita-Rama Wedding! We saw numerous ways in which Valmiki Maharishi has described this amazing event! In addition, during the last episode we looked into the “Thiyagaraja – Ramayana” wherein, we saw how Saint Thiyagaraja, the most eminent music composer in Carnatic Music (Also referred to as “Thiyaga-Brahmam”) has captured the key events of the wedding! We shall witness more excerpts from the “Thiyagaraja – Ramayana”, along with the Valmiki Ramayana as we proceed further.
However, starting from today, for the next few episodes we shall see the important messages that can be taken by us in the modern day, from this auspicious event of Sita-Rama wedding.
We shall commence with the in-depth explanation of the following important sloka from the Valmiki Ramayana. We’ve already discussed this sloka in the previous episode in a brief manner. Now let us go into the detail:
“Iyam sitaa mama suthaa saha dharma chareethava!
Pratheecha yenaam bhadramthe paani grinheesva paaninaa!!”
King Janaka says: “Oh Rama, Here is Sita!” (Iyam Sita). Why does King Janaka point out to Sita and explains to Rama that this is Sita? Doesn’t Rama know by himself that Sita is standing next to him? There is a comical explanation to this. Shri. Velukkudi Krishnan Swamy beautifully brings this out in one of his “Upanyaasams” (Discourses): He says that once Rama enters into the city of Mithilapuri, he sees Sita standing in the balcony of King Janaka’s palace! So from that moment he sees Sita standing there, he was so carried away with her, that he sees Sita everywhere around him! He starts to see Sita in everybody around him! This is quite dangerous isn’t it? Even in our daily life, if we like someone so intensely, we would get to see his or her face in everything that we do! Rama is no exception here! Hence, it seems that King Janaka was concerned if Rama would mistake Sita for somebody else and garland him or her! This is why he points out to Sita and says “Iyam Sita!!”
Saint Thiyagaraja beautifully portrays this scene of Sita and Rama looking at each other for the first time. He sees Sita looking at Rama for the first time. In those days, all of us know that the girl would not be allowed to look at the boy before the marriage. It was a strict tradition that was followed! However, Sita was so curious to look at Rama and how he looked like! Because, it has been twelve years since she saw her husband! (It is to be noted here that Goddess Sita Devi is the incarnation of Goddess Mahalakshmi, the wife of Lord Vishnu, who is none other than Lord Rama himself!) So Sita was so curious and she tries to look at Rama without anybody noticing her! None of them noticed, but Thiyagaraja Swami does! 🙂
He sings the following verse in one of his famed “Pancha-Ratna Kritis” – “Kana kana Ruchi ra!”
“Thala thala manu mukha gala galigina Sita kula kuchu ora kannulanu juche ninnu – Kana kana ruchira! Kanaka vachana ninnu!!”
Here, Thiyagaraja Swami uses the phrase “Ora kannulanu juche”, which means, Sita is trying to look at Rama with the corner of her eye, without getting noticed by anybody! She is so curious to see how her Rama looks like! Thus, Sita and Rama look at each other and King Janaka explains to Rama that here is Sita, standing in front of you!
Moving on, King Janaka continues to say, “Iyam Sita.. Mama Suthaa!” Here, “Mama Suthaa” means, “My daughter!” It is to be noted here that, King Janaka is referred to as a “Raja-Rishi”. It means that although he is a king, he had all the qualities of the highest of the highest Saint! He doesn’t know any blemish! If there is no blemish in a person, he/she would never feel that anything in this world is his or hers. In other words, the “I, me and my” attitude completely vanishes! King Janaka was an epitome of this characteristic.
Let me justify this with a small story: Once upon a time, King Janaka was a student (Sishya) of the great Sage Yaagnyavalkya! Of course he was a “Raja-Rishi”, but still he had that humility to learn more and more from the great Sage! Sage Yaagnyavalkya was also very pleased with this humility of King Janaka and every passing day, he would start the lessons only after King Janaka arrives and takes his seat! Seeing this, the other students of Sage Yaagnyavalkya were not very happy – They had an impression that their Guru was partial towards King Janaka since he was a great king! Sage Yaagnyavalkya knew this intention of his students and one day he wanted to teach a lesson to all of them! With the help of his “Gnyaana Drishti” (Power of his intellect), he created an illusionary portrait of the entire kingdom of Mithilapuri ravaging by a huge fire! Upon seeing this, all other students except Janaka ran away in panic! However, King Janaka did not move even an inch from his seat! After a while, all the other students came to know that this was just an illusion and returned back to their seats. Sage Yaagnyavalkya asked them: “Oh students! I’m amused at the level of panic all of you were in! What kind of a connection do all of you have with Mithilapuri? You are all saints! Whereas, look at King Janaka! His entire kingdom was illusioned to be in fire and yet he didn’t move a bit! Such is the devotion I expect from my students! Today you’ve all failed in your subject!” King Janaka replies to his teacher, “Oh Great Sage! I always have this principle in my life that nothing is mine in this world! Everything is the asset of God and I’m just an instrument! I just thought for a moment and understood that this is an illusion created by you! Hence I didn’t move!”
Such is the thought process of King Janaka! However in this context, King Janaka says “Mama Suthaa” (My daughter)! Why is he saying this? We might think for a moment that this is in contrary to the explanation I had given before! Let’s wait till the next episode to find out the reason of King Janaka’s words and also subsequently a very important “Dharma” of a marriage!