Decoding the mystery behind this tragic incident of Ramayana By Purushottam Nitai Dasa
Ramadasa Vipra was in deep agony. His eyes were filled with tears of sorrow. He was so absorbed in remembering Lord Rama, the Supreme Lord, and mother Sita, the mother of the entire universe, that he thought he too was living in the forest with them.
He even forgot that he had invited Lord Caitanya to his humble home for lunch. Lord Caitanya is none other than the Supreme Lord. The Lord during his pastime as Lord Krishna had rejected Duryodhana’s invitation who had arranged opulent feast. He instead went to the house of Vidura without any invitation and enjoyed eating simple preparation of spinach.
The same Lord was now at the house of the Brahmana for lunch. But Ramadasa had not cooked till now. Mahaprabhu was hungry, not angry. “Why haven’t you cooked?” asked the Supreme Lord.
“The ingredients for cooking have still not arrived. Laksmana gone inside the forest to collect vegetables, roots, fruits and other essential items but has not returned yet. Once he is back, mother Sita will begin cooking.” Ramadasa’s deep absorption in the pastime won the heart of Mahaprabhu.
Soon the Brahmana realized his folly. Mahaprabhu was at his house at his invitation. It was already noon. Without further delay, he began preparation and served food to Lord Caitanya. Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, 9.185 says, “Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu took His lunch at about three o’clock.
”But the Brahmana did not eat anything. He fasted. Mahaprabhu inquired, “Why are you fasting? Why are you so unhappy?”
“Thinking that mother Sita has been touched by a nasty person, Ravana, I am feeling utterly miserable. My heart is burning in disgust. I should have died but I am so unfortunate that I am still alive.” Ramadasa, the Brahmana, was in tears while uttering these words.
Mahaprabhu was surprised hearing the sorrowful words of the Brahmana. He immediately replied, “Mother Sita’s body is spiritual, not material. So how can any materialist even touch her? Forget about touching, a person with material vision can’t even see her. Ravana did not kidnap mother Sita. The demon who lived in illusion kidnapped her illusory material form.” The authoritative words of Mahaprabhu relieved him of the pain and the Lord made sure Ramadasa had his lunch, although it was too late.
The saga of Lord Rama and mother Sita is popular all over the world especially in India. But millions of people are unaware of the fact that Ravana did not kidnap mother Sita, but he kidnapped an illusory material form who looked like Sita.
But the uninformed people question, If that was the case, then why Lord Rama asked Sita to prove her chastity by entering fire?
It is true that everyone including the demigods headed by Lord Siva and Lord Brahma were devastated when they heard Lord Rama asking Sita to walk through the fire to prove her purity. How can it be possible that Lord Rama did not know that Sita was never kidnapped?
He had crossed the gigantic ocean not to kill Ravana but to meet Sita. How can he distrust her now? Sita devi was in tears. Laksmana was devastated but was helpless. As per the order of the eldest brother, he assembled the woods and lit the fire.
Sita circumambulated Lord Rama, the Lord of the universe, and entered the fire.
The ocean stood still. The sky watched in disbelief. All beings of the land, water and sky including the demigods headed by Lord Siva and Lord Brahma wanted to jump in that fire. Rama put his head down. He did not want anyone to see his tears. Just like a piece of gold glitters more in fire, similarly Sita in fire was so effulgent that her effulgence overshadowed the effulgent rays of the sun.
And from the fire appeared the god of fire, Agni. He felt immensely blessed having been touched by the lotus feet of mother Sita. He spoke to Rama,“ Her mere presence purifies the three worlds. How can sin even touch her? She is supremely pure.”
Sita wearing red robes, garland of celestial flowers and beautiful gems walked towards Lord Rama. She was desperate to meet him. And he who was hiding his emotions could no longer contain himself. Rama declared boldly, “Sita is as inseparable from me as sun rays from the sun.”
It was not that Lord Rama wanted any certification from anyone to know Sita is pure. But he who resides in the hearts of all knows the hearts of all. He knew people bereft of conscience may question Sita and bring their own downfall. And how can he tolerate any infamy to Sita whom he loved more than his own life? He knew well that his act will be criticized for sure by the ignorants. And he also knew that
this act will ensure Sita attains all glories. Her virtues will be sung in all the directions for eternity.
He knew that the atheists, the agnostics, the ignorant, the cunning people who can stoop low to defame anything virtuous would also not even dare to question the purity of Sita. One of the foremost duties of the husband is to protect his wife in all situations and in all circumstances.
And he, the best amongst all, protected Sita, his eternal consort, by taking all the pains and giving her all the glory.
Who can better understand the heart of Rama than his father, Dasaratha. Dasaratha, the father in law of mother Sita, who was then residing in heaven with Indra,s eated on a celestial chariot came down and spoke, “Do not think ill of your beloved husband. He put you in a moment of agony to declare to the entire world that you are extremely pure. For eternity your glories will be sung. Your virtue will overshadow the renown of all virtuous lady.” Reference: Ramayana -> Part Three – War – Chapter 14 – Sita’s Ordeal, https://vedabase.io/en/library/rkd/3/14/
And in Kali-yuga, Lord Rama appeared as Lord Caitanya to establish this fact again that Sita was never kidnapped and her chastity was never tested.
Lord Caitanya after meeting Ramadasa visited Ramesvara temple where he found Kurma Purana. In the Purana it is mentioned that as soon as Ravana came to kidnap Sita, Sita immediately petitioned the fire –god, Agni. The fire god brought an illusory form of Sita and Ravana kidnapped the false Sita. The original Sita went to the abode of fire god. And so, when Lord Ramachandra tested Sita then it was the false Sita who entered the fire. And at that very moment, Agni brought the original Sita before Lord Rama.
Caitanya Mahaprabhu immediately went to Ramadasa, the servant of Lord Rama, to deliver the script. Ramadasa was so happy to get the original leaf manuscript of the Kurma Purana. His doubts were now cleared. He was now delivered from unhappy condition.
With tears in his eyes he fell at the lotus feet of Lord Caitanya and said, “Sir, you are Lord Ramacandra Himself and have come in the dress of a sannyasi to give me audience.” Caitanya Charitamrita Madhya 9.214. Overwhelmed by the emotion he pleaded the Lord to accept food at his house again. This time he joyfully cooked the food and served first-class dinner to the Lord.
Purushottam Nitai Das is a member of the congregation at Iskcon Kolkata. He works at IBM as an Advisory Consultant.