|| Sarga 16 ||

|| Tattva Dipika ||

||om tat sat||

Sarga 16

Sita in Meditation in Ashoka grove

In Sarga 16 most of us see Hanuman in sorrow, looking at Sita in distress in that Ashoka grove in the middle of terrible looking and cruel Rakshasis. What Hanuma sees in Sita is something different. According to Hanuman, "Sita does not see the Rakshasis surrounding her , she does not see the Ashoka tress laden with flowers and fruits .She only sees Rama who alone is fixed in her heart". In that sense this Sarga is about Sita in meditation in the Ashoka grove

The story of the sixteenth Sarga can be summarized as follows .

Having meditated for a moment Hanuman started lamenting about Sita, with his eyes filled with tears. 'If Sita, worshipped by well trained Lakshmana, and loved by elders is drenched in sorrows then it is indeed impossible to overcome fate. Knowing the prowess of Rama and Lakshmana's might, Sita is not agitated like Ganga seeing the rain bearing clouds. Equal in character , age and behavior , perfect match in birth and auspicious marks Raghava deserves Sita . That black eyed one, Sita, too deserves him'.

Hanuman's thoughts flow like the water in the Ganges in the rainy season.

'For the sake of this large eyed lady the powerful Vali was killed. Kabandha who is equal in prowess to Ravana was slain too. The fearsome warrior Viradha was killed in a war in the forest , like Sambara killed by Mahendra. In Janasthana with arrows equal to flames of fire, fourteen thousand fearsome Rakshasas were killed. Khara was killed in a war by the powerful Rama who is a realized self. Trisira too was slain and so was Dushana. Because of her Sugriva got the difficult to obtain supremacy of the world of Vanaras ruled by Vali. The Vanaras too obtained prosperity'.

'For this large eyed lady, the ocean has been crossed by me. This city was surveyed too (by me). For her sake if Rama turns upside down the lands stretching to the ocean or the whole world it is appropriate I think. Given the sovereignty of the three worlds or Sita, the three worlds kingdom will not measure up to even one sixteenth of her'.

Looking at Sita , and thinking about Rama and Sita, Hanuman's respect for them grows. We can see the devotion too, indicating the transformation of Hanuman. His thoughts continue.
'Daughter of King Janaka, a great soul and a follower of right conduct , Sita is a lady of unswerving devotion to her Husband. She has risen up breaking the field tilled by the plough covered with dust particles of paddy. This celebrated lady is the elder daughter-in-law of King Dasaratha, a man of right conduct ,a person who never turned away from battles without victory'.

'This Sita, wife of righteous, ever grateful Rama has fallen under the control of Rakshasa women. Having given up all comforts , committed to the love of her husband , not thinking of any concerns she entered the forest uninhabited by people. She is happy with fruits and roots and delighted in serving her husband. She lived happily in the forest as if she was in palace. This lady of golden complexion ever smiling with her speech, although never experienced calamities, she is tolerating all the agony. Raghava deserves to see this highly virtuous lady troubled by Ravana, like a thirsty man waiting to see a source of water'.

'Raghava after getting her will be delighted like a king regaining a lost kingdom. This lady having forsaken all comforts, separated from her near and dear , is holding her life only with the hope of meeting him again. This lady does not see the Rakshasas. Neither does she see the fruit and flower laden trees. Surely with single minded focus she is thinking of Rama only. Husband is the ornament of ornaments. Without that ( ornament in the form of husband) even if she deserves to wear other ornaments she does not shine. By sustaining himself without her and not being despondent Rama is performing a difficult task. Seeing this sorrowing dark haired lady, though she deserves to be happy, my mind is also worried'.

'Tolerant like mother earth, the lotus eyed lady who was protected by both Rama and Lakshmana, is now guarded by Rakshasa women of hideous appearance sitting under a tree. Having lost luster like a lotus afflicted by snow, afflicted by continuous appearance of sorrows, the daughter of Janaka, is in a pitiable condition like the female Chakravaka bird separated from her companion'.

'The topmost branches of Ashoka tree loaded with with blossoms with the onset of spring which are bending down and the thousand rayed Sun and moon are generating intense sorrow instead of happiness in this lady.'

That is what we hear in the Sarga 16.

Valmiki saying " कालोहि दुरतिक्रमः" , meaning that it is impossible for any one to overcome fate,
adds " नात्यर्थं क्षुभ्यते देवी".
Emphasizing that even though she is in difficulties she is not agitated.
There by telling us that even in difficulties one moves forward with that faith in the Supreme being, and not get agitated.

In that statement "Sita is not agitated inspite of the difficulties because of her faith in Rama,
there are a couple of points to be noted.

For the one locked in the life's battles the two redeeming thoughts are
(1) the belief in the firmness of Bhagavan's will,
(2) the belief in the Guru's knowledge
to take one across the ocean of difficulties.

"We hear Rama in Yuddhakanda saying " protecting those who seek protection is my duty"

"सकृदेव प्रपन्नाय त्वास्मीति च याचते।
अभयं सर्व भूतेभ्यो ददामि एतत् व्रतं मम"॥ (युद्धकांड18.33)||

"अभयं सर्व भूतेभ्यो ददामि"
That word of Bhagavan saying "Do not be afraid" is our protection .
Not only giving us protection , he adds an insurance ,
"एतत् व्रतं मम"
"Giving that protection is a vow with me"
That is the power of Bhagavan's protection.
For his followers, that is all that is needed.

We hear a similar refrain at another point in Ramayana
In the Dandaka forest , when the all the Sages seek Rama's. protection against Rakshasas,
Sita in her natural fear for her husband , tries to stop Rama from taking on that responsibility.
Then Rama responds

"अप्यहं जीवितं जह्यं त्वां सीते सलक्ष्मणाम्।
नतु प्रज्ञां संश्रुत्य ब्राह्मणेभ्यो विशेषतः" ॥( अरण्य10.19)||

Saying that " For protecting those to whom a promise has been made , if required I can give my life , or even you and Lakshmana "
The belief in the firmness of the commitment, and the commitment of that Bhagavan to protect is the ultimate for the believer.

Thus it is the trust in Rama that gives courage to Sita.

There is also another thing that gives courage to Sita .
It is the thinking power of Lakshmana.

The thinking power of Lakshmana is also a protection
Lakshmana is the one who alerts Rama that that golden deer is not real, and is not to be followed.
Lakshmana is the one who helps Rama in following and directing the search for Sita.
Thus that thinking power of Lakshmana is indeed an insurance.

Here Valmiki is also suggesting that just as the thinking power of Lakshmana is a protection for Sita,
The gurus knowledge is a protection for his follower.
Thus Valmiki seems to tell us that one ought to trust the power of knowledge of the Guru and the will power of God to protect those who seek protection in overcoming the innumerable obstacles in the battle of life.

There is another interesting point made in this Sarga.
That is about Sita and Rama's "तुल्यशील वयोवृत्तां".
How they are a perfect match.
In match making, the bride and groom are matched on five factors
(1) the character (2) age, (3) be ha vi our (4) lineage (5) characteristics.

Here Rama is the lineage of King Raghu.

After the Viswajit sacrifice where in what ever he owns is given away to Brahmins, is performed , sage Kautsa comes to seek the part that one traditionally owes a Guru. King Raghu, having given away everything, decides to take on Kubera for more money to give to fulfil his duty. Then Kubera on his own rains all the riches required and more. King Raghu asks the Sage to take all of what is given by Kubera. But the sage insists on taking what he needs only.

Rama thus belongs to the lineage of King Raghu, who gives away more than what is sought.

Vaidehi or Sita too belongs to the lineage of those that believe that even their Deha ( body) does not belong to them.

Thus both belong to families of great lineage.

Sita is often referred to as ' असितेक्षणा' .
In Sundarakanda the beauty of Sita's eyes has been referred to many times as
'असितेक्षणा', 'विशालाक्षी', 'शुचिस्मिता' etc,.
Here her black eyes, the wide eyes and those eyes with a smile reflecting the purity are refered to.

She is not angered by the Rakshasa women troubling her.
He eye does not get the tinge of red out of anger
She is compassionate .She can treat even a traitor as her own son.
that is poetically reflected in the blackness of her eyes.
The affection laden eyes are the speciality of Sita

It is also true that Lakshmi reflects more affection even as compare top Bhagavan

The Supreme being does not forgive the sins
He gives rewards in accordance with the actions.
He is thus of controlling as well as rewarding nature.

But Lakshmi knows only rewarding .
Thus she is by nature affectionate.
That is why her eyes reflect that nature.
Sita is but a reflection of Lakshmi just as Rama is a reflection of the Supreme being

Seeing that Sita Hanuman says:

"नैषापश्यति राक्षस्यः न एमान् फलद्रुमान्।
एकस्थ हृदया नूनं राममेवानुपश्यति"

Hanuman is sayings
"She does not see Rakshasa women"
She does not see the blossoming flowers or the hanging fruits
She can only see the Rama in her heart.
This is the stage of meditation.
She is in Ashoka grove
Ashoka grove by its name is meant to be a grove without sorrow.
The stage of meditation is one without sorrow.
in that stage of meditation, she sees only Rama.

With focus of one object, not looking at any other object ,
and seeing the same object at all times happens in the stage of deep meditation

In that stage when one has been able to divert the mind from all other issues of fruits ,
in that stage when the mind is focused on and is meditating on one object,
there is no sorrow.

Praying for the object, one may seem to be separate from the object externally,
But mentally they are but one.
One who reaches such a stage is the one who is on the way to enlightenment.

Though separated from Rama, Sita is mentally united with him.
That is the Sita we see in the Ashoka grove,
A Sita in meditation.

||om tat sat ||
|| This is what we read in Bhashyam Appalaacharyulugaru's Tattvadipika||
|| om tat sat||


||om tat sat||
|| This is what we understood from Tattva Dipika of Shri Bhashyam, Appalacharyulu garu"||
|| om tat sat||