|| Sarga 1 ||

|| Tattva Dipika ||

|| Om tat sat ||
Sarga 1

Leaping across the seas:

The essential story of Sarga 1 is "समुद्रलंघनम्"
It can be stated as follows.
Having made up his mind about searching for Sita in Ravana's Lanka,
Hanuman jumps across the seas to reach Lanka.
Having overcome three major obstacles Hanuman reaches the other shore.
That is the outer shell of the story.
It is story that is easily understood and repeated.

There is also a embedded story of Jeevatma and Paramatma in Ramayana.
That the inner meaning or "अंतरार्थम्"
The following is an elaboration of that inner story.

The very first Sloka in the first Sarga of Sundarakanda has lot of prominence.
It is sloka that flows off the lips of every Sundarakanda devotee.

"ततो रावण नीतायाः सीतायाः शतृकर्षणः।
इयेष पदं अन्वेष्ठुम् चारणा चरिते पथिः"॥

"Then Hanuman started in search of Sita carried away by Ravana following the path of celestial singers".

Sundarakanda forms the middle part of Ramayana and the twelfth letter of Gayathri representing the middle syllable of Gayatri, forms an important letter in the very first sloka. The twelfth letter of Gayatri "Va" is embedded in the word 'रावण'. That fact alone has raised the sloka to be a "mantra" in its own right. This is a sloka that is recalled many a time as we proceed in this search.

In the first sloka we see Hanuman starting off in search of Sita.
How is that Hanuman equipped for that search?
Hanuman starts off with a special order from Rama.
Carrying a token given by Rama,
Hanuma moves in search of Sita.

What is the meaning of "Sita"?
Sita means that which was found by the plough tilling the soil.
Janaka found the baby while tilling the soil.
And he promptly named her Sita.
In this body which is the domain of all actions,
the intellect locates the "Self" by its constant search or digging.
That is very much like the plough tilling the soil.
That means Sita is the "Self".

Rama being an incarnation of the Supreme being,
It means that with the approval of Bhagavan,
Carrying a token given by Bhagavan ,
Hanuman starts in search of Sita or "Self".

Very much like the Jivatma separated from Paramatman,
Sita is separated from Rama.
In that context Hanuman goes in in search of "Self",
which got separated from the Paramatman,

What is purpose of search?
To unite Sita with Rama.
Uniting the Self with Paramatman.

That means embedded in the story of search for Sita
is the inner story of search for "Atma"or "Self"
Any such search requires a Guru.
Here the Guru is Hanuman himself.

Hanuman is called शत्रुकर्षनः./शतृकर्षणः.
That means , he is one who can crush the enemies.
Hanuman is the one who can crush the Rakshasas troubling Sita.
Hanuman is also one who crushes the inner enemies

There is one more thing..

Who carried away Sita?

"Ravana" means -
"रावयति असत् प्रलापान् कारयति इति रावणः".
The one that makes you think of " me" and "mine"
and pushes one towards a raving speech is Ravana.

What is that one in the human body
which forces the thoughts of "me " and "mine" ?
Without any doubt that is the raging mind or the ego.

Ravana is nothing other than our raging mind.

Sita or the "Self" was carried away by the "raging mind" called Ravana.

That means the first sloka says that
Hanuman started his search for Sita or the Self
which was carried away by a Ravana
which is none other than the evil thoughts of the mind.

In the spiritual enquiry,
the unification of Self or Jeevatman with the Paramatman is the ultimate goal.
That is the same goal in Sundarakanda.
The outer shell of the story is unification of Rama and Sita.
Reading this first sloka,
or meditating on this sloka is the way to liberation is the thought of many.
Reading this sloka alone is enough for that purpose.

For meditation one needs a Mantra.
There are many such Mantras
meditating on whom one starts on the steps to liberation

In that process the first sloka of Sundarakanda is a Mantra too !

||om tat sat ||

|| Note for the readers- Although it may not have been elaborated as much ,
most expounders of Sundarakanda say this.
Bhashyam Appalaacharyulugaru elaborated as above in his "Tattva Dipika"
Govinda raja's Ramayan Tilaka says the same||

||om tat sat ||