|| Sarga 16 ||

|| Tattva Dipika ||

||om tat sat||

Sarga 16

'Sita in Ashoka grove'

The Sarga starts with a line describing Hanuma.
"समुहूर्तमिव ध्यात्वा
... हनुमान्विललाप ह ॥

Having meditated for a moment,
with his eyes filled with tears of joy,
joy of having found Sita,
... Hanuma started lamenting about Sita .

यदि सीताsपि दुःखार्तो कालोहि दुरततिक्रमः॥3||
if .. Sita is afflicted by sorrows
then it is indeed impossible to overcome fate'.
That is a genuine bewilderment for Hanuma,
considering the high pedestal Sita is placed on.

There is an interesting thought in Ramayana Tilaka on this.

"ननु न दुःखं सुखं वा कालमात्र जन्यम्,
तत्सापेक्षकालजन्यत्वेपि ईश्वरावतार सीतारामयोः कर्माभावत्
कथं दुःखमिति चेत् न ॥रा.ति॥

Neither Happiness nor sorrow is due to only fate ,
It is due to failure of performing proper Karma.
But both being the incarnations (of Vishnu & Lakshmi)
there is no issue of Karma not being performed properly.
Then where is the question of sorrow?
Essentially they have no sorrow .
Having taken the form of people on the earth,
they are simply acting out the role of those persons,
without using the powers of their incarnation.
Hanuman too having been deceived by the form ( of Sita's sorrows)
thinks of difficulties in overcoming the fate!
There is a school of thought that Rama knew he is an "Avatara".
And that he is acting out as a man to show the people how to overcome sorrows.
That includes Sita too.
The Ramayana Tilak comment is to be seen in that light.

Coming back to the context of that Sloka,
after saying " कालोहि दुरतिक्रमः" ,
meaning that it is impossible for any one to overcome fate.
Valmiki however 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 faith.
With that faith in the Supreme being, and one does not get agitated.

In that statement
"Sita is not agitated in spite of the difficulties
because of her faith in Rama",
there are a couple of thoughts that echo.

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
Theses are the two thoughts that take one across the ocean of difficulties.

We hear Rama in Yuddhakanda talking about duty saying.
" protecting those who seek protection is my duty"
Then he adds

"अभयं सर्व भूतेभ्यो
ददामि एतत् व्रतं मम"॥ (युद्धकांड18.33)||

"अभयं सर्व भूतेभ्यो ददामि" is essentially Bhagavan giving us "अभयं".
That word of Bhagavan saying "be not afraid" is our protection.

He is not only giving 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.
The belief in the firmness of Bhagavan's will is their protection.

In the Dandaka forest at another point in Ramayana,
We hear a similar refrain.
There 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)||

He says the following .
" 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.
Lakshmana says that deer was not to be followed.
Lakshmana is the one who helps Rama in the search for Sita.
Thus that thinking power of Lakshmana is indeed an insurance.

Here Valmiki is also suggesting something to us.
That is, just as the thinking power of Lakshman 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
who guides you through innumerable battles.

Valmiki also reminds us about the will power of God to protect those who seek protection.
And help them overcome 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) behavior (4) lineage (5) characteristics.

Here Rama is the lineage of King Raghu.

Raghu performs Viswajit Sacrifice.
In the Viswajit sacrifice what ever one owns is given away to Brahmins.
After Raghu performed the sacrifice,
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.
Rama thus belongs to the lineage of King Raghu,
who gives 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 (विदॆह).

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.
She is referred to as 'असितेक्षणा', 'विशालाक्षी', 'शुचिस्मिता' etc,.
Here her black eyes, the wide eyes and those eyes with a smile reflecting the purity are referred to.

She is not angered by the Rakshasa women troubling her.
Her 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 compared to 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 saying
"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 mental 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 meditation, she sees only Rama.

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

When one has been able to divert the mind from issues of fruits ,
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.

This Sarga also denotes Hanuma's growing admiration for Sita,
which also turns to a form of devotion.

We see the full flow of Hanuma's thoughts in this Sarga
much like the overflowing Ganges he refers to later.

The story of the sixteenth Sarga can be summarized as follows .
After the initial lament about the fate being more powerful,
recovers his thoughts saying
" नात्यर्थं क्षुभ्यते देवी". She is not agitated.
Hanuma goes on.

"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 continue to 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 has realized self.
Trisira too was slain and so was Dushana.
Because of her Sugriva got the supremacy of the world of Vanaras.
A world that was earlier ruled by Vali.
A world that was difficult to obtain otherwise.
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 the lands stretching to the ocean or the whole world upside down,
it is appropriate I think.
Given the sovereignty of the three worlds or Sita,
the kingdom of the three worlds 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 growing,
indicating the transformation of Hanuman.
His thoughts continue.
'Sita is the daughter of King Janaka,
a great soul and a follower of right conduct.
Sita is a lady of unswerving devotion to her Husband.
She is the elder daughter-in-law of King Dasaratha.
Dasaratha, A man of right conduct ,
A person who never turned away from battles without victory'.

'This Sita, wife of righteous and ever grateful Rama
has fallen under the control of Rakshasa women.

"Having given up all comforts,
she entered the forest uninhabited by people,
without thinking of any concerns,
only committed to the love of her husband".

"She is happy with fruits and roots.
She delighted in serving her husband.
She lived happily in the forest as if she was in a palace.

This lady of golden complexion,
always speaking with a smile is tolerating all the agony
though she never experienced calamities before.

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 back 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'.

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'.

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

At the end what we see is Hanuman,
the devotee of Rama and Sita.

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