Holy Lake of the Acts of Lord Rama, Part 10


Rama and Lakshmana on Mount Pavarasana
Punjab Hlls, Bahu, c. 1700

Jan 22, 2012 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial presentation of Tulasi das's 'Ramacaritamanasa'.

Yajnavalkya's Story (Continued)

[Doha 53] When she [Sita] heard Rama's words, so gentle but so full of meaning, she was utterly ashamed; awe-struck, Sati returned to Mahesa with anxious heart. [Caupai 54] 'I paid no heed to Samkara's word, but brought my folly to the notice of Rama; and now what answer am I to give?' Her heart's distress was a consuming fire.

Rama knew that Sati was in distress and showed forth his power in part. As Sati went on her way, she beheld a marvel. In front of her was Rama, with Sita and his brother. She looked behind her and saw the Lord with his brother and Sita in beauteous raiment. Wherever she looked, there was the Lord upon his throne, and adepts and learned sages were doing him reverence. She saw, too, many a Shiva, Brahma and Visnu, each surpassing the rest in measureless majesty; and all the gods she saw in various forms serving the Lord and doing homage to his feet.

[Doha 54] Satis, Sarasvatis and Laksmis she saw, innumerable and marvelous, each in a form to match the form of Brahma and the other gods. [Caupai 55] As many Raghupatis as she saw on this side and on that, so many were the forms of all the gods with their consorts. She beheld, too, all the creatures, moving and unmoved, the world contains, in their various kinds. The gods in many forms were worshipping the Lord; but nowhere did she see the form of Rama other than his own. Many a Raghupati and Sita she saw, but always their forms were the same – the same Raghubar, the same Laksman, the same Sita. Sati was terrified at the sight; with beating heart she lost all consciousness; she closed her eyes and sank down on the road. When she opened her eyes again and looked, Daksa's daughter saw nothing there; again and again she bowed her head before Rama's feet and went on to where the mountain lord awaited her.

Court Artist Draws the Portraits of Bharata and Shatrughna
Shangri II Ramayana
Bahu, Jammu c. 1695

[Doha 55] When she drew nigh to Mahesa, he smiled and asked her how she had fared. 'How did you put him to the test?' he said. 'Tell me truly all you did.'

[Caupai 56] Sati thought of the power of Raghubir and for very fear concealed the truth from Siva. 'Husband,' she said, 'I made no trial of him, but like yourself I greeted him with reverence. I was perfectly sure that what you said must be true.'

Then Samkara perceived the truth by contemplation and knew all that Sati had done; he bowed his head before Rama's illusive power by whose impulse Sati had been caused to utter falsehood. 'What Hari wills is destiny invincible,' thought all-wise Sambhu in his heart; 'Sati took the form of Sita,' Siva reflected in deep despondency; 'if now I treat Sati with a husband's love, the faith I follow will be lost and I shall be committing sin. [Doha 56] Sati is utterly pure and I cannot desert her; yet it were great sin to show my love.' Mahesa said nothing openly, but in his heart was grievous pain.

[Caupai 57] Then Samkara bowed his head before the feet of the Lord, and as soon as he thought on Rama, he made this resolve: 'I will not touch Sati in the body she now wears.' So Siva determined, and constant to his vow, Samkara went home with his thoughts on Raghubir; and as he went, a triumphant cry sounded from heaven: 'Victory to Mahesa! Firmly has thou upheld the faith! Who but thou, Rama's votary, the Blessed Lord, could make a vow like this?'

Sati was troubled when she heard the voice from heaven, and hesitantly asked Siva, 'Tell me, Lord of grace, home of truth and compassionate, what is this vow that you have made?' But though Sati questioned him again and again, Tripurari told her nothing.

[Doha 57a] Sati guessed that the omniscient knew all she had done. 'I have deceived Sambhu,' she thought, 'like a stupid, foolish woman! [Sloka 57b] Water mixed with milk is sold as milk, and, see, it is just the same with love. Let the acid of deceit fall into it and the two are separated and the taste is spoilt.'

King Dasaratha and His Retinue Proceed to Rama's Wedding
Shangri II Ramayana
Bahu, Jammu, c. 1700

[Caupai 58] As she dwelt on what she had done, her heart was torn with grief inexpressible and boundless anxiety. 'Siva,' she thought, 'is an ocean of grace, but an ocean no man can fathom, and that is why he has not spoken openly of my fault.' Bhavani read Samkara's thoughts in his face, and realizing that her Lord had abandoned her, was bitterly distressed. When she thought of her sin, she could say nothing, but her heart was a fiery furnace. When Siva perceived that Sati was sorrowful, he told her charming stories to comfort her; and thus recounting various legends on the way, Visvanath arrived at Kailasa. Then Sambhu, remembering his vow, sat beneath a banyan in the lotus-posture of meditation, and practicing complete self-control, Samkara fell into an endless, unbroken trance.

[Doha 58] Meanwhile, Sati dwelt in Kailasa and great was her grief; no one knew aught of her secret; every day seemed like an age in the passing. [Caupai 59] Ever in Sati's heart was the burden of a fresh sorrow: 'When shall I traverse this ocean of pain? I who slighted Raghupati and held my husband's word to be untrue! God has punished me as I deserve and all that he has done is fitting; but now, O God, think it not right to preserve my life when I am at variance with Samkara!' No tongue could tell her heart's despair, but wisely she thought on Rama and said, 'Lord, if thou art said to pity the humble, and the Vedas have proclaimed thy glory as one who relieves distress, then with folded hands I make my prayer that this body of mind be speedily put off. If I truly love the feet of Siva, and my wifely vow is true in thought and word and deed, then hear me, O all-seeing Lord, [Doha 59] and soon devise some means whereby I may die and so with ease be rid of this intolerable woe.'

Rama Releases the Demon Spies Shuka and Sarana
Ramayana 'Siege of Lanka' Series by Manaku
Guler, Himachal Pradesh, c. 1725

[Caupai 60] So sorrowed Prajapati's daughter; heavy and grievous was her unspeakable anguish. Eighty-seven thousand years passed by and the immortal Sambhu awoke from his trance. When Siva began to repeat the name of Rama, Sati perceived that the Lord of the world was awake and went and did homage to Sambhu's feet. Samkara seated her before him and began to recite the romantic stories of Hari.


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