After liberating Devi Ahilya, Sri Rama along with his younger sibling Lakshmana walk towards the capital city of Mithila.
Sage Vishwamitra brought these two young prices to witness the lavish arrangements of Sita Swayamvar.
Sri Ram and Sita meet Each other
Sri Rama meets his eternal consort, Sita devi in the court of King Janaka.
The Puspavatika Anecdote is a popular version of the first meet of Sri Rama and Sita Devi.
However, this episode occurs in the Ramcharitmanas.
In Valmiki Ramyana, the couple for the first time meet eachother in the court of King Janaka.
They don’t speak to each other through words.
Instead, they silently exchange glances.
Since, then Sri Rama beholds Sita Devi everywhere.
Sri Rama breaks the Mighty bow
Now, in the royal court of Janaka, one after another, all the kings tried to the best of their abilitites to lift the mighty Shiv Dhanush.
But all in vain.
As all the kings disappointed the king, Sage Vishwamitra, asked Rama to go and see the bow.
If it were a normal boy they would take the Sage’s words literally.
They would look at the bow and return back to their seats.
But, since Sri Rama was a Kshatriya warrior, he rightly grasped the significance of the Sage’s words.
Sri Rama went closer to raise the divine bow and clasped the middle piece with his right hand.
Just like a child picks up his doll to play, Sri Rama lifted the extraordinary bow.
The bow was huge and surpassed the height of Sri Rama.
According to the rules laid by King Janaka, The anticipating suitor must string the bow in order to wed Janaki.
Stringing the bow divine bow was next to impossible as the warrior has to bear its weight on his hands and pull the string up to the top.
Other warriors failed in the first step of picking up the bow itself.
So, stringing the bow was out of question.
Sri Rama, held the bow and placed it vertically on the ground.
With his right toe resting at the bottom of the bow and his right hand holding the middle portion of the bow, Sri Ram pulled the string towards its hook.
Unexpectedly, the bow broke into two pieces.
All the present warriors were wonder struck.
Sita Devi’s joy of garlanding Sri Rama
Sri, Rama possessed immense strength which surpassed the force required to string the bow. A thunderous sound echoed.
The despondent father of Janaki, King Janaka was now experiencing immeasurable bliss as he saw Sri Ram qualify as the bridegroom.
He instantly asked his daughter Sita Devi to garland victorious Sri Rama.
Sita Devi walks towards her Lord, with the flower garland in her hands.
She didn’t speak a word, until her father, Janaka asked her to garland Sri Rama.
Though she is the eternal consort and had the sole right over Sri Rama, she set the code of an ideal woman.
If the couple married on the basis of attraction then it would be like any ordinary marriage.
But, Sita Devi wouldn’t be happy to marry in such a fashion.
She has high ideals and is all-virtuous.
Her happiness knew no bounds when she married Sri Rama for He fulfilled her father’s desire.
She was happy to see Sri Rama display his might in the court of warriors.
Moreover, she along with King Janaka were totally convinced about His excellence in speech, might, beauty, obedience, virtue etc.
He was the perfect bridegroom for Janaki Devi.
King Janaka invites King Dasharatha
King Janaka asked the expert horse-riders of his kingdom to travel in raging speed so that they deliver his invitation letter to King Dasharatha.
They covered a distance of 200 miles (approx.) from Mithila to Ayodhya in just 3 days.
After receiving the invitation, Dasharatha displayed no great excitement and he immediately consulted Sage Vashistha.
He said: “Oh sage Vashistha, that day, you asked me to send Rama with Sage Vishwamitra in order to protect his sacrificial fire and today he is going to get married with the princess of Mithila.
So please issue your orders for me?”
To this Vashistha replied:
That day I advised you to send Rama for everyone’s welfare and even today I will advise you to do the same.
Come, we must instantly proceed towards Mithila to complete the marriage ceremony.”
King Dasharatha was all enthusiastic to behold the divine couple.
Royal elephants, warriors, Priests, chariots, jewelry and many other precious gifts followed with him to Mithila.
In Mithila, King Janaka expressed his gratitude to Sage Vishwamitra and as soon as the family of Sri Rama entered the palace, they got Sri Rama and Sita married.
A grand celebration swept the entire capital.
Citizens showered flowers while elders of the family their blessings.
This was no ordinary occasion. It was after all the marriage ceremony of Sri Rama and Sita Devi, the Masters of the Universe.
Mood of Sage Vishwamitra
Sage Vashistha was in-charge of fulfilling all the marriage formalities and functions as he was the royal priest of the groom’s dynasty.
Here, Sage Vishwamitra thought: “It was I who got the divine couple married, but Sage Vashistha is relishing the fruits of all my actions.
I sow but he reaps.
I only experienced the joy of their uniting the two divinities, but he will be witnessing all their pastimes on returning to Ayodhya”.
Marriage of All the 4 princes and princesses
Along with Ram, the princess also wedded the princesses of Mithila, sisters of Sita Devi.
Janaka got his two daughters Janaki and Urmila married Sri Rama and Lakshmana respectively.
Similarly, Kushadhwaja got his two daughters Mandavi and Shrutkirti married to Bharatha and Shatrughana respectively.
As per the royal custom of reputed dynasties, the names of all their forefather-kings are recited. This custom was observed to glorify the kings of the dynasty.
Also, it was done to acquaint both the bridegroom and bride’s families with the entire family tree.
This increases the fame of their forefathers and is a gesture of respect to them.
Vashistha recited the Family Tree of Raghu Vansha or Ikshawaku Vansha.
Similarly the family priest of Mithila recited Janaka’s family tree: Mithi, Janaka, Uthavasu, etc…
The alliance of the two families was not merely getting the couples married.
Instead, it was the union of the two dynasties which were known for their greatness and popularity.
Both the dynasties were extraordinary and therefore, this alliance was also a unique one.
On the day of marriage, Janaka tells Sri Rama: “This is Sita, my daughter.
She will accompany you in all your Dharmic activities.
Take her along with you and let all auspiciousness pervade. Take her palm into yours…”
Citizens of Ayodhya and Mithila
The citizens of Ayodhya are partial to Shri Rama as He is their cherished prince and future king.
At the same time, the citizens of Mithila venerate their princess who is all-auspicious.
One of the Alvars reveals the mood of the citizens.
The citizens of Ajodhya say that our Sri Rama is so extraordinary that Sita Devi requires thousand eyes to see him.
To this the citizens of Mithila say that our Sita Devi’s persona cannot be seen with merely two eyes.
Instead, Sri Ramachandra must acquire thousand eyes and must keep acquiring new ones every minute to behold our princess.
Just like Rukmini is the soul of Sri Krishna, Sita is the eternal consort of Sri Rama.
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