Why should we pray to Sita Devi?
Sita Devi is devoid of defects which show up in the Supreme Lord Himself and the Jiva. The defect of the jiva lies in his tendency to neglect God as a due result of his sins. The Lord is however not free from the defect of anger (although it is spiritual in nature), born out of concern. The Lord estranges from the jiva due to his growing sinful actions. But, it is mother Sita who bridges the gap between the Jiva and Paramatma. The stepping stone towards attaining God is to attract the grace of Mother Sita. Just like a child approaches his mother before contacting his father for his requirements, the jiva must have the consent of Sita Devi before he approaches Bhagawan.
A scriptural reference is seen in, Daya Shatakam of Vendata Desika, where he expresses his gratitude to Niladevi (an incarnation of Lakshmi Devi, consort of Lord Vishnu).
Vedanta Desika says: “I offer my respects to that Niladevi who bewilders the all-knower Bhagawan in such a way that He forgets all crimes and sees only good deeds of the jiva. I pray to that Goddess due to whose grace and affection for the fallen souls, the Lord Himself sanctions jivas for Moksha.”
In a divine conversation between the eternal couple, the Goddess asks: “If the Shastras always delineate sins for sinners, then when do You (Bhagawan) get an opportunity to display your ever-forgiving nature?” The Lord counter questions the Goddess: “If I keep displaying my forgiving nature, then when do I get an opportunity to follow my own words, the Shastras?” Both pondered over the concerns raised by one another.
The universal mother proposed an idea to which the Lord gave his full acceptance. She said: “Oh Lord, please relieve devotees who have sinned in the past. Relieve those devotees who promise You that they will follow the Shastras and not commit crimes any further. In this way you will fulfil my desire. You’ll get an opportunity to display your kind-hearted nature.
On the other hand, fulfil Your desire by punishing the truly sinful beings who have forgotten You. Forgetting You is the greatest of all crimes and therefore keep the Shastric penalties for those who do not realize that they have sinned and who do not seek the shelter of your lotus feet.”
The Lord accepted the witty proposal of his consort who in turn addressed her children (the jivatmas) by saying: “I will introduce every jiva as a surrendered and an ardent devotee of Bhagawan. Hence, none of you will undergo suffering.”
A mother is most concerned about the well-being of her children. Hence, Devi is called Jagat Mata or Universal Mother.
In the Ramayana, it is established that Srimati Sita Devi is the most concerned mother. She does not allow any violence against her children, be it monkeys, crows, demons or any other creature. When alone, Sri Rama slayed demons. All the punished souls be it the 14,000 demon army, Ravana, Vali, Taraka, Subahu, Maricha, etc were slayed when Sita Devi was elsewhere.
In temples, Sri Vishnu is accompanied by Mother Lakshmi and Sri Rama is accompanied by Sita Devi, so that the jiva easily qualifies for Moksha the moment he prays to His mother who stands beside Bhagawan. The Lord grants Moksha to such ardent devotees.
Sri Rama glorifies Sita Devi
Sri Rama grew pensive, pondering over the possible consequences if he didn’t reach Ayodhya at the earliest. He requested his friend Vibheeshana: “Oh friend, I left Ayodhya with my wife and brother for 14 years to fulfil the vow of my father. Today, the promise has been fulfilled. But, I am extremely worried for Bharath. The day is about to end and we must reach Ayodhya as soon as possible for if I don’t, my dear Bharat will abandon His body. He is extremely attached to Me. If He doesn’t find Me at the end of the 14 years of exile, He will not live for a moment. So, can you arrange for some means by which I can reach Ayodhya on time?”
Vibheeshana was delighted to offer his services as he says: “Oh Lord, please sit on this Pushpak Vimana and honor me by granting your service. This vehicle travels at a rampant pace and is the most suitable for your service. My brother used this very vehicle for heinous activities. But, if You use this it will get sanctified.” The Lord accepted Vibheeshana’s humble token of love and along with Sita devi and brother Lakshmana he boarded the Pushpak Vimana.
They flew across various places. Sri Rama simultaneously engaged Sita Devi by narrating stories associated to the places.
Sri Rama said: “Sita, shower your blessings on this land and look carefully at each and everything so that people can benefit from this place.”
Sita Devi immediately replied: “I have been looking at the trees, mountains, and greenery of this place for the past 10 months. But, you haven’t spent much time here and therefore you ask me to look around.”
“No, you haven’t looked around with love but with eyes full of anger. Ravana was atrocious and this land was polluted as a result of his crimes. But, you must be aware that the present king, my friend Vibheeshana is a rightful heir to this kingdom and he is my ardent devotee. Hence I insist that you look at this place with much benevolence for this land has been rid of its sins and with your blessings, fortune and prosperity shall manifold. ”
After travelling for some time, Sri Rama reached the Setu He built over the sea. He said: “See, I have built this bridge along the sea which will in future become a place of worship. Whoever comes to this pilgrimage and worships Me will have his sins reduced to ashes. Therefore Sita, you must look at this site carefully and shower your blessings, so that devotees receive maximum benefits from it.” On their journey on the magical flight, they halted and Kishkindha, (the residence of Sugriva) and Rishi Bharadwaja’s hermitage. The monkey residents of Kishkindha were blessed to travel along with the divine couple on the flight.
These instances are being discussed here to glorify the couple Sita-Ram, who incarnated to rid man of all his sins and protect the most fallen souls on Earth.
Without the blessings of Srimati Sita Devi, Sri Rama will be as far as Sun from Earth. Sita Devi is an ocean of causeless mercy as she blesses the cursed land of Ravana with fortune.
Dialogs between Parshurama and Rama
On the auspicious occasion of their marriage, Sage Parshurama like a raging storm entered the palace, throwing his anger over the hearts of people assembled in the court. The entire palace engulfed in silence, rose to greet the furious Sage.
King Dasharatha was perturbed to see the sage angry as he spoke the following sharp words to Sri Rama: “The mighty Shiv bow has been insulted as it is broken into 2 halves. I rushed here to punish the culprit.”
Sri Rama stepped forward and spoke the following words: “Oh sage, I am at fault. I participated in the Swayamvara and instead of stringing the bow, I broke it accidently.” The humble tone of Sri Rama, bewildered the Sage. He could not believe that this tender bodied, young boy, broke the mighty Shiva Dhanush.
In a challenging spirit Parshurama said: “The bow is already broken and I wasn’t present in this court to witness Your might. But, I shall surely be convinced, if You string the mighty Vaishnava (Vishnu) bow that I wield.” The challenge was no ordinary and it put King Dasharatha in a dilemma.
But, Sri Rama accepted the proposal. He strung the bow and placed an arrow to exhibit his archery skills. Parshurama quietened immediately and realized that the Supreme Lord has incarnated in the form of Sri Rama. The Lord held His own bow, the Vaishnava (Vishnu bow) which is the perfect match for His personality.
Sri Rama inquired: “What shall I do in order to please you. Where shall I shoot this arrow?” The sage with awe-filled eyes said: “Now as you hold Your bow, shoot this arrow that shall destroy my Tapo balam (meditative powers) so that I can retire to the mountains and restart my Sadhana (spiritual practices) with a new set of realizations.”
After this episode, Parshurama retired to Vamana Kshetra (situated in Kerala) to commence his Sadhana. Looking at the sage’s mood alter, Dasharatha was relieved from the stress of protecting his sons. After completing the matrimonial rituals for his newly-wedded sons and daughters-in law, Dasharatha returned back to Ayodhya.
This marks the end of Bala-kanda – Ramayana.