Ten Qualities of Lord Rama – Part 10
Jaya Sri Ram! As we enter into the auspicious ten days of the Dasara, which will culminate in the Vijayadashami, the day of victory of Good, represented by Lord Rama over the Evil-Ravana; we bring you a series of narrations from Ramayana, describing ten transcendental qualities of Lord Ramachandra, one for every day of the Dussehra.
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Quality 10: Lord Rāma, the ever serene
The most idolized quality of Lord Rāma is his sereneness. He is serene, who remains unperturbed, in any situation.
The two most acclaimed instances, according to the epic of Rāmāyaṇa that occurred just after His victory over the Demon King in the vicious war proved His incredible serene nature.
The first incident that describes His sereneness was when Rāma wanted to instantly perform the last rites for His fallen foe despite Vibhīṣaṇa’s denial.
The second instance where he helped his consort, Sītā, to prove her chastity, precisely showcases his sereneness besides his awareness, farsightedness, and sense of judgment.
Rāvaṇa’s Final Rites
After Rāma killed Rāvaṇa, he consoled the grieving Vibhīṣaṇa saying there was no need to mourn for Rāvaṇa, for his death was glorious. Rāma wanted the last rites for His fallen foe to be performed immediately, for his everlasting spiritual good.
Vibhīṣaṇa replied Rāma that he felt reluctant to perform the funeral rites for his brother, who was cruel and had committed heinous sins.
Lord Rāma smiled at Vibhīṣaṇa, explained to him that the soul is always worthy of respect and no disdain should ever be felt for the soul. So it was important to carry out the last rites for the eternal good of Rāvaṇa’s immortal soul.
After listening to these words, Vibhīṣaṇa at once began the necessary rituals, strictly in accord with the scriptures.
After establishing Vibhīṣaṇa on Laṅkā’s throne, Rāma asked Hanumān to proceed promptly to Sītā and inform her that he longed to see Her. Rāma was throbbing to see her again. Hanumān at once left. But Sītā replied that she only wished to see Rāma.
Learning Sītā’s condition, Rāma asked Vibhīṣaṇa to let Sītā know that this was Rāma’s desire to which Sītā accepted. As Vibhīṣaṇa conducted Sītā into His presence, Rāma looked at her without smiling. Sītā was overjoyed to see Rāma again, and her face shone like the moon, but she felt abashed when she saw his grave expression.
Lord Rāma’s heart was torn. He deeply wanted to show His love for Sītā and accept her back at once, but He feared public censure. Questions about Her chastity might be raised, and that would have been unfair for the godly woman.
So Rāma asked her to choose a way of shelter with anyone but him. To this, Sītā vowed to give her life in a burning pyre. Lakṣman feeling deeply pained and perplexed constructed a pyre.
The princess then prayed with her folded hands, that if she was unfaithful to Rāma either in mind or body then she may burn but if all the Gods are the witness of her chastity, then the Fire God may protect her.
Uttering this she disappeared into the flames. Lord Rāma was blinded by tears. He was afflicted to hear the cries of the people. His mind was set on virtue and His heart wracked with grief as He watched Sītā walk into the fire.
The fire-god then emerged from the fire holding Sītā in his arms. The princess shone brightly like the rising sun. Her face glowed with a transcendent beauty. The fire god placed Sītā before Rāma and explained her purity.
Rāma then replied, “Sītā needed this purificatory ordeal. She dwelt in Rāvaṇa’s house for a long time, and her chastity had to be proven to the world, although I know of her undivided love for Me. Sītā to me is as inseparable as sunlight from the sun.”
Sītā bloomed with happiness.
A Talk to Remember
One day Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu saw a brāhmaṇa fasting. He asked him, “Why are you fasting? Why are you so unhappy? Why are you so worried?”
Brāhmaṇa – I have no reason to live. I shall give up my life by entering either fire or water. My dear Sir, mother Sītā is the mother of the universe and the Supreme Goddess of fortune. She has been touched, by the demon Rāvaṇa, and I am troubled on hearing this.
Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu – Please do not think this way any longer. You are a learned Paṇḍita. Why don’t you consider the case?
Sītā Devī, the dearest wife of the Supreme Lord Ramachandra, certainly has a spiritual form full of bliss. No one can see her with material eyes, for no materialist has such power.
To say nothing of touching mother Sītā, a person with material senses cannot even see her.
According to the Kūrma Purāṇa, as soon as Rāvaṇa arrived before Sītā, with his evil intentions, she disappeared and then to cheat Rāvaṇa she created her illusory form. When Rāvaṇa kidnapped her, he kidnapped only her material, illusory form.
When Mother Sītā, decided to walk into the pyre her illusory, was destroyed and the real Sītā was brought back to the Supreme Lord Ramachandra by the Fire God.
Listening to these facts, the Brāhmaṇa was delighted. He thanked Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu by referring Him as Lord Rāma Himself who arrived in his life to purify his thoughts.
Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu assured the brāhmaṇa, “Have faith in My words and do not burden your mind any longer with this misconception.”
We hope the above interaction helps to remove the general misconception perceived in our society regarding Sītā’s agni-pariksha.