CHENNAI: The mark of consummate devotion to God is total fidelity to Him amidst the vagaries of life. Human mind is fickle and hence even a person who is by nature pious may complain that God is turning a blind eye towards him during setbacks in life. For the majority, faith in God wavers according to the state of the mind. True devotion, on the other hand, should enable a devotee to face what life deals him with equanimity of mind and without complaints.

In his discourse, Sengalipuram Sri B.Damodara Dikshitar said the Ramayana abounded with sterling devotees, Sita being the foremost among them, and then Hanuman. Sita’s devotion to Rama can be seen throughout the Ramayana. The early years when they lived in Ayodhya after their marriage were very happy. Valmiki, while describing the eve of Rama’s coronation when He worshipped the family deity, uses the epithet “wide-eyed” for Sita to drive home that She looked only upon Rama as Her Lord. And this unalloyed devotion did not change an iota even when She suffered the agony of being banished to the forest by Rama Himself after someone cast aspersions on Her. She told Lakshmana who escorted Her with a heavy heart that She knew of no other God except Rama even then. She stoically accepted Her lot without complaining. If these two situations in Sita’s life are a study in contrast highlighting Her steadfast devotion to Rama, Her captivity in Lanka is one of abject pathos because it was only Her faith that Rama would rescue Her that sustained Her life during those months of separation from Him.

Hanuman occupies pride of place in the epic which can be seen from the fact that the canto “Sundara Kanda” is named after him because he was instrumental in reuniting Rama and Sita. His unalloyed devotion to Rama is legendary and is highlighted by an oft-quoted incident: when Rama returned to Vaikuntha after accomplishing the purpose of His incarnation He took along all those who wanted to be with Him eternally. Hanuman who should have been the first to jump at the chance instead declined. This sterling devotee preferred to remain in this world where he could listen to the glory of Rama.