Faith

Sita’s unparalleled dharma

The Ramayana is known as the great story of Sita because of the unparalleled dharma that she embodies, said Damal Sri Ramakrishnan and Srimati Perundevi in a discourse. Ramayana and dharma are synonymous. The path of dharma as it is to be upheld unfolds not as a theoretical credo but as a practical instruction manual of life. This is the greatness of Ramayana.

Hanuman’s search for Sita leads him through the streets of Lanka and he comes across mighty palaces, humble huts, stables etc. Hanuman sees the sleeping Mandodari and for a brief moment her noble beauty leads him to surmise that she is Sita and he even begins to celebrate his discovery. But immediately Hanuman knows that Sita would not be in the midst of luxury, being separated from Rama. He is on the verge of despair because so far his search is in vain.

He then sights Asoka Vana and there he sees a woman of incomparable beauty who is a picture of grief. She is surrounded by the intimidating rakshasis, who constantly torment her by asking her to give up her vow and accept Ravana. He recalls Rama’s description of Sita and realises that this is Rama’s consort who has been forced into captivity by the wicked Ravana. Hanuman’s heart cries out at the untold suffering she has been subjected to in the past 10 months. She has lost sleep ever since her captivity and her eyes are ever tear-stained. It is evident that her thoughts are steeped in Rama and her hopes centre on His victory over the wicked Ravana. She keeps bemoaning her fate that has landed her in this place and is haunted by despair and hopes by turns.

How has she survived these 10 months in this place? What has protected her against the evil overtures of Ravana? What has saved her, he wonders. Is it dharma that has guarded her? He bows down to the dharma that sustains all.

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Printable version | Apr 29, 2021 4:35:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/religion/sitas-unparalleled-dharma/article7220997.ece

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