Faith

Greatness of Sita and Bharata

The Ramayana is the story of Sita, says Valmiki. Sita spurned Ravana’s offers, and ignored his threats. And Ravana was no ordinary man, elaborated V.S. Karunakarachariar in a discourse. He had performed a homa for Lord Siva and Siva had given him a boon. If any of Ravana’s heads were cut, it would keep sprouting back. Ravana then prostrated at Siva’s feet. But he made sure that five of his heads touched Siva’s right foot, but the remaining five did not touch Siva’s left foot. Parvathi asked Siva why Ravana had done something so strange. Siva replied that it was because the left side of his (Siva’s) body was taken up by Parvathi, Siva being Ardhanari. Ravana had avoided Siva’s left foot, for Ravana never honoured women. Parvathi then cursed Ravana and said he would die because of a woman. Such a Ravana, who had refused to pay respects to Parvathi or for that matter to any woman, begged Sita for Her favours, but was turned away by Her. Sita’s resolve and faith in Rama stand out in the Ramayana.

The Ramayana is equally the story of Bharata, Rama’s brother. Bharata’s sacrifices are also impressive. Rama had donned garments made of tree bark when He went to the forest. His hair was matted. Bharata had no need to dress like Rama for, he was in Ayodhya. Anyone else in his place would have enjoyed all the royal comforts at his disposal. But Bharata chose to shun all the royal riches. Like Rama, he dressed in the bark of trees and kept his hair matted. Kalidasa describes the scene where Sita descends from the Pushpaka vimana. Bharata bows at Sita’s feet and his head makes contact with Her feet. Kalidasa wonders if Bharata’s head acquired merit because of contact with Sita’s feet, or whether Sita’s feet acquired merit because of contact with Bharata’s head.


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Printable version | May 20, 2022 2:27:08 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/greatness-of-sita-and-bharata/article38321069.ece