Friday, October 8, 2010

Sita: Goddess beyond Nature

Everyone who has heard the story of the Ramayana remembers Devi Sita’s agni pariksha (the test of fire) and her return to Prithvi (goddess Earth) in the final pages of the great epic. On both occasions, Sita proved her chastity and devotion for Rama before mortals, her own creation. But these tests also had something else in common: Not only purity, but transcendence of material nature was also needed to succeed in them.

The irony of distrustful intellect is that many people who doubt Sita-Rama’s divinity still choose to believe that the two events historically took place so that they can go on to blame Rama, the Supreme Soul, for his “unfair behavior”. They probably forget that a few fundamental laws of science had to be broken to succeed in the abovementioned tests. They forget that even the purest beings on Earth can not replicate Sita’s actions because the elements of material nature — fire, water, earth, air, and space — do not take orders or process immediate requests from mortals. In fact, Sita’s participation in such divine plays inherently demonstrates that she transcends fire, earth, and the other elements.

The agni pariksha was not the only time when Agni, the god of fire, had followed Sita’s orders. She had also requested the god of fire to not hurt Hanuman when his tail had been ignited in Lanka (Sundar Kand). Similarly, Prithvi had also followed her request when she first appeared from the ground in King Janaka’s kingdom as Prithvi’s daughter.

Happy Navaratri!

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