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Sharanagati

Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha




Ravana-Sita

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, May 2013, Sofia)
 
(continues from the previous Friday)
 
Shridhar Maharaj continues: “Once, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was the guest of a devotee of the primary class belonging to the Ramanuja school who was very much shocked to hear about the abduction of Sita Devi by Ravana.”[1]
You, most probably know the story. Ramachandra is a divine avatar appearing on this planet Earth and His consort is Sita Devi. He is a divine prince, and She is His loving partner. And why their story is famous for the last millennium? Because there was crisis in their meeting called separation. A forced separation, because Sita Devi was kidnapped. Ravana, this very fearful enemy, kidnapped Sita Devi. 
“At that time the devotee managed to give some food to the Lord, but he himself was observing fasting and was always wailing and lamenting. Mahaprabhu asked, “Why are you not taking anything to eat?” He replied, “I want to die. I heard that my beloved Mother Janaki, Sita Devi, was abducted by a demon! If I have to hear that – if that should even enter my ear, then I want to die; I don’t want to live any longer. Then Mahaprabhu consoled him: “No, no, don’t think like that. Sita Devi is Lakshmi Devi Herself. She is chinmaya, consciousness personified, not having a body composed of any material elements. Sita Devi’s body is not made of flesh and blood, so what to speak of forcibly carrying Her away, Ravana could not possibly touch Her, he cannot even see Her. Sita Devi’s form is composed of such substance that Ravana can neither see nor touch Her! This is the fact. So, don’t disturb your mind. This is the truth, I say, so you take prasadam.” Then that devotee was happy and took prasadam.”
Usually people, we, in crisis react in two different ways. If you are under stress, one solution is that you overeat; the other reaction is that you cannot eat. So, there is a reaction of your feelings, of your consciousness in the very simple daily bodily functions. You have bad news and there will be some uneasy feelings in your system. But here the good message is given to our devotee who was very depressed due to Sita Devi being kidnapped. “Don’t worry! The enemy could not touch Her, could not even see Her”. Although Ravana thought that he could see Sita Devi and he could kidnap Her, because he was enamored by the beauty of Sita. Although here we understand he didn’t see Sita Devi, only some kind of reflection. But even the reflection was so beautiful! Just imagine if he had been able to see the real one. 
”Later Mahaprabhu went further south on His pilgrimage and in one place He found that the devotees there were reading the Kurma Purana, wherein it is mentioned that when Ravana came to steal away Sita, She took shelter by entering into fire, and the fire-god Agni gave some imitation Sita to Ravana, and Ravana took that ‘maya-Sita’ away. Then after killing Ravana and attaining victory, before taking Sita from Lanka, Ramachandra said, “To prove Her chastity, She must enter into blazing fire, and if She can pass through that test, then I shall accept Her. But for one whole year She was living with the demon-family, and therefore I cannot immediately trust Her chastity.”
You know because if a lady is under a control of another man, it’s risky. But we should never forget that Sita Devi was never under control of anyone else. Yet in order to instruct people and society about the dharma Ramachandra declared this test. 
“Then so many devotees began to weep, but by the order of Ramachandra the fire was prepared and Sita Devi had to enter. When the fire receded, Sita Devi came out with a smiling face and the devotees began to cry out, “Jaya! Sita Devi ki jaya!” This was written in Kurma Purana and Mahaprabhu asked the reader, “Please give Me that original page and insert a newly-written copy in there; I met a brahmana who is extremely troubled, thinking that Sita Devi was actually abducted by Ravana. I want to show him this old page of this book to convince him that I was not just consoling him, but it is written in the shastra that Ravana could not touch the real Sita Devi, because She is consciousness personified – not matter, not any flesh or blood or bone or any such things. “
This proves that Sita Devi and Ramachandra were not only divine personalities on this planet Earth, but they also represent something. Ramachandra represents the consciousness of a person. Because He as a male personality, as a prince, He is representing one of the main male characters and this is intellect. Sita Devi as a person is representing the female principle, She is the heart, the emotions. And you can see if the intellect and the emotions are separated, then it’s a big tragedy. Both are suffering. The intellect suffers due to lack of the emotional side; the emotions die to the lack of the worshipable male character. So, this ancient divine story tells us so beautifully and so obviously that we should unite our capacities. Human beings, we, belong to the species of homo sapiens – beings with intellect. Sometimes you see it, other times not so obviously. Anyway we belong to that category. And this living being with some intellectual capacities has got a heart also. 
So, our parable tells us that when the intellect and the heart go together, work together in harmony, then everything is blissful. But when our intellect is separated from our heart, or when our heart is separated from our brain – that’s a tragedy. So, we have to try to harmonize these two capacities – the intellectual side and the emotional side. We can compare these two capacities to philosophy like the intellectual side and religion as the emotional side. And Shrila Prabhupada says that “Philosophy without religion is dry and empty, and religion without philosophy is sentimental.” Think deeply about this. We should try to unite the two capacities that we have. In one way we have to enhearten our brain and also we have to enbrain our heart. We should try to achieve a harmonious unity of these two powers.
 
(to be continued)
 
1.  The Golden staircase, Ravana Deceived, by Shridhar Maharaj

 



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