“If you had been banished to the Dandaka vans, then so have I. I will go with you, Rama; my place is at your side. With you, I would walk down the paths of hell. The jungle will be like heaven for me. I must disobey you in this, my love; forget my disobedience, as you do the water you leave behind in a glass after drinking.”
– Quote from Valmiki Ramayana
He searched desperately for her in the silent woods filled with anger and remorse. His powerful echo banged in each corner of the universe, so powerful was the velocity of echo that the earth quivered and the sky trembled. In his inner mind, he knew the time had come for Vrinda’s curse to unveil its force in his present incarnation. He was born for that very purpose, he had to lose the love of his life and cherish the sorrow of separation from now onwards. But still, he hoped he would catch her smiling glimpse in the woods for even though he was an incarnation of God, he was a human with a heart like any other human.
Knowing she was lost, he convinced himself that the happening was not unreal. He wished from the core of his heart that Maithili would cheerfully emerge from her hiding spot and tease his apprehensiveness. But dreams are no exception even for the Lord in his mortal avatar.
His sharp glance flew rapidly in all directions like an arrow on a quest. He searched the wide grass for the footprints of his soul mate. He warned the forests, caves, earth to reveal the episode witnessed by them. Sad and weeping for his lost love his lusterless face questioned every living and non-living thing to give him some information about his wife. He yelled, cried, shouted but no one answered his pleading calls.
There was stillness in nature. The stillness was so strong and deep that even Rama shuddered with fear and anger to destroy the silence with his deadly weapons.
Lakshman, a devoted brother, accused himself for the entire incident and was not able to apologize or soothe Rama. Lakshman thought he failed in his responsibility and how would he face the mothers of the royal palace for forgiveness. He had left the kingdom to serve his brother during the years of exile and not to be the reason for these mishappenings.
‘Who dared to swallow my love? Where are you my wife, I will tear the chest of the earth to find you. Give me a hint, Seeta. Who dared to touch the wife of Shri Ram?”
Lakshmana consoled his brother and recited him the Vedic thought, “Enthusiasm has great strength. There is no greater strength than enthusiasm. There is nothing that is not attainable in this world for the enthusiastic”
With these words from his brother, Lord Ram once again started the search with a new spirit and fresh vigor.
“Who?” his volcanic voice stretched to reach the top of Mount Kailas where Shiva and Sati aboded the dense snowy mountaintops.
Upon seeing his condition, Parvati felt sorry for Rama and was taken by surprise as Shiva bowed his head and paid obeisance to him. Shiva was tremendously sad as Ram hindered here and there asking for the whereabouts of Seeta.
The bond shared between Shiva and Vishnu is a saga of mutual reverence.
“Shivaya Vishnu roopaya , shivarupaya Vishnuve , shivashca hirdhayagam Vishnu , Vishnuscha hridayagam shive “
Meaning: Shiva is in the form of Vishnu, as Vishnu is in the form of Shiva. Shiva is in the heart of Vishnu as Vishnu is in the heart of Shiva. ONE CANNOT be without the OTHER.
They complete each other’s existence and that of the Universe too.
Tears flooded in Shiva’s eyes and Sati reasoned as to why the God of Trinity is so sympathetic towards a wandering nomad.
Shiva’s mysterious smile bewildered Sati further as he looked down from the skies at the grieving hermit.
He looked deep in eyes of Sati and felt her anxiety increase as each moment passed. The beautiful look on her glowing face radiated questions that needed immediate attention from her Shiva. Sati did not approve of the weeping human form as a Vishnu avatar. Why would Vishnu – The protector of the universe in his avatar wander and weep to search for his wife? Did he not have the divine powers to find his wife rather than behaving like a mere mortal.
She didn’t agree to her husband’s gesture of bowing to a hermit. Smilingly, Shiva knew he had to share with her the true divine form of the shattered nomad and introduce her to the amazing epic of Ramayana – Seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu, Preserver of Universe.
The long conversation took place in the snow-cladded peaks of Kailasa. Shiva comprehended the entire divinity of Ramayana but Sati had made up her mind not to accept the truth with words. She would test Rama and find out for herself if he was MahaVishnu’s avatar. Shiva disliked his consort’s idea especially at this severe sorrowful moment but his persuasions had no impact on Sati’s decision.
He knew she will not listen to him and he cannot stop her anymore.
A test had to be done for testifying the supreme originality of this mortal, she murmured. Her resolution deeply sparked in her blue, oceanic eyes.
In a fraction of a second, Sati was in the forest of Panchavati to execute her secret plan. She looked up in the blue skies and smiled at her Lord with the confidence that she would prove him wrong. Shiva gazed at her request to change her absurd decision and understand the sacred epic of Ramayana as Vishnu and Lakshmi’s avatar to create a culture of Dharma and a code of Righteousness. As Sati step ahead with her charted plan, Shiva watched on with great interest and decided to be quiet so that Sati would learn a lesson on her own.
With pride in her mind, she assumed the disguise of Seeta. Steadily, she walked in the direction of Rama proud of her assumed victory over her husband’s belief.
In the disguise of Seeta, she appeared before Lord Rama and pretended to act as if she had lost her way and was glad to see Shri ram. Lord Rama calmly observed her, immediately bent down, and touched her feet. He asked her in a soft voice, “Mother, where is my beloved lord Shiva. Have you come here to bless me in this moment of need? I am sanctified with your blissful appearance.”
Lakshman stood confused, not able to understand why Rama bowed to touch Seeta’s feet. Lakshman was not aware that Sati had appeared in the disguise of Parvati.
Rama requested Sati, to look after Seeta where ever she would be with her eternal grace. Ram also, pleaded to Sati to convey his heartfelt respects to his Lord Shiva.
The intrinsic truth of the cosmos dawned upon her. The nomadic was none other than Vishnu avatar in the role-play of an exemplary son, brother, husband, and devotee in the land of deaths. She understood the infinite virtues of Rama and the meditative power of the word, Rama. The higher purpose of his human birth, his devotion to playing different characters in life was based on sincerity and truth. No wonder Shiva bestowed upon Rama, the title of Maryada Purushottam.
Faith and trust are the connectors to spirituality.
In her arrogance, Sati did not believe even Lord Shiva, her own God consort. Unknowingly, she lost the trust bond prevailing between Shiv Shakti. Her negative thought, the superior attitude had diluted her pure mind and she ended up with a feeling of guilt.
Source – Vedic Literature: Aranya Khand – Ramayana
Conceived by – Harshada Pathare