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90. Who is Sita?

King Janaka requested his servants to call Sita to the Swayamvar.  As she walked in, everyone present was stunned by her radiant beauty.

Sita, none other than the human form of Jagadambe Ma (mother of the universe), embodied grace and perfection.  All worldly comparisons would not be fit to describe her beauty as it came from a place beyond where words are found.  How can the mortal understand the immortal? How can Sita be described with similes or poetry?  How can Sita be described as a princess merely living a worldly existence?

The goddess of speech (Saraswati) is known for speaking, the goddess of giving (Bhavani) is known for her servitude. But Sita’s beauty is beyond description!

Imagine a spiritual ocean comprised of all the love and beauty in the universe, and from the greatest depths of that spiritual ocean a great goddess (Lakshmi) took form.  Lakshmi is the source of all joy, love and compassion.  Even a great poet would–with the greatest care and hesitation–dare to compare Sita to such a goddess.  Truly Sita is beyond all description.

Sita’s entourage sang songs in the most charming voices while they accompanied her to the Swayamvar arena.  Wearing a beautiful sari, the mother of the universe mesmerized all with her presence.  With precious jewels adorning her necklace and bangles, men and women alike looked on with amazement at the sight of the princess.  The gods in the heavens too showered down their blessings in the form of flower petals whilst the sound of the maids singing permeated the palace.

Sita glanced all around the arena looking for her beloved Shri Rama while the other princes were lost in infatuation, but her heart could know only one.  When she saw the two brothers, Rama and Lakshamana, accompanied by their guru Vishvamitra, her greedy eyes looked upon them as if they were a long-lost treasure.  Out of humility and respect for the elders present, she looked away and turned towards her maids, but in her heart of hearts she knew that her destiny lied with Shri Rama.

Hinduism describes hundreds, if not thousands of Gods and Goddesses, all taking their forms for specific reasons.  Sita is for a devotee of Rama none other than the mother of the Universe.  Her beauty is not of this physical realm but of the spiritual realm.  

The Upanishads teach us about Brahman (The universal reality of all things) by taking us close to it through its discussions.  One meaning of the word Upanishad is to sit near the truth.  The Ramacharitmanas like the Upanishads draw us near to the truth.  Of course the Ramacharitmanas and the Upanishads are just words, they can take us near the truth, but it is our hearts which need to open, it is our soul which needs to drink the nectar which these words bring us close to.  Every time we see a beautiful sunset, or a young child playing so sweetly, we can recognise this sweetness as a small part of Sita’s beauty, and yearn for that beauty in everything we see and do.

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