Music played throughout the kingdom. Sita was united with Rama. While the wicked minded became saddened, those of good heart were extremely happy. The gods in heaven, the kinaras, the humans, the nagas, the saints and sages of the Himalayas, all were dancing with joy and blissfully chanting the name of the lord. Like the leaves that fall from the trees in autumn, flowers rained down from the heavens as auspicious blessings for the sacred occasion. Love and a feeling of unity spread between all of the living beings on the earth as news spread that Shri Rama had broken the bow of Lord Shiva. Candles were lit, families gathered to rejoice and gifts were offered to the divine couple.
Sita and Rama were together at last. It was as if beauty and love were united in human form. Her maidens urged her, in line with tradition, to touch Shri Rama’s feet. But she was frozen, even though she knew it was the traditional thing to do, she could not move, she was so happy, so filled with joy, so deeply in love. Shri Rama perceived everything, he smiled looking at Sita with great love and affection. He knew her love was a transcendental love, an unconditional love, a deeper, spiritual form of love.
Traditionally wives in India touched the feet of their husbands preceding an engagement ceremony, but no such thing occurs with Sita and Rama. The teaching here is that spiritual love or bhava is beyond all outward expressions of religiosity or culture. This deep love transcends our desire for formal action, this is true love of God.
I once heard Radhanath Swami in London explaining a wonderful story of the Gopis and Krishna which expresses this deep transcendental love. Krishna complained that he had a headache, he called out to everyone, “Go and get the dust from the feet of the brahmins and place it on my head.” When the Villagers heard this they ran to ask the brahmins for their advice. The brahmins said, “Are you mad? We will suffer in hell for millions of lifetimes if we commit such a sin as placing dust from our feet on the lord’s head. We can never do such a thing!” The Gopis overhearing this, ran to Krishna, they saw him lying down and immediately placed their feet on his head. Such was their love for Krishna they would do anything for him.
When the Brahmins saw this, bewilderingly, they said, “How can you dare to do such a foolish thing as placing your feet on the head of the lord of the universe? For this sin you will have to suffer in your future lives.” One of the Gopis replied, “To relieve Krishna of even a slight headache, we are willing to endure millions of lives of suffering, such is our transcendental love for him.”
Transcendental love goes beyond all rules and formalities, it is the dance between the soul and God. Sure formalities, culture and tradition have their place and are important. But more important is the cultivation of deep, spiritual love. Without love all formalities become nothing but empty ritual.