“Although this piece of cloth has been worn out due to extended use, still, it is glorious and certainly of the same color as the other.” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 15.47)
idam cira gṛhītatvād vasanam kliṣṭavattaram |
tathā hi nūnam tad varṇam tathā śrīmad yathā itarat ||
Sita Devi’s dress, though worn due to extended use, is still of the same glorious color as the matching garment seen previously on Mount Rishyamukha by the monkeys perched on trees. More importantly, the cloth she is wearing now is shrimad, or glorious. This not only describes her clothing, but her character as well. The same adjective is placed in front of sacred texts like the Bhagavad-gita, Bhagavatam, and Ramayana, the book from which the above referenced verse is taken.
Why is Sita glorious? She is the goddess of fortune. This means that she can bestow any type of material reward on her devotee. A devotee acts in a way that is pleasing to the object of service, and the devotion must exist beyond the potential. We can say we are devoted to someone in thought, but unless we act upon that devotion, it is really no different than not being devoted. Two husbands can each proclaim to love their wife, but if only one of them is faithful in conjugal relations, then the two men aren’t equal.
Devotion to Sita is generally practiced in explicit worship of Goddess Lakshmi. She is the husband of Lord Narayana, who is the same person most of us refer to as God. Narayana says that God is the source of all men, and in the Vedas Narayana’s form is described as well. He is opulently adorned, has four hands, and is constantly served by the goddess of fortune. She is in charge of the limitless fortune possessed by the original creator. When she is pleased with someone, she loans a portion of that fortune to them.
Sita is glorious for more reasons than just her ability to distribute fortune. Everything we see around us has a purpose. Fortune can be two-sided. If used improperly, it can cause more strain to the mind than if it were absent. To maintain an existence, however, requires provisions of some sort, and in most civilized societies procuring those provisions requires the possession of some type of commodity. In simpler terms, you need money to live. Somehow or someway, you need to get your hands on money that can be used to purchase food, clothing and shelter.
An interesting fact to note, however, is that the animals already have their basic necessities provided to them. They don’t worship Goddess Lakshmi at all. This means that the human being’s worship is for a different purpose. The fortune provided by Sita is meant to be used for the pleasure of her husband. How does this work exactly? How do we please someone who creates the fortune we receive? We know that just because the parents own the home doesn’t mean that the children can’t please them. The room is given to the child by the parents, and within that room the child can study to do well in school and thereby please the parents. With their allowance money they can purchase gifts for the parents, and with the various supplies given to them they can also make unique offerings for the parents’ pleasure.
The parents are in the superior position and so they don’t require any of these gifts. Yet they take tremendous joy just from the sincerity of the offering. In the same way, Narayana takes pleasure in seeing His sons and daughters come to Him in a mood of affection. Mankind doesn’t own anything outright, so the raw materials must be gifted to them. Therefore the proper way to honor Lakshmi is to use her rewards for putting a smile on the face of her husband.
Shri Hanuman’s travels within the foreign territory of Lanka provide more information on how to go about pleasing Sita’s husband. Hanuman was given a monkey form at birth, and through the course of maturation he acquired scholarly wisdom of the Vedas and mastery over the mystic perfections of yoga. These are considered great blessings that any person would be fortunate to have. Having knowledge of just one of the four Vedas is considered a boon, as is the ability to invoke just one of the siddhis of yoga. Hanuman had it all, but he used everything for the right purpose.
In the above referenced verse from the Ramayana, he uses his gift of intellect to do a pattern match. Again, this was for the pleasure of Sita’s husband, Shri Rama. Rama is the same Narayana. Both Lakshmi and Narayana descend to earth to kindly bestow their mercy upon select few individuals. Sita and Rama are so glorious that devotees still worship them to this day in lieu of Lakshmi-Narayana. It is a matter of choice, as there is no difference; Radha and Krishna are the same Sita and Rama as well.
Hanuman was in Lanka to look for Sita, something asked of him by Shri Rama. Hanuman used the information previously gathered relating to a garment and ornaments that fell from the sky. A while back the Vanaras living on Mount Rishyamukha noticed a distressed lady being taken away on an aerial car. She was resisting the fiendish leader of this car, and in the struggle some of her ornaments fell to the ground. Now Hanuman was in this Ashoka grove inside of Lanka looking at a princess from a distance, and he could notice many similarities.
The princess was in a distressed condition, and so her garments were not in the best shape. She had worn her sari for a long time, so it was now worn out. Nevertheless, its color was still the same as the garment seen previously, and it was also glorious. This means that in any condition Sita always retains her resplendence, and keen observers like Shri Hanuman never fail to notice it.
The same pattern matching technique can be applied to Hanuman as well. Though he is described to be a monkey who performs amazing feats during an ancient time, his gloriousness still stands out. His actions are painted with the color of devotion, which is the same color that all the devoted souls wear when serving the Supreme Lord. Thus from Hanuman alone we can tell that Sita and Rama are divine figures and that devotion to them is the highest engagement in life.
Rama’s wife of golden clothing brilliant,
Seen by Shri Hanuman the valiant.
Sita’s sari worn for a long time,
But still had splendid golden shine.
From color Hanuman could tell,
That garment same as that which previously fell.
Shrimad of the divine influence speaks,
Match for he who Supreme Lord seeks.
Hanuman’s actions with same color painted,
Through Ramayana with his qualities get acquainted.