“Sometimes the people are looking at Sita and sometimes at Rama. Having beauty and respected ancestries, the people are praising the unique combination.” (Janaki Mangala, 83)
chinu sītahiṃ chinu rāmahi purajana dekhahiṃ |
rūpa sīla baya bansa biseṣa biseṣahiṃ ||
The tendency to get excited over the prospect of two perfect people meeting together in holy matrimony, to enjoy each other’s company for life, is quite natural. It was even exhibited many thousands of years ago in the kingdom of Janakpur. The people were excited on an occasion where a match was to be determined for the daughter of the king. She could marry anyone, provided they could lift the extremely heavy bow belonging to Lord Shiva. One youth in particular looked like a perfect match, and so when He was visible at the same time as the princess in question, the eyes kept moving back and forth, like watching a rally in a tennis match.
When you watch tennis on television, the principal camera is situated behind one of the baselines. This provides for an optimal viewing angle, as you get a view similar to one of the players. They see north and south primarily, and they move left and right when they have to, but the opponent is still in front of them. By keeping the main camera behind the baseline, the camera doesn’t have to move much, which means that the sightline for the spectators is easier to maintain.
When attending a live match, however, sometimes the seats are situated on the sides. In fact, due to the nature of the setup of the arenas, the majority of the seats are on the sides. The seats behind the baseline are more expensive precisely because they provide a more comfortable viewpoint. When you’re seated on the sides, during the points you will have to move your head back and forth, left and right, in order to see the ball. As a spectator, you’re not consciously aware of what you’re doing, but to someone else it looks a little strange to keep moving the head back and forth, over and over again, for a few hours in fact. It is the attention which drives the movement. Without an interest in the point, there would be no reason to keep moving the head.
In a similar manner, in Janakpur a long time ago it was the attention garnered by two beautiful personalities that caused a momentary pendulum effect, wherein the heads toggled between looking at Lord Rama and looking at Sita Devi. The people sized up each of their qualities, and everything appeared to be a perfect match. To think of it in modern terms, it’s like comparing two celebrities who have just started dating. The gossip columnists and the readers of the celebrity-focused magazines get excited when two beautiful people start a romantic relationship. “What will their children look like? How long will they stay together? Can they make it last?”
In Janakpur, the attention was similar, and the anticipation was heightened by the fact that Sita’s husband was to be determined in this assembly. So many kings were there, so it was only natural for the spectators to choose favorites. Rama was the overwhelming consensus choice, as His beauty, ancestry and behavior were ideal. His beauty was unmatched. Though He was a fighter, a protector of the brahmana Vishvamitra in fact, His features were still delicate. His beauty defeated the pride of millions of cupids, and His shyama complexion was intoxicating to the eyes.
His ancestry was spotless as well. He was a descendant of the famous King Ikshvaku. Men in this line were known for their fighting ability, their deference to dharma, and their courageousness. These factors were well-suited for marriage, as a woman takes protection from her husband. Interestingly enough, Sita’s features were comparable to Rama’s. Her beauty was impeccable, and her family line went through King Janaka, who was famous throughout the world for his piety. She was also very polite just like Rama. Rama and His younger brother Lakshmana were there as escorts to Vishvamitra, who as a renounced ascetic required aide in protecting his religious sacrifices from the attacks of miscreant night-rangers in the forest. The two brothers left their home and nobly protected the sage.
Sita was deferent to brahmanas as well. Through such piety one acquires tremendous spiritual merits. This also meant that she was ready to be the ideal wife, to serve her husband without hesitation. A pious husband who can protect and a wife who is faithful create a potent combination that brings one closer to meeting the ultimate aim in life, becoming God conscious. The husband is pious and the wife supports him, which means that both share in the fruit of an existence, devotion to God.
Of course in this instance there was no need to meet life’s aim for the participants, as Sita and Rama are the object of religious practice. Rama is the definition to the abstract conception of God. He is an incarnation of the original Lord, a worshipable figure capable of granting His association to anyone simply through His name. Sita is Rama’s energy, His eternal consort. Therefore just by saying their names, one is in their company. The fortunate attendees of the svayamvara in Janaka’s court got to focus their eyes on those two beautiful forms, basking in the sweetness of the vision. We can create that same unique combination within our minds by always chanting the holy names, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare”.
Look this way for vision of Rama to get,
Turn the other way and on Sita eyes set.
Keep swinging forth and back around,
And marvel at how ideal qualities are found.
Character and ancestry line,
For both perfectly align.
Sita and Rama, unique is their combination,
In divine love serve them with determination.