“To the beating of drums, it was announced that the king was returning to Ayodhya. The many demigods rained down flowers, the aura was good, and everything looked beautiful.” (Janaki Mangala, 169)
pare nisānahiṃ ghāu rāu avadhahiṃ cale |
sura gana baraṣahiṃ sumana saguna pāvahiṃ bhale ||
As nothing in life tends to remain fixed, there is uncertainty, which ironically enough is constant. That brings worry, which then leaves the concerned hoping for signs from above that things will be okay. In this scene from the Janaki Mangala, all parties involved are very sad at having to part. But for those being left behind, the sorrow is greater, and so any indications to show that things will be alright are welcome. The demigods in the sky provide just that, the needed omens to calm everyone’s fears.
Imagine this scenario. It’s a cold winter’s night. You come home from a hard day’s work. You went to the gym after your day was over at the office to get in a good workout. Now you’re at home, ready to take a shower to freshen up. There’s only one problem: no hot water. “Oh no,” you think. “What do I do now? Everyone is away on vacation, so if I don’t do something about this, no one will. Taking a shower is one thing, but soon the whole house will reach the freezing point.”
You go downstairs to the basement and try to manually start the oil burner. It kicks on, runs for about thirty seconds, and then shuts off again. “Well, I’m going to have to call someone,” you say to yourself. The problem is that it is late at night. The oil delivery company is closed for the day. They won’t be able to come until the morning at the earliest. Then you will have to keep your fingers crossed that the filling of the oil tank will solve the problem. There could be a burner issue instead. That requires a call to another company. In the meantime, you have to make it through the cold night. So worried are you that you naturally look to the heavens for help.
“O Lord, I can’t believe how cold it is. Why is this happening to me? I’m not the right person to handle these responsibilities. Can you give me a sign that things will be alright? I worry too much as it is, but anything you can do to allay my fears will be greatly appreciated.”
While such situations occur regularly, in Janakpur a long time ago the sorrow was over losing the association of a beloved princess. She, her sister, and their cousins had just gotten married at the same time to the four sons of King Dasharatha of Ayodhya. The good host, King Janaka, got the guests to stay as long as he possibly could. Everyone was so happy in each other’s association, in having a new family, but alas there were other responsibilities to tend to. King Dasharatha and his sons had to go home eventually and here the sound of drums indicates that the time for their departure has arrived.
In such instances, the pain of separation is typically stronger for the party being left. They are seeing their guests leave, so they will naturally feel an emptiness afterwards. Here the signs from above provide some comfort. Things will be okay, as the scene was beautiful and the omens all auspicious. The residents of the celestial region dropped flowers on the departing guests. This was quite common already, as Rama was in the group. He is the Supreme Lord in an incarnation specific to a time and circumstance. In the spiritual world, it is said that all speech is song and all movement dance. And wherever the Lord goes, beautiful sounds play in the background and flowers are laid out.
The same applies to His descents in the material world, the realm we presently inhabit. The flowers are dropped whenever something good is about to happen or whenever there is cause for celebration. Though this was a bittersweet moment, it was worth celebrating, since it marked the union of two wonderful families. It was the conclusion to the timeless pastime of Shri Rama’s marriage to Sita, Janaka’s eldest daughter. Though the townspeople were losing a beloved princess, they had gained a family to keep in their hearts for all of time. The auspicious omens of that moment told them that it was indeed proper for Sita to go to Ayodhya with Rama. And more importantly, it was auspicious for everyone to remember that beloved couple, who is still honored to this day.
Look to God when problem in house of mine,
That help on the way please give me a sign.
Sita’s departure auspicious they could tell,
Since flowers from celestial region fell.
No more in their kingdom her presence to find,
Good omens eased worries, calmed their minds.
Remember Sita and Rama at times any and all,
Morning or night, auspicious their names to call.