“Words cannot describe that environment. All the people were full of sadness. Then to the very jubilant sound of drums, Dasharatha, the ruler of Koshala, proceeded home.” (Janaki Mangala, Chand 22.2)
so samau kahata na banata kachu saba bhuvana bhari karūnā rahe |
taba kīnha kosalapati payāna nisāna bāje gahagahe ||
As they say in show business, “the show must go on.” When bad things happen, if there is sadness, there is no point in dwelling on it for too long. What good will that do, anyway? You’ve got your life still, so you must act to maintain it. You must tend to your responsibilities or others will be harmed. In this scene from the Janaki Mangala, the lord of Koshala, King Dasharatha, is set to return to his kingdom. It is sad for the people being left behind, but on the other side there will be a jubilant celebration.
Imagine this scene. You’ve had a rough day. You heard some bad news at the wrong time. You didn’t have time to digest it all. The thing is, you have a concert to attend scheduled for this particular day. Your friend bought the tickets many months back. You didn’t foresee any problems. But that’s how life goes sometimes. The worst things happen at the worst possible times.
Since your friend spent so much money on the tickets, you decide to go to the concert anyway. You’re intent on not having a good time. You’re going to sit in your seat and just observe. But when the headline band comes out on stage, others around you start to get excited. Then the lead singer tries his best to pump everyone up.
“Alright, this is a hands up kind of gig. You’re not gonna just sit around. Everybody up. We need you to make some noise. You there, in the back. On your feet. Mr. Sourpuss back there, you need to get up. Everyone else around you is up and clapping; you have to join them.”
Embarrassed by the attention now upon you, you decide to get up. And eventually, after a few songs, you start to have a good time. You forget your troubles. You remember that you actually like this band, that there was a reason you wanted to attend this concert in the first place.
In the verse referenced above, we see that the people of Janakpur were extremely sad. Everyone was in bad spirits, as their beloved Sita and Rama were set to return home. Such are the ways of the world that no person’s physical association is fixed. At some point in time the Supreme Lord appears and gives pleasure to the residents of that area. Then He leaves and goes somewhere else, leaving the same people very sad.
In this instance, the event that brings sadness to the people of Janakpur will bring happiness to the people of Koshala. Therefore the sound of the drums is very jubilant as Dasharatha sets to embark. There is actually nothing to be sad about, as a wonderful pastime has just concluded. Everyone will remember how Rama lifted the bow to win the contest. They will remember how Rama and Sita looked perfect for one another. They will remember how the two fathers, kings of their respective lands, were equal in good qualities and affection for one another. They will remember how Sita accepted her marriage vows and how she never breaks her word. They will remember how Janaka arranged for the marriages of Rama’s three younger brothers as well, being swept away by the happiness of the occasion.
Goswami Tulsidas says that words cannot describe that moment when Dasharatha and family were ready to leave - tremendous sadness combined with eager anticipation. The memory of that event would stay with the people, just as the memory of Rama and family remained with the people of Ayodhya. They hadn’t seen their beloved prince in a long time. Now He was set to return home with a new wife, the most beautiful woman in the world at that. The royal family would expand, which meant that the store of love found within the heart would have to expand as well. Each citizen would find affection in a reservoir thought to be empty to offer to Sita and the other beloved princesses coming to the city. Rightfully, the grand return would be accompanied by very loud drums, letting everyone know that the lord of the land had returned triumphantly and happily.
Person’s leaving sad for me,
But happy for others who will see.
For too long Ayodhya’s people had to wait,
Now Dasharatha to return, the head of state.
Sadness always in life to find,
With things from past left behind.
Memory of Sita and Rama forever to stay,
Jubilant even in separation this way.