“Thus inspired with faith by the reasons given and the marks shown, Sita, who was emaciated due to grief, believed him to be the messenger of her husband.” (Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 35.84)
evam viśvāsitā sītā hetubhiḥ śoka karśitā |
upapannaiḥ abhijñānaiḥ dūtam tam avagacchati ||
The category of miseries known as adhyatmika includes both mental and physical ailments. The “atma” reference within the name typically relates to soul, which is spirit. Atma can also relate to the body or the mind. In the above referenced verse from the Ramayana we see an instance where a person was emaciated due to grief. The mental condition resulted in the physical.
Eat right. Go to sleep on time. Don’t put your body through too much stress. Stay away from high inflammation foods. You want to keep the body in a perfect equilibrium. If there is a strong imbalance, try something like yoga. This regulates the flow of air within the body. All physical diseases are due to disruptions in the flow of air. The controversial healer in late eighteenth century France, Franz Mesmer, speculated that diseases were due to a disruption in the flow of certain fluids. His methods proved to have little value other than the placebo effect, but his fame did give birth to the often used word of “mesmerize.”
Shoka, or grief, can also lead to disruption. If I am too worried throughout the day, I won’t eat right. I won’t be able to sleep properly, either. I need that timely escape from the gross body to the subtle body in order to properly rest the body. Without real sleep, it is difficult to maintain good health.
Sita Devi was overcome by shoka, and the duration was long. She was without her husband Rama. Rama was everything to her. That is one way to define pure devotion. You love something so much that separation from it causes you tremendous grief. Sita wanted nothing from her husband. She just wanted to offer service in the mood of love. The King of Lanka, Ravana, took that away from her.
Indeed, so many Ravana-like creatures there are in the world. They try to dispirit the devotees, who firmly believe in God and try to maintain His association at all times. When separated from devotional service, bhakti-yoga, the devotees become like a fish out of water. They cannot survive.
“O Rama, You should know that just as fish cannot survive when taken out of water, neither Sita nor I can live without You for even a moment.” (Lakshmana speaking to Lord Rama, Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodhya Kand, 53.31)
Ravana and his descendants try to kill the devotional spirit in as many people as possible. They bring shoka by first claiming that there is no God. “Religion is just a fairytale. Everything we see now evolved from a single cell. After death, there is nothing. Just deal with it.” Of course they have no good qualities to establish themselves as authority figures. It’s not like they have done anything special to warrant faith being extended. They put forward these theories as a way to exploit the material nature, to continue in their pursuit to become God.
Hanuman had certain qualities. He gave reasons for his coming to Lanka. He had certain characteristics. From these Sita developed faith in him. She knew Hanuman to be a messenger sent by her husband Rama. Though she was emaciated by grief, things turned around by meeting a friend, albeit a new one. For the devotees harassed by the Ravana-like fiends of the world, association of like-minded people becomes all the more important. Sadhu-sanga, the association of saintly people, is one of the pillars of disciplined devotional service. Sita and Hanuman are both like sadhus, and their meeting was a source of great delight.
Ravana and like him always to depress trying,
On mental speculation and false theories relying.
Sita emaciated by grief,
Feeling pain of separation beyond belief.
Since husband Rama was not there,
But from Hanuman of situation made aware.
Sadhu-sanga, like-minded together meeting,
Through this power the demoniac defeating.