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Exceprts from the book Sita – Ramayana by Devdutt Pattanaik – Part IV

Posted on: December 27, 2013


Here are some excerpts that appealed to me from the book Sita – Ramayana by Devdutt Pattanaik.

Suvarna Matsya – The Golden Fish/Mermaid

The Suvarna Matsya lived in the sea across which Rama and the Vanaras built a bridge to cross over to Lanka. Suvarna Matsya was ordered by Ravana to try and break the bridge. When she and the fish and serpents try to do so Hanuman fights her and defeats her. Suvarna Matsya confesses to Lankini, the guardian of Lanka about Hanuman:
“He was the most beautiful and serene creature I have ever seen in my life: silver and gold, with large eyes, wide nostrils, and an upraised tail, the body of a warrior and the aura of a sage. We fought. No wrestled, I just wanted to feel his toughness. But he withdrew, sensing my desire. He said he would serve only Rama, no other. Why, I asked. And he said, because he liberated me by having no expectations of me. And I realized how trapped we are by expectations: those that others have of us and those we have of others. I expected something from Ravana, Ravana expected something from me. I expected something from Hanuman, but he expected nothine from me. I suddenly felt this great urge to be liberated. I wanted to break free from everything. I stopped fighting. I decided I would le the bridge be built, encourage all sea creatures to help building the bridge, and risk Ravana’s wrath”.
Tirjata, one of the ladies that are company to Sita says “Sita keeps saying something she has heard during the Upanishad long ago: I am the creator of my world and so are you. We can widen our world by breaking free from the maze of expectations. We can shrink our world by entrapping ourselves with expectations.”
The Suvarna Matsya says “If I was just a fish, I would have no expectations of the sea. I would have been resigned to fend for myself. But since I am only half a fish, I expect the sea to provide for me and get frustrated when that does not happen. My human side keeps berating the sea, cajoling the sea and seeking control over the sea”.
Sarama another companion of Sita in Lanka: “Ravana expects his brothers to behave in a particular way. When they don’t, he rejects them. Vibhishana also expects Ravana to behave in a particular way. When he does not, he rejects Ravana. This Rama does he have expectations of his father, mother, brother, and wife? Does he reject them if thye do not behave as he wants them to?
Trijata: “If Sita is any indicator, then I think not”.

Sita answers to Lakshmana’s anger at having to leave her in the jungle at the behest of Rama

“You feel Rama has abandoned his Sita, don’t you? But he has not. He cannot. He is God; he abandons no one. And I am Goddess; I cannot be abandoned by anyone”
Lakshmana: “I do not understand your strange words”
Sita: Rama is dependable, hence God. I am independent, hence Goddess. He needs to do his duty, follow rules, and safeguard reputation. I am under no such obligation. I am free to do as I please: love him when he brings me home, love him when he goes to the forest, love him when I am separated from him, love him when I am rescued by him, love him when he clings to me, love him even when he lets me go”.
Lakshmana: “But you are innocent.”
Sita: “And if I was not? Would it be socially appropriate and legally justified for a husband to throw his woman out of his house? A jungle is preferable to such an intolerant society”.
Lakshmana: “You were not even given the dignity of being told. You were tricked into leaving the palace”.
Sita: “You judge him, Lakshmana, but I love him. You see your brother as an ideal and are angry because he has not lived up to your expectations. I see my husband for what he is, and understand his motivations; at every moment he strives to be what he thinks is best. I will not burden him with my expectations. That is how I make him feel loved. And he sees me, knows that I will support him no matter what, even when he resorts to such a devious route like an errant child. Go back home; observe Rama well. Know that the man who calls himself the husband of Sita will never remarry. Of king of Ayodhya, I do not know.”
Lakshmana: “This is not right. I can’t stand this nobility.”
Sita: “Imagine what would have happened if Rama had refused to obey his father. Imagine what would have happened if Rama refused to banish his wife. People would have forever passed snide remarks about him, even if his actions could be justified. It is not about being right. It is about being a king who is above all doubt. To be such a king, he needs our support.”

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