RAMA Wins SITA'S HAND | RAMAYAN

 

9. RAMA WINS SITA'S HAND


All arrangements for Janaka's yaga had been completed and to Mithila had come many rishis and Brahman's from various kingdoms. Viswamitra and the princes were duly welcomed. Janaka's preceptor, Satananda, was the first to pay honor to Viswamitra. Janaka followed him. 

The King said to the sage: "I am indeed blessed that you should attend my yaga." 

Pointing to Rama and Lakshmana, Janaka asked Viswamitra: "Who are these god-like youths who resemble each other, and carry their weapons with the proud ease of seasoned warriors? Who is the happy father of such sons?" 

Viswamitra told Janaka that they were the sons of King Dasaratha. He narrated how they had protected his own yaga and destroyed the Rakshasas. "They have come here," the sage went on, "to see, if they may, the great bow of Rudra in your palace." Janaka understood the meaning of Viswamitra's words and rejoiced. 

The King said: "The prince is welcome to see the bow. If he can string it, he will win the hand of my daughter. Many were the princes who saw this bow and went back, unable even to move it. I shall indeed be happy if this prince succeeds where so many have failed and I am thereby enabled to give Sita to him." 

Janaka then ordered his men to bring the bow which was kept safe and sacred in an iron box. It was brought on an eightwheeled carriage and dragged like a temple chariot during a festival. 

"Here," said Janaka, "is Rudra's bow worshipped by me and my ancestors. Let Rama see this bow." 

After obtaining permission from Viswamitra and the King, Rama stepped out to the iron bow-case, while all eyes were fixed on him in wishful expectation. Opening the box, he lifted the bow effortlessly, as if it were a garland of flowers, and resting one end of it against his toe, he bent and strung it and drew the string back with such irresistible force that the mighty bow snapped with a crash like a clap of thunder. And there fell from heaven a shower of flowers. 

Janaka proclaimed: "My beloved daughter shall be wedded to this prince." 

Viswamitra said to Janaka: "Send your swiftest messengers to Ayodhya to give the news to Dasaratha and invite him." 

Janaka's messengers reached Ayodhya in three days. They met King Dasaratha who was seated, like Indra, on his throne and said to him: "Sage Viswamitra and King Janaka have sent you happy news. Your son who came to Mithila has won our princess Sita by fulfilling the condition set for her hand. He not only strung Rudra's bow which none before could so much as lift, but bent its tough pride till it broke. King Janaka eagerly awaits your gracious consent for the marriage, and your presence and blessing at the festivities. May it please you to start for Mithila with your retinue." 

Dasaratha, who had sent Rama with Viswamitra with a heart not altogether free from anxiety even after the sage's assurance, was thrilled with joy on hearing this good news. He told his ministers to prepare for the journey and left the very next day for Janaka's capital. 

Dasaratha and his following reached Mithila and were received with enthusiastic welcome. Exchange of courtesies over, Janaka said to Dasaratha: "My yaga will soon be over. I think it best to have the marriage as soon as the yaga is over," and sought his approval. 

Dasaratha replied: "You are the bride's father and it is for you to order things as you wish." 

At the appointed day and hour, giving away the bride, King Janaka said to Rama: "Here is my daughter, Sita, who will ever tread with you the path of dharma. Take her hand in yours. Blessed and devoted, she will ever walk with you like your own shadow."

Iyam Sita mama suta 

sahadharmacharee tava

prateechchha chainam bhadram

te 

panim grihneeshwa panina 

pativrata mahabhaga 

chhayevanugata sada. 

This sloka is uttered in every wedding in upper India when the bride is given away. 

Thus was Sita given by Janaka to Rama. Were they not Eternal Lovers reunited? And so they rejoiced like lovers come together after separation.





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