You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : November 1998

mAyA sItA - 1

From: Anand Karalapakkam (
Date: Sun Nov 29 1998 - 22:26:00 PST

SrImatE Sri Lakshminrusimha ParabrahmanE namaha
SrI Lakshminrusimha divya pAdukA sEvaka SrIvaNN SatakOpa -
SrI nArAyaNa yateendra mahAdEsikAya namaha

Dear devotees,
namO nArayaNA. pranAmams.

  Regarding this mAyA sItA issue, adiyEn would like to share 
whatever adiyEn heard from Sri U.Ve.Villur KarunAkaran swAmy,
more than one and a half years ago. Unfortunately, adiyEn
couldn't write before, due to the school schedule/pressure.

  The central question is whether rAvanan kidnapped sItA pirAtti
OR he kidnapped some other person (jIvAtmA) disguised as sItA. 

Let us get clarified about what "mAyA sItA" means before entering 
into further discussion. "mAyA sItA" implies that some jIvAtmA has 
taken the form of sItA pirAtti (ie. appears alike). mAyA sItA 
doesn't mean that some "illusionary" effect is there as if sItA is 
present, while actually she wasn't present. Nothing is unreal / 
illusionary in this world. Everything is a reality only.

 As many devotees pointed out, there is no mention in SrImad 
 vAlmIki rAmAyanam about this substitution of sItA pirAtti with 
 some other person. But, the kidnapping of sItA pirAtti by rAvanA
 breaks the heart of all the devotees and we strongly feel to even 
 kill him if one can. Yes.... No devotee can tolerate such a thing.
 A Koorma purAnam verse was quoted by Sri Krishna SusarlA , which
 basically tells that rAvanA kidnapped  chAyA sItA / mAyA sItA and
 not sItA pirAtti. This in a way consoles many devotees who are 
 disturbed by that act of rAvanan. The main argument from the Gaudiya
 VaishnavAs is that sItA pirAtti (who according to them is Internal 
  Potency / Pleasure potency of Lord Krishna - as per adiyEn's 
 understanding ) can't be touched by a  materialist like rAvanan 
 who is infact filled with lust. 

 The substitution if at all took place, is said to have happened as 
 soon as yiLaya PerumAL (LakshmanA) left sItA pirAtti (ie. just before
 rAvanan's appearence for kidnapping). Probably this is what is 
 portrayed in SrI TulasidAs's rAmAyanam. 

 But, another rAkshasA named virAdhA kidnapped sItA pirAtti as soon 
 as they entered dhandakAranyam ( before BharathAzwAn's saraNAgathi

 The following is from GItA Press translation ( adiyEn just heard
 the verses through phone from Sri JaganAth. So, the transliteration
  may not be perfect) :

  Aranya kAndam Ch2 8-13 :

  "rAmam lakshmanam chaiva sItAm dhrustvA cha maitilIm

   abhyadh dhAvath susam krudhava prajaha kAla yevAntataha
   satkrutva bhairavan nAdham chAlayamniva mEdhineem

   ankE nAdhAya vaidhEhIm apakramya thadhA braveet
   yuvAm jatAchIrAdharou sabAryove ksheena jeevitau

   pravishtou dhandakAranyam SarapASipAninou
   katam tApa sayOrvO cha rAsaha pramadaya saha

  adharmachArinow pApow cow yuvAm munidhooshakow
  aham vanamidham durgE virAdhO nAma rAkshasaha

  charAmi sAyudhdhO nitya mrushee mAmsAni bakshayam
  yeyam nAri varArOhA mama bhAryA bhavishyati

  yuvayOhO pApayOschuhAham pArsyAmi ruddhiram mruddhE "

  " He saw rAmA,lakshmanA and sItA, the princess of mithilA
   and attacked them with great anger, as kAlA,the destroyer
   of people attacks them. He made a terrific sound as though
   making the earth tremble and took vaidEhi (sItA) in his
   arms and went afar and then said : 
       you two having matted hair and wearing a bark garment 
       and still having a wife with you ,With your life coming
       to an end, having entered the dhandakA forest taking 
       arrows, bows and sword in your hands. Again how are you 
       two ascetics staying with a women? Who are you sinners
       doing unrightious deeds bringing a blot upon the sages ?
       Armed with weapons, I as the rAkshasA named virAdhA, 
       always wander in this forest which is difficult to access,
       eating the flesh of sages. This beautiful lady will become
       my wife and I shall drink the blood of you two sinners on 
       the battle field "
   Anyway, afterwards, that rAkshasA was killed. But, the point is
   that even virAdhA kidnapped sItA pirAtti with lusty desires. This
   took place as soon as they entered dhandakA forest. So, if mAyA
    sItA has to be there at this stage also, then the substitution
   must have taken place at ayOdhyA itself. Well, then the entire
   rAmAyanam becomes meaningless in a way. Infact, sage vAlmIkI
   says that whatever he recorded is "sItAyAsch charitam mahat". This
   great story is about sItA and not even rAmA. Such an emphasis is 
   given to the role sItA pirAtti played in the vibhava avatAra 
   leelA of the Divya Dampati during thrEtA yugA. Infact, trijadai 
   saraNAgathi at aSoka vanam is a very important incident that 
   took place at LankA. Only pirAtti has the power of giving moksham 
   (*) (ofcourse it is given alongwith PerumAL)and some other 
   jIvAtmA in a disguise as pirAtti can't grant moksham . rAmAyanam 
   is infact the saraNAgathi vEdam. There are many more important inner 
   teachings imparted by the Divya Dampati for us through their leelA,
   which can be learnt from our AchAryAs. 

(*) : That is in accordance with the teachings of SwAmi Desikan.

   So, vAlmIki rAmAyanam is very clear in its intent that sItA pirAtti
   was kidnapped twice - once by virAdhA and second time by rAvanA.

   But, we have another pramAnam (koorma purAnam) which says that 
   rAvanA kidnapped mAyA sItA. If this were not an interpolated verse,
   and is authentic, then it means that in one of the kalpams, during
   the rAmAvatAram, mAyA sItA was present instead of sItA pirAtti. 
   This is known as "kalpa bEdham" . Whenever the portrait of some 
   incident differs from one sAthvIka purAnam to another (well, can 
   be extended for other purAnams also in a way), then it means that 
   those two incidents has taken place at different kalpAs.

   adiyEn remembers the materialistic analogy given by Sri KarunAkaran
   swAmy. If two statements are there as follows : "India beat West 
   Indies in the world cup" and "West Indies beat India in the world 
   cup". Obviously, one has to understand that this refers to different
   world cup series/matches and it doesn't refer to the same match.
   Since sage vyAsar had the vision of many a things, each time, each
   incident was narrated. This is actually a very trivial thing. There
   are infinitely many brahmAndAs and in each brahmAndA PerumAL's 
   avatAram takes place during various kalpams and so many possibilities
   of variegatedness are present. So, if some difference in the portrait
   of some incidents are there amongst purAnAs(esp.sAthvik), it is 
   obviously due to kalpa bEdam.

   So, mAyA sItA might have been present for one such rAmA avatAram. 

   As a side note adiyEn would like to tell that the purAnAs are not
   there for teaching astronomy, geography etc to us. The main intent of 
   PurAnAs is to make one understand the various kalyAna gunAs of 
   PerumAL and esp. the leelAs He personally performed during various
   time periods. The main lesson given by the Divya Dampati through
   their leelAs is that, whatever be one's status in this material 
   world, its all only temporary and transient. It has no relevance
   to the jIvAtmA. The svaroopam of a jIvAtmA is to serve the Divya
   Dampati and to attain Sri VaikuNTham, one has to follow either the 
   path of bhakti OR prapatti. PurAnAs are filled with the actual
   episodes in which the Divya Dampati grants moksham to many such
   mumukshus. So, after reading purAnAs, one should get that 
   vairAgyA (detatchment from materialistic pleasures) and start 
   devoting oneself for performing kainkaryams to Divya Dampati and
   their devotees , following either bhakti yOgA / prapatti.Ofcourse
   no one is performing bhakti yOgA (upAsanA) these days. If one
   chooses bhakti yOgA, various brahma vidyAs are described in 
   upanishads and the mumukshu will be highly gaining from vEdAs now.   

   Sri EngaLAzhwAn (AchAryA of Sri nadAdUr ammAL) infact discusses 
   this very issue (import of purAnAs) in his brilliant commentry 
   on Sri Vishnu purAnam. One purAnam gives the distance between 
   sun and earth as "x" and another purAnam gives some other value. 
   This is a very trivial thing since purAnam is not meant for 
   astronomy etc. This is only a very side point and one shouldn't 
   be bothered about such trivialities.
   If Srimad Azhagiyasingar after having some computer scientists
   as sishyAs gives some analogy using computer jArgons (after
   learning one or two things from His sishyAs), probably some
   terminology mistake etc might happen. But, that is not at all 
   the intent of Azhagiyasingar. It is only an incidental statement.
   One should not bang one's head and keep thinking as to why 
   Azhagiyasingar told "Cobol" while it has to be "Visual C++".   

   Life is so short and one has to gain the vairAgyA and understand
   the sarIra sarIri bhAvam eternally existing between Sriman 
   nArAyaNA and oneself, and adopt a way to reach Sri VaikuNTham after
   realizing that one has wasted all their past lives. The main focus 
   of the purAnam should not be out of our minds. 

   One has to understand that even the most opulent rAvanan who had
   enormous credits with him due to his tapas (even the dEvAs were
   trembling in front of him) was finished off just because of his
   lusty desire. A single mistake costed everything.Hiranyakashipu
   was ruling this earth and other allied lOkAs for around 71 chatur
   yugAs. All the dEvAs were mere servants of him and infact he was
   thinking that he was the supreme of all. Not a single vaishnavA
   was there in his kingdom except PrahlAdan. But PrahlAdan after
   attaining the Brahma jn~Anam from Sage nAradar was always in 
   rememberance of Sriman nArAyaNA. Even when the whole world was 
   glorifying Hiranyakasipu as the supreme, PrahlAdA didn't had even
   a trace of doubt regarding the fact that Sriman nArAyaNA was
the       supreme of all. We then  know how the most glorious nrusimha 
   avatAram took place and how PerumAL finished off Hiranyakasipu. 

   So, such vairAgyam, jn~Anam and bhakti has to be developed after
   hearing purAnams / leelAs of PerumAL which He did specifically
   for these very reasons. One shouldn't miss this at any cost.  
   We shall discuss the philosophical issues concerned with this 
   mAyA sItA episode in the next posting. 

adiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan
ananthapadmanAbha dAsan