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Re: About Seetha Mata

From: Krishna Susarla (krishna_at_ticnet.com)
Date: Thu Oct 29 1998 - 23:25:03 PST

>If Sri Rama was clear about Sita mata's purity, why the Agni Pariksha ? was
>it for the Dharma as a King ? It could be told that as Sri Rama the Bhagwan
>is sure about the outcome of agnipariksha. Then, why the most painfull act
>of parityaga afterwards ? Now, if parityaga was the only solution, why the
>ordeal of Agni pariksha ? Does it indicate a lack of surity of Agni as the
>ever purifier ?
>
>Now if I am looking through Mata's angle all the episodes are painful.
>Because of no mistake of hers, she had to leave the Bhagwan, How painfull
>it would be, with the demons ! Then, to be TESTED  for purity ! Above all,
>finally to be forsaken by the God Himself !
>
>At this point, the obvious thing which comes to mind is " Is Seetha Matha
>who is none other than the Universal Mother always at the mercy of the Lord
>? "
>( In that case, it becomes the DUTY of the Pathi to protect His Patni under
>ALL circumstances, which I, wrongly , somehow, feel Sri Rama was unable to
>do , when She was taken away by the Rakshasa.)
>Now, where is the Karunyam of the Lord towards Her ?
>Now in another plane, does it mean that the Divine Mother, the principle
>which creates sustains and destroys, always under the control of the
>ParaBrahman ?
>
>I beg to look at the above questions as come from a very naive mind, and
>request all learned members of this Group to kindly clarify my doubts .


Hare Krishna.

I am not sure I can state what is the orthodox Shrii Vaishnava position on
this (nor am I sure there necessarily is a single, Shrii Vaishnava view).
However, I can give you the Gaudiiya Vaishnava view.

There is an interesting verse from the Kuurma Puraana on this subject. It is
quoted in Shrii Chaitanya Charitamrita and reads as follows:

siitayaaraadhito vahnish chaayaasiitaam ajiijanat |
taa.m jahaara dashagriivaH siitaa vahnipura.m gataa ||
pariikShaasamaye vahni.m chaayaasiitaa vivesha saa |
vahniH siitaa.m samaaniiya tatpurastaad aniinayat ||

siitayaa - by mother Siitaa; araadhitaH - being called for; vahniH - the
fire-god; chaayaa-siitaam - the illusory form of mother Siitaa; ajiijanat -
created; taam - her; jahaara - kidnaped; dasha-griivaH - the ten-faced
RaavaNa; siitaa - mother Siitaa; vahni-puram - the the abode of the
fire-god; gataa - departed; pariikShaa-samaye - at the time of testing;
vahnim - the fire; chaayaa-siitaa - the illusory form of Siitaa; vivesha -
entered; saa - she; vahniH - the fire-god; siitaam - the original mother
Siitaa; samaaniiya - bringing back; tat-purustaat - in His presence;
aniinayat - brought back.

When he was petitioned by mother Siitaa, the fire-god, Agni, brought forth
an illusory form of Siitaa, and RaavaNa, who had ten heads, kidnapped the
false Siitaa. The original Siitaa then went to the abode of the fire-god.
When Lord Raamachandra tested the body of Siitaa, it was the false illusory
Siitaa that entered the fire. At that time the fire-god brought the original
Siitaa from his abode and delivered her to Lord Raamachandra (kuurma
puraaNa).

Gaudiiya Vaishnavas regard all Lakshmii-tattva as the personified
hladini-shakti (spiritual pleasure potency) of Lord Vishnu. Thus, She is
also purely spiritual just as He is. Because she has a spiritual form, she
cannot be touched or harmed by anyone who is conditioned by maayaa.

Therefore, the pastime in which Raavana kidnapped Siitaa so that the Lord
could later go and slay him took place without Raavana actually touching
Her. According to the viewpoint of the Gaudiiya Vaishnavas, Siitaa was was
given shelter by Agni-deva when Raavana came for Her, and a "Maayaa-Siitaa"
was put in Her place, who was kidnapped by Raavana. When Lord Raama rescued
this "Maayaa-Siitaa" from Raavana's clutches, the internal reason for His
requiring the Agni-Pariksha was so that she could return to Agni-deva and
the real Siitaa could return. Obviously, Lord Raamachandra could not take
the Maayaa-Siitaa back with Him since He knew who she was.

Sri Mohan Sagar also pointed out that the sthala-puraana describing how
Thiruvenkatamudayaan came to Earth mentions this "Maayaa-Siitaa."  I'm not
certain if it is considered authoritative by most Shrii Vaishnava
aachaaryas, but it does seem consistent with the Kuurma Puraana verse.

adiyen Krishna Susarla