The Seeds of Revolution sprouts from the soil: the Greatest Krantiveeja: Janaki (Sita) ( by Shiva Kant Jha)

“ The greatest event of most revolutionary character, that ever occurred, was the birth of Sita from the furrows of the famine-stricken  soil (Yamunacharya aptly calls her  मेदिनीनन्दनाया). In our cultural consciousness there is a profound conviction that when exploitation and injustice become most horrendous, REVOLUTION springs up from our mother Earth. One may escape into the stellar universe, or choose residence secure in the plenitude of  a floating city or of a ‘swimming city’, the consequences of the crimes done on the Mother Earth can never be evaded. No  Ravana  or  Kamsa can keep on playing truants with the instrument of God’s Justice.   My mother told me two stories: one pertaining to the  events of the Treta Yuga, and the other of the Dwapara Yuga. On hearing these two stories I felt that time was  not far off when a third story of similar stuff would be told  describing what is already happening in this   Kaliyuga.

First, a story from the tenth Canto of the Bhagavata Mahapurana. When the Earth’s sufferings grew unbearable, when crime against humanity crossed all limits, when none was available to rid the Earth of her suffering,  the Mother Earth assumed the form of a cow, and went to the Creator of Universe, Lord Brahma, to bewail her sufferings. Tears were welling out and trickling down her face. She mooed most distressingly, and told the saga of her sufferings to the Lord. The exploitative and predatory systems, built by the greedy, had brought the Earth to a morbid plight. The Creator of the Universe felt sympathy for her. He took her to the bank of the Kshirsagar where He invoked Lord Vishnu to come to the succour of the Mother Earth. God was moved to come to this world to fulfill the fundamental norm under the divine promise: ‘Whenever Dharma declines, I appear to sustain it.’  Lord Krishna’s advent was on account of the entreaties of the suffering Mother Earth to liberate humanity from the negation of Dharma. It is said that in the remote ancient times which we call the Treta Age, Sri  Rama was born in Ayodhya. He had come because He had to come under the imperatives of Dharma. He was bound to come to destroy the forces of evil which Ravana epitomized, and to provide the standards for Right Conduct to the people at large. Tulsidas put, with remarkable clarity and precision, the reason for His coming to the world when he said in the Ramacharitmanasa: तेहि अवसर भंजन महिभारा, हरि रघुवंश लीन्ह अवतारा (The Lord came to save Mother Earth from her crushing distresses).

It is said about Lord Shiva that without His consort, Shakti, He  is a mere dead body (shava). Sri  Rama would have been just one of the illustrious kings in the Ikshaku dynasty, if he had  not married Sita ( also called Janaki as she was  the daughter of Maharaja Janak who ruled Mithila). Sita emerged from the furrow created on account of the strokes of plough struck  by Maharaja Janak himself on  the soil of Mithila. The King himself turned a farmer to save his people from a famine; he presented a model of conduct to his people.  He did his duty as the king. And the Mother Earth produced Sita. Metaphoric potentialities of this event are tremendous. Such was its impact on the Indian psyche that Lord Krishna cited in the  Bhagavad-Gita   Janak as providing the supreme example of the Karma Yoga.   Sri Krishna had said: It was through ‘right  actions’ that  King Janak (of Mithila) had attained perfection.

Our Shastra and literature tell us that certain moments come in eons when our good Earth has no option but to seek divine succor to subjugate the forces of evil. Sita was an idea, a revolutionary thought to promote and sustain Dharma for the weal of all.  Towards the end of the Bhagavad-Gita  Sanjaya describes what constitutes the very ‘grammar  of revolution’. A revolution is the function of the confluence of the lines of thought and action at a high ascent on the graph of creativity. The Ramayana had portrayed a great revolution; the Mahabharata  portrayed another.

.       It is amazing that our  Mother Earth gave  birth to Sita. When the  time came for Her to go, the Earth gave Her a resting abode.  Sita is still resting in the inner embrace of the Mother Earth. We wish She comes out again because without Her there can be no Rama to deal with the present-day Ravanas. .

This daughter of Mithila is herself an epic for all times, for all to read and reflect over. They, Sri  Rama and Sita, were complementary to each other. Tulsidas expressed this by referring to their eternal love for each other ( प्रीति पुरातन लखए न कोई  ). If she wouldn’t have gone to the forest with Her husband, sent by His father on exile  for fourteen years, no casus belli could have been created for Sri Rama to destroy Ravana whose people had looted all lands and had even eaten many good and peace-loving men.  The cassus belli was wrought when Ravana carried Sita off to his capital Lanka to imprison her in Ashokavatika. But Ravana couldn’t have got this opportunity unless Rama would have gone to hunt the golden deer leaving Sita alone. One might think that it was Sita, who  cast her spell on Him, making Him believe that there could even be a deer of gold grazing in the forest.  Rama was made to believe  the existence of a golden deer,  when even the ordinary mortals would reject the idea itself as  most fanciful.   Surely He was under Her spell which drove the course of events which the Ramayana narrates announcing the triumph of Dharma on the forces of Evil.  It seems Sita was leading the cavalcade of events towards the destruction of Ravana’s Sone ki Lanka (Ravana’s golden Lanka). She crossed the Laksmanrekha (line of fire drawn by Lakshman so that none could cross that to enter Sita’s cottage) throwing off her protective shield. A step towards revolution is always a stride towards the unknown. She took that step initiating the process of the revolution in which  Ravana’s floating world of wealth and power,  high in the clouds wholly beyond the reach of ordinary mortals, got destroyed. Sita created a situation in which  Ravana, before he was killed, saw with wrathful anguish  how his cloud castle of wealth collapsed, how the heap of the looted wealth turned into ash, how his mighty ramaparts and the weapons of devastating destructive power could not save him from his ruin. I wish those of our times, busy in building up their golden Lanka in the remote islands of our Earth or in the space, should draw lessons from  Ravana’s plight.  But Sita was most merciful: She provided Ravana an opportunity to work out even his salvation. By keeping Sita in Ashokavatika with utmost reverence and dignity, and creating situation in which he is killed by Rama Himself, Ravana  created for himself situations in which he deservedly got moksha (salvation).  Even when Sita was alone in Ravana’s confinement in Lanka, She was  the bravest, boldest, and most astute in Her responses to the mighty demonic King. When Ravana   comes to the  Ashokavatika  to persuade Sita to accept his solicitations, he appears lackluster and crestfallen before that daughter of Mother Earth. Sita  gave to the Mother Earth a sense of supreme achievement in witnessing the triumph of Dharma.    Sita Herself practiced karmayoga as her father had done.

I feel: withdraw Sita from the life of Sri  Rama, nothing remains which could provide stuff for  the epic Ramayana.  Sri  Rama would just be a great king who carried on his Rajdharma well. But take Radha or Rukumini away from the life of Sri Krishna, He  still continues to posses   His epic dimensions as a teacher of humanity and the upholder of Dharma.  Sita can be seen in  our literature as a  great role-model for revolution against any tyrant or exploitative system. .

Nowhere in the world literature we notice in one personality the capacities to suffer and the capacities to create expressed so fully  as in Sita, and also in  Krishna. Sita suffered in her life the most excoriating distresses with tongue-tied patience, but never swerved from Her  duty and mission, never ceased to provide the examples of the noblest conduct in life. She was, it seems, a devastating arrow shot off from the Earth’s bow, which returned back after striking the target. Krishna too had his moments of great distresses: to be born in a prison, to part company from his parents, made to face the monsters out to destroy Him, to become the target of the demonic kings. He witnessed His failure in convincing Duryodhana not to  tread on the path of impropriety, and, at the end, He experienced his failure in convincing his own men in the  Prabhas Teerth  not to tread on the road  to their destruction. Sita sank into the Earth bidding adieu to the world of humans;  Krishna went to the  forest to breathe His last under the peepal tree away from even the dearest ones. Both reached the state of parama vairagya (perfect renunciation). The peaks  of our sufferings are always lesser  than theirs. Every broken spirit amongst us can draw strength to suffer yet  live for higher cause as perceived through karma-sannyasa. Such feelings bring about revolutionary changes in one’s  spiritual make-up enabling one to face life as it comes without grudge or grumble. Sita and Krishna teach us the art of life at its best.

This context reminds me of a discussion I once had with my wife at my ‘Veenapani Bhawan” at Laheriasarai. She said: “Do not tell me about Krishna’s frustrations and problems He  faced.  He had Himself created all  those problems.  If He got caught in the gossamer web of the self-created problems, none else could be blamed for all that  befell Him.  Like a spider He built the net of problems, and allowed Himself to get caught in that. All that He faced was His own prapanch (craft):  who else could  be  blamed for His plight?  But a question  survives.  Why should  Sita be made to prove Her innocence?  Why was Draupadi  dragged to be humiliated in the court of the Kauravas?. Neither Sita got justice in the Treta Age from Sri Rama, nor did Draupadi get it in Dwapara Age in the Court of the Kauravas.  How can the Sitas and Draupadis expect justice in this Kali Age considered degenerate and decadent? Where can they seek justice?” I did not know what to say in reply. Her questions still haunt me: I am yet thinking and thinking and thinking how to answer them.”

Shiva Kant Jha, On the Loom of Time, Portrait of My Life and Times pp. 19-22


[1] Chap.3 shloka  20


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