Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Thoughts on Sri Rama Navami. (open letter to Sri Rama)



Given below are my earlier write ups in a yahoo group on certain issues in Ramayana.
The sufferings that Sita experienced and the so-called cold shouldering by Rama after he secured her release are some of the issues debated for ever. I have attempted to find answers to them by a 3-part write up,
the first one in the form of a letter addressed to Sri Rama asking Him why he scripted the Ramavathara in such a way that Sita was made to suffer,
the second one on an analysis of the different issues which culminate in the understanding of Sita as Sri or Lakshmi who is the Inner Will of God Himself and
the third one as a reply letter from Sri Rama to my letter.

*************

An open letter to Sri Rama.


Sri:

Poojya Sri Rama,

Please accept my pranams.

You know me very well as one among your countless
creations and I know very well that I am one of those
lowly creatures who is not even qualified to be known
as your devotee. You are Greatness unparalleled, but I
am a manda-buddhin who knows not what to think about,
how to talk and what to talk. It is my fervent wish
that this confession of mine would absolve me of any
apacharam that I will commit during the course of this
letter.


I am apprehensive of committing apacharam because in
this letter I am going to question the way you have
fashioned Rama avatharam. Don't think that I am going
to raise the same old bogey of accusation on agni
pariksha. I for one am totally convinced that you
didn't mean to demean or hurt your priya-bhAryaL in
having allowed her to undergo agni-pariksha. I do
understand, just as you, that agni can do no harm to
Sita. This was well indicated twice in Sundhara
Khandam, when Sita invoked Agni deva not to harm
Hanuman when his tail was set on fire and when the
fire spread by Hanuman in Lanka did not touch her. You
know very well, as we too came to know after reading
this khandam that Sita is one who can burn Agni
Himself. Knowing this very well, you
allowed agni-pariksha for Sita.


So the cause of my vichanam is not this. It is
something else. It is about why Sita had to suffer at
all – suffer the pangs of separation from you.
Remember she is one who we believe is inseparable from
you and lives forever in your heart which is her
permanent abode.
You too suffered, but we have been told of a previous
incident in which you as Vishnu incurred a curse from
a Rishi when you killed his wife with your Chakrayudha
for having given abhayam to the one
who was the target of your chakrayudha.
As one untouched by curses and such other
things, you decided to use it as an alibi during Rama
avathara.


Tell me, in what way your dear better –half was drawn
into this? You may say that as your patni, she is also
bound to share the good and bad or whatever of that
avathara. But did it stop with just separation from
you? Didn't she suffer more than you? What previous
karma (though unbinding) of hers can you quote to
account for the humiliation and danger she suffered to
her integrity and modesty, for the fear, for the
helplessness and for all those terrible emotions she
underwent in Ashoka vana?


I am asking the same questions that Sita asked.
What was the pApam she did in her previous births?
What wasthe dhosham she had as to suffer like that?
O, is it right to leave her among the demons, threatened by
Ravana?
Is it right to leave her untended, unclean and
without AbhushaN – the one who is ever willing to
shower on us all the bounties?
If you had willed you could have immediately released her
from her plight.
Is it because, as Sita herself had said, she committed
an apacharam to you?
It is true that in order to take a dig at you,
when you refused to take her along
during vana vasa, she lamented that her father had her
married to you without knowing that you are a woman in
man's garb(!)
Hey Rama, did you take this accusation
seriously?
Don't you know that this is the last astra
that we, the womenfolk use whenever the husband
refuses to see our point of view. I have said like
this to my husband and he has not done any harm to me
in retribution. I am sure you too didn't mind Sita's
accusation at that time.


Then, why did you allow her to suffer?
I know you would come out with reasons
such as making mankind understand certain values of living,
the lofty ideal of sharanagathi,
highlighting the Purushakara of Piratti (Sita) and the like.
Let me remind you that
You succeeded in teaching these in other avatars too, but
without having to put your wife in such distress. In
fact you came to the world without your wife on 8 out
of 10 occasions (avatars). Even in Krishna avathara,
you didn't make your wives suffer humiliation in the
hands of a demon like Ravana.


My question is why you made a script in the first
place that held your wife, our mother, in such a sorry
state of affairs. You have all the power to make a
story as you wish and a script as you like. You could
have made the story line for Sita differently.
Certainly if I were to be in your place and enjoyed
all the freedom to create a story line of my choice, I
would not have even in my dreams thought of the
terrible incidents to happen to my mother Sita. Hey
Rama, why couldn't you think differently?


You have disappointed us in another way also. Rama
avatar is the only avatar in which you came to earth
with your dear wife and were all set to live a human
life like us throughout the period you were here. Why
did you spoil it by your own design, Rama? Why did you
rob us of the joy of thinking about you and Sita as
wonderful couple who came to live like us and lived
happily ever through your stay here?


I always compare you with the Sun and Sita with the
Moon and am fascinated to watch these celestial
objects in the sky. When Shukra came too close to the
Moon about one and a half months ago and the crescent moon
seemed to greet Shukra who was in his brightest
splendor then, I imagined how our mother Sita is
benevolent, calm, cool and has a broad mind to allow
shukra to steal the show even while she was sailing in
all dignity.


But a fortnight later I was witness to your fury when
you seemed not to let shukra posses any glory as he
traveled across (the disc of Sun) you.
The sparkling shukra looked like a
mere dot on your face, so small and unimportant. At
that time I was really awe-struck by your power to
vanquish the ego of the asura-guru. But now thinking
about the deplorable incidents you assigned for Sita
to undergo, hey Rama, I am sorry to say that the dot
(of asura-guru) indeed looked like a blot on your
face. You could have handled the asura in Ramayana
differently, not necessarily by making your beloved
wife, our Jagan-mAtha a scapegoat! I don't find fault
with you for any of the popularly known debatable
issues such as Vali vadam and agni-pariksha. But I do
fault you for having made our mother suffer ignominy
and indescribable distress. If you can conceive of
such worst scenario for your wife herself, where will
we all go? What difficulties have you decided for us?
Are you right in having scripted a tough scenario for
Sita? Tell me Rama, tell me.

Truly yours,
Jayasree Saranathan




********


Now some thoughts and analyses on the issues in the letter:-


The emotion that one picks up while reading
Sita's dhukkham and 'kadaral' –
"what dhosham do I have
that Rama had not yet come to save me?
What paapam did I do in my previous birth
that I have to suffer like this?
Why Rama has not yet come to relieve me?" etc
        have some effect on the reader.

(1) It prepares the chethana at the lowest level of
understanding to empathise with Piratti (Sita)  and console
himself that his ordeal is not as bad as what Sita
underwent and trains him to look at good and bad in
life with equanimity. (when Piratti Herself has
underwent so much suffering, my suffering is not
something big. I can certainly manage –this is the
message directed at a majority of us who are finding
it difficult to cope with sufferings of life. "van
siraiyil van vaikkil" –NDP)


(2) It reveals to those chethanas having a higher level
of grasp of bhagawan's leela that He will wait and
watch ONLY TILL we reach the breaking point, but
before that happens he would certainly do the right
thing for us - as how rushed to save Draupathi though
He waited till the moment she stopped believing
herself, how He had Hanuman interfere when Janaki lost
all hopes and prepared to commit suicide. Let me
borrow the idea from Paapanasam Shivan who says why
God does like this. "Sodhanai theeyil sphutahmiduvAn;
irangi thooki eduthu Anadam aLitthiduvaan".  
He does subject each one of us to agni pravesham –just to make
us glow with virtues. In spite of all this suffering,
if we stand the ordeal, then comes the third level.


(3) The chethana thinks of nothing but Him and His
arrival to release the chethana from suffering.
(refer Acharya Hridhayam – 125 &126, P.B.
Annagraracharyar vyakhyanam). When like Sita, the
chethana is completely immersed in thoughts of Him
waiting for him as a savior, He too thinks about the
chethana like how Rama was completely immersed in
thoughts of Sita. The perfect 'chemistry' works then
and the chethana is at the verge of attaining
'release'. Even then the Lord holds out the Final test
for everyone to see that this chethana is indeed the
perfect candidate to live with Him in Parama patham.


The above reading based on interpretations of elders
in the form of Swapadesam does not answer the doubts
that we at the present juncture have.
The problem with us is that we read / interpret the
words as they are. If Sita laments what dhosham she
has, we take it in the literal sense and try to figure
out what dhosham she has!! If she wonders what
apacharam she has done, we immediately look for
apacharams – both bhagavad and bhaagavatha. If one
thinks that there indeed exists instances in Ramayana
that denote dhosham or apacharam on the part of Sita,
it is said that any inquiry such as this must based on
the stipulated rules and assumptions (like in science)
laid down by none other than Ramanuja.


Ramanuja's methodology employs  6
pramanas namely,
Prathyaksha (perception),
Anumana (inference / reasoning),
Shabda (testimony),
Upamana (comparison),
Arthabdhi (assumptions) and
Anupalabdhi (non- apprehension).


He recognises 2 steps in Prathyaksha (perception), the
first one based on perception of form and structure
(herein the outward meaning of Sita's lamentation) and
the second, the kind of perception which is the
product of discriminative activity (vikalpa) based on
the other pramanas. (Eg – understanding the expression
'village on the Ganga' in V.S –verse 179)

The shabda –based inference has it that Sri is
"ishwarIm sarva bhoothanaam" (SrI sookhtham) and that
"She is all-pervading even as Vishnu is all-pervading'
(Vi.Pu) and puts her on equal footing with Him (v.s.
217) Whatever attributes that He has, She also has is
what we have as Testimony. When He is born as a Deva,
She too is born as a Deva. If He is born as a human
being, She too is born as a human being. If He is all
righteousness personified, She too is all
righteousness personified. If He can not be otherwise,
she too can not be otherwise. Therefore to proceed
with the assumption that Sita is culpable of dhosham
or committing apacharam itself is fallacious.


Elsewhere Sita wonders whether it is vidhi (destiny)
that is making her suffer. We find Hanuman also making
such statements in Sundara khandam. But we take this
reference to destiny as being the cause of Sita's
suffering with a pinch of salt because of our
conviction (supported by scriptures) that destiny and
karma do not bind the divine couple.

The question then comes how to explain the so-called
'dhosham and apacharam', the evidence for which is
found in Ramayana itself.
To explain this we base our understanding by combining
the two steps of perception.
The only kind of apacharam that Sita herself speaks of
is what she tells Hanuman about her goading of Rama
before going on vana vasa in a bid to make Rama take
her along with Him. It is to be noted that she doesn't
think about this when she was lamenting in isolation
in the Ashoka vana but only when she sends the message
through Hanuman. It is to be interpreted as a scuffle
between the divine couple where we have no place to
sit on judgement. It happens in our life too and we
know that the children in no way interfere in the kind
of altercation such as this taking place between the
parents.


If it be said that Sita in the mortal form
has committed this Bhagavad apacharam, it is to be
noted that Bhagvan is one (from Sita's refrain in
kaakasura vriddhantham, sarga 38, sundara khandam) who
believes 'en adiyaar kuttram cheyyaar. Appadi
chaithaalum adu kuttramaai eraadu' and accepts the
adiyaar. Sita as one will be seen as devoid of any
'kuttram' (offence) by Rama. Therefore the question of bhagavad
apacharam is simply non-existent.


The other sin according to some is the bhaagavatha
apacharam supposedly done by Sita to Lakshmana.
Whatever altercation that has happened between the
two when Rama went after Mareecha and when Sita
commanded Lakshmana to make agni, it is something like
what happens between the mother and the son. Sita's
very first query about Lakshmana proves this. As
mother in her capacity as 'manni' (brother's wife) ,
Sita's actions do not attract any apacharam.


To make a better understanding that the idea of
dhosham or apacharam on the part of Sita is just non
–existent, we resort to another tool namely,
anupalabdhi or non-apprehension. Non-apprehension of
something (in this context, non-apprehension of
Piratti's Nir-dhosha qualities) is subject to error
in perception, wherein the first level of perception
alone is taken into consideration without taking into
account the second level which is necessary to arrive
at the correct judgement of perception. This must be
read along with Arthabdhi (assumption) based on
Shabda.


For example when we say that stars are not found in
the day, it is anupalabdhi based on the arthabdhi
that it is due to the luminosity of the sun. But if we
say that stars do not exist in the day we will be
committing an error. Non-apprehension of something,
according to Ramanuja must be analysed along with the
knowledge whether the non-apprehended thing exited in
the past (just before non-apprehension) and in the
future. Non-apprehension of Piratti's 'pure' qualities
without taking reference from what She was before and
after the given instance will lead us to arrive at a
fallacious statement which is what has happened in the
various altercations on this subject.


In a similar vein Rama can not be attributed with
being un-righteous to Sita while being righteous as a
ruler etc, when he asked for agni-parIksha. Simply
because Rama can not be wrong as how Sita can not be!
To understand this, let us employ the first pramana,
Perception.

Just a reading of Sita's very first enquiry about
kshEma-lAbham of Rama and others is sufficient.
(sargam 36) It is here a wonderful tattwa of
sthreethwa is at its glowing best. After making
enquiries about Rama and others (in just 10 verses),
Sita's main concern is about how Rama is braving the
loss of Sita (which runs into many verses) "Does he
still think about me? Does he pray to God to get me
back soon? Does he make all steps at his disposal to
reach to me? Does he still remember me, the one who is
in a far away land? Has the purva snEham between us
undergone any change? Is he worried about me, sad and
afraid about the conditions I am in? .. (After all her
queries about whether Rama thinks only about her and
nothing else, she concludes ) Can anyone, be his
mother whose love for him has no bounds or his father
who died due to separation from him or the other
relatives be a match to me in HIS HEART?"


I consider this as the clue to unravel the truth
behind the issue under discussion. This is sthreethwa
at its best which only a sthree can understand.
The
love for her husband is so intense that it is the
basis of pathi vradha dharma. Just prior to the entry
of Hanuman we find her despairing that Rama would
complete his vana vasam without finding her out and go
back to Ayodhya, have Rajyabhishekam and be happy with
other 'women'. This worry about whether the husband
has forgotten the wife or still thinks about her with
unwavering and unbroken love is the core part of
sthreethwa and the complete faith that the wife gets
to hold by virtue of experiencing the unalloyed love
of the husband (samsleshatthil dharikkai,
vislEshatthil dhariaamai) makes her a pathi-vradhai
whereby she would be ready to undergo sufferings of
any kind and to any extent just to uphold the honour
of the husband which in fact is a shared
responsibility of the two. Sita would have undergone
agni-pravesham with absolutely no qualms or regrets or
even without Rama having to tell her because if it is
by that she can uphold Rama's honour, which she would
be happy to do! There is no question of one commanding
the other to do a specific act for the sake of a
shared responsibility of the two.


If we accept this line of thinking,
even the banishment in Uttara khandam
will not be seen objectionable. That this line
of reasoning is the most plausible one can be proved
by the fact that of all the different dharmas that
Rama came to establish, the one as Eka patni vradhan
is the foremost. Whenever we think of the purpose of
Rama avathara, we don't even think of Ravana vadam or
pitru-vakhya paripalanam etc but about Rama as
Eka-patni vradhan. Throughout Ramayana, Rama stands
as an embodiment of this virtue even as Sita stands as
a purushakara bhoothai with qualities such as anayarha
seshatwam. Rama is the Eka-patni vradhan for the
chethanas too who think of Him and nobody else and who
wait for union with Him with the life-long 'kadaral'
-'koovikkoLLum kaalam innum kurugaadO'.
God also
undergoes the pangs of separation from the chethanas
and longs to join this chethana
– a fact that can be
cross-checked with Gitacharyan's longing,
"Bahoonaam janmaanade gyanavaanmaam prapathyathe/
Vasudeva: sarvam ithi sa mahathma sudhurlabha//"
(7-19)


Let me now move on to my prime vichanam that I
expressed in the Open letter to Rama – why God
conceived a script such as the one in Ramavathara.
Since both are possessed of same kind of divine
qualities, it is worthwhile to know who among the two
decided the script. To know this we must understand
the 'relationship' or 'equation' between the two. (How
words are inadequate to express this idea!! Or is it
to do with my inadequacy by way of lack of command of
language? (sigh))


Taking Ramanuja's words as pramana (V.S. 217), Sita
or Sri is the mother of the Universe, is eternal and
knows no separation from Vishnu. (Jhanardhan and
Vishnu are synonyms, says 159, V.S. whereby we assume
that Vishnu as mentioned here is Supreme.) If it be
said that She is one with Him, how does one understand
the injunction, "Being alone, all this was in the
beginning, one only, without a second." (Chandogya –VI –
II).


To clarify this, it is said that Sita as Sri, though
said to have originated during the churning of the
milky ocean, must have existed even before that, from
the Beginning in or as part of the 'one only without a
second'. The 'one only' does not negate Her union in
Him at that time, as the 'one only' speaks of causal
condition of the Supreme, so says Ramanuja in B.S.


But then how to substantiate that She existed in Him
at that Time? We refer to the injunctions, which speak
about 'will' as in 'It willed that It may become many'
and 'Thought' as in 'It thought – May I become
manyfold and be born' (chandogya) are of the nature of Sri
without whose existence / insistence, the Supreme does
not contemplate to do anything.


The Will or the Thought are part of Him which for
simpler understanding are said to be seated in His
manas
. Ramanuja acknowledges this in his dhyaana sloka
to Sri Bhashyam to Vedanta sutras thus :- " May my
understanding assume the form of loving devotion to
the Highest Brahman who is the Home of Lakshmi." The
implication that He will not do anything without being
told by Lakshmi is further authenticated by
Purvacharyas. (EvaL purushakaaramaanaalalathu,
Ishwaran kaaryam cheyyaan ) (samsleshatthil Ishwaranai
thirutthum … iruvaraiyum upadesatthaal thirutthum …
Ishwaranai azhagaalE thirutthum)


It is therefore concluded that Piratti as the Will or
Thought-force of the lord is the one who actually aids
Him in His actions.
Connecting this to my vichanam why
Rama made a script such as the one He used in
Ramavathara, it is said that it She, not He who is
responsible for such a script. Imagining a samvAdham
between the two in pAr-kadal  (Milky ocean)
before they finalised the story line,
it can be said with cent percent certainty
that Piratti as the Will of Lord dominated the writing
of the story.


If it be said that Sita has been at the receiving end
of Rama's unjust treatment (?), it can not be so
because it is she who decided to have such treatment!!
Can a 'victim' who voluntarily wants to look like a
victim, be a victim?


If it be said that Sita is culpable of dhoshams of
sorts (?), it can not be so. Because can any one
deciding to take a role that seems (note- 'seems') to
have dhosham be attributed with that dhosham? Based on
this derivation, let me attempt to see how SriRama
could have written His reply to my open letter.
Here it is :-)


REPLY FROM SRIRAMA TO MY OPEN LETTER.


Dear Sow Jayasree,
AsIrvAdham.

I have forwarded your mail to your thaayaar (mother)  Sita
Piratti.
Everyone of you think that I am a Swathanthran (independent).
But I only know how much sathanthram I enjoy with your
thaayaar beside me.
Lokatthil sthreegaL purushargaLAi
aatti vaippadu patri unakku solla thevai illai. 
(லோகத்தில் ஸ்த்ரீகள் புருஷர்களை ஆட்டிப் படைப்பது பற்றி உனக்குச் சொல்லத் தேவையில்லை)
(You know how the woman controls her man)
It is something like what you mean when you say, 'It is not
enough that justice is done, but justice is seen to be
done'. Your thaayaar makes it appear that I do my
functions as a swathanthran whereas it is she who is
behind all that I do. I have many astras which are
capable of piercing through 14 lokas. But your thaayar
has just one astra called 'kaN asaippu' (sight)
with which she binds me effectively.


You don't know the power of kaNNasaippu.
Un thaayaar kaNNasaippil kaariyatthai sadhitthu-k-koLvaL.
(உன் தாயார் கண்ணசைப்பில் காரியத்தை சாதித்துக் கொள்வாள்)
(your mother Sita gets things done by just looking at me)
Whether it is about gifting her jewels to sage Sooyagyar
before we set out for the forest or about gifting her
hAram to Hanuman at the time of Pattaabhishekam,
it is her kaNNasaippu that makes me
look as though I am a swathanthran or the deciding
authority.


Even now she has given me a long list of
recommendations and if I don't take action
immediately, she would be there before me to get her
wish fulfilled. She would go to any extent to prove
her point, even to the extent of hardships that she
planned for herself in Ramavathara.


Unakku theriyaadu kuzhandhe, Jayasree, (you don't know Jayasree)
how I felt when I had to mouth those words for agni-parIksha.
My heart was screaming,
'Hey, Sithe, ennai indha ikkattil maatti viittaayE'.
(ஹே சீதே, என்னை இக்கட்டில் மாட்டி விட்டயே)
(Hey Sita, you put me in a spot)
I also felt that the script for her
was a bit exaggerated.
I suggested that she tone down her dialogue,
with the apprehension that some of our
children at some point of time may take them in their
face value and start thinking of mis-demeanors on her
part. But instead of accepting my suggestion, your
thaayaar suggested that I take up some blame on my
part to compensate for it and scripted the
vaali-vadham in the way that it was finally enacted.
What can I do about it?


Actually I have no time to write more. I have to rush
to take action on her recommendations before she hands
me over another list. InimEl un paadu, un thaayaar
paadu. Ennai aaLAi vidu.
(இனிமேல் உன்பாடு, உன் தாயார் பாடு, என்னை ஆளை விடு)
(Hereafter it is between you and your mother Sita,
I have no role in the story, Leave me)


KshEmam.
Your loving father,
Sri(Sita)Raman.

7 comments:

Asthika said...

mam,

Have read the first part and half of second.

reading the first and mention of sukra and sita, i thought it as play between bargavan bargavi

The second part and first part mention of sita goading rama and mentioning it to hanuman and your subsequent comment on all couples having it and children wont interfere, somehow reminded me of udal utsavam.

know the reason for this funny udal utsavams in few temples,think even shiva temples have them,

what will rama temples have? do they even have udal utsavam, if so what could be the udal utsavam reason? These questions come to my mind.

Asthika said...

ha ha. i loved rama reply. Rama showed he is a krishna there with his answers.

now i know how udal utsavams conducted in rama temple. children ask some wishes and udal happens if rama doesnt accept matas demands for children,

Makes me remind ramadasu song to sita mata, where he said rama is not blessing my despite all my requests, its now up to you mata to tell him my suffering and recommend. almost blames rama here. and work gets done once he tells mata.

kannabiran, RAVI SHANKAR (KRS) said...

just
A
W
E
S
O
M
E

Maheshwaran Ganapati said...

Hi Jayashree
kudos for this brilliant imagination. it was excellent to read. thoroughly enjoyed it. incidentally even while reciting sri rama sahasranamam yesterday, a strange question came to my mind. why did beloved Rama made himself putin to a situation that he could not be at the side of His father King Dasaratha at his last moment. HE decided to play so that HE being the first son could not do the last rites for HIS dear father. Being a man, I was thinking only about the suffering self inflicted by the paramporul in HIS human avatar. Never thought about Sita. (you know as a child assumes all is well with mother always.) As you rightly said, Almighty is above all good, evil, pavapunniyam! how foolish this mortal mind to think like that:-). regards, Mahesh

Kalaivani said...

As a spectator in this creative poetical analysis, I am double happy.One happiness is to have imbibed great philosophies.
Second happiness is to have read an letter addressed to another person.:)

The knowledge told by Krishna meant for Arjuna, in bagawath geeta was potrayed as 2nd hand information that sanjaya saw from his vision, 'eavesdropped' and told blind Yudishtra. Like that,reading the letter meant for the daughter, the answer of Sri Ramar addressed to his daughter embodying great philosophies, is enriching and valuable.

jayasree said...

Dear Asthika, KRS, Mahesh and Kalaivani. My heartfelt thanks to you for the comments.

Ramayana is a treasure trove of many philosophies of vedanta and also of life. Recently when I started "Thamizhan dravidanaa' blog, I found that it is a reliable document to trace the history of Bharath including the countries of Pandyna kings. It is a wholesome document that can analysed to get answers for different types of questions.

In this article(s), one major derivation I am giving is on the status of Lakshmi vis a vis Brahman. I am making a departure from the existing schools of thought on the status of Lakshmi,who I see as the Will of God.

In the pre- creation model she is one with the Brahman as Brahman is one without a second at that time. Creation begins when the Brahmin Wills that It may become many. The person and the Will are inseparable. The Will does not exist without the person and the person does not exist without Will. The Will directs the person. The Will tells what to do. In the manifest world, the Will carries out Creation.

In what way the Will is manifest can be ascertained from a dialogue in Shanthi parva in MB between Brighu and Bharadvaj. I think I have said about this dialogue somewhere in one of my old posts. The dialogue is about the first creation. One of them says that it is the four faced Brahma seated on the lotus of Narayana's naval. The other asks should that not mean that the lotus was the first created entity because it existed before the four faced Brahma was created. For this it is replied no.

This shows that lotus is part of Narayana - the uncreated Being. The lotus is the out stretched umbilical chord which is pumping sap into creation. This becomes synonymous with the Will of Narayana that facilitates limitless creation.

The personification of the Will is the lotus and the one entity connected with that lotus is Lakshmi. Lotus also stands for heart, manas and thought in tantrics.

In the created world, the inseparable Brahman looks as 2 separate identities as Vishnu and Lakshmi. The etymological root of Lakshmi is that it is she who shows the lakshyam (goal) - the goal is that of reaching the Brahman or Paramathman. As the Will of God she also directs Brahman. Thus she becomes the medium between the created world (chetahnas) and the Paramathman. That is why we go to her for recommendation to the Lord.

(contd)

jayasree said...

(contd from previous comment)

One school of Thought of Srivaishnavism sees her as the first created one. But from the status that she enjoys as Will, we can not call her as a created being. She is an extension of Brahman. As lotus at the tip of the umbilical chord of Brahman, she is very much part of the Brahman.

In Ramayana we find complete dominance of Lakshmi as the Will of Brahman - embodied in Sita. She only called the shots always.

The dialogue of Sita which I liked and enjoyed most is "sthreeyam purusha vigraham" (2-30-3 Valmiki Ramayana). When Rama tries to dissuade her from coming along with him to the forest saying that the forest is full of dangers, she wonders why he can not protect her from the dangers. Is he meek that he can not safeguard her? Therefore she shot this astra that her father has got her married to him without knowing that he is a woman in male's garb ("sthreeyam purusha vigraham"). No one else can say such a thing about Rama and get away without being punished for it. Only Sita could say this. She as his alter self or manas can say like this. Like ordinary manas, she keeps thinking of this dialogue of hers during vanavasam and wonders whether she committed an apacharam by saying this to Rama.

Sita's domination continues throughout. Her desire for the golden deer and asking Rama to get it is another prominent example of the Will of Brahman which the Brahman can not ignore. (It is has been written already)

Again on agni pariksha, she only called the shots. I have written some features of that in the article on 'Why oil bath?' in the context of Sita as a Pancha kanya. Her domination is such that Valmiki originally called his book as "Sitayah charitam mahat" (The great story of Sita) and not as Ramayana. Ramayana was coined later by others.