Pearls from the Ramayana—A True Celibate

Of the twelve Azhwars, Kulasekara Azhwar, a great Rama Bhakta, celebrates Rama in ways that Valmiki did not. Likewise Periyazhwar celebrates Lord Krishna’s lilas. But what is more remarkable is that such a Krishna Bhakta also enjoys the lilas of Rama!

Periyazhwar Tirumozhi says:

alliyampoomalarkkOdhaay! adipaNindhEnviNNappam
sollukEn_kEttaruLaay thuNaimalarkkaNmadamaanE!
elliyampOdhinidhiruththal irundhadhOridavakaiyil
mallikaimaamaalaikoNdu angu aarththadhum OradaiyaaLam

Entering the forest as ordained by mother Kaikeyi, Rama and Sita Devi enjoy the serenity and natural beauty of the woods and play in the waters. Although Rama was tired after the play, Sita Devi was in a mood for a game of dice, which Rama lovingly acceded to. That brave Rama who had defeated deadly ogres like Subahu and Maricha, that mighty Rama who had broken the bow of Lord Siva as a child’s play to win Sita’s hand, now fell for the beauty of Sita Devi’s doe-like eyes, subsequently losing the game!

Per the rules, the victor would tie up the defeated and so with a lengthy string of fragrant jasmine flowers, Sita Devi secured Rama to a sandalwood tree.

Having done thus, Sita Devi continued with her other chores. Just like Krishna would stand bound in the cords of Yashoda’s love, Rama stood there bound to the tree by Sita Devi’s love!  After a few hours, seeing her consort still bound, she mockingly remarked, “Pity indeed! The most valorous one stands here unable to free himself from my binding!” She then untied him.

Periyazhwar becomes Hanuman himself when he speaks of this unique episode of intimacy between the Divine Couple. At Ashoka Vana, giving Lord Rama’s finger ring as a token of his identity as Rama’s messenger, Hanumanji narrates to the Divine Mother, this secretive episode as one shared with him by Lord Rama.

Salutations to the supreme devotion of Hanuman, for, the Lord had shared this rare episode with him, a true celibate!

R. Murali, Chennai, India

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