[ Transcribed from lectures given by Sri Atmatattva Das ]
After getting back the original Sita from Agni, Ramacandra said, “Now we must go to Ayodhya.” There was a big pushpa-viman, which flew not by steering but by mind, mental instruction. So they all got on the pushpa-viman, along with a few leading monkeys. Then the other monkeys said, “Well we’re not going by this bridge and walking all the way to Kishkinda. We will also go by flight.” So Ramacandra told the pushpa-viman, “You expand.” So it expanded and took all the Vanaras in it. They all took a flight. While they were going, Ramacandra was showing Sita, “This is Janasthan where I fought with 14,000 rakshasas and killed them with one arrow. This is Pancavati. This is the Dandakaranya forest. This is Kishkinda.” They had a stopover in Kishkinda, and then they took Sugriva’s family also. They all got in the pushpa-viman. Then they were flying over Bharadvaja ashrama’s. All the places where they visited Ramacandra was showing to Sita. “Do you remember this place? Do you remember that place?”
In this way they were coming to Ayodhya. In the meantime Hanuman told Ramacandra, “We have to go fast, otherwise tomorrow sunrise, Bharata will jump in the fire. It is fourteen years already.” Ramacandra told Hanuman, “You go before us.” So Hanuman flew very fast and jumped in front of Bharata. By that time it was sunrise already, and Bharata was circumambulating the fire and preparing to jump into it. He went once, twice round. On the seventh round he would get into the fire. When he completed the second round he heard the sound, “Rama is coming! Rama is coming!” He was looked up, and he said, “Where is Rama coming?” Then he went around again. The third round he saw this figure jumping in front of him, a big tail and a club on his shoulder with a crown and so many ornaments on his chest.
Bharata looked at him and said, “Who are you?”
He said, “I am Hanuman, the servant of Rama.”
Bharata said, “What? I think that by fasting too much, I am having some hallucination.” So he asked everybody else, “Do you also see this monkey?”
They said, “Yes we see him.” So then Hanuman jumped up on a tree, and he began to speak Ramayana. How everything happened, and he shortly summarized the whole thing. When Bharata heard this he was very happy. And then the pushpa-viman came. So all the citizens of Ayodhya, because of Hanuman’s prior information, they were able to receive Ramacandra properly. Bharata took Him to the simhasana, and said, “Here are your shoes. Now I hand this country back to you. You will be king.” And then there was a coronation ceremony. At this ceremony, everyone was given some gift. Ramacandra was giving, Sita was giving.
Hanuman was very happy seeing that so many people are coming and getting something and going. He was in ecstasy and he was chanting and dancing and jumping. So then Sitadevi felt very merciful, and she called him. “Hanuman, nobody gave you anything. Here, take this necklace.” And she gave him a pearl necklace which she was wearing. Hanuman broke the pearls and started eating them.
All the saintly people in the assembly were saying, “What is this monkey doing with Sitadevi’s necklace?” They were all murmuring amongst themselves. “Ramacandra went to the forest, but why is He bringing the forest into the city? And what is he doing with the queen’s necklace? He is insulting the kingdom.”
Ramacandra said, “Hanuman, they are all having some confusion over you.”
Hanuman said, “What is the confusion?”
Ramacandra said, “Well, they are all saying that you don’t think about Me so much, you do not value me so much.”
Hanuman said, “Then what should I do?”
Ramacandra said, “You show them how nicely you value Me, and how you are respecting Me.”
Hanuman said, “If that is Your order I will do it.” So then he put his hands on his chest and opened his body, and showed his heart. In his heart was a court-hall, and there was Ramacandra and Sita, and in front of them was Hanuman, and he was opening his chest, and inside the chest was a court-hall and there was Ramacandra, Sita, Laksmana, Bharata, Satrughna and Hanuman. And Hanuman was opening his chest. In this way they had an unlimited vision of Rama bhakti, and they were all convinced. The coronation was over, and then everyone did some service. Everyone, because He had not been there for fourteen years. So thousands of people were waiting to serve Ramacandra, and Hanuman was thinking, “What do I do all day here in Ayodhya?” He was walking and telling people about Ramayana, but he got bored. He came to Mother Sita and said, “Let’s go to the forest again. This is nice, but I want some personal service of Ramacandra. I’m getting bored here.”
So Sitadevi called the palace manager and said, “Any service?”
He said, “No, there is a waiting list of people waiting to take service.”
Hanuman said, “You have brought me here for what? If I cannot serve Rama, then what is the meaning of my sitting here? You must get me some service. I’m depending on you.” So he was given the service of waking up Rama in the morning, and he was happy. Another day, Hanuman went to Sitadevi’s house, and he said, “Mataji, I’m very hungry. Please give me something.”
She said, “I am putting sindhu on my hair. Please wait, and I will give you something.”
Hanuman said, “Oh, I can’t wait. I’m very hungry.”
“No-one can be that hungry,” she said. “You just wait.”
“No mataji, I’m so hungry I could die. I need some fruit.”
She said, “Just wait until I have finished putting this in my hair.”
Then Hanuman looked at her and said, “Why do you this? Why are you putting this red stuff on your hair?”
She said, “You know why I do this? Because if I do it then Ramacandra will be happy, and he will live long, and he will have great opulence. All these things will happen.”
Hanuman said, “Oh,” and then he left. Quickly Sita finished, and got the fruits together.
She called out, “Hanuman! Hanuman! Where are you?” Hanuman was not to be found. “But he was so hungry.” She clapped her hands and soldiers came. “Go and find Hanuman,” she said. They all went, but they couldn’t find him. Then two minutes later, some figure entered Sita’s room. It was completely red. She looked, and it had the shape of a monkey, you couldn’t see the face, the nose, chadar, dhoti, anything. He was completely red. He had taken bath in red. She said, “Who are you?”
He said, “I am Hanuman.”
“What did you do?”
“I covered my whole body with sindhu. You said that if you only colour this much, then Rama will get happy and prosperous, so I cover my whole body and he will get more.” That is why when you see Hanuman deity it is all red, because he puts sindhu all over his body. The mataji only put it one place, but he took bath in sindhu. That was how much love and affection Hanuman had for Ramacandra.
So in this way they were living very happily in Ayodhya till Sitadevi got pregnant. She had a desire to go to the forest, because she liked the forest so much. Wildflowers, bumble-bees, deer and peacocks. So she had this desire, “I should go to the forest again.”
So one day she told Ramacandra, “Can we go to the forest again?”
Ramacandra said, “Why the forest? No-one is giving any delegation.” She said, “I like the forest.” He said, “All right, I will take you.”
Every evening, Rama and Laksmana would dress up like ordinary citizens and go around Ayodhya. Who is doing what, who is saying what, they will check it. They were feeling the pulse of the citizens, seeing if they liked them or if there is some enemy, a very important job. Ramacandra and Laksmana were going around like that. They heard a big scene in a colony, a small colony. Dhobis were living there. So they hid and saw what was going on. There was a lady being kicked by her husband and she was crying. She was holding his feet and saying, “Do anything, but don’t send me out of the house.”
He said, “No! You are not qualified to enter this house. You can go away, I don’t like you.”
So then she was calling all the villagers. “Please help me. What did I do wrong? Please make some judgement.”
So they all came for judgement, and the husband said, “No judgement! I am husband, she is wife. I decide what she does, and she is not coming in this house any more. She can go.”
Then some elder people came and said, “What are you doing? This is very bad. She is not a bad woman, she likes you and wants to serve you. Why are you kicking her away?”
He said, “You are saying all this, but if your wives did the same thing, you wouldn’t be even standing and talking, you would have finished her.”
“What did she do?” they asked.
He said, “This lady went to wash cloth, and she never came back. Three days later she came. I asked her what happened, she is saying, `Somebody came and said that my father was sick, so I had to go. I was only in my father’s house.”
They said, “So what is the problem? She was only in her father’s house.”
He said, “How do I know? She may have gone anywhere. She is not pure, I am not taking her.”
They said, “No, you must take her. She is crying, she is very affectionate for you.”
He said, “Do you think I am Lord Ramacandra, that after keeping my wife in someone else’s house I will take her back? I’m not as cheap as Lord Rama.” Ramacandra heard this, and he looked at Laksmana. Laksmana pretended that he hadn’t heard this, and he was looking away. He didn’t want any more scenes.
When they came back they were very silent and didn’t discuss anything. Ramacandra didn’t take any prasad that night. Then he called Laksmana and said, “Tomorrow morning, just at the time of sunrise, you take Sita and you drop her in the forest.” Early in the morning, Laksmana’s chariot came, and he knocked on the door.
Sita was thinking, “It must be Ramacandra.”
She said, “Who is it?” “Laksmana,” came the answer.
“What is the news Laksmana?” she asked. He said, “Ramacandra has told me to take you to the forest.” “Jaya!” she said. She had wanted to go to the forest, and she thought that Ramacandra was now sending her with Laksmana. So she went and packed up everything, and then she came out. Laksmana saw her and told her, “Ramacandra said you are not taking anything.”
She said, “What about those cosmetics?”
“No. Nothing. Just get on the chariot.”
“I can’t take anything at all?” she asked.
“Nature will provide you everything,” he said. He was actually worrying and pining in his heart, but he could not say anything. She happily got on the chariot, and they went. They crossed the Tamasa river, and they came to the banks of the Ganges. Laksmana said, “You get down.”
She got down, and Laksmana took the reins.
She said, “Hey, where are you going?”
He said, “I am leaving you in the forest.”
“You are leaving me like this in the forest, in this place? There is nobody here!”
“Yes,” he said. “You are banished to the forest. Your husband, my brother has banished you to the forest because of the dhobi’s criticism.” He couldn’t stand there any more. Quickly he drove the chariot, and disappeared.
Sita started crying, she fell on the ground and became unconscious. Two brahmacaris were coming from Valmiki’s ashrama to gather some firewood in that area, and they saw this queen lying there. They ran back to the ashrama and told Valmiki. “There is a queen there, she is pregnant and unconscious.” So Valmiki knew who that was. He came up to her, and told her, “You stay in my ashrama and deliver the children there. I promise you, somehow I will make compromise between you and Lord Ramacandra.” She stayed in the ashrama.