Today is Sita-navami, the appearance day of Srimati Sitadevi, the eternal consort of Lord Ramachandra. She appeared as the daughter of King Janaka, one of the twelve mahajanas, great authorities in Krishna consciousness, and thus one of her names is Janaki. In Valmiki’s Ramayana, Sita is said to have been discovered in a furrow in a ploughed field believed to now be the city of Sitamarhi in the Mithila region of present-day Bihar, and for that reason she is regarded as a daughter of Bhumi Devi (the goddess earth).
To begin, we shall read from Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, Chapter Nine: “Lord Caitanya’s Travels to the Holy Places.”
jaya jaya sri-caitanya jaya nityananda
jayadvaita-candra jaya gaura-bhakta-vrnda
All glories to Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu! All glories to Lord Nityananda Prabhu! All glories to Sri Advaita Prabhu! And all glories to all the devotees of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu!
daksina-mathura aila kamakosthi haite
tahan dekha haila eka brahmana-sahite
When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu arrived at southern Mathura from Kamakosthi, He met a brahmana.
The brahmana who met Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu invited the Lord to his home. This brahmana was a great devotee and an authority on Lord Sri Ramacandra. He was always detached from material activities.
After bathing in the river Krtamala, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu went to the brahmana’s house to take lunch, but He saw that the food was unprepared because the brahmana had not cooked it.
Seeing this, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “My dear sir, please tell Me why you have not cooked. It is already noon.”
The brahmana replied, “My dear Lord, we are living in the forest. For the time being we cannot get all the ingredients for cooking.
“When Laksmana brings all the vegetables, fruits, and roots from the forest, Sita will do the necessary cooking.”
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was very satisfied to hear about the brahmana’s method of worship. Finally the brahmana hastily made arrangements for cooking.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu took His lunch at about three o’clock, but the brahmana, being very sorrowful, fasted.
While the brahmana was fasting, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu asked him, “Why are you fasting? Why are you so unhappy? Why are you so worried?”
The brahmana replied, “I have no reason to live. I shall give up my life by entering either fire or water.
“My dear sir, Mother Sita is the mother of the universe and the supreme goddess of fortune. She has been touched by the demon Ravana, and I am troubled upon hearing this news.
“Sir, due to my unhappiness I cannot continue living. Although my body is burning, my life is not leaving.”
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “Please do not think this way any longer. You are a learned pandita. Why don’t you consider the case?”
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu continued, “Sitadevi, the dearmost wife of the Supreme Lord Ramacandra, certainly has a spiritual form full of bliss. No one can see her with material eyes, for no materialist has such power.
“To say nothing of touching Mother Sita, a person with material senses cannot even see her. When Ravana kidnapped her, he kidnapped only her material, illusory form.
“As soon as Ravana arrived before Sita, she disappeared. Then just to cheat Ravana she sent an illusory, material form.”
aprakrta vastu nahe prakrta-gocara
veda-puranete ei kahe nirantara
“Spiritual substance is never within the jurisdiction of the material conception. This is always the verdict of the Vedas and Puranas.”
PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada
As stated in the Katha Upanisad (2.3.9, 12):
na sandrse tisthati rupam asya
na caksusa pasyati kascanainam
hrda manisa manasabhiklpto
ya etad vidur amrtas te bhavanti
naiva vaca na manasa
praptum sakyo na caksusa
“Spirit is not within the jurisdiction of material eyes, words, or mind.”
Similarly, Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.84.13) states:
yasyatma-buddhih kunape tri-dhatuke
sva-dhih kalatradisu bhauma ijya-dhih
yat-tirtha-buddhih salile na karhicij
janesv abhijnesu sa eva go-kharah
“A human being who identifies his body made of three elements with his self, who considers the by-products of his body to be his kinsmen, who considers the land of his birth worshipable, and who goes to a place of pilgrimage simply to take a bath rather than to meet men of transcendental knowledge there is to be considered like an ass or a cow.”
These are some Vedic statements about spiritual substance. Spiritual substance cannot be seen by the unintelligent, because they do not have the eyes or the mentality to see the spirit soul. Consequently they think that there is no such thing as spirit. But the followers of the Vedic injunctions take their information from Vedic statements, such as the verses from the Katha Upanisad and Srimad-Bhagavatam quoted above.
COMMENT by Giriraj Swami
We know from Srila Prabhupada, from the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu:
nama cintamanih krsnas
purnah suddho nitya-mukto
Namah cintamanih krsnah: the holy name of Krishna is Krishna Himself. Caitanya-rasa-vigrahah: it is the form of rasa, the reservoir of pleasure. It is purna, complete; suddha, pure; and nitya-mukta, always free from material contamination. Why? Because there is no difference between the holy name of Krishna and the possessor of the name, Krishna Himself (abhinnatvan nama-naminoh).
Now, the question arises, “Since the Lord is spiritual and beyond the jurisdiction of material senses, how can one with materially covered senses touch, or chant and hear, the holy name of Krishna?” In the next verse of the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Srila Rupa Gosvami explains:
na bhaved grahyam indriyaih
sevonmukhe hi jihvadau
svayam eva sphuraty adah
Atah means “therefore,” as in athatho brahma-jijnasa. Atah: therefore (that is, because the holy name of Krishna is completely spiritual like Krishna) one cannot chant or hear the holy name—touch the holy name—with materially contaminated senses. However, if we engage our senses in the service of the Lord and the Lord becomes pleased with our service, then the Lord will reveal Himself to us. Continue reading »