Seetaa, pinda offerings by her, her disappearance in fire
The origin of Seetaa/Sita of Raamaayana is found in a hymn of Rigveda and other samhita texts. This hymn is related to drawing of plough in the field. It is desirable that all this work by a farmer should generate pleasure. The first requirement is that the farmer and his implements should generate pleasure and then the two combined should be able to attract rain from the heaven for the benefit of this earth/voice. It is stated that let lord Indra accept this Seetaa and lord Pooshaa again be the mediator to impart her. In spirituaility, the job of drawing of plough is done by one’s breath/praana, mind/manas etc. And this job can be done best when one is hungry. One can easily experience how painful is the experience of bearing hunger. But the hymn says that every pain should get converted into pleasure. Then only one can think of Sita/Seetaa. In Raamaayana, this has been symbolized by king Janaka, who is called Videha, devoid of body.
There is another way of interpretation of this fact. As has been explained in the comments on word Bhadra, there are two stages – one is Bhadra/auspicious and the other is Shree. Bhadra may belong to the pleasure of unconscious mind, while Shree may belong to conscious one. The hymn of the present context indicates that the work of plough has to be carried out to the extent that it becomes Shree, the sun itself. The previous work was of converting the field into a cow, Seetaa/ Sita. In Raamaayana, this statement seems to have been depicted in the form of lord Raama getting married with his consort Seetaa.
The word meaning of Seetaa is to draw a line in the field. Seeds are sown in this. Seetaa will provide nourishment to these, just like to an unborn child in the womb. What type of seeds will be in spirituality? Indications are that these will be our past deeds, out of which Seetaa will nourish only good ones. There is another word meaning of Seetaa base on the root shinj – to bind. It is worth thinking what can be bound by earth/Seetaa? According to J.A.Gowan, the universe or space is expanding at the rate of speed of light. The magnetic field of matter like earth attracts this expanding space or in other words, contracts the space. How can this phenomenon can be utilized in spirituality, is yet to be investigated. One possibility is that Seetaa binds with sun, so that it may become a part of the cycle of sun, moon and earth.
There is a sacrifice called Seetaa yaaga. This sacrifice invokes different protectors of Seetaa in different directions. In east, the protectors bear a bow and quiver. In south, they bear an armour. In west, —-. In north, they are frightening, bearing high speed. It will be necessary to understand the qualities of the protectors in order to understand Seetaa. A bow has two parts – staff and a cord. The other name for cord is quality, traits. If the cord is traits, then the staff should be devoid of traits. The combination of the two creates a state where action can take place in the form of launching of an arrow. The importance of the fact of traits and without traits can be understood from the fact that Seetaa has been stated to be the original nature which sits beside lord Raama and is free from all traits. What is the quality of original nature? It can be understood by the explanation for Vrindaa by Prof. L.N. Dhoot. According to him, the progress in nature is very slow. The reason is – flickering on ultimate goal, lack of ultimate goal. This can be compared with a drunken man who has a very hazy goal of reaching his house. He takes one step forward and two steps backwards. The other trait of normal nature is that every event in this world takes place as a chance phenomenon. The original nature will be devoid of all these defects. It is also important that all traits have been incorporated into Shesha Naaga. He also becomes the cord/guna of the bow of lord Shiva. The importance of bow in puraanic literature in context of Seetaa is well known.
First published : 2-10-2007 AD (Bhaadrapada krishna saptami, Vikrami Samvat 2063)
It is a common religious practice to form a lump of cereal powder for offering to manes. It is much easier to understand the significance of of a lump in this age of solid state physics. A solid is formed out of a combination of molecules. When the molecules come closer to each other, their outermost electrons combine to form energy bands. An electron has more freedom for movement when it is a part of the solid than when it was associated with a single molecule. In other words, until it is associated with a single molecule, it behaves in a chance manner. When it is part of a solid, it is much easier to predict it’s behaviour. The same thing can be said about consciousness also.
Vedic literature universally describes the process for preparation of a cereal lump. First, the cereal is de – husked and then water etc. are added to it. If the lump has to be offered to manes, then it is offered in raw form. If it has to be offered to gods, then it is baked on fire. Generally, three lumps are offered to manes. The middle lump is supposed to be eaten by wife so that she may bear a child having flower garland on his neck. Other lumps have to be either thrown in water or fire or offered to cow or crow or cock, depending on the type of desire. There are instructions to offer a lump of one’s own sins by which one gets emancipation.
It is not enough to offer a lump only. This lump has to be identified with different parts of a year – day and night, month etc.
When this lump is established in a proper womb, it gives rise to a baby. There is a story about offering of lump to manes at Gayaa. Once, Raama and Lakshmana were absent and in the meanwhile late king Dasharatha appeared before Seetaa and asked for lump . On hearing that no offer can be made when there is nothing in the house, Dasharatha asked Seetaa to offer lumps of sand itself. And to surprise, Dasharatha was satisfied. When Raama and Lakshmana came back, they got to know that Seetaa has offered lumps to Dasharatha. To confirm, they asked the truth from the river Falgu at Gayaa and also from flower Ketaki. Both denied any knowledge of offering of lump. Seetaa cursed these two. Then Raama asked from Vata tree. The tree told that it is true. Seetaa gave Vata tree a boon that it always remain immortal. . In vedic literature, Seetaa is treated as the line made by a plough in a field. If some seed is sown in this line, it will sprout. In other words, Seetaa has the power to successfully give birth to life when seed is put inside it. This life form is the actual lump. It is important to note that in vedic rituals, sand is established inside a sacrificial vessel called Ukhaa where it works as a semen and Ukhaa works as a womb to grow it and gives birth to a particular fire. Complete growth inside womb is supposed to take place in a year’s time. The question is what sand may signify in spirituality? It has been stated in vedic literature that sand appears white and black which is symbolic of day and night. Thus sand may be a state of light in meditation which appears scattered like sand. This light has to be collected as a lump. One vedic text states that the first stage during penance is appearance of something like sweat. Then bubbles appear in this sweat. Bubbles give rise to soil, soil to sand, sand to pebbles, pebbles to iron, iron to gold. Then appears a baby.
(First written April1, 2007(Chaitra Shukla Chaturdashi, Vikrama Samvata 2064)
In Soma sacrifice, there are two small, subsidiary fire altars called Sabhya and Aavasathya. These are situated on the right and left respectively of the divine fire called Aahvaneeya. According to one text, Sabhya fire is like an assembly where the sacrificing person plays dice. This fire helps him in winning of dice. After that, he comes to the Aavasathya fire and provides food to the priests from the won dices. Aavasathya has been called a council whose diety drinks the mortal poison and continues to make it worthy of being irrigated with divine Soma. The food provided by sacrificing person is not any ordinary food, but a divine food which he has achieved by his penances, by his physical faculties called dices. One has to spread this achievement at all levels of consciousness. It has been stated that the food is the energy which is to be irrigated with Soma.This food is achieved from the traction of gross level. The puraanic story states that Seetaa was also manifested by plough, by traction of earth. Hence, Seetaa is also a form of energy. This energy can be utilized only after winning of dices, our physical faculties. The puraanic story states that an image of Seetaa was manifested by this fire to be transferred to king Raavana. It is possible that the poison which this fire consumes is utilized to manifest this image.
(First published in 1994 AD in Puraanic Subject Index)
Source: Puranic Subject Index by Radha Gupta, Suman Agarwal & Vipin Kumar