According to Madhvacarya’s Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya 2.3-4 the original Mula Ramayana was a massive work consisting of 100 crore slokas (1 billion) while the currently available Valmiki Ramayana consists of only 24,000 slokas. The greatest repository of Rāma līlā in the Purāṇas is the Padma Purana wherein much of the fifth canto is devoted to Lord Rama. It even includes a narration of the Ramayana that took place in a earlier Kalpa and is different (Kalpa Bheda) in some respects to the more recent Ramayana. This canto is entitled “Patala khaṇḍa” in it the assemble sages ask Suta to give an account of Lord Rama’s activities. Suta in turn narrates a conversation between Vatsyayana Ṛṣi and Ananta Sesanāg. The 57th chapter in the 5th canto reveals the secret of why Rama exiled Sita to the forest: Traditionally, Rama would send spies to find out the opinion of general public in Ayodhya. One time five of the six spies heard the citizens glorifying Lord Rama with great love and affection. However, the sixth spy going to the quarters of the artisans overheard the following conversation of a washer man: A washer man, with his eyes red due to anger and full of anger kicked his wife who had stayed at another’s house. Nevertheless, his mother said, “Do not abandon her who has come (back) to (our) house,” The angry washer man said to his mother, “I am not Rama who accept his wife who stayed in another’s house. I am not king Rama who protected Sita that had stayed in another’s house.” (Padma Purana 5.55.68-73) Next morning when spies met with Rama, all mentioned that citizens were glorifying Lord Rama but one spy was hiding something and not giving his report because a washer man made derogatory comment about Rama. Therefore, everyone including Rama persistently asked what was his story. Thus, that sixth spy very reluctantly retold what he had heard. The words fell on Rama like a thunderbolt and He fainted. On regaining His senses, He asked for his brother Bharata and explained to Him that He (Rama) had now brought infamy to His lineage because of the insults of the washer man regarding Sita. He asked Bharata “should I abandon my (pregnant) wife or commit suicide?” Bharat tried to dissuade Rama by reminding that even Lord Brahma declared Sita to be pure. Rama replied that He knew that but He was afraid of a public scandal and again ordered Bharata to either exile Sita or cut off His (Rama’s) head. On hearing such unpleasant words, Bharata also fainted. Up to now, the narration is familiar to those acquainted with the Ramayana. The next chapter reveals the secret of why Sita was exiled by revealing the previous birth of Krodhana, the washer man – the only person in Ayodhya who criticized Sita, bringing infamy to Rama. At this point we turn to the Padma Purana canto 5, chapter 57.

The Washer Man’s Former Birth: Vatsyayana said, O Sesa tell me how the Lord received the utterance of the censure of Janaki having pure, excellent fame in the world. Sesa said, in Mithila, a great city, there lived a king righteous ruler by name Janaka. When that Siradhvaja (i.e. Janaka) was ploughing the field, an extremely beautiful girl came out from the long, first furrow. Then king Siraketu (i.e. Janaka) became extremely glad. He named her, the glory of the world, Sita. Once when she was playing in the grove of the garden, she saw a pair of a male and a female parrot that delighted her mind. The parrots were extremely delighted and lustful, and affectionately talking to each other in pleasant words. That pair, enjoying each other’s company, quickly flew in the sky, settled on the lap of a mountain, and spoke to each other, “On the earth, charming Rama will be the king. His wife will be a woman by name Sita. That intelligent, powerful king, will rule over the earth along with her for eleven thousand years.” When the couple of parrots was conversing in this way, Maithili (Sita), realized that this was a divine couple. Thinking, “This couple of parrots is telling charming tales about me, therefore I shall catch the couple, and will ask further”. She told to her friends to catch this charming pair of the birds and bring to her. The friends just then went to the mountain, and caught the excellent pair of the birds and brought to Sita. She said to them, “Do not be scared. Who are you two, the charming ones? Where have you come from? Who is Rama, and who is Sita? Wherefrom did you have the information about them? Tell me all that quickly”. The pair of birds said, there is a very great sage Valmiki who is the best among those who know dharma. Both of us heard that sage made his disciples sing the future adventures of Rama. Being sung repeatedly, they were mastered by us due to repetition. Listen to them. In the end we shall tell who that Rama is and who that Janaki is and what will happen to her with Rama. Glorious Viṣṇu having divided Himself into four, come up at the sacrifice performed by Ṛṣyaśṛṅga. He, having a bow in his hand, will come along with Visvāmitra and His own brothers to Mithila. Then there seeing a bow difficult to be lifted by other mighty kings, He will break it, and will obtain the very charming daughter of Janaka. O excellent one, we have heard that with her He will rule over a large kingdom. O you of a beautiful body, we who had flown there, heard this and other (things) about you, told by those who lived there. Release us who desire to go. Hearing these words very pleasant to the ears, she again asked pair of birds, “Where would that Rama be? Whose son will he be? In what way will He marry her? What form will the excellent man have? Tell me exactly all this that I have asked you. Later I will do all good things liked by you.” Hearing those words, the female parrot , seeing Janaki and realizing in her heart that she was oppressed by love, then said to her, “There will be an intelligent mighty king the scion of the solar dynasty, he will have three wives, having forms that will fascinate (even) Indra. From them four children (sons) will be born. Rama will be the eldest of all. Bharata, Laksmana and Satrughna, will be born one after another. Rama will go by the name Raghunātha. They will have endless names. Rama possesses a beautiful form. Who am I to describe Him? Even one having a hundred mouths cannot describe Him. Lucky is that queen Janaki (Sita), having a very attractive form, who will gladly enjoy with him for a myriad years. O beautiful lady, who are you? What is your name that you cleverly and respectfully ask me to narrate (the account) of Rama?” Hearing these words, Janaki, telling story of her birth, said to them, “I am that Janaki, the daughter of Janaka, whom you mentioned. I shall truly release you when that very charming Rama comes to me not otherwise. Hearing these words, they trembled and were frightened. They were mutually afraid; and said this to Janaki: “O good lady, we are birds, living in forests and resorting to trees. We wander everywhere. We would not get happiness merely by staying at home. I am pregnant. Having gone to my place and having given birth to young ones I shall come back. I have told you the truth.” However, thus addressed by the female parrot, Sita did not release her. Then her husband the male parrot, eager, and with his face hung down spoke to her, “Sita, release my wife. How can you keep this my beautiful wife? We shall go to the forest and shall happily move in the forest. My charming wife is pregnant. Having performed her after her delivery I shall come to you, O lovely one?” Thus, addressed, Sita said to him, “O you very intelligent one, you can gladly go. I shall keep this happy one near me.” Thus addressed, the bird was unhappy; and full of tenderness, he said to her, “Those words which are uttered by the meditating saints are true, ‘One should not speak, one should not speak. One should remain by resorting to silence. Otherwise, due to the blemish in one’s utterance, the mad one would be fettered.’ Had we not talked (to each other) on this tree, how would we have been bound? Therefore, one should resort to silence.” Saying so, he spoke to her: “O beautiful lady, O Sita, I shall not live without this wife of mine. Therefore, O you charming one, leave her.” Though admonished with various words, Sita did not release her. The parrot’s wife, who was angry, and miserable, then cursed Janaka’s daughter: “As you are separating me from my husband, in the same way you will be, when pregnant, separated from Rama.” Repeatedly saying like this, her life departed due to misery, full of the distress of her husband. For her who was repeatedly remembering Rama and uttering (the name) Rama, a divine chariot arrived. The female parrot became luminous when she had gone to heaven. When she died, her husband was extremely angry, and being distressed, fell into Ganga saying, “In Rama’s city, full of people, I will be born as a śūdra and due to my words she will be dejected, and extremely unhappy due to separation from her husband.” Due to his being angry, due to his being distressed, and due to his having insulted Sita, he obtained very mean śūdrahood and was born as washer man named Krodhana. Anyone doing ill to the great, abandons his life through anger, obtains śūdrahood after he dies. That took place. Due to the words of the washer man, she was censured and separated, and she went to the forest.

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=95469

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