Was Ravana Cheated

While Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was traveling in South India, he met a brahmana who invited the Lord to his home. This brahmana was a scholarly devotee and an authority on Ramayana. He was always detached from material activities. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu took his noon bath in the river Kritamala and went to the brahmana’s house for lunch. But He saw that the brahmana had not cooked anything. The brahmana said that since he was living in the forest, it was difficult to procure all the ingredients necessary for cooking a nice meal. In times long past, when Laksmana had brought all the vegetables, fruits and roots from the forest, Sita Devi used to do the necessary cooking. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was visibly pleased with the brahmana’s reply and he relished this mood.

That day the brahmana did not eat at all and when asked as to the reason for his fasting he replied that because Ravana had kidnapped Sita he was morose. In fact, he had even lost the desire to live any longer.

Upon hearing this, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “Please do not think like this any longer. Sita is the eternal consort of the Supreme Lord Sri Ramacandra. Her body is spiritual and full of bliss. No one can even see her with material eyes because no materialistic person has such powers. Kidnapping her is simply beyond the scope of a demon like Ravana. 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. Spiritual substance is never within the jurisdiction of the material conception. This is the verdict of the Vedas and Puranas.”

This above statement of the Lord is supported by the Upanishads. The Katha Upanisad (2.3.9, 12) clearly says that “Spirit is not within the jurisdiction of material eyes, words or mind.” The Srimad- Bhagavatam (10.84.13) states “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.”

After His victory over Ravana, Hanuman and other monkey warriors fetched Sita from Lanka. As she was brought in the presence of Lord Rama, He started to verbally abuse her and everyone present was shocked. She requested Laksmana to make a pyre and said that if she must have thought about any other person except her Lord Rama, then let fire consume her. So saying, she entered the pyre. But the fire god Agni brought her out unscathed.

What really happened was that the eternal form of Sita was with Agni who presented her to Lord Rama. And in the fire the material form was consumed. Thus Ravana was “royally” cheated of his designs to enjoy the internal potency (goddess of fortune) of the Supreme Lord and this will also be the fate of anyone following in the footsteps of Ravana.