Sita Kalyanam

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

Sita Kalyanam literally means the welfare of Sita. Sita can be understood from different perspectives: one who is considered to be all good personified; the aspect of mother, the aspect of wife, the aspect of a person who has seen the luxuries and comforts in life, the aspect of a person who has suffered physically, mentally and emotionally in her life and who could become the epitome of certain human qualities. Many people also consider Sita to be the wedded wife of Sri Rama, who himself was a king of great renown during his time and to whom the epic of Rama is dedicated. For many she is also an avatar, a manifestation of the divine cosmic force in the form of Sri – sri meaning the auspicious, the best, the pure. So Sita is the goddess of whatever is pure, whatever is auspicious and which is taken to be our wealth in life.

This celebration in Rikhia is a recognition of that cosmic force of Sita. For the villagers there will be a program during which Sita will be wedded to Rama. During this period there will be a couple officiating on behalf of Rama and Sita. The ceremony will be conducted by the villagers. It will be a marriage function because for villagers marriage is a very big event. For them it is the beginning of life. On the day of marriage the colour of life begins. Before marriage there is no colour, no rasa, in life, is there? You just sit alone in a corner and study books. After marriage there is masala, spice, in the khichari of life, and everything becomes very tasty. Then there are battles, love, tussles, beatings, giving and receiving help. Sometimes things are very straightforward, sometimes we dance.

In the vicinity of Paramahamsaji's sadhana place there are some villages which have been adopted by Sivananda Math. We look after their medical needs and treat many diseases which are difficult to cure due to the lack of proper medical facilities in the area. We also give the villagers the means of self-employment: bicycle rickshaws, thelas, three-wheelers, motor cars which can be used as taxis, we open shops for them, provide help in schools with books, notebooks, pens, game sets, everything they need. This year we will also be assisting those people who are disabled. In this last year we assisted with agriculture and there was a bumper crop. So the whole area is slowly, slowly prospering, and there is a sense of happiness, contentment and wellbeing.

As a tradition, Paramahamsaji always gives presents to newlywed couples, especially to the bride – saree, mangalasutra, ornaments, clothes, food, cosmetics, eyeshadow, lipsticks. Since Sita Kalyanam is dedicated to the Cosmic Mother, as an outcome of Sita Kalyanam, gifts, presents, will be given to each home, each family, each person in their own village, at their doorstep. They won't even have to come to ask. Everything will be delivered to them, from the most basic items to the most expensive ones. They have the right to enjoy life, the right to every kind of conceivable right.

Sita Kalyanam is also the culmination of Paramahamsaji's year long sadhana which he began on 14th January 1997 and which will finish during the next full moon of Kartik Poornima. Friends, students, devotees and disciples from different parts of the world will come for this event. There will be lectures by eminent scholars on Ramayana. One day there will be a Lalita yajna performed by the yoginis from South India.

So it will be a gathering of sannyasins and a sharing of thoughts and offering of gifts representing our auspicious feelings, representing our sincere feelings of compassion and affection towards each other, towards everyone – not only the affluent and the rich, those people who have everything, and not only the middle group, those who make up society, but also the lower group of society who have very limited resources at their disposal. This is the feeling of unity that Sita Kalyanam will bring if we are open to it.

—Ganga Darshan, October 1997