The Ramayana & Lord Chaitanya
Lord Caitanya discovered during his travels a special fact regarding the pastimes of Lord Ramachandra. That Sita that was kidnapped by Ravana was not actually Sita but rather a Maya Sita.
CC Madhya 1.117: At Rāmeśvara, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu had a chance to read the Kūrma Purāṇa, in which He discovered that the form of Sītā kidnapped by Rāvaṇa wot that of the real <a l but a mere shadow representation.
The Kūrma Purāṇa states that this shadowy Sītā was placed into a fire as a test of chastity. It was Māyā-sītā who entered the fire and the real Sītā who came out of the fire.
CC Madhya 1.118: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was very glad to read about the false Sītā, and He remembered His meeting with Rāmadāsa Vipra, who was very sorry that mother Sītā had been kidnapped by Rāvaṇa.
CC Madhya 1.119: Indeed, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu eagerly tore this page from the Kūrma Purāṇa, although the book was very old, and He later showed it to Rāmadāsa Vipra, whose unhappiness was mitigated.
CC Madhya 1.120: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu also found two other books — namely, the Brahma-saḿhitā and Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta. Knowingse books to be excellent, He took them to present to His devotees.
In the olden days there were no presses, and all the important scriptures were handwritten and kept in large temples. Caitanya Mahāprabhu found the Brahma-saḿhitā and Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta in handwritten texts, and knowing them to be very authoritative, He took them with Him to present to His devotees. Of course, He obtained the permission of the temple commander. Now both the Brahma-saḿhitā and Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta are available in print with commentaries by Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. Bhaktisiddhānta
This pastime is elaborated in the Madhya lila of the Caitanya Caritamrita as follows.
CC Madhya 9.200 -212: There, among the brāhmaṇas, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu listened to the Kūrma Purāṇa, wherein is mentioned the chaste woman's narration. Śrīmatī Sītādevī is the mother of the three worlds and the wife of Lord Rāmacandra. Among chaste women she is supreme, and she is the daughter of King Janaka.
When Rāvaṇa came to kidnap mother Sītā and she saw him, she took shelter of the fire-god, Agni. The fire-god covered the body of mother Sītā, and in this way she was protected from the hands of Rāvaṇa.
Upon hearing rom the Kūrma Purāṇa how Rāvaṇa had kidnapped a false form of mother Sītā, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu became very satisffied.
The fire-god, Agni, took away the real Sītā and brought her to the place of Pārvatī, goddess Durgā. An illusory form of mother Sītā was then delivered to Rāvaṇa, and in this way Rāvaṇa was cheated.
After Rāvaṇa was killed by Lord Rāmacandra, Sītādevī was brought before the fire and tested.
When the illusory Sītā was brought before the fire by Lord Rāmacandra, the fire-god made the illusory form disappear and delivered the real Sītā to Lord.
When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu heard this story, He was very pleased, and He remembered the words of Rāmadāsa.
Indeed, when Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu heard these conclusive statements from the Kūrma Purāṇa, He felt great happiness. After asking the brāhmaṇas' permission, He took possession of the manuscript leaves of the Kūrma.
Since the Kūrma Purāṇa was very old, the manuscript was also very old. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu took possession of the original leaves in order to have direct evidence. The text was copied onto new leaves in order that the Purāṇa be replaced.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu returned to southern Mathurā [Madurai] and delivered the original manuscript of the Kūrma Purāṇa to Rāmadāsa.
"When he was petitioned by mother Sītā, the fire-god, Agni, brought forth an illusory form of Sītā, and Rāvaṇa, who had ten heads, kidnapped the false Sītā. The original Sītā then went to the abode of the fire-god. When Lord Rāmacandra tested the body of Sītā, it was the false, illusory Sītā that entered the fire. At that time the fire-god brought the original Sītā from his abode and delivered her to Lord Rāmacandra."
These two verses are taken from the Kūrma Purāṇa.
Rāmadāsa Vipra was very pleased to receive the original leaf manuscript of the Kūrma Purāṇa, and he immediately fell down before the lotus feet of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and beto cry.
After receiving the manuscript, the brāhmaṇa, being very pleased, said, "Sir, You are Lord Rāmacandra Himself and have come in the dress of a sannyāsī to give me audience.
"My dear Sir, You have delivered me from a very unhappy condition. I request that You take Your lunch at my place. Please accept this invitation.
"deha-dehi-vibhedo 'yaḿ neśvare vidyatekvacit:"There is no difference between body and soul in the Supreme Personality of Godhead." That Srila Prabhupada notes in the Caitanya Caritamrita.
Here are some other quotes from the Kurma Purana regarding the glories of the Holy Names.
“The scriptures have amply described the various forms of prayascitta (rituals for atonement of sins). However, all of these ritualistic activities are inconsequential compared to the chanting of the holy name. vasanti yani kotis tu pāvanāni mahītale na tan tat-tulyam yanti kṛṣṇa-nāmānukīrtane (Kūrma Purāṇa) “The process of chanting the holy name has the power to eradicate all the accumulated and sinful reactions and much more, so much so that the holy name can absolve more sinful reactions than one is at all capable of committing. nāmno 'sya yāvatḥ śaktiḥ pāpa-nirharaṇe hareḥ tāvat kartuṁ na śaknoti pātakaṁ pātakḥ janaḥ (Kūrma Purāṇa)
Hare Krishna Your humble servant, Nityananda Chandra Das
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Sun, 04/05/2009 - 01:28 — EternalMuser
Thank you Prabhu!
Hare Krishna Prabhuji!
Thank you Prabhuji for clearing a long standing doubt of mine. I had always wondered why Lord Rama had been 'unjust' to Sita Devi in asking her to take the Agni-Pariksha, all on the mere comment of a washerman challenging her purity.
Your eternal servant
Sun, 04/05/2009 - 08:59 — NityānandaChandra
Sat, 04/04/2009 - 05:58 — dru
I always like the way you put up the information from authoritative scriptures and never expressing your opinion as a whole (though no opinion needed in this particular blog). And in this narration too, you have simply used nothing but words from scriptures. Thanks for bringing out the holy words.
Sun, 04/05/2009 - 09:00 — NityānandaChandra