Om Janakajaayai Vidmahe Ramapriyaayai Dheemahi Tannah Sita Prachodayat ||
Meaning : We know that Janaka-daughter. We worship such Goddess who is liked by Rama. We pray, ‘let Sita motivate us to use our intellect in virtuous manner.’
1. The place in central mountainous region
of Sri Lanka where Sitamata had undergone
Agni-pariksha (walked through fire) but nobody knows about this place
There are many places in Sri Lanka associated with Shriram, Sita and Lakshman. Many proofs of incidents written in Valmiki Ramayana by Maharshi Valmiki are found in Sri Lanka. One such place is where Sitamata walked through fire as a test of her chastity. It is located in ‘Divurumpola’ (Divurumwela). It is 18 kms from ‘Nuwara Eliya’ town situated on the high mountainous range in central part of Sri Lanka. We could get information on this place through a book published by Chinmaya Mission titled ‘Ramayana in Lanka’. Most of Sri Lankan Hindus have no knowledge of this place nor any information is available on the internet about this place.
2. Buddhist ‘vihars’ have been built at many places
next to Hindu temples and management of temples along with ‘Vihars’ has been entrusted to 2-3 Buddhist Bhikkhus
In past 30 years, Buddhist ‘Vihars’ have been built near Hindu temples, religious places of Hindus and places associated with ‘Ramayana’ period. Similarly, Buddhists have built a huge ‘Vihar’ at the place where Sitamata entered fire for Agni-pariksha. Buddhists call their temples as ‘Raja Mahaviharaya’. At such places, management of the Hindu temples along with the Buddhist ‘Vihars’ is entrusted to 2-3 Buddhist bhikkhus. The Buddhist temple built at the place where Sitamata went through Agni-pariksha, is named as ‘Divurumwela Raja Maha Viharaya’.
3. No sign-board
There is not a single board outside this ‘Vihar’ to show that it is the place where Sitamata underwent Agni-pariksha.
4. Looking at Sadguru (Mrs) Anjali Gadgil, the elderly manager felt
she was some divine lady and didn’t take entrance fee from her
We were searching for this place along with Sadguru (Mrs) Gadgil kaku and only with Guru’s grace, we reached there. We met a Buddhist Bhikkhu and elderly manager of that temple who was also a Buddhist. We enquired the Bhikkhu about the place where Sitamata had walked through fire. He asked the elderly Manager to show us the place. The elderly manager looked at Sadguru (Mrs) Anjali Gadgil and said, “I feel, you are some divine lady. I am working here for past 50 years but nobody like you has come here till now. I will take entrance fees from others but will not take any charge from you.” We were quite surprised to hear him say this.
5. Whole Ramayana was depicted
on the walls of Buddhist Vihar and the elderly
manager narrating few incidents from Ramayana and giving
detailed information on the place where Sitamata walked through fire
We happily entered the premises with the elderly manager. He first showed us the Buddhist Vihar (temple). There were 27 Vigraha (idols) of Buddha. Whole Ramayana was depicted on the walls of the Buddhist Vihar. The manager explained to us few incidents from Ramayana in English and gave detailed information on the place where Sitamata had walked through fire.
6. Entrance of the temple where
Sitamata walked through fire was closed
but the elderly manager said to Sadguru (Mrs) Anjali
Gadgil, “You look exactly like Sitamata. You only open the door.”
The elderly manager took us to Ashwattha tree where Sitamata had walked through fire. There was a small temple near it but its door was locked with a big sized old lock. The lock was so big that it was not possible to hold it with two hands. He said, “Mataji, I feel you just look like Sitamata. I have never given key of this temple to anyone, but I will give you the key. You open the lock.” All of us were overwhelmed with bhav when he said this. Sadguru (Mrs) Anjali Gadgil couldn’t control her tears of bhav as she held the key in her hands.
7. Experienced sandalwood fragrance as
Sadguru (Mrs) Gadgil opened the entrance-door;
in front stood the idol of Sitamata, and a picture of
Sitamata going through Agni-pariksha was seen painted on the background wall
We solemnly prayed to Shriram form of Shri MahaVishnu and reached the entrance gate of this temple. Sadguru (Mrs) Gadgil opened the lock of Sita Mandir with the key (Ref. Pic. No.1). Every one of us present there, experienced sandalwood fragrance as Sadguru Gadgil kaku opened the door. We were in the temple for half an hour and all through this period we had the spiritual experience of sandalwood fragrance. In the temple, there was an idol of Sitamata in standing position and on the wall behind that idol was a picture of Sitamata going through Agni-pariksha. Sadguru (Mrs) Anjali Gadgil and all seekers accompanying her recited Ramaraksha Stotra in that temple and prayed for establishment of Rama-rajya. (Ref. Pic. No. 2)
8. Presence of Ashvattha tree at the place
where Sitamata undertook Agni-pariksha; and
the old Buddhist temple manager knowing about this from
his childhood since earlier the people of Sri Lanka were Hindus
The elderly temple manager later took us to the Ashvattha tree behind the temple. He said, “This Ashvattha tree is very old; but my grandfather used to tell me that there used to be another Ashvattha tree at this place even earlier. My grandfather was a Hindu. Later, we adopted Buddhism. Old people from this place used to tell us that Sitamata went through Agnipariskha at this place. We therefore, know about this place from our childhood.”
Sadguru (Mrs) Gadgil then thrice circumambulated around this Ashvattha tree. (Ref. Pic.3)
9. Gratitude expressed to Paratpar Guru Dr Athavale
for giving the opportunity to visit the place where Sitamata underwent Agni-pariksha and to pray for establishment of Ramarajya
It is said that wherever there are Rama-Sita, there is Hanumant. We felt that Hanumant came to help us in the form of that elderly person. We had no doubt that to experience such things in Sri Lanka, thousands of miles away from Ramnathi (Goa), was possible only due to the grace of Paratpar Guru Dr Athavale. We all are so fortunate to get opportunity to visit such holy place and to pray for establishment of Rama-rajya.