WASHERMAN’S FORMER BIRTH – STORY
(Adapted from Padma Purana)
In canto five, chapter fifty-seven, Lord Ananta Sesha speaks the following pastime to Vatsyayana Muni:
In the great city of Mithila lived the king named Janak Maharaja. Pleasing his subjects, he ruled righteously.
Once when Janak was ploughing the field, an extremely beautiful baby girl came out from the first furrow.
Seeing her, Janak Maharaja became extremely happy. He named that fascinating girl “Sita”.
One day when Sita was playing as a child in a garden grove, she saw a male and female parrot that delighted her mind. The parrots were affectionately talking to each other in pleasant words, “On the earth, charming Rama will be the king. His wife will be Sita. That intelligent, powerful king, will vanquish his enemies and rule over the earth with her for eleven thousand years. Blessed is that queen Sita, and blessed is Rama.”
Hearing the charming tales told by the parrots about her, Maithili, Sita, decided to capture them and ask them the meaning of their conversation.
She told her friends, “Quickly catch this charming pair of birds.”
Her friends caught the parrots and brought them to princess Maithili.
Sita comforted them, and said, “Don’t be frightened, dear charming ones. Who are you? Where have you come from? Who is this Rama and Sita that you are speaking about? Where did you hear about them?”
The birds replied, “We have come from the ashram of the great sage Valmiki, who is the best of those who know dharma. He instructed his disciples to daily sing about the future adventures of Lord Ramachandra. All those imminent pastimes were repeatedly heard and memorized by us. Listen to them. At the end we shall tell who that Rama is, who that Janaki (Sita) is, and what will happen to the two of them.
“Glorious Vishnu will divide himself into four and appear at the sacrifice performed by the sage Rishyasringa. Later, he and his brothers accompanied by Vishwamitra will come to Mithila. Then he will break a bow that many kings were unable to wield, and thereby obtain the charming daughter of Janak. O excellent one, we have heard that with her, he will rule over a large kingdom. O beautiful lady, we who had flown to Valmiki’s ashram, heard this and other things told by those who lived there. Now please release us, we desire our freedom.”
Hearing those words, which were very pleasant to the ears, Sita replied to that pair of birds, “Where will that Rama be? Whose son will he be? In what way will he marry his consort? What form will that excellent man have? Tell me all this, and later I will do that which will please you.”
Seeing Janaki and realizing that her heart was oppressed by love, the female parrot told her, “There will be an intelligent mighty king with thousands of chariots. He will be the ruler of the solar dynasty, and the demigods will become victorious by taking shelter of him. He will have three wives, who will be so beautiful that their forms will fascinate even Lord Indra. Four powerful and exalted sons will be born to them. Rama will be the eldest. Bharata will be born after him, then Lakshman will be born, and after him Shatrughna will be born. The magnanimous Rama will also be known as Raghunath. These brothers will have countless names.”
“O friend, the face of the powerful Rama will be charming like the whorl of a lotus. His very large eyes will also have the beauty of lotuses. His nose will be raised, large, and charming. His eyebrows will be lovely and beguiling. His beautiful hands will reach to his knees. His small neck will be marked like a conch. His chest will be expansive and captivating, and will have a mark on it. His lotus feet will always be worshipped by his devotees. Raghupati’s form will be like this.”
“How can I express his beauty? Even with a hundred mouths one cannot describe him. Then what about birds like me? Seeing his form, even the charming and beautiful Lakshmi was enticed. What lady on the earth will not be enticed? He has great power, great valour, and a very enticing form. Lucky is Sita, who will enjoy with him for myriad years. O beautiful lady, who are you? What is your name and why do you cleverly and respectfully ask me to narrate the account of Rama?”
Hearing the birds tell the story of her birth and life, Sita said to them, “I am that Janaki, the daughter of Janak, whom you mentioned. Being allured by your nectarean words, I shall release you when that charming Rama comes to me and not otherwise. Don’t fear, I shall caress you and you will stay happily with me.”
Hearing these words, the female parrot trembled and was frightened. She said to Janaki, “O good lady, we are birds. We live in trees in the forest. We wander everywhere. We will not be happy being bound up in one place. Moreover, I am pregnant. I promise that if you let me go, after returning to my place and giving birth to young ones I shall come back.”
Although the female parrot pleaded in this way with Sita, still she did not release her.
Then the male parrot, with his face hung down, spoke. “Sita, release her. Why do you want to keep my beautiful wife? We shall go to the forest together and happily move about. My charming wife is pregnant. After she delivers her young, I shall also come to you.”
Sita replied to the male parrot, “O intelligent one, you can go. I shall keep this lady parrot, who is so dear to me, by my side.”
The male parrot said, “The words of the saints are true. They have advised that wise persons should remain silent. If we had not spoken to each other while on this tree, we would not be bound up. O beautiful lady, O Sita, I cannot live without my wife. Therefore, O charming one, please release her.”
Still, out of attachment to hearing the glories of Lord Ramachandra, Sita refused to release his mate. The parrot’s wife then became angry and miserable and cursed the daughter of Maharaja Janak, “Just as you are separating me from my husband, in the same way when you become pregnant you will be separated from Rama.”
Having spoken, that female parrot, who was miserable due to separation from her husband, uttered the name of Rama and left her body. A divine chariot descended and took her away. Seeing this, her husband, extremely angry and distressed, fell into the Ganga and drowned himself. His last words were, “I will take birth in Rama’s city as a sudra. And due to my words, Sita will become dejected and extremely unhappy due to separation from her husband.”
That bird was then born as the washerman named Krodhan.
Due to his harsh words, Sita was censured and separated from Rama. On account of that washerman, Sita was exiled to the forest.
According to Garga-samhita 5.10.3-8, Krodhan took birth again in Mathura where he was engaged in washing the clothes of King Kamsa. He received liberation when Krishna killed him to stop his blasphemy.