The greatness of Mahalakshmi Thayar
When Hanuman went to Lanka in search of Sita, he found Sita seated under a tree in the Ashoka Vana. Hanuman had not seen Sita before, but how did he recognize her. Sita’s very piety and grace was sufficient enough for Hanuman to spot her. Being frail, weak, sad and harping on Rama all the time, he could identify her as the sole one befitting Rama's grace and majesty. In order to make sure that this was Sita indeed, he recited the Ramayana till the point he was discharged to find Sita. Sita on hearing the story broke down and looked frantically in the direction of the voice. She was still uncertain about Hanuman and feared that it was Ravana in disguise of a monkey. It was only when Hanuman showed Sita the finger ring of Rama, she was convinced. In return, she gave him her choodamani as an identity. She also narrated the following incident to hanuman. This was a story which happened between her and Rama and there was no one else who were aware of this incident. Hence, she was sure that when Hanuman narrated the same to Rama, he would be rest assured that it was indeed Sita whose darshan Hanuman had.
This was the time when Rama, Sita and lakshmana were spending time in the Dandakaranya forest as part of keikeyi's directive to Rama. . Lakshmana was off into the woods while Rama and Sita were alone. Rama wanted to rest and he lied down on Sita’s lap. Jayanthan, who was the son of Indra, set his eyes on Sita and wanted to attain her. He took the form of a crow and started disturbing her. Sita tried as much as possible to avert him. She did not wake up Rama lest his sleep would get affected. Alas!! The crow pecked her chest and she started bleeding. When few drops of blood fell on Rama, he woke up to find the crow disturbing his beloved.
HE took up a blade of grass, chanted a mantra and aimed the Bramhaastra at the crow. The crow trembled and ran for his life. He sought the help of Lord Shiva and Lord Bramha. Both of them refused to support in this evil act. He had no option but to do sharanagati. The crow flew back to Rama, fell at his feet and pleaded mercy. Rama was tough and wanted to punish the crow suitably but Sita intervened and saw that it was the play of a child’s ignorance. She requested Rama to pardon the crow. Since an arrow shot from his bow could not be taken aback, Rama directed the arrow to the crow’s eye.
Rama fought against Ravana, Kumbhakarna, Tataka, Vali, Subahu, Mareecha and many other demons and killed all of them. But he spared kakasura only because Sita was beside him. She is the embodiment of mercy. She is the divine mother with whom even Rama’s anger is under control. It was only because of her benevolence that Jayathan got spared. She is Loka matha, the mother of the universe.
We have to pray to Mahalakshmi even before we pay our obeisance to Lord Vishnu. For those who chant the Vishnu Sahasranama, chanting of Lakshmi Ashtotharam along with it is a must. We must not forget that Lord Vishnu is present in his full mercy only when Thayar is with him. Of course, she is always there with him on his vakshastalam or chest. It then becomes even more important to sing her praise when we pay our tributes to HIM. When the Lord is extolled along with his consort, it is like a fruit with all its sweetness.