Sabari in Ramayana
Sabari represents perfection achieved through unflinching devotion to teachers. She is still considered to be among the most important women in Ramayana.
Sabari was a woman of a forest tribe. She was rendering faithful service to an eminent, old sage, Matanga and his disciples in Dandaka forest on the banks of the river Pampa. Satisfied with her service and devotion they assured her, ‘Rama will come here one day. Seeing him you will go to that best of abodes where from none returns’.
From that day, Sabari lived an austere and holy life eagerly awaiting the arrival of Rama. Years passed. Finally that day came. Rama and Lakshmana, on their way in search of Sita, visited the hermitage of Sabari. Her joy knew no bounds. She welcomed them with folded hands, made them sit comfortably and fell at their feet with extreme humility. In reply to Rama’s enquiries she said, ‘Favored with your presence, my austerity has attained its consummation. My very birth has now become blessed’.
Sabari then offered Rama and Lakshmana some wild fruits. It is said that in her emotional exuberance she first tasted the fruits; and offered Rama the sweeter ones. Rama was much pleased by her devotion and blessed her. Having her desire of serving Rama thus fulfilled, the old lady ascended to Heaven with Rama’s benign glances falling on her.
Sabari lived a life of austerity by serving her saintly teachers. Her life shows that enlightenment comes to a sincere aspirant irrespective of ancestry, scholarship, gender or rituals.