Following is an excerpt from the lecture on Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 09, Chapter 10: The Pastimes of the Supreme Lord, Ramacandra – Verse 11 – by Vraj Bihari Das
rakso-’dhamena vrkavad vipine ’samaksam
bhratra vane krpanavat priyaya viyuktah
stri-sanginam gatim iti prathayams cacara
Translation by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
When Ramacandra entered the forest and Laksmana was also absent, the worst of the Raksasas, Ravana, kidnapped Sitadevi, the daughter of the King of Videha, just as a tiger seizes unprotected sheep when the shepherd is absent. Then Lord Ramacandra wandered in the forest with His brother Laksmana as if very much distressed due to separation from His wife. Thus He showed by His personal example the condition of a person attached to women.
Purport by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
In this verse the words stri-sanginam gatim iti indicate that the condition of a person attached to women was shown by the Lord Himself. According to moral instructions, grhe narim vivarjayet: when one goes on a tour, one should not bring his wife. Formerly men used to travel without conveyances, but still, as far as possible, when one leaves home one should not take his wife with him, especially if one is in such a condition as Lord Ramacandra when banished by the order of His father. Whether in the forest or at home, if one is attached to women this attachment is always troublesome, as shown by the Supreme Personality of Godhead by His personal example.
Of course, this is the material side of stri-sangi, but the situation of Lord Ramacandra is spiritual, for He does not belong to the material world. Narayanah paro ’vyaktat: Narayana is beyond the material creation. Because He is the creator of the material world, He is not subject to the conditions of the material world. The separation of Lord Ramacandra from Sita is spiritually understood as vipralambha, which is an activity of the hladini potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead belonging to the srngara-rasa, the mellow of conjugal love in the spiritual world. In the spiritual world the Supreme Personality of Godhead has all the dealings of love, displaying the symptoms called sattvika, sañcari, vilapa, murccha and unmada. Thus when Lord Ramacandra was separated from Sita, all these spiritual symptoms were manifested. The Lord is neither impersonal nor impotent. Rather, He is sac-cid-ananda-vigraha, the eternal form of knowledge and bliss. Thus He has all the symptoms of spiritual bliss. Feeling separation from one’s beloved is also an item of spiritual bliss. As explained by Srila Svarupa Damodara Gosvami, radha-krsna-pranaya-vikrtir hladini-saktih: the dealings of love between Radha and Krsna are displayed as the pleasure potency of the Lord. The Lord is the original source of all pleasure, the reservoir of all pleasure. Lord Ramacandra, therefore, manifested the truth both spiritually and materially. Materially those who are attached to women suffer, but spiritually when there are feelings of separation between the Lord and His pleasure potency the spiritual bliss of the Lord increases. This is further explained in Bhagavad-gita (9.11):
avajananti mam mudha
manusim tanum asritam
param bhavam ajananto
One who does not know the spiritual potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead thinks of the Lord as an ordinary human being. But the Lord’s mind, intelligence and senses can never be affected by material conditions. This fact is further explained in the Skanda Purana, as quoted by Madhvacarya:
svarupo ’sau yato vibhuh
ato ’sya rama ity akhya
tasya duhkham kuto ’nv api
sitam asit smarann iva
jñapanartham punar nitya-
sambandhah svatmanah sriyah
pratyaksam tu sriya sardham
ramo ramo rama iti
sarvesam abhavat tada
yada ramas tv apalayat
It was actually impossible for Ravana to take away Sita. The form of Sita taken by Ravana was an illusory representation of mother Sita — maya-sita. When Sita was tested in the fire, this maya-sita was burnt, and the real Sita came out of the fire.
A further understanding to be derived from this example is that a woman, however powerful she may be in the material world, must be given protection, for as soon as she is unprotected she will be exploited by Raksasas like Ravana. Here the words vaideha-raja-duhitari indicate that before mother Sita was married to Lord Ramacandra she was protected by her father, Vaideha-raja. And when she was married she was protected by her husband. Therefore the conclusion is that a woman should always be protected. According to the Vedic rule, there is no scope for a woman’s being independent (asamaksam), for a woman cannot protect herself independently.
Ravana kidnapped Sita devi when Lord Ramachandra was not around. Then Lord Ramachandra wandered around the forest with his brother Lakshman as if very much distressed due to separation from his wife. Thus, he showed by his personal example, the condition of a person attached to a woman. According to moral instructions, one who travels should not take his wife with him. And for a person in his condition, he should not have taken his wife with him. But he had taken to show that even for Lord not following the moral instructions, they will go through misery. Also, the distress and feeling of separation of Lord Krishna is not as same as that of a person in the material world. Lord Krishna is beyond the material creation and not subject to the condition of material world. So, his feeling of separation with beloved persons is an item of spiritual bliss.
This is further explained in Bhagavad Gita that the mind, intelligence and senses of Lord will never be affected by the material conditions. Madhavacharya further explained in Skandapurana that Ravana can never be able to kidnap Sita Devi and he had kidnapped only the illusionary representation of Mother Sita created by Maya. This illusionary Sita was burnt later when Sita devi entered the fire and the original Sita devi came out of fire. Further understanding from the incident tells that despite however powerful a woman can be, she should always be protected in the Vedic times.
Srila Prabhupada’s purports in Srimad Bhagavatam explain the bitter truths of the world. Srimad Bhagavatam also explains the sweetness of Lord Krishna. If you stress on the harsh reality alone, then people will become Mayavadi and if you stress on the sweetness of the Lord alone, then people will become Sahijiyas. Thus, it balances both the harshness of reality and sweetness of Godhead. First, we see the purports about attachment to opposite sex and how it can be a cause of great suffering. Scriptures condemn sense gratification because in sense gratification, our intelligence gets contaminated and we would loss our sensitivity and become dull headed. To understand Krishna consciousness, we need intelligence. Persons engaging in sense gratification will do things that they did not want to do. When Mahatma Vidhur met Maitreya Rishi, he gave an excellent analysis on what happens when we try to pursue material attachment. He says that everybody wants happiness and works for it. Even when the goal is clear and they are working for it, they did not get happiness. But the nature of this world, we will get more suffering when trying to get happiness. By definition this world is full of misery and Krishna made this way. Why Krishna made the world this way is that then only the people will leave this world and join Krishna.
Secondly, Prabhupada talks about the Rasa of separation in the pastime of Mother Sita being kidnapped by Ravana. In the material world, the concept is “Far from sight, far from mind”. But in spiritual world, the concept is “Distance makes the heart grow fonder”. For us, the rasa of separation is the sincere yearning “Krishna, I had left you. I have left the spiritual world. I wanted to enjoy separately from you. I am sorry. I want to come back to you. Enough of this suffering, I don’t want this.” This is the mood that the devotees have to aspire.
Also Prabhupada explains the protection of womanhood/motherhood in vedic culture. Women represent the motherliness needed in the society to help give the ethos to the society. Womanhood is a force that gives values to the generation. They transmit the love through sacrifice. Nowadays, this vedic culture was not welcomed even towards women. There is respect for women in the form of protection in the vedic culture with was misunderstood by the current generation.
This is very beautifully explained in this Audio to a great length, please download and listen to it.