When Lord Ramacandra was asked to leave for the forest by His father, at that time all the residents of Ayodhya decided to go with Him and they decided to all go to the forest together. So there was a huge camp with Lord Ramacandra. Lord Ramacandra was thinking: “This is not fulfilling the order of My father, he wanted Me to be in exile.”
So He got up in the middle of the night and told His chariot driver: “Let’s go.”
They left in the middle of the night ……Then He walked and came to a river.
At that river there was a boatman. And this boatman took Sita, Rama and Laksmana across the river. Lord Ramacandra made a gesture to give a reward to that boatman and Sita gave him a pearl necklace. But the boat man didn’t want that pearl necklace: “No, no I can’t take it”
The boatman then said, “There is a custom in this area. The custom is that when one boatman takes another boatman across the river, he never charges. So we can not charge, this is our custom.”
Lord Ramacandra said, “Since when am I a boatman? I’m not a boat man”
The boatman said: “No No, you are a boatman. I only take people across the river. But you are taking people across the ocean of birth and death. And when I come to that ocean of birth and death, when my time comes to go the other side….I hope you remember our practice.”
So we hear these pastimes, they are very nice!
(Kadamba Kanana Swami 05/2003)