Sita is the wife of Lord Rama and a great Mother Goddess in Ramayana.  There is only one supreme power in this world.  One may address it as a God or Goddess and in the case of Sita, she is the incarnation of the great Goddess Mother Earth, the wife of Shree Vishnu, known as Bhoodevi. Earth has the maximum tolerance power. Shree Shankaracharya in his commentary on Bhagavad Geetha already explained that the soul is a part of that Mother Goddess and that supreme power resides in the hearts of all living beings. There is only one supreme power and in this life itself people could realize that in Mother Goddess. Provided by his philosophy of Advaitha, only one incarnation of that supreme power, could be seen at a time, in front of our eyes, in human form. He is a great devotee of Mother Goddess. Before the incarnation of the Mother Goddess as Sita, she was invisible, manifesting in all the five fundamental items, i.e., the earth, air, fire, sky and water. 

Sita in the forest stunned by a golden deer
Sita Mata in the forest with Shree Rama and Lakshmana

Birth and Childhood of Sita

Sita was a female child received by Janaka, the king of Mithila, during the tilling of the furrow land using a plough, at its capital, Janakpuri, a place in Nepal near the India border. Janaka Maharaj looked after the child Sita with great love and care, as his own daughter and provided proper education as fit for the Royal family. Janaka Maharaj was a great warrior and there were many bows in his palace being stored for the soldiers to use in times of war. One heavy bow was there, provided by Lord Shiva and it was called Shiva Dhanussu. Sita grew up, healthy, and Janaka Maharaj desired to give away her through a swayamvara, means a self-selection ceremony of her husband.  Whoever comes to woe and seek Sita should be able to string the Shiva Dhanussu, this was propagated.

Swayamvara of Sita

During this period, the princes of Ayodhya, Rama and Lakshmana were under studentship of Sage Vishwamitra. Many princes gathered in the palace of Mithila on the day of swayamvara and sage Vishwamitra also accompanied Rama and Lakshmana there. Young Sita happened to see the handsome Rama while coming through the entrance of her palace. Her first impression was best, regarding the personality of Rama. In the swayamvara, many boys tried to lift the bow but failed. Rama lifted it easily, stringed it, but it broke. He succeeded in the challenge and marriage of Sita was fixed with Rama. Her marriage was conducted by king Janaka gorgeously and Sita accompanied Rama to Ayodhya with blessings of all her sympathisers of Mithila.

Princess Rama had three brothers, they are, Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrughna. King Dasharatha is the father of Rama and Kausalya is his mother. In Ayodhya, people were happy under the proper guidance of sage Vasishta.  King Dasharatha was getting old and one day he desired to coronate his son Rama and enquired sage Vasishta for an auspicious time at an early date. Sage Vasishta told him that the planet Jupiter would cross the house within three days and later it may require twelve more years to come to the same house. After examining the charts, sage Vasishta found out two Muhurthas (auspicious times), one within 2 days and the other one after fourteen years.

Early Life at Ayodhya

King Dasharatha was very eager to finish the coronation as early as possible and hence ordered for arranging for the same within a day. So the preparations started at Ayodhya. Everybody in the city felt happy regarding the enthroning ceremony of Sita and Rama as future queen and the king of that country. But one of the brothers of Rama, Bharata was out of station. He was at his uncle’s house. King Ashwapathy, the king of Kaykeya was his uncle and it was at a great distance and hence information could not reach there. But his mother was in the same palace, at Ayodhya and Dasharatha had anticipated that his youngest wife, Kaikeyi, the mother of Bharata has understood the ongoing proceedings.  

Kaikeyi had a maid servant, called Manthare, and she viewed the preparations as harmful for the prestige of her mistress after coronation of Sita and Rama and conspired against them to be deprived of it. King Dasharatha had assured two boons to Kaikeyi, and promised her that he would fulfill them as and when she asked for them. Manthare reminded about the boons to Kaikeyi and succeeded in her tricks. So Kaikeyi demanded, as the first one as, her son Bharata should be crowned and the second one as, Rama should go to exile into forest for fourteen years.

Sent Into Exile

On the following day, due to the demand of Kaikeyi, the enthroning celebrations of Sita and Rama came to a halt. Rama took leave of his mother Kousalya, father king Dasharatha, sought the blessings of sage Vasishta and dressed as a Rishi of a forest. His brother, Lakshmana also accompanied him voluntarily and dressed similarly. Now the role of Sita is sympathetic. She need not go to forest but she wanted to show the entire world, the morals of an Indian Lady and the supreme power of the soul that is present in the innermost seat of her heart. Decreed by Kaikeyi, all the three started to walk out of the city.

Sumanthra was the charioteer of Dasharatha and he could not bear the painful scenery of walking bare footed on the roads of the city of Ayodhya by the would be queen of that country, Sita. He voluntarily escorted Sita, Rama and Lakshmana also. But people of the city pleaded them not to move out of Ayodhya. The whole mass of people surrounded them and the chariot could not move further. Rama requested them to be controlled and instructed to Sumanthra to move the chariot keeping pace with the speed of walking by his sympathizers. Somehow they reached the bank of Sarayu River, by evening. They got down and conducted the evening prayer. Sumanthra turned back the chariot to Ayodhya. But Sita advised him to take an alternate return route to avoid people on the way. Later,  Sita, Rama and Lakshmana, after crossing the Sarayu River, proceeded into the deep forest towards Panchavati.

In order to fulfill the promissory words of Dasharatha, his son, Rama decided to live in forest with his brother. Sita has voluntarily followed him, in order to uphold the dignity and integrity of the ancestral values of Ayodhya lineage. They reached the hermitage of Athri and Anusuya and were welcomed by them. They were provided with food and shelter. Anusuya gifted Sita, dresses, jewels and vessels so that Sita may start and maintain a family life in the middle of a forest like a holy sage. All three crossed the Narmada River and reached Panchavati where Gouthama Rishi was having his hermitage on the bank of River Godavari. Since he was having herds of cows, Sita suggested living in that locality for a few years so that she may get fresh milk daily in the morning, thereby able to serve her holy husband Rama in a better manner, besides fetching pure potable water from the River Godavari being at hand.

Life in the Forest

The three had a new hut built by Lakshmana at the southernmost border of Panchavati and life started peacefully there in. To the south, the forest had been encroached by demons and they frequently put obstacles to the rituals of the Rishis of that area called Dandakaranya. One of the meanings of Danda in Sanskrit is punishment and her husband Rama, being an able gentleman, was pleased to protect the rituals of the Rishis by punishing the erring demons.

A Twist in the Tale

One day, a lady demon happened to see Rama in the nearby forest and she was attracted by his good looking appearance and the strength of his body. Stealthily, she followed him to his forest residence and found Sita there. Her name is Surpanakha and on appearing before him, she requested with him to drive away Sita from there, to marry her. Rama did not agree but suggested to meet his brother, Lakshmana. She was arrogant and desired to have some token marks to approach Lakshmana. She declared, if denied, she would kill Sita. Rama obliged and in front of Sita, with his arrow of his bow made an x mark on the back of Surpanakha.

The lady demon Surpanakha dressed differently and disguised as a young beautiful lady, approached Lakshmana. She lied and introduced herself as a daughter of a famous king with a name Kamavalli. She told him that his brother Rama has instructed her to meet and marry him, and that her father has already advised her to select a suitable husband. Kamavalli showed the token mark to him and the clever Lakshmana immediately understood her as a demon and with his large knife, chiseled away the edge of her nose. She thought it was the trick played by Sita and with pain, ran away to the palace of her brother.

Ravana was the brother of Surpanakha and king of Sri Lanka, an island, south of India. She wished to take revenge upon Sita and with shame and jealousy, played tricks against Sita. She canvased Ravana and advised him to capture Sita in any way and marry Sita. Ravana being a brother started to believe her and being a demon, was pleased to commit any number of sinful actions to have more pleasures. With the help of his uncle, Maricha, Ravana started his illegal expeditions at Panchavati. Ravana took his flight, Pushpaka Vimana from his palace to the forest station of Dandakaranya. Maricha disguised himself as a golden deer and stood grazing at a distance but within a view from the hut of Sita for tempting her attention.

Abduction of Sita

Sita was an educated lady. She knew that the piece of the skin of a deer is required for the sacred threading ceremony of young children. It is not wrong for a lady to think of children. Ravana studied the circumstances and disguised as a sage, started to the hut of Rama on his chariot. Lakshmana had been engaged in his routine works of collecting wooden logs and twigs from the other side of River Godavary.  Sita looked towards the beautiful deer which appeared like gold and strongly desired to have it, only to look after it with love, in her premises. Hence, she requested Rama to capture it and bring it alive. Rama consoled her and started out for hunting it but as per previous plan, Maricha started running in a widening circle concentric to the hut. Rama got frustrated and doubted it to be a demon, aimed an arrow, striking Maricha. By this time, Lakshmana arrived inside the hut with his collections. Maricha could not escape the arrow of Rama and before death, in an imitating voice of Rama, loudly screamed the names of Lakshmana and Sita to trick them.

Sita doubted about the status of Rama and instructed Lakshmana to go out in search of Rama. Lakshmana put seven color lines outside steps of the hut and requested Sita not to cross or go out of those seven lines in which he had inspired Sun Raksha Manthra obtained from Vishwamithra. During Lakshmana’s absence, Ravana went into the premises and stood just outside those lines as a seer beggar. He could not step into the hut due to those seven color lines, hence requested Sita to come on the lines and offer something to him.

Sita stood firmly over those lines but Ravana could not touch her. Ravana had previously obtained some power by which he used to lift the Atma linga of God Shiva from Kailasa Mountain upto Gokarna. But from Gokarna, he had to carry smaller Shivalinga to Sri Lanka to satisfy his mother. When he thought of his mother, he found similar feet over those color lines. Immediately, with his sword, he cut the entire soil beneath the feet of Sita and managed to carry the entire weight into his chariot. Due to the powers of the lines of colors, Sita would not fall out and safely entered inside the flight Pushpaka Vimana. Ravana started his journey towards Lanka after procuring Sita and paced the soil on the rear seat where his mother used to sit.

      Jatayu, the king of vultures, was a friend of Janaka Maharaja, the father of Sita. He was under obligations to provide protection to Sita and then found Ravana carrying her in his flight. He intercepted and tried to free her but the demon cut his wings and he fell down to earth, scrawling with pain. For the first time in her life, she blessed Jatayu with an increase of life, i.e., to stay alive till he meets Rama and conveys the message of abduction by Ravana. On the way to Lanka his brother, Sampati also came to know about the incidence but he was also wingless then.

In Search of Sita

Ravana placed Sita in Ashoka Vana on his arrival to Lanka and arranged Trijata as her security. Trijata is the wife of Vibhishana, one of the brothers of Ravana, but a good gentleman among demons. Lakshmana and Rama met together but found Sita abducted. After a tedious search, they found out the name of Ravana but required to locate the exact place. Many persons helped in searching Sita and the adventures of Hanuman are quotable and became successful.

Rama had given a ring to show to Sita to confirm his identity and the genuineness of the message of Hanuman, a Monkey God. Sitting on a branch, he extended his tail with the ring to reach Sita and after many conversations and the modest behavior, he proved trustworthy. Then, in exchange, Sita had provided her hidden hairpin locket called Chudamani to Hanuman and sent him back to deliver it to Rama with a request to assassinate Ravana and free her.

Sita prayed as follows:

आपदामपहर्तारं दातारं सर्व सम्पदां ।
लोकाभिरामं श्री रामं भूयो भूयो नमाम्यहं ॥

After advising the demon Ravana and causing fire mishaps to his palaces and gardens, arisen by own mischievous actions, Hanuman returned and delivered the Chudamani to Rama. Hanuman bowed his head with both hands joined together in salutation towards Rama and for a while he memorized Sita, and then himself felt satisfied in the completion of his service to the great Mother Goddess Sita.

रामाय राम भद्राय रामचन्द्राय वेधसे ।
रघुनाथाय नथाय सीतायाः पतये नमः ॥

Hanuman praised as above, the meaning is: I bow my head with both hands joined together in salutes, towards Rama, the securely strong Rama, a moon-like pleasant Rama, Rama who is the master crowned in the lineage of king Raghu, the good guide Rama, Rama the very same husband of Sita.

The End of Exile

With the help of Hanuman and his master Sugriva, a bridge (Shree Rama Setu) had been built from India to Lanka and a war had been fought with Ravana by Rama. The victorious Rama after slaying Ravana, instructed Sita to prove her purity by entering into fire. In the fire pyre, Sita proved pious and holy. The two feet soil of India brought by Ravana was left in deposit at Ashokavana itself but Sita was carried back to Ayodhya, the conditional exile period of fourteen years being over.

In Ayodhya, Sita sat near Rama as his wife and queen, under the White umbrella of State, both being crowned a vision so rare, seen once in a lifetime. Not only the entire people of Ayodhya but also the entire living beings of this universe rejoiced to witness Sita on the throne with Rama.

Back to Ayodhya

Sita started her palace life as a queen of the kingdom of Kosala. Lakshmana was performing his duties as a model minister, Shatrughna taking care of defence and home ministries. Bharata was allotted the ministry of finance and revenue. The freedom of neighboring countries was duly respected but voluntarily assisted in case of natural requirements.

No complaints or discomforts was found anywhere in Ayodhya, except a trivial comment of a laundryman. The tone of his words insulted the prestige of the Royal family. The wife of that laundryman was delayed by a few minutes while returning back from her ancestral house after attending some function there. The laundryman told, queen Sita may be accepted by her husband, Lord Rama, even though delay happened in procuring her back from Lanka, but he could not tolerate his wife coming late causing inconvenience to her mother in law. The laundryman’s wife is evading her obligatory services and responsibilities towards his age old mother. But it was not of a serious nature.

Another Twist

Rama thought, the above news caused a degradation of his Royal status. He immediately ordered Lakshmana to banish Sita from palace as well to go out of the country, Ayodhya. Obediently, Lakshmana escorted Sita out of Ayodhya without explaining anything to her and dropped her in the deep forest nearest to the hermit of Valmiki Maharshi.   

Sita was received by the sage, Valmiki. He welcomed her into his hermit. Sita started her life in forest for the second term. She was pregnant by that time. She slept after food with a heavy heart and decided to lead a peaceful life.

Sita as a Mother

One the following day, in the early morning, Sita took bath in the River Ganga. She worked as a maid servant in the Ashram of Valmiki. Two male twins were born to her and Valmiki conducted their naming ceremony. After cutting one Darbha grass into two pieces of unequal lengths, Valmiki tossed them into air. The longer piece having sharper end fell over the first boy and the smaller piece with flat edge fell over the younger boy. Valmiki assigned the names, Kusha to the first child and Lava to the younger one. In Sanskrit, the word Kusha means Darbha grass used for rituals. Sita felt happy in bringing up of her two children. 

Sita remembered some of the ladies of Kishkinda, when they sent their children for education to this Ashram. With the motherly treatment of Sita, the disciples in the Ashram showed good progress in their lessons. From many of the nearby residing ladies, being in the forest, Sita received many fruits daily. Her Ashram flourished and young sage Bharadwaja enrolled there as a disciple. Best education had been provided to Kusha and Lava also.  When it had grown like a University, one day Narada  Maharshi visited Valmiki as a guest and spent there twenty four hours, discussing themselves. On the following day, both Rishis went outside informing few days’ absence. Sita was in charge of the whole Ashram.

The Heroics of Lava and Kusha

One day, a white horse was found in the premises, eating the flowers and destroying the plantain leaves of Valmiki Ashram. Kusha was engaged in his routine works of collecting wooden logs and twigs from the other side of River Ganga. Lava looked towards the beautiful horse which appeared like a royal horse and strongly desired to have it tied to any plant only to prevent it with a sense of protection to his plants in that premises. Hence, he captured the horse and tied it to a plantain tree, arresting its movements.

It was actually a horse left for the propaganda of Ashwamedha yaga. Shatrughna was escorting it and he insisted to free it but Lava did not agree as it has destroyed some plants. A fight started and by over powering Lava, Shatrughna released the horse along with Lava under captivity. Kusha also returned then and immediately followed and defeated Shatrughna and again the horse was arrested. As per protocols from Ayodhya, Bharata, Lakshmana and Rama arrived there but all failed in the war! Kusha and Lava tied the fainted Rama, with pieces of threads and produced in the Ashram. Then, Valmiki arrived there and he deliberated. Valmiki put his water from his sacred Kamandalu over Rama and freed him with his horse.

Sons of Shree Rama

Valmiki taught the verses of Ramayana story, to Kusha and Lava, which included the events up to the final oblation of the cow ghee pouring into the fire which is called purnahuti in ritual. They by-hearted all of those verses.  As per the invitation of Rama, Kusha and Lava were sent to Ayodhya to sing Ramayana verses as duet during Ashwamedha to entertain all the public in front of Rama. On the sixth day, Rama doubted, the children may be his own. Hence, he sent for Sita to attend the Ahswamedha yaga purnahuti rituals on the seventh day and after the final rituals to declare her purity of life. On the seventh day, after purnahuti  but before distributing the fees (kriya dakshina), Kusha and Lava stopped at the end of ninety seventh chapter of the seventh kanda and then the mother goddess was given a chance to declare her purity of life.

Test of Sita Mata

The mother goddess Sita started to announce in the midst of the meeting hall as follows:

“I am the lady, pure in heart and actions. I am here to show to this entire world how to complete the purpose of my incarnation as Sita. As a daughter to Janaka, I have made him happy. When I saw the eyes of the holy Rama, I entered my second life as wife to God Rama. I served him as a wife sincerely and crowned in this palace with him. My third commitment was due when I was about to be the mother of two children here. But the great Valmiki Maharshi has done the Rama Nama penance for many years and Rama has given him Darshan and blessed him when he invited my children. As a mother of Kusha and Lava, I have fulfilled all my three obligations, i.e. as a daughter, as a wife and as a mother. In my heart only Rama has always resided and no other persons.”

“Now, the time for exhibiting the purpose of my incarnation has come. I have learned all the lessons, as the daughter of Janaka and I am able to seek my mother earth to give way for me and enter the Naga loka and before that I should arise my soul to shine in the heart of God Rama. It is to make the people of this earth understand,that the universal soul is only one and my words are true. Hence now I let my physical body go to Naga loka and my soul go shining to the heart of God Rama.”

Mother goddess sita

The Divine Mother

Wonder happened in front of many people. All the learned persons started chanting shanthi manthras. The ground under her feet, sufficiently kept apart, started slowly breaking away as if an earth quake, inside that palace happened. Then her physical body slowly moved into the deep earth. And simultaneously, a bright light radiated from the body of the mother goddess Sita and slowly entered the body of God Rama. On looking at the scenery of these phenomena, some were wonder struck, some cried and others raised slogans of words in high voice wishing her to be in this earth always, since then Rama has become SitaRama; Announcement was heard that from now on, God Rama is Lord Sita Rama. As follows is described in the last 26th, verse of the 97th Sarga of canto 7 sung by Kusha and Lava on behalf of their mother, in Sanskrit, in Valmiki Ramayana:

सीता प्रवेशनं दृष्ट्वा तेषामासीत्समागमः।
तन्मुहूर्तमिवात्यर्थं समं संमोहितं जगत् ॥

Maharshi Valmiki has written later three more Sargas of canto 7 and finished them after the swargarohana (ascent to heaven) of God SitaRama, and completed 100 sargas.

After the above moment, God SitaRama distributed the dakshinas of the yaga to the concerned learned persons and disbursed. He ordered to recite the balance verses, if any, on the following day by his two children gifted by his wife.

God SitaRama lived for many years with his children happily.

In this website the next posting is about the adventures of Great Hanuman. We pray humbly for the blessings of God Sita Rama. Readers may provide feedback and visit frequently.

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