Dear reader and friends from afar shores, maybe you’ve heard about the hindu epic, The Ramayana. Maybe you’ve read abridged versions of it.
Even if you’ve read it, I’ll narrate it in a brief manner before I get to the main point. Stay with me. Please.
King Janaka was the ruler of the kingdom of Videha. Its capital city was Mithila. Janaka was not only a brave king.
One day, while a field was being ploughed in the presence ofthe king, he found a female child in the deep furrow dugby the plough.
Janaka and his wife Sunayana were overjoyed by this discovery and adopted the little baby girl as their own. The child was named Sita, meaning ‘Furrow’ in Sanskrit. Thus, Sita is considered to be the daughter of Bhumi Devi (Mother Earth) since she was born or found in the earth.
Sita grew up to be a girl of unparalleled beauty and charm and possessed the greatest of womanly virtues. When Sita became of marriageable age, the king decided to have a Swayamvara which included a contest.
The king was in possession of an immensely heavy bow, presented to him by the God Shiva. Whoever could wield the bow and string it, could marry Sita.
After the protection of Vishwamitra’s sacred ritual,on their way back to Ayodhya, Rama and Lakshmana traveled to Mithila. Accompanied by Vishwamitra, they attended Sita’s Swayamvara. Rama successfully broke Shiva’s bow as he picked it up and was examining the tautness of its bowstring.
The young prince’s strength and courage perplexed all the attendees. And with the breaking of the bow, Janaka proposed Sita to Rama in marriage.
On the approval of Sage Vishwamitra, Janaka sent his messengers to Ayodhya to convey the message to Dasharatha. Upon hearing the story of how his son Rama not only lifted the bow of Shiva, but also broke it, Dasharatha was overjoyed.
He gladly accepted the marriage proposal of Rama and Sita. Thus, Rama and Sita were married.
In the middle of the story, they were sent to an exile of 14 years (that is a different story).
One day a coarse Asura (demon) maiden fell in love with Rama and wished to murder Sita , but Rama jestingly rejected her advances.
In a fury the girl sprang at Sita to kill her, and only Rama’s and Lakshman’s(rama’s brother’s) quickness prevented her.
Lakshman cut off her nose and sent her home howling to her brother Ravan, who was king of the Asuras.
She told Ravana that Sita was the most beautiful woman in the universe. Ravana decided to abduct Sita and make her his queen. He devised a plan.
He requested Marich (a master at disguise) to use magical powers to disguise as a golden deer and entice Sita. As planned, Sita was foxed. She requested her husband to fetch the deer. Rama appointed Laxmana to look after Sita. Very soon, Rama figured out it was a fake deer and an arrow from his bow hit the deer and his real identity was revealed.
Just before dying, Marich mimiced Rama’s voice and shouted, “Oh Laxmana! Save me!”. Laxmana was fooled.
He drew a magic circle with his bow and told Sita that she would be safe as soon as she was inside the circle.
Ravana, who was watching all this time saw his chance. He posed as a sage and called out Sita, asking for alms. Sita hesitated. He pretended to leave without taking alms. Reluctantly Sita agreed and came out of the circle.
Ravana then showed his real form and abducted the woman.
He flew her to Lanka. There he kept her most honorably.
Rama and Laxmana waged a war. It was long drawn and Ravana was killed at the end.
Sita was rescued and their exile being over, they all headed to their palace. But, the subjects of King Rama raised questions about Sita’s purity.
And Rama did what an Indian man does. He doubted Sita too.
He requested her to go through “Agni pariksha” (a test where fire doesn’t burn you if you’re speaking the truth).
Sita was shocked to hear this. The entire atmosphere became disturbed. The earth parted and Sita went inside, back to the womb of her Mother Earth.
HOW SITA MISSED THE BUS.
Sita had pushed all the right buttons. She married by her own will. She chose the strongest of them all. She showed great integrity by following Rama to the forest. She crossed the magic circle and rebelled. But at the end she couldn’t shun Rama and choose a better MAN even after enduring the cheapest insult.
And today Rama is a god. And Ravana a devil. I admire Ravana because he respected the honor of the woman. Had Sita chosen another suitable MAN, all Indian women who are her successors, perhaps would have not submitted themselves so meekly to male domination.
Sita clearly missed the bus. Sad.