Monday, 24 March 2014

The uttara kanda.

Sita was the daughter of Mother Earth, Bhumi. She was adopted by King Janaka of Mithila and Queen Sunayna.

The name Sita, is derived from a Sanskrit word sīta, which means furrow.

The Sita of the Ramayana may have been named after a more ancient Vedic goddess Sita, who is mentioned once in the Rigveda as an earth goddess who blesses the land with good crops.

After her marriage, Sita follows her husband Lord Rama deep into the wilderness, for he is to live in exile for fourteen years.

Whilst there she is abducted by Ravana,

Now her problems really begin.

Ravana is the Rakshasa king of Sri Lanka.

It takes too long for her rescue.

Her husband will not accept her back unless she proves her purity by fire.

"Today I have avenged the insult to my honor and fulfilled my promise. You stand unabashed before me, even though suspicion has arisen with regard to your character. Today you seem extremely disagreeable to me even as a light to one who is suffering from sore eyes. Therefore go wherever you like, O Janaka's daughter, the ten directions are open to you today. What man born in a noble family would take back with an eager mind a woman who has dwelt in another's house, simply because she has been kindly disposed towards him in the past? How can I accept you, who were squeezed into the arms of Ravana while being borne away by him and who regarded you with a lustful eye? There is no more attachment for you in my heart. You may therefore go wherever you like."

And when she returns to the city of Ayodyha all is well for a long, long time until Lord Rama asks his councillors some questions and finds out that they all think that he,  Lord Rama is being very open minded about his wife's infidelity.

Perhaps a little too open minded...

Lord Rama decides that the best thing to do is to send Sita into a religious life of exile and prayer. He doesn't know that his wife is carrying their unborn children. Sita is given shelter by the sage Valmiki in his ashrama . Here she gives birth to twin boys, Lava and Kusha, who became pupils of Valmiki and are brought up in ignorance of their identity.

Valmiki composes the Ramayana and teaches Lava and Kusha to sing it. Later, Rama holds a ceremony during Ashwamedha yagna. There Valmiki, stands by as Lava and Kusha sing the Ramayana in the presence of Rama and his vast audience.

When Lava and Kusha recite about Sita's exile, Rama is greif striken. Valmiki pushes Sita towards Rama, hoping perhaps for a happy ending.

With your husband you chose exile:
suffered privation, abduction,
then the rejection -
the chastity test on scorching flames,
the victim twice victimized.
Could those flames turn to flowers
without searing the soul?
they say you, devoted wife,
questioned him not
and let him have his way.

But Sita has had more than enough heart ache for her life time. She calls upon the Earth, her mother, to take her home.

As the earth opens wide to receiver her, nothing can call her back, she vanishes into it.

Rama then learns that Lava and Kusha are his children.

This picture shows the hand prints of dutiful wives and concubines who followed their husband into death, by allowing themselves to be burnt to death in his funeral pyre.

The prints are to be found on a wall in the palace of Jodphur.

It took place 1843 and it was the last Royal sati.

Some of the hand prints are very small - some of them must have been no more than children.