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Sita was not the weak, meek woman she is made out to be in most versions of the Ramayana. She was a strong woman who made her own choice at key points in her life.
Rama Navami was recently celebrated with so much fervour all over India. We celebrate the birth of Lord Sri Ram and all the temples in most of South India perform the kalyanam (wedding) of Lord Ram with Goddess Sita.
When I was small, I had asked my grandfather, why do they do kalyanam on his birthday? And he told me that the very reason for his incarnation is to do good and to destroy some evil, and he cannot do that without the Goddess, his consort. So, we celebrate his birthday, and we perform the wedding also on the same day. My grandfather also told me we always want to see both of them together, so that is also one reason.
My grandfather was my first and only source to know about our traditions, mythology and our epics, then. I was very satisfied with the answer. As I grew up, and started reading, I understood that he was right.
One thing that amused me always, was that every elderly person in the family would bless the girls that they should “get a husband like Sri Ram” and whenever they would see a lady suffering because of various problems, they would say, “she has problems like Sita devi”.
I never understood the dichotomy. I did ask my grandfather about this and he gave me a very vague reply.
I have watched so many movies on the Ramayana, I have read all the stories of Ramayana, watched the TV series, read many books but I still couldn’t find the answer.
But, recently I read a very interesting article about Sita. I would like to share it here with you all.
Sita, inspite of being the incarnation of the Goddess Laxmi had to live like a normal human, just like her husband. She had to go through a lot of difficulties inspite of getting married to him.
But she chose that kind of life. She chose to go with Ram when he was leaving for exile. Nobody asked her to leave Ayodhya. Ram told her not to come with him, but she did not obey him.
She was told not to cross the Lakshman rekha, but she again chose to because she thought that no one who comes begging for alms to Ram’s house should go empty handed.
When Hanuman offers to carry her back to Lord Ram when he comes to Lanka in search of her, she chose not to go with him. No one stopped her from deciding this.
After killing Ravana, lord Ram told her that she was free to go anywhere that pleases her, because he cannot take her with him. But she chose to go with him.
Finally, when Ram gets to know about Luv and Kush, he asks her to come back to him, but she chose to go back to Mother Earth.
I believe that the incarnation of Lord Ram and Sita has a purpose and everything that happened in Ramayana was according to their will. But this article gave me a different perspective, and I looked at Sita in a different way.
Inspite of being the wife of the most coveted, most loved, most cherished man, she made her own decisions and she stood by those decisions. She never blamed anyone. She was brave in all the adversities.
I wish all women had the ability to make their own decisions and the courage to face any difficulty.
And, next time when someone says that a woman is suffering like Sita, I will tell that Sita was a brave lady who stood by all her decisions.
Image source: a still from Sita Sings the Blues
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