Ravana’s lust for sita – Sita’s refusal

On Sita’s request for having the golden deer, Rama went into the forest to catch the deer and Lakshmana stayed at home to protect Sita. After some time, they heard someone crying, “Lakshmana! Save me!” and Sita got worried about Rama. In spite of Lakshmana’s resistance, Sita demanded Lakshmana to go into the forest and help Rama. Ravana, hiding behind a tree, watched the discussion between Sita and Lakshmana and changed his form into a Sanyasi (Monk) and approached Sita.


Looking at the beautiful and gorgeous Sita, Ravana said, “Beautiful lady! Who are you? I have never seen such a beauty with the golden complexion, dark hair, lotus like eyes in this world. You should be living in great cities with great rooftops and beautiful gardens. What are you doing in this thick forest full of cruel animals like Lions, tigers, bears? Are you not afraid to live in this dangerous place?” As Ravana came in the form of a Sanyasi, Sita respected him and invited him to the house. Sita served him water to wash his feet, offered him a seat and food to eat. Ravana was very impressed by her behavior and decided to abduct her immediately.


Sita spoke in a soft voice, “Brahmana! I am Sita, the daughter of great king Janaka and wife of Rama, the great warrior from Ikshvaku Dynasty. Rama’s father, King Dasaratha, has three wives and he had given two boons to his last wife Keikeyi when she saved him in a war. When Dasaratha was about to coronate Rama as the next King, Keikeyi has asked Dasaratha to name her son Bharata as King and send Rama to forest for 14 years. Being a dutiful son and pursuer of truth, Rama decided to live in the forest to uphold the truthfulness of his father. Rama’s brother, Lakshmana and I came along with him, and we are living in Dandaka forest. Both Rama and Lakshmana have gone out for hunting, and they will be coming home anytime.” Sita enquired about Ravana by saying, “Who are you? To which dynasty do you belong? Why are you wandering in this forest alone?”


Ravana spoke with great pride, “Sita, I am Ravana, the king of Rakshasas I live in the great city, Lanka. I am very powerful, and nobody can defeat me in this whole world. After seeing your beauty, I lost interest in my wives. If you become my wife, you can do thousands of beautiful ladies as your servants. Come with me!” Sita became angry and said, “I have devoted myself to Rama, the follower of Dharma and powerful as a lion. How can a fox like you ever dream of having the lioness like me? Trying to get me is like trying to catch hold of fire with cotton cloth, scraping eyes with a needle and eating a razor blade. The difference between Rama and you is like the difference between an elephant and a wildcat, water from sandalwood and sewage water. You will do great harm to yourself by trying to hurt me.”


Ravana said, “I am that Ravana, who the entire world including the devatas fears. I have defeated Kubera and captured all his wealth. Even the Sun and Air are scared of me, and they create a pleasant atmosphere around me. My city, Lanka, is situated in the midst of the ocean with all the riches and big buildings that are covered with gold and the pathways are decorated with stones and diamonds. When you live a luxurious life with me there, you will not think of any other place or Rama. Dasaratha has decided to make Bharata as Rama does not have the courage to fight. Instead of fighting for his kingdom, Rama is wandering around in forests like a monk. He is very ordinary and cannot fight with even my finger also. What can you achieve with him?”


Sita angrily responded by saying, “If you try to harm me, you will not be able to live. Rama will come and destroy you and your kingdom”. Ravana became impatient, and he has taken his original form and said, ”Perhaps, you have never heard of my strength because of your mad love towards Rama. I can split the sun also into two with my arrows, and I can take any form I wish.” By shouting like that Ravana proceeded to abduct Sita.


Source: Valmiki Ramayana


Did Sita and Rama argue over going to forest?

On the day of the Rama’s coronation ceremony, Dasaratha has informed Rama that he has agreed to grant two wishes of his wife, Keikeyi. Dasaratha asked his son Rama to live in the forest for 14 years, and Bharata will be coronated as the King. Rama happily agreed to follow the orders of his father. Rama took the blessings of his father Dasaratha and his mothers.


Unaware of the happenings, Sita was very excited to get ready for the ceremony and offered prayers. Looking at her excitement, sudden grief overcame Rama, and he informed Sita that he is going to live in the forest. Rama said, “When I am gone, please take interested in religious practices and fasting. Pay respect to my three mothers and father. Treat Bharata and Satrughna as your brothers and sons. Bharata is our King and the head of our family. Do not displease him.”


After hearing Rama’s words, Sita became angry out of love and said, “What are you saying? For any woman, father, son, mother or self are not the real companion and only husband the true companion. Even in heaven, I would like to stay when you are not with me. When you are on a difficult journey that is full of obstacles and thorns, I will accompany you and support you. I will live in the forest with you eating roots and fruits only and doing all religious practices regularly. I am aware that you can protect me from animals in the forest.“


Rama tried to persuade Sita by saying, “Living in the forest is not easy. I am thinking about your well-being, and I am advising you not to come to the forest. Wild animals wander around the forest and attack, humans. Rivers and streams are filled with dangerous crocodiles. Pathways are covered with thorns and creepers and can cause harm. There will not be proper sleep as we will have to gather some leafs and sleep on it. There will not be proper food, and you have to sustain by eating fruits and roots. One need to show restraint in thought, food and practice daily prayers three times a day. Living in the forest is going to be tough for you. I advise you to listen to me and stay in Ayodhya.”


Sita was distressed to hear these words and she spoke very slowly with tears, “I understand the challenges of living in a forest. Where is the cause for fear of wild animals like tigers, jackals when you are near me? Besides, when I was young one of our astrologers predicted and told my father, Janaka that I would live in forests. From that moment onwards, I have always been excited and waiting for an opportunity to live in the forest. Why are you not willing to take me to forest? You are my Lord, and I am your devotee. We feel alive in pleasure and pain, and we share joy and sorrows. Even scriptures say that a woman, given away by parents over water in a marriage, belongs to the husband event after death”.


Sita continued, “If you do not want to take me to the forest, I am willing to die by taking poison. Why has fear overtaken you? Did my father marry me to a great warrior with courage or a woman in the form of a man? It is improper for you to go to the forest without taking me. Please take me along with you. When I walk with you, even the thorns will feel like cotton and the dust raised by the wind feels like sandal dust. I will not demand anything and fruits and roots that you give me will feel like nectar. I will not remember my father’s house and annoy you. Your companionship is heaven for me, and when you are not with me, it is a hell. I cannot bear your separation even for a moment. I will kill myself if you do not take me” and Sita wept uncontrollably and cried loudly.


Rama embraced her in his arms and said, “Sita, I do not wish to live even in heaven when you are not with me, and there is no fear in me. I am going to forest to honor my father’s vow to my mother, Keikeyi. Father, mother, and teacher, are equal to God and servicing them is more important than performing prayers to Gods.

But without knowing your opinion, I did not want to take you to Forest. Accompany me to the forest help me in my journey. Let us start the preparations for our journey and donate our wealth to the deserved ones.”


Sita became delighted with Rama’s words and started their preparations for their journey.


Source: Valmiki Ramayana


Was Rama unnecessarily violent? Sita’s doubt

Rama, Lakshmana and Sita reached Dandaka forest and met several rishis who practiced severe penances. They met several rishis who have been meditating only by consuming water or air as food, some rishis preferred meditating in neck deep water and some rishis reciting mantras with fire around them. Rama arrived the hermitage of Sarabhanga rishi and got his blessings. When Rama was speaking to Sarabhanga Rishi, several rishis approached Rama and said, “Rama! We all have heard about your valor and your commitment to adhere to dharma. We came here to apprise you about the great danger that we have from Rakshas and seek your protection.”


Rishis said, “Rama! Go and see the riverside of Pampa, Mandakini and the surroundings of Mount Chitrakuta and you will find heaps on bones. We are here to meditate and realize the truth and we do several yagnas for the benefit of the society. But Rakshasas are disturbing our practices and they are killing us. Please protect us from these rakshasas”. Rama replied, “Please do not request me. You have the power to command me. I came to live in forest to honor my father’s promise. But I have got a great opportunity to serve great sages like you by killing the Rakshasas.“


Rama, Lakshmana and Sita moved forward in the forest in search of a dwelling. On their way, Sita said to Rama in friendly words, “We came to Dandaka forest not live like a Kshatriya (Warrior) but to live ordinary life. Now, you and lakshmana are carrying weapons and you have promised to kill Rakshasas. An honorable man should not indulge in three things – Lying, desire for women and killing without any enmity. I am aware that you do not lie nor you have desire for other women. But with the best intensions to save the sages, you have promised that you will kill rakshasas. Our situation reminds me of an old story.”


Sita continued, “There was a sage who was meditating to realize the truth. Indra, the lord of the Devas, came to visit the sage to test his sincerity. Indra gave a great sword to the sage and asked him to keep it safe. The sage was very excited to see Indra and happily obliged. After that, the sage’s attention was always around the sword. Wherever he went, event to get roots and fruits, he always carried the sword. Finally, his meditation was not successful as the sage kept thinking about the sword all the time. I know that you know all the dharmas and you are very wise. Is it appropriate to carry arms and kill the rakshasas without any enmity?”


Rama looked Sita with great affection and said, “Your friendly and wise words indicate the legacy and upbringing of your great father, Janaka. The scriptures say, a Kshatriya’s (warrior) weapons should ensure that there are no tears and misery. These sages have been doing great sacrifices and meditating. They have come to my refuge as the rakshasas are eating them alive and causing great distrubances. Though the sages are capable of obstructing these rakshasas, they do not wish to fight and preserve their energies for higher purpose. I have given my word to the sages that I will protect them”.


Rama continued, “You know that truth is dear to me. After giving my word, I cannot abandon my responsibilities. In pursuit of my responsibilities, I may lose Lakshmana or I may lose you. As long as I am alive, I am incapable of not keeping up my words. You have always been a great pursuer of dharma along with me. Your words of caution are very appropriate and you are dearer to me than my life.”


Sita realized the nature of dharma through Rama and they continued their journey through the forest.


Source : valmiki ramayana


Kevat – The boat man who is in the same profession as Rama

Rama left the kingdom of Ayodhya for 14 years of exile along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana. In the forest, they had to cross the river Ganges at one place. They requested a boatman, Kevat, to drive them across the river. Kevat replied “With great respects to you, I cannot take you on the boat. I came to know that from the dust of your feet, a stone has turned into a woman. My boat is made of several pieces of wood. If the dust of your feet touches my boat, they can turn into several beautiful women. If that happens, I will not be able to support a large family. Please allow me to wash your feet to take the dust of your feet.”

Rama smiled at him and appreciated his innocent faith and agreed. Kevat washed his feet and asked Rama to step over his hand filled with Ganga water before stepping into the sandals prepared for Rama. On reaching the other bank, Sita gave one of her rings as the gift to Kevat.

Kevat refused to accept the award and said, “How can I accept anything as a payment from you? Two people from the same profession do not exchange tokens. A barber never takes a payment, when he gives a haircut to another barber. A washer man never charges a fellow washer man”. Rama was a little curious and asked him how both of them are in the same profession. Kevat said, “We both do the same work. I ferry people from one bank to another, and you ferry people from this materialistic world to moksha (eternal bliss). I have helped you cross the river today, and I request you to help me cross this material existence.”

Rama was so overwhelmed at his devotional request, he held out his arms and embraced kevat and blessed him.