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Encyclopedia of Hindu Gods


SITA



Image by permission.

Basic Description:  Sita is the incarnation of Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu, the Preserver.  She appears when Vishnu is in his avatar of Rama.  She is known as the perfect daughter, wife and mother.  Sita led an almost perfect life and embodied the virtues of patience and chastity.

History/Practices: In northern India, Sita is the goddess being celebrated at Diwali.  

Mythology:  In the story of the Ramayana, Sita is a prominent figure as the wife of Rama, incarnation of Vishnu.  

Sita’s Birth:  Sita was not born to any woman but she came from Mother Earth.  King Janaka found her in a field and then raised her as his own daughter.  

Marriage to Rama:  The time came for Sita to marry and Janaka said any man who could bend a powerful bow, which he received from Shiva, could marry her.  Rama was able to bend the bow so much that he broke it.  Sita and Rama then were married.

Sita’s abduction:  Once Rama was banished and wanted to leave Sita behind, for her won safety.  Sita listened patiently as he explained why she could not come with him but in the end firmly told him that he was wrong and her place was with him.  Because she was very beautiful, the evil king Ravana kidnapped Sita.  Rama rescued Sita, with the help of Hanuman the monkey king.  Sita was able to resist Ravana, but no one believed that she did because no woman had resisted him before Sita.  To prove to Rama that she was still pure, Sita went through the ‘fire-ordeal’ by going into a fire and saying that if she was pure, she would not burn.  The fire did not harm Sita and Rama believed her.  However people in the village still did not believe Sita and agreed to go into exile without Rama because she was a perfect wife.

Sita’s death:  Sita had twin boys while exiled and Rama sent for her and the boys.  The villagers again accused Sita and they asked her to prove her innocence.  Because she had no life and purpose apart from her husband, Sita asked Mother Earth to swallow her up and she did.  Shortly after this Rama grew tired of mortal life and gave up his human body.

Consort:  Sita is the consort of Rama.

Sources:

Thomas, P.  Epics, Myths and Legends of India.  Bombay, India: D. B. Taraporevala Sons & Co. Private Ltd, 1961.


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