This is the story of the goddess Sita from Ramayana.
The kingdom of Mithila was under a curse. It has not seen a drop of water in a year. Its king Janak was hoping for a miracle. The king and his people were ploughing a field over a dried lake when he came upon an earthen pot. The pot contained a baby girl. King Janak adopted the baby and named her Sita. This is the reason why Sita is also known as the daughter of Earth.
A few years later queen Sunaina gave birth to Urmila, Sita’s younger sister. Among the two Sita was always the rough and tough one. She learned different fighting styles, riding horses, and archery. Urmila on the other hand was more gentle and timid. Sita was very protective of her, almost like a mother.
Once during their play, Sita had unknowingly lifted the bow named Pinaka. It was the bow of God Shiva. Parshurama has gifted the bow to Janak’s father. The bow could only be lifted by a person blessed by God Shiva. Janak who was observing this decided that only a man who could do the same will marry Sita.
When Sita came of age for the marriage, Janak arranged for a Swayamvar. Swayamvar was an event where interested princes would be invited and the princess would choose her suitable bride. He informed every prince about his condition with the bow. At the end of the ceremony, Rama was the only one who could lift it. Their marriage was agreed on. At the request of Dasrath, Urmila was married to Laxman on the same day.
After six years of their marriage, Rama was ordered an exile of fourteen years. Sita was aghast by the news. She requested Rama to take her with him. Rama could not comply with her request. A jungle was no place for a woman of royalty. But Rama also knew the pain of separation was equally awful. After tearful urges from Sita, Rama was left with no option but to take her.
They lived most of their exile near the huts of Sage Atri in Chitrakoot. In their eleventh year of exile, they moved to the jungles of Panchvati. One day she saw a buck with golden skin. Sita had given up all her jewellery before coming into exile. A desire to wear clothes made out of its golden skin washed over her. In a moment of weakness, she requested Rama to hunt it down. This desire was going to cause her a lot of pain. The buck was a planted distraction by Ravana to lure Rama away.
Ravana came to the hut disguised as a Sage. He asked Sita for some food. According to the traditions it was sinful to decline such a request. She brought whatever food she had from her hut. Ravana insisted that Sita must come outside and give him the food. Sita was afraid of insulting a sage so she stepped outside. Ravana took advantage of the opportunity and kidnapped her.
Ravana kept Sita in his beautiful garden named Ashok Vatika. He wanted her to enjoy the beauty of Lanka. Though she was his prisoner, he also wanted to impress Sita. He had given her a year to decide whether she would marry Ravana or not.
After the defeat of Ravana, Sita and Rama went back to Ayodhya. When common men came to know about the capturing of Sita, they started degrading her through rumours. They could not accept a queen who had lived a year away from her husband. Sita decided to leave the state and live the rest of her life in sage Valmiki’s ashram. Here she gave birth to the twins Luv and Kush. Years later Luv and Kush were captured by Rama who did not know their real identity. Sita came to their rescue and introduced Rama to his children.
She had raised the children well and now it was Rama’s turn to do his fatherly duties. She had achieved everything and had no more reasons to live. She prays to mother earth to take her back from where she came. The earth splits open and Sita peacefully becomes one with the earth again.
An ideal daughter, an ideal wife, an ideal mother, Sita is the idea of a perfect woman. Throughout her journey, Sita faced the problems that women will face in years to come. Be it domination of men or be it derogatory social norms. Sita lives as a symbol of hope for women going through dark times, a hope that they can make it through this darkness all on their own.