Sita is an indispensable part of Indian women psyche, but she is often cited just as an epitome of sacrifice and submissiveness. In fact, for so many who have least understanding of Indic ethos and it’s scriptures, she is frequently misinterpreted, as a symbol of oppression. The agenda behind it is to portray, the Sanatan culture, as highly regressive. This is not just a great injustice to the Sanatan Dharma but also substantially mortifying the character of Sita, who not just manifested courage in her difficult times but also personified wisdom in its truest sense. Therefore, in order to understand Sita flawlessly, one must stop looking her from the lens of western feminism because it stands completely in antagonism to our ideals and principles.
Sita, the daughter of King Janaka can’t be lesser wise than her father. King Janak had secured in his kingdom a big treasure of wisdom, in the form of various Brahama- Jnanai viz. Seer Ashtavakra, Sage Yagnavalkya etc. His court hosted Brahma-Sabhas frequently, where debates and discussions used to take place regarding Brahman-Jnana. Therefore, Janaka was overwhelmingly under the influence of this metaphysical wisdom, contained prominently in our Vedas or the Upanishdas, that, he followed his Dharma of Kingship with utmost detachment. He was living this ultimate wisdom by practicing it in his life. This profound tradition was an integral facet of the Mithila Kingdom and it was in this atmosphere, Sita grew up. Hence, Sita carried this legacy of her father, which made indelible influence on her disposition, which she reflects at various occasions in her life.
Sita was the incarnation of Devi Lakshmi, as Ram being of Lord Vishnu. They had come into this mortal form to set some ideals for all of us. Ram lived the life of Maryada Purshottam, Sita too proved herself as a quintessential woman in all aspects, needed to be emulated in the ages to come. She conducted herself in the manner that she became a symbol of boldness alongside grace and humility. She demonstrated it numerous times by being assertive yet affable. Her decision to accompany her husband in the forest bears testimony to it. It was her grit and determination which made her strong enough to take such decision. This is further illustrated while she lives in the custody of Ravan. The resoluteness and strength of character that she displayed during that tumultuous period is unparalleled. This elevates her stature at a very high pedestal and teaches all women folks a great lesson to withstand all challenges with temerity and audacity.
The highest exhibition of her intellect is seen when she accepts her banishment willfully so that Lord Rama fulfills his Raj Dharma ably. It happened because she was well aware of the duties of a true ruler as per Dharma. She preferred to leave for the forest rather being a hindrance in the path of her husband’s Royal duty. The character of Sita here doesn’t need our pity or sympathy because she knew what to do next and so she decided to go directly to the hermitage of Rishi Valmiki to give accomplished upbringing to her sons. It was her conviction, which made her hard like a rock, while rearing the children. The wisdom that she carried from her father as well her husband, became the core of the values she inculcated in both the sons. By imparting best knowledge to her children, she proved her mettle of being the greatest teacher in the form of a mother. In this way she posits herself as the biggest role model for women, who are the first Gurus of their children and how alike Sita, they can become the finest teachers for them.
Devi Sita is henceforth the biggest strength of Lord Rama. She is that Shakti which provides dynamism to the cosmos. Lord Rama, the Purusha and she being the Prakriti. Fundamentally they are one, Shakti is the creative energy which enables Atman to get one with Brahman.
“वेदवेद्ये परे पुंसि जाते दशरथात्मजे ।
वेदः प्राचेतसादासीत् साक्षाद् रामायणात्मना !!”
When the Param Purusha, who is known through the Vedas, was born as Rama, the Vedas themselves took upon the form of Ramayana and were written by Valmiki Maharshi.
Sita is the vigour behind all the vital energies of Lord Rama’s life. She is that immaculate power of devotion which doesn’t get tempted by the attractions of this world. Ravana is the Ego, which Sita challenges wisely.
शक्या लोभयितुं नाहमैश्वर्येण धनेन वा।।
अनन्या राघवेणाहं भास्करेण प्रभा यथा।
“I cannot be lured by your power or wealth. I am inseparable from Raghava like light from the Sun”.
Sita’s awareness never allows the Ego to overpower her, which finally gets annihilated by Rama.
This allegory of Ram and Sita as Purusha and Prakriti is beautifully deleniated by Tulsidas ji too in the following words,
श्रुति सेतु पालक राम तुम्ह जगदीस माया जानकी।
जो सृजति जगु पालति हरति रूख पाइ कृपानिधान की।।
O Rama, the protector of Vedas, is the lord of the Universe and Janakī happens to be His inseparable Maya who is responsible for creation, existence and its disappearance as per His own will.
Thus, all these aforementioned facts regarding Devi Sita suggest explicitly that, we must avoid being highly judgmental regarding her because she is sufficiently competent to prove herself unequivocally. She can’t be understood superficially but what is required is the profundity of thoughts. Sita is to be lived besides being revered.
Dr. Nidhi Mishra