Sita is the epitome of the ideal Indian woman, as daughter, as wife and as mother. As the wife of Sri Rama, who is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, she is an aspect of His Divine Consort, Lakshmi. But this does not mean she is superhuman, and therefore, an impractical, unachievable role model for us. One of the striking features of Sri Rama Avatara was that the Lord subjected Himself and His wife to human limitations, human obligations, human restrictions and adversities — and still upheld the highest morals and virtues, against all odds. Sita therefore, is an outstanding example of virtue, fortitude, forbearance and inner strength.
Daughter of a great King, Janaka, Sita was married to a prince and was expected to become, in her turn, a great queen. But Divine Will ordained it otherwise, just as it does to other mortals. When her husband voluntarily took up exile from his father’s kingdom, Sita followed him to vanvaas (life in the forest) for fourteen years. She could have chosen to stay behind, but she believed that a wife’s rightful place was beside her husband — a splendid gesture in favour of the sanctity of the marriage bond.
The young couple’s sojourn in the forest was austere, simple and devoid of all luxury — but it was, nevertheless, idyllic and blissfully serene, until the unthinkable happened, and Sita was abducted by the demon, Ravana.
What ensued was utter misery for the couple — Sita’s incarceration, isolation and enforced separation from her husband. Sita survived it, and it was testimony to her fortitude, her patience and her undying faith.
The life of Sri Rama and Sita were divinely ordained to show how exacting and arduous it is to follow the highest moral standards in private life and the highest ethical standards in public life.
A modern woman may not act or react with Sita's forbearance and fortitude — in this sense, she is not what we may call a 'role model'; but she does represent an ideal that we may attempt to emulate, to the best of our ability!
In her love, loyalty, faith, courage, patience and the firm conviction to stand up for what she believed to be right, Sita is a star among women!
April 29 is Sita Navami Day
Dada J P Vaswani is a humanitarian, philosopher, educator, acclaimed writer, powerful orator, messiah of ahimsa, and non-sectarian spiritual leader