MOTHER SITA: HER LIFE IN HER OWN VOICE
Great Goddess & Shakti: Sita Jayanti
Mother Sita was a great goddess and Shakti. As Panditji Jagmohan Persaud said, "Sita knew what She wanted." On January 18, 2012 I had a wonderful opportunity to "become" Mother Sita and "take on" her character at Vishnu Mandir in Minneapolis. Panditji had delivered a great katha on Her on September 21, 2012 for our annual yagna. It inspired me to develop these snippets of Her life in this short katha. September 21st was the day I met panditji through his brother, Ramesh, so this date will always remain special to me.
Let's begin with a little background about Her story. The first time Sita went into the forest She convinced Shri Ram to break tradition and bring Her and Lakshman, his brother, into the forest. Shri Ram's mother, Queen Kaushalya, tried to convince Sita to stay in the palace. Shri Ram thought Sita was too "fragile" to live in the woods. It is true She loved Him and wanted to be with Him, but the actions which happened in the forest brought about Ravaana's destruction. Ravaana was a demon king who was a tyrant and a menace to devotees, priests and sages. He terrorized and killed many people in his kingdom of Lanka. Sita's purpose was being that Shakti/energy which destroyed his power. It is the feminine power within which can overcome our own inner and outer demons.
Sita often convinced Shri Ram to do Her bidding and She convinced others She interacted with to agree to Her goals. As a goddess Sita is the energy, Shakti and consort of Shri Ram. Goddeses are powerful, very active, not wallflowers and are hardly submissive generally. All goddesses in Hinduism can be understood by realizing that they are part of the Shakta philosophy or action principle in the world. Mother Sita is no different in this regard.
When She went into the forest the second time, it was not Her choice. It was the hearsay of the people which motivated Shri Ram, according to the Valmiki Ramayan, to abandon Sita to the woods where she met Valmiki who brought Her to his ashram. Shri Ram knew Sita had been faithful to Him. Her twin sons were born in the ashram.
Her life was complicated and She lived as a single parent, without Shri Ram, at the time She was at the ashram. She had been abducted, earlier in the Ramayan, by Ravaana and was emotionally abused by him. All women who have had this experience know what She went through at Lanka.
Unfortunately worldwide women are not treated as the Divine Shakti they are. We all must do what we can to make their lives better. Support women's shelters, women's education and social services. Support them in leadership roles, too. More women are needed on boards and as Masters of Ceremonies. Vote for them to assume these roles. Unfortunately, I have seen women who are more qualified for these positions who do not get on to these boards or are chosen to lead ceremonies. Men need to talk to other men about treating their wives and partners as the Divine Shakti they are. Men should never abuse their wives using violence or emotional abuse. Abuse no more!
I dedicate this katha to my dear friend, Panditji Jagmohan Persaud. It was one of the most memorable and inspiring days of my life when I presented this katha on Mother Sita.
MOTHER SITA KATHA
I first appeared in a field where my father, King Janaka, found me. My name means "furrow." I am Mother Sita.
There are many wonderful stories of my youth. I will tell you two stories I love the most.
My father had a great philosophic congress--brahmayagna--where the great Rishka, wise woman, named Gargi asked great, challenging questions on the atman. She was considered one of the great sages of the age. None but Sage Yajnavalkya could answer her questions. Who is the greater sage--the one who asks the questions or the one who answers them?
I remember how Sage Parashurama visited my father at the palace. He transported this huge bow to the royal hall. I started to play with it and lift it. The sage was so surprised. He said, "My dear king, only a great, strong person can wed a girl of such capacity. As you know only an Avatar can lift the Bow of Shiva."
Many years later, I saw a handsome, young man in the garden. People tell me that his name was Shri Ram. He was with his brother, Lakshman. He smiled at me and I smiled at him. I prayed to Goddess Parvati for a husband and She came out the murti. She said, "Sita, your prayers have been answered." The next day, at the ceremony to choose my own husband, many princes tried and failed to lift and string the bow. Then I saw the young man I saw in the garden. He lifted it, strung it and broke the Bow of Shiva, like a matchstick. We were married!
When I first went into the forest, Shri Ram did not think I could handle being in the woods. I did love Him; it is true. There was another reason, though, I went into the woods. Ravaana, the evil king, had to be defeated. It was the events in the forest which brought about his destruction.
The second time I went into the forest, I saw tigers, rhinos, wild boars and other creatures--even some demons! Then I saw an eldery sage named Valmiki who brought me to his ashram where my twin sons were born. The work was hard and demanding in the forest.
Fourteen years later, Valmiki brought my sons, Luv and Kush, to Shri Ram. They told the story of how we lived in the forest. Finally, I appeared to prove my innocence. Shri Ram knew I had been faithful to him. It was the hearsay of the people which brought me out into the forest again. None of them questioned the faithfulness of Shri Ram. I knew the truth and I was full of tears as I faced the crowd. I said, "If I have only been faithful to Shri Ram, may my Mother Earth, Bhumi, come and deliver me." All of a sudden the Earth opened like an earthquake, like a zipper. My mother appeared with her snakes--nagas--and creatures. She said, "My child, this world is not worthy of you." My sons got ahold of my leg and held on to the grass, trying to follow me. They could not. The grass today is called Kusha grass, which is used in Ayurvedic Medicine. Thus, I went with my mother, Bhumi, into the Earth. I came from the Earth and to the Earth I returned.
Many years later, in a Divine Realm, I saw Him, Shri Ram. He came to me. Then I said, "Now I know you will always be my husband!"
JAI SHRI SITA RAM! JAI SHRI PANDIT JAGMOHAN!