Rama narrated to them what the spy had told him and said
he would renounce Sita.They did not agree to that. They
said, "Brother, that our sister-in-law
is virtuous is known to the whole world. She underwent even
the fire ordeal in Lanka. She entered the flames and came out unscathed. At that time father Dasharatha
came from Heaven and said, 'Sita is a very virtuous lady. Your dynasty will prosper
by her.' Is the washer man's word more important than father is? Sita is in advanced
pregnancy. However can you think of renouncing her in this
Rama asked Lakshmana to remain and sent the others back. Then he
Lakshmana, you have never opposed whatever I said in the past. Now also don't
do so. I know that Sita is pure. It is very painful for me to give her up. But
it is my duty as a king to abandon her. Sita has desired
to go to the hermitages of rishis. And I have agreed. So that will be the excuse. Take her with you and
leave her on the banks of the river Ganga." Lakshmana would never go against
his elder brother's words. But his mind was not for abandoning Sita, so advanced
in pregnancy, in the jungle. "All right," he said to his brother, and
departed like a possessed man. By then the night was over and it was dawn.
Lakshmana brought his chariot and stationed it at the door
of Sita's palace. Sita had just then got up and was at her prayers. "Why
Lakshmana, you have come so early!" she said. Lakshmana in reply asked, "Mother,
why did you desire to go to the hermitages?" Sita did not understand him
She felt very happy that her desire was being fulfilled. She
thought, 'How much Rama loves me! How good he is! How quickly he fulfills my
wishes!' Her joy and elation were boundless. To take with her she made a package
of turmeric powder, vermilion, bangles, blouses, saris and other auspicious articles
to be presented to the wives of sages. Thus Sita and Lakshmana started.
|LAKSHMANA LEAVING TO THE
FOREST WITH SITA
After a while the chariot reached the bank of the Ganga. Beyond the river were
the hermitages. Lakshmana stopped his chariot and unyoking the horses, tied them
elsewhere. With the help of boatmen both of them crossed the river.
began to walk. The Sun's heat was becoming more and more severe. Lakshmana was
tired carrying the heavy package Sita had brought. The delicate Sita had to walk
on stones and thorns, and her feet bled painfully. When
they were in the middle of the jungle, Lakshmana said, "Mother, I am a sinner, a cheat. I have brought
you here to leave you in the forest. It seems some washer man said something
bad about you. So Rama has ordered me to abandon you in the jungle. You
are the very personification of virtue; but I have to perform this wicked deed
of leaving you in the wilderness. You must pardon me."
|SITA ALONE IN THE FOREST
As Sita heard his words, her eyes became dark and she collapsed unconscious.
Seeing that, Lakshmana's mind was in turmoil. When Sita regained consciousness
she said, "Lakshmana, all this is the result of my sins. None else is responsible
for this. When the all merciful Rama renounces me, who else can help? You have
only done his bidding. I must also obey Rama's behest. You
may now go back. Convey my salutations to everyone in Ayodhya." Still weeping, Lakshmana said, "Mother,
I shall return" and went back to Ayodhya.
Sita was utterly alone in a thick forest. She sat beneath a tree and wept loudly.
All the events of her life came back to her mind. She was born the daughter of
King Janaka; she married an exalted person, Rama, and so entered the palace of
Emperor Dasharatha; but what she got, as her share was only scandal, sorrow and
suffering in a forest. As she thought of all this, she felt heaviness in the
head she lay down, and got into a deep slumber.