Not far from that part of the forest where Sita lay down
was the hermitage of the sage Valmiki. The sage had come to the forest to gather flowers, leaves and
twigs of the holy fig tree for his worship. He saw Sita
lying there. He was surprised
at a lone woman sleeping there and approached her. Just then Sita also woke up.
Seeing a rishi standing so near, she was afraid. Suddenly she sat up. Valmiki
asked her, "Mother, who are you? You have the looks of a royal princess.
Why are you alone in the forest? Anyway, do not be afraid. I
am sage Valmiki. My hermitage is very near, I have come to collect twigs."
|VALMIKI TAKING SITA TO
Sita had heard of Valmiki and his story. Seeing him now, she regained a little
courage. She got up and prostrated before him. She narrated
to him her whole story, punctuated by tears. Valmiki was deeply moved. He
said, "Don't be
afraid, my child. I shall look after you as my own daughter. Come,
let us go to my hermitage." Sita followed him to his hermitage.
Valmiki made arrangements for Sita's comfort. A beautiful hut was got ready for
her. The wives of sages became her companions. They would help her bathe, comb
her hair and set flowers in it. Among the roots and tubers they had collected
for food, they selected the best ones and gave them to Sita. Valmiki looked her
up every morning and evening and enquired about her welfare. Within a few days
Sita mingled with the residents of the ashram as one of them.
Sometime elapsed and on an auspicious day Sita gave birth
to twin sons. Ten days
after the birth of a child, the naming ceremony has to take pace. Valmiki himself
sat as the priest and conducted the ritual and the children
were named Kusha and Luv. The twins grew up to be handsome little boys like the moon in the bright
half of the month.
|SITA WITH KUSHA AND LUV IN THE ASHRAM
All the people in the hermitage loved these two charming boys Kusha and Luv.
Some one or the other would always be taking up the babies and playing with them.
They would laugh if the children laughed. If the children shouted, they too would
shout. Especially the sage Valmiki loved them very much. He would play with them;
put them on his lap and sing lullabies; lift them up and make them dance. He
would even forget that it was getting late for his rites and worship. He wanted
that Sita should not feel sad that her children had missed the happiness of the
palace. He saw to it that the children grew up in happy environs. This gave great
joy to Sita.
|VALMIKI TEACHING KUSHA AND LUV
Kusha and Luv grew up and played with other boys. After all they were princes.
They were very brave. They dragged hither and thither the lion cub, which was
in the hermitage. They would tie the monkey to the cub's tail and clap their
hands in joy. They would make a kitten sit on the back of a tiger and make the
tiger run. If anybody seeing this tried to discipline them, they would run and
hide behind sage Valmiki. They made fun of the sages also. Seeing their mischief,
Sita would scold them. Valmiki would make both the children
sit on his lap and he would teach them songs of prayer. Hearing the children lisp those prayers
in a lovely way, both Valmiki and Sita would feel immensely happy.