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Valmiki taking sita to his ashram
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."

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.

Sita with kusha and luv in the ashram
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.

All the people in the hermitage loved these two charming boys Kusha and Luv.
Valmiki teaching the twins
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.

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.

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