Valmiki Ramayana is an epic of poetic excellence, scripted by sage Valmiki. Rama slew Ravana, an embodiment of ego. Rama enters Lanka with his troops accompanied by Vibishna, brother of Ravana. Rama and Sita are going to meet for the first time after Ravana abducted Sita. Hanuman told Rama that Sita is grief stricken and longing to see Rama. Rama tells Vibishna “Bring here Sita, a princess of Videha territory, after she had bathed her head, has been anointed with heavenly cosmetics and adorned with celestial jewels. Let there be no delay.” Sita came in a palanquin and her arrival was announced to Rama. Rama said “Let Sita duly seek my presence soon”. The warriors of Sugriva’s army was so elated on seeing Sita and broke into joy. There was a huge uproar from them. Sita’s beauty was so stunning. Vibishna started dispersing the monkey warriors. Seeing them dispersed, Rama was upset and addressed Vibishna thus: “Why you are dispersing them away. They are my own people. Neither apartments no costumes nor a protective wall nor royal honours constitute a veil for a woman. Her character alone is her shield. The appearance of a woman in public is not condemned in times of adversity, in straits, in conflicts, during selection of a husband, at a sacrificial performance or at the nuptial ceremony. Sita is in distress and beset with difficulty. Hence, there is no objection to her appearing in public, particularly in my presence. Therefore, leaving the palanquin, let Sita seek my presence on foot alone. Let these monkeys have a look at the princess of Videha kingdom.”

Now, Vibishna escorts Sita on foot and Sita stood before Rama, her eyes looking at the ground. Since Sita lived in the custody of Ravana, Rama disagreed to take her straightaway. Rama addresses Sita thus. “The battle was won to vindicate my good conduct and wipe off the defamation. Suspicion has arisen with regard to your character, you are extremely disagreeable to me. Go wherever you like. No more purpose of mine remains to be served by you. While boasting my lineage, how can I accept you again who were squeezed into the arms of Ravana. There is no more attachment for you in my heart.”

Deeply upset by Rama’s words, Sita requests Lakshmana, brother of Rama to light a pyre. Sita speaks to Lakshmana “I will enter the fire, which is the only course appropriate for me, renounced as I am in a public gathering by my husband, who is no longer pleased with my virtues.” Against the wishes of Rama, Lakshmana made the fire as requested by Sita. After paying obeisance to Rama, Sita enters the blazing fire by saying thus: “As my heart never turns away from Sri Rama, so may the god of fire, the witness of the world protect me from all sides. Since Sri Rama takes me to be corrupt, though of unimpeachable conduct, let the god of fire, the witness of the world, under such circumstances, protect me from all sides. In as much as I have never been unfaithful in action, thought and speech to Sri Rama, the knower of the secrets of all virtues, let the god of fire in that case afford protection to me.” This was witnessed by the whole universe. Rama’s eyes were filled with tears. All the gods and goddesses arrived at the scene. The god of fire Agni came out of fire with Sita and told Rama “Here is your spouse Sita. No sins exist in her. The blessed lady whose conduct has been excellent has never been unfaithful to you either by word or mind or even by glance.” Rama then reunited with Sita with tears flowing down from their eyes.

Further Readings:

Incarnations of Vishnu

Atma Bodha

Shiva in conversation with Shakti

Bhagavad Gita