|February 20, 1998 |
Sage Vishvamitra asked King Dashrath for the help of his son, Lord Rama, to protect his aashrama from the demons Subahu and Marich while he performed a yagnya. Lord Rama and Lakshman killed Marich's mother, the demoness Tataka, and Subahu. After accomplishing this task, on the way back to Ayodhya, Vishvamitra took the brothers to the kingdom of King Janak in Mithila. There, King Janak revealed that his daughter, Sitaji, would be wed to whoever was able to string the powerful bow of Lord Shiva. Sitaji had been found in a case in the earth by King Janak. When Lord Rama attempted to string the bow, it snapped in two, and thus Lord Rama's marriage to Sitaji was announced. 12 years later, when Lord Rama was to be enthroned, Kaikeyi's maid, the humbacked Manthara, poisoned Kaikeyi's mind to instead enthrone her son, Bharat, and send Lord Rama into exile for 14 years. Kaikeyi had earlier received two boons from King Dashrath when she helped him gain victory in a war. During the exile, the demon Ravan kidnaped Sitaji. With the help of Lakshman, Hanuman, Sugriv, Vibhishan, and others, Lord Rama defeated Ravan and rescued Sitaji. At that time, to prove her purity, Sitaji passed the "fire test." All returned to Ayodhya, and Lord Rama was crowned king. But during this Rama-raajya, it was advised that some criticized Lord Rama for accepting Sitaji after staying with Ravan for so long. Lord Rama thus parted with Sitaji, who was pregnant at the time. Lakshman took her to the aashrama of Sage Valmiki, and she soon gave birth to twins, Lav and Kush. In Ayodhya, Lord Rama carried out the duties as a king while keeping a golden statue of Sitaji. Lord Rama later encountered Lav and Kush, and invited Sitaji to the ashvamedha yagnya ritual. Sitaji again proved her purity as she re-entered the earth.