In the previous episode, we had witnessed Bhagawan Rama emerging victorious against Ravana in the marquee battle. This accord is being narrated by Sage Markandeya to Yudishtra as part of the “Rama-Upakhyana-Parva” in the Mahabharata text. It is amazing that the entire Ramayana text finds a place prominently in Mahabharata. The context comes at a point when Sage Markandeya visits Yudishtra and Co. and Yudishtra lamenting that Draupati is unduly suffering because of his mistakes! In order to console Yudishtra, Sage Markandeya explains how Mother Sita had to endure much more suffering during her “Vana-Vaasam” period along with Bhagawan Rama, as compared to Draupati. In this way, we’ve witnessed the entire Ramayana story until the point where Bhagawan Rama wins the war against Ravana and now it is time for Bhagawan Rama to take Mother Sita along with Him to Ayodhya. But does He do this straightaway, or, is there a twist in the story? Let us witness today!
As Hanuman goes and asks Mother Sita to get ready to meet Bhagawan Rama, she is very excited to see her husband victorious! As Mother Sita comes in front of Bhagawan Rama, she wants to hug her husband with all her emotions! However, Bhagawan Rama has other ideas! He openly proclaims thus, “Oh Sita! For the past ten months you’ve been residing at Ravana’s place, didn’t you? Hence, how can I allow you to live with me henceforth? The world would cast a doubt on your chastity and purity! Hence, there are only two options left in front of you – Prove your chastity in front of me to your world and with that you can live with me, or, if you’re not willing to do so, you may feel free to go back to your father’s place and continue living with him henceforth!”
These words stun everyone standing around Bhagawan Rama! Hanuman is completely speechless, and so are Sugriva and Vibhishana! Mother Sita is completely shattered! She is one of the greatest “Pathivratas” in the world and these words from Bhagawan Rama breaks her heart completely! Isn’t this a great insult to womanhood in public? However, Mother Sita composes herself within a few minutes and lets out an open challenge to Agni Bhagawan thus: “Oh Agni Bhagawan! This is a do-or-die test for me here! If it is true that I had not voluntarily or consciously thought about any other person other than Bhagawan Rama as my husband and beloved, you may burn me to death here itself! If it is true that I had even touched Ravana once by choice, please burn me to death here itself! If it is true that I did not come to Lanka voluntarily and if it is true that I was abducted by Ravana, please let Bhagawan Rama realize the truth and accept me as I am!”
As Mother Sita lets out an open challenge, she lights a huge pyre in front of her and jumps into it, with ardent prayers to Agni Bhagawan! Hanuman and the others are stunned to bits! Hanuman is now angry with Bhagawan Rama for the first time ever in his life! How can Bhagawan Rama doubt Mother Sita’s chastity like this, and that too in open public in front of everyone? Doesn’t He even have a heart? Hanuman knows Mother Sita in and out as he has already interacted with her before. Thus, as everyone are anxious and simmering, within just a few seconds, Agni Bhagawan appears in front of everybody! Agni Bhagawan explains thus, “Oh Bhagawan Rama! Your Sita is one of the most purest women that the world has ever seen till today! I will not be able to touch your wife even for a moment, and if at all I do so, I would be the one to be burnt down and not her! You have to accept Mother Sita as she is! She is extremely pure and I assure of it! Hence, Bhagawan Rama! You do not know what you’re doing to her! Moreover, please realize that you are none other than Bhagawan Vishnu Himself! Mother Sita is none other than Goddess Mahalakshmi herself! Both of you have incarnated in this world to establish “Dharma” and to destroy the “Adharma” in the form of Ravana! Hence, you should accept your divine consortium and move on with your incarnation!”
As Agni Bhagawan says thus, tears roll down Bhagawan Rama’s eyes! He immediately accepts Mother Sita and hugs her with Him! With this, all of them are happy once again! Hanuman rejoices at this moment! Mother Sita has passed the “Agni-Pariksha” successfully! So for today, let us celebrate this glorious moment in the life of Bhagawan Rama and Mother Sita and we shall continue this narrative in the next episode as well! Stay tuned! 🙂