In the RAMAYANA Sita is the wife of RAMA. Sita means “furrow,” and it is said that she was not born to her father Janaka, but was ploughed up by him during a sacrificial rite to gain progeny. Sita was won by Rama in a contest by bending SHIVA’s bow.
   Sita is considered the model for wifely fidel-ity and purity in India (though modern Indian women have begun to rebel against this model). In the epic, she was kidnapped by the demon king Ravana and taken to Lanka. Because of a curse he was unable to violate her, and she refused his advances. Her husband fought successfully for her freedom. However, he doubted that she had remained faithful and cruelly rejected her, saying he had only fought against Ravana to clear his name.
   To clear her name, Sita underwent a “trial by fire” (agnipravesha), which she survived unscathed. Several vernacular versions of the Ramayana indicate that the real Sita never actually went into the fire, sending a substitute instead; in fact, in these versions she was not even really kidnapped, but had only been in hiding. These versions seem to show a later discomfort with the original SANSKRIT story.
   After her trial by fire, Sita was then accepted by Rama, until people once more began to chal-lenge her faithfulness and Rama asked Lakshmana to take her away to the forest, in exile once more. He did not know that she was pregnant with his two sons, Kusha and Lava. She gave birth to her sons in the ASHRAM of the very VALMIKI who is cited as the author of the epic.
   On one occasion Rama initiated a HORSE SAC-RIFICE; in that ritual, a horse is allowed to roam at will for a year, followed by the king’s soldiers. Whatever land the horse covers becomes part of the ruler’s kingdom. Kusha and Lava as it hap-pens captured the king’s horse and defeated the king’s army when it arrived, thus defeating, in an act of poetic justice, their father. When Rama heard from VALMIKI that these were his own sons he asked that they be taken to court, where they sang the Ramayana story. He then called for Sita to return and declared her innocence in open court. Sita, however, refused to return and asked Mother Earth, from which she had been born, to take her back, whereupon she disappeared.
   Further reading: Jacqueline Suthren Hirst and Lyn Thomas, eds., Playing for Real: Hindu Role Models, Religion and Gender (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2004); C. Rajagopalachari, Ramayana (Bombay: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1972); Paula Richman, ed., Many Ramayanas: The Diversity of Narrative Tradition in South Asia (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991); Paula Richman, ed., Questioning Ramayanas: A South Asian Tradition (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sita — redirects here. For other uses, see Sita (disambiguation). Rama with Sita on the throne surrounded by other deities Sita (also spelled Seeta or Seetha) (Sanskrit: सीता, Sītā , listen …   Wikipedia

  • SITA — Création 1919 Dates clés 2008, introduction en bourse de la société Mère de SITA dans le cadre de la fusion de SUEZ et Gaz de France Forme juridique société anonyme …   Wikipédia en Français

  • sită — SÍTĂ, site, s.f. Ţesătură de fire metalice sau textile ori tablă perforată, cu ochiuri de dimensiuni foarte mici, prinsă pe un cadru şi folosită la separarea prin cernere a materialelor granuloase sau pulverulente. ♦ spec. Obiect de gospodărie… …   Dicționar Român

  • Sita — bezeichnet Sita (Religion) ist in der Hindumythologie die Frau von Rama nach ihr wurde ein Asteroid benannt, siehe (244) Sita. nach ihr wurde ein kleiner Einschlagkrater auf der Rückseite des Erdmondes bezeichnet, siehe Sita (Mondkrater). Sita… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • SITA — is a multinational information technology company specialising in providing IT and telecommunication services to the aviation industry. Known originally as Société Internationale de Télécommunications Aéronautiques , the company no longer uses… …   Wikipedia

  • SITA — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda SITA (acrónimo de Société Internationale de Télécommunications Aéronautiques) es una empresa internacional de telecomunicaciones que provee servicios tecnológicos a empresas de la industria aeronáutica. SITA se fundó …   Wikipedia Español

  • SITA — S.C. (Société Internationale de Télécommunication Aéronautique) ist eine 1949 in Belgien gegründete Genossenschaft, die in den Bereichen Luftfahrt, Touristik und Logistik Datenverarbeitungs und Kommunikationsdienste anbietet. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Sitâ — Sītā Pour les articles homonymes, voir Sita. La princesse Sītā dans une version dansée javanaise du Ramayana Dans le Sanatana dharma (सनातन धर्म) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Sitā — Sītā Pour les articles homonymes, voir Sita. La princesse Sītā dans une version dansée javanaise du Ramayana Dans le Sanatana dharma (सनातन धर्म) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Sîtâ — Sītā Pour les articles homonymes, voir Sita. La princesse Sītā dans une version dansée javanaise du Ramayana Dans le Sanatana dharma (सनातन धर्म) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • şiţă — ŞÍŢĂ, şiţe, s.f. Bucată subţire de lemn asemănătoare cu şindrila, dar mai scurtă decât aceasta, folosită pentru căptuşirea şi acoperirea caselor ţărăneşti, a cabanelor etc.; p. ext. şindrilă. – Din scr. štica. Trimis de LauraGellner, 30.04.2004.… …   Dicționar Român

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.