Why did Sita not complain about being abandoned by Rama


For centuries, Rama has had the bad rap for having abandoned Sita when she was pregnant.  Many consider this so unredeemable, they can’t accept Rama as divine incarnate or accept any good points of Rama purely for this one negative point.


BUT, have people really explored

1) Why Sita never complained about being abandoned ?

2) Have they ever explored why Rama, who stood by some of the most vilified women of his time, could not stand by his own Sita ?

3) Have all the detractors of Rama asked themselves, what would they do if paternity of their children was in doubt ?

4) Silence isn’t always “Golden”.  Why did Sita stayed silent at wrong times of her life?
5) May be Rama was as 'human' as he claimed and not the 'God' we have made him out to be !




Sita does not complain !

Ramayan was written in Sita’s presence, in the ashram of Valmiki at a time when Luv and Kush were growing up.  If Sita wanted to vilify Rama, she could have.  Valmiki rishi was the author and was inspired by the stories Sita told him about her life.  Rama wasn’t there to argue his case.  Rama didn’t even know about the Ramayan being written until it was sung in his presence during the Ashwamedha yagna.


So why did Sita accept her abandonment so meekly ?  Why didn't she argue against it ?  Sita was no wall flower and she was outspoken at other times in her life. So why be silent now ?

Sita was a pragmatic person.  She knew the rules by which society worked and knew the no matter how much she offered to prove her innocence, no matter how many times she went through fire, people would never believe her – at least not while she was alive. 


Sita also knew that if you transgress society's rules, society will punish you.  It doesn’t matter who you are.  Even the most powerful of people can’t transgress without worrying about the consequences of stepping outside society’s rules – the “Lakshman rekha” drawn in the sand.  Different societies draw different rekhas for different people at different times.  But, there are always some rekhas – no matter how faint or how unclear. 


At some level, Sita accepted that her abduction and subsequent imprisonment, was of her own making.  Sita accepted full responsibility for leaving herself vulnerable to abduction.  At no point in the original Ramayan does she blame Rama or Lakshman for her predicament. 


At the outset, when Sita wanted the golden deer, Rama warned his dearest that in all probability, this deer was a demon in disguise.  Rama reasoned with Sita that there were no golden deers in nature.  Demons often deceived people by using such deceptions.  Rama also pointed out that having killed Khar and Dushan’s army, they were especially vulnerable to attacks by various means – including deception.  Rama also told Sita that if something was “too good to be true”, it probably was “too good to be true !”  Fakes often are. 


But, Sita was adamant that she wanted that particular deer.  If it was a demon, it was Rama’s responsibility to kill it and make the forest safe for others.  If it was real, it would provide endless pleasure as a pet for her. 


Rama, unable to persuade Sita, went to get the golden deer, warning Lakshman that they were possibly being ensnared and he should protect Sita at all costs.  Having sent Rama to chase a mirage, Sita was already exposed to danger. 

When the golden-deer called out to Lakshman to help, Sita was desperately worried for her beloved Rama and wanted Lakshman to rescue him.  Sita refused to listen to all reasonable, logical, practical arguments of Lakshman and insisted he go to help Rama.  When reason failed, she used melodrama to inspire him to go.  She accused Lakshman of being in league with Kaikeyi and Bharat and plot to have Rama killed in the forest and Sita carried away, so that Bharat and the other two sons of Sumitra can enjoy the kingdom of Koshal in peace.  When even this failed, Sita used the most deadly weapon in her arsenal – she accused Lakshman of secretly wanting Sita as his bride !  She doubted Lakshman’s loyalty to his brother and accused him of conspiring to kill Rama so that he can have carnal relationship with her !  Sita, like so many divas after her, threatened to kill herself rather than live without her Rama or be violated by Lakshman !!


Sita had sent away her own protector – Lakshman – at a crucial time when she was in deadly danger in the jungle.  Not by simply telling him to go and help Rama, but blaming Lakshman of working in concert with Kaikeyi and Bharat (!!!) to ruin Rama’s life.  She cast aspirations on Lakshman’s loyalty to Rama and Sita and accused him to wishing Rama dead so as to marry her !  The dialogue between Sita and Lakshman at that point in Ramayan is most ill advised.  Just reading it makes you wonder how twisted someone’s thinking can be.  If it is this difficult to read, how much more difficult must it have been for Lakshman to hear it, and how much more painful for Sita to remember it and dictate it to Valmiki rishi for the writing of Ramayan ?  Remember, there was only one person who had any input into Ramayan at that point – Sita. 




Why did Rama not protect Sita ?

Rama stood by so many people, especially women, who were vilified by others in the society – for example Ahalya, Tara and Mandodari.  He always picked the under-dog and helped them get power – for example, Sugriva and Vibhishan.  Why didn’t he help Sita when she was being attacked by society ?


Society is cruel.  It often deifies you if you help “others”, but vilifies you if you help “your own”.  This is one of the reasons why Gandhiji and Vallabh-bhai Patel kept their family at an arms length when they were in power.  Rama knew if he protected Sita, society would smirk and claim that Rama was doing this simply because it was his wife, and not because she was an innocent victim of rumours. 


Society is cruel.  Rama and Sita, having been raised as royals, knew what was expected of them in public life.  They knew they had to live lives that were whiter than white.  (read my earlier article on this)




Lets get PERSONAL !

What would YOU do if the paternity / maternity of your child was under question ?  Would we be so accepting as we would want Rama to be of Sita ? 
Really, think this through and put YOURSELF in Rama's shoes.


Clear, undoubted paternity / maternity of children is key to organised society.  If this is questioned, at anytime, society is unsure as to how to deal with it.  Like any complex organisation, whatever society is unsure of, it rejects that summarily !  There is no mercy. 


Key reason for this is inheritance. 

Inheritance of money, land, power and prestige (which is linked to money, land and power !)  If ever inheritance is in question, people will exploit it to the hilt to claim whatever inheritance they can for themselves.  In case of Rama and Sita, the inheritance was that of a nation.  It was no small matter.  Civil war could ensue if paternity of royal princes was under question.  Not just than, but even now !  The four sons of Dashrath may have had usually loyal, filial relationship where they did not want a civil war for the throne, but, royal princes in general are fairly blood thirsty and are willing to kill for land and power. 


Sita knew this.  She was raised as a princess and lived in the palaces of Mithila and Koshal.  Sita was no “babe in the woods”, she was a princess with through knowledge of palace politics.  She had first hand experience of how a queen can manipulate a king to banish a popular princes to the jungles for 14 long years.  She had known how Sugrive and Vibhishan had allied with Rama to sit smugly on thrones soaked in their own brothers’ blood.  Sita knew what chaos would follow if her children – princes of the Solar Dynasty  – were born with the question of paternity unresolved in the minds of the people.


Countless princes and kings have preferred to keep silent rather than voice their fears about the paternity of their children.  Even if they suspect one or two children may have suspect paternity, they have kept silence rather than cast aspirations on ALL their children’s paternity by publically voicing their fears.  This is not unique to India – its universally human.  If ever anyone wants to throw succession (royal or otherwise) into question, they just have to spread a rumour that the paternity of the heir(s) is in doubt.  All hell breaks loose when such rumours are spread and get credence by even a minority accepting them to be credible.  Just as an example, Genghis Khan passed over his first two sons and handed the Mongol empire to his third son because the paternity of the eldest was in serious doubt.  King Henry VIII of England killed and divorced several wives to establish an untainted dynasty.  There are countless such examples around the world.


This is politics of real life.  No one is exempt from it.  Neither Rama, nor Sita.




Silence is not always “golden”. 

Sita should have stayed silent and obeyed Rama and stayed with Kaushalya when Rama was exiled.  Lakshman’s wife Urmila obeyed her husband and had no problems later in life. 

Sita should have silent when Rama told her the deer was a clever fake. 

Sita should have stayed silent when Lakshman told her the 'voice of distress' was fake.

Sita should have spoken up for herself when Rama abandoned her when she was pregnant. 


Sita spoke and stayed silent at the wrong times.


Had Sita spoken up and demanded justice when she was abandoned, she would have had her innocence confirmed by Rama or Vashishtha.  She had plenty of eye-witnesses to the fire incidence at Lanka to call on and Rama would not have denied her an opportunity to speak up – had she asked for it.  But Sita stayed silent at the wrong time. 


Sita once again stayed silent when Rama asked her to prove herself again at the yagna.  By preferring to walk away in silent protest, Sita did a major injustice to herself and Indian women for all times.  Ever since that day, like Sita, Hindu women are expected to suffer in silence !  For sake of peace and social cohesion, women are suppose to emulate Sita and suffer in silence.  



Rama was more 'human' than we give him credit for.
As God incarnate, why doesn't Rama believe in Sita's innocence?
Why doesn't he spare her the Agni snan outside Lanka?
Why doesn't he avoid the banishment of his wife?
Why doesn't he accept her as she is?
Why does he ask for Agni Pariksha - trial by fire?


Of all the Avatars of Vishnu, Rama is the most human.  Time and again, throughout Ramayan, Rama INSISTS he is human and not God.  During the Agni Snan of Sita, sages and heavenly Gods come to him and plead with him that he is GOD incarnate.  But Rama asserts that he is the son of Dashrath, and very much a human.  It is easier to understand Rama's behaviour if we look at him as a human and not an all-knowing God.  




Ahalya was violated by Indra..

Sita was violated by Ravan.

Ahalya was rescued in an Ashram.

Sita’s innocence was proved at an Imperial yagna.

It is ironic that prince Rama rehabilitated Ahalya, a respected rishi’s wife. 

Sita, the Koshal queen, was rehabilitated in social conscious by Valmiki rishi. 





More reading - My analysis of Ramayan –

Why did sage Valmiki write the story of Rama and Sita

What does the Ramayan say about the society of the time.

How has Ramayan impacted lives of Indians through the centuries.

How does Ramayan continue to impact us today.

Sita, the gentle face of the goddess

Rama, why did he abandon Sita ?

Sita, why did she stay so silent though she was abandoned ?

Some of the reasons why we still adore Rama.

Rama Rajya, can it ever come back ?

Characters of Ramayan 



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