The great Indian epic, the Ramayana written by Maharishi Valmiki talks extensively about Lord Rama & his consort Maa Sita. Valmikiji very delicately defined the noble character of Maa Sita, her sincerity, devotion & sacrifice which made her an ideal woman. Her steadfastness to her beliefs was remarkable even though her life was full of pathos, agony and suffering. It was at Sita Marhi where she descended into the lap of Mother Earth.

The Mythology

       Maryada Purshottam Ram, the “Treta Yug” incarnation of Lord Vishnu is worshipped as an ideal of model conduct and character His consort, Sita is worshipped as an ideal of chastity and virtue. Circumstances, ordained by the Almighty, compelled Sita to return to the lap of her Mother Earth when people questioned her chastity. Sitamarhi is the place where she entered into the earth. Marriage of Ram-Sita, and the consequent separation was pre-determined. When Narad Muni had to undergo humiliation at the ‘Swayamavar’ of Vishwamohini, he had cursed Lord Vishnu that he too would have to experience the agony of separation from his beloved in ‘Treta Yug‘. Thus Lord Ram could not enjoy the company of Sita. The couple had to spend 14 years in exile and it was then that Sita was kidnapped by Ravana, king of Lanka. She had to spend a long time in the confinement of Ravana. Later, when Ravana was killed by Lord Ram and Sita was taken to Ayodhya , people questioned her purity as she had spent a long time in Ravana’s confinement. Lord Ram who was the model of ideal conduct honoured the verdict of the people and sent Sita to exile once again, where the twins Luv & Kush were born. Meanwhile in Ayodhya , Lord Ram conducted the Ashwamedha Yajna, and the horse of the Yagna was held by Luv and Kush who had been educated and trained as great warriors by Rishi Valmiki . When Lord Ram came face to face with the twins who challenged him to a duel, Rishi Valmiki intervened and told Ram that Luv & Kush were his sons, and that Sita was living in his Ashram. He asked Ram to take Sita back to Ayodhya and perform the Ashwamedh Yagna by sitting beside his wife. Ram told Valmiki that he would take Sita back only if she re-established her purity before the people of Ayodhya. Sita could not bear the insult anymore and prayed to Mother Earth to give shelter to her. Mother Earth erupted and Sita entered into it. Lord Ram was stunned to see this unexpected development and tried to stop Sita from entering the earth but could catch her hair only. This story of Sita’s second exile is emotionally narrated by Valmiki in his Ramayana and then by Kalidas in “Raghuvansham” besides Radheshyam in his Ramayana.

Sitamarhi - Some Evidence

       There are two places known as Sitamarhi one where Sita was found by Raja Janak while ploughing the fields in Bihar, and the other where Sita returned to the lap of Mother Earth near Allahabad where stands the Ashram of Rishi Valmiki on the holy banks of the Ganga. The epic Ramayana was authored by Valmiki, who made his Ashram near this spot. Sita was not born (Ajanma) she was found by Raja Janak in an earthen pitcher while ploughing a field hence she is known as the daughter of the earth. Swami Jiterndranand Tirth , a saint from Rishikesh while travelling on foot along the holy Ganga in 1991 in search of God and self realisation, experienced something unique and great after covering around 900 kms. This was a small sleepy village, known as ‘Sitamarhi’. The locals believed that Sita had descended into the earth at this very place, situated next to Valmiki Ashram , a little distance away from the Ganga. Swamiji saw a small valley with a mound in the middle surrounded by four small hillocks. He was surprised to see that the earthen mound could not be washed away though a water stream had been flowing regularly at the place for centuries together. Swamiji decided to break his journey and stay there. He cleansed a portion of that mound and started meditating there. He felt some vibrations and realized the bliss of Sita. Then he found a typical grass grown on the slope of the hillocks which was worshipped by the local womanfolk as the sacred hair of Maa Sita.

       There are three factors which prove that this was indeed the place where Sitaji had descended into the earth.

  1. Sita was abandoned near Valmiki Ashram during her exile, and the Ashram stands in Sitamarhi.
  2. It was situated on the banks of the holy Ganga as described in the epic Ramayana and could be reached on a chariot from Ayodhya in a day. Valmiki has explained the geographical position of his ashram near the confluence of Tamsa and Ganga.
  3. The author of Ram Charit Manas , Goswami Tulsidas had visited this place while travelling from Varanasi (Kashi ) to Allahabad (Prayag) and stayed for three days. He described the location of Sitamarhi between Baripur and Digpur. The two villages still exist and testify the location. He explained the location in his Kavitawali Uttarkand couplet 138.
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