After killing Ravana, Rama returned to Ayodhya with Sita and Lakshmana. His
coronation took place in Ayodhya. Sita became his queen. They were happy for sometime,
ruling over the kingdom. But their happiness was short-lived. Sita had after a long time
become pregnant. She developed the desire to give some gifts to the wives of sages. She
told Rama of her desire. Rama laughed and said, "Sita, was it not enough that you
stayed with the wives of the rishis during our sojourn in the forest? Do you wish for the
forest-life again?" Sita smilingly replied, "At that time I was also the wife of
a forest dweller and was empty-handed. Now I am a queen and can afford to give them
generous gifts." Rama agreed saying, "Very good. Let it be so."
That same night a frightful thing happened.
Rama was resting in his room after supper. A spy, whose duty it was to report to the
king whatever was happening in the city, came to him. He said, "Of course all
subjects praise you. But there is a washer man in this city whose name is Mara. His wife
is Mari. She quarreled with her husband and went away to her parents' house. They,
however, advised her properly and brought her back to the husband's place. The arrogant
and angry washer man snarled, 'I am not Rama to take back a wife who had gone away.' But
you should not think too much of it."
Hearing the spy's words, Rama was stunned. Sending him away, Rama was lost in deep
worry. He said to himself, 'Alas, Sita! Why did you marry me? You seem fated to have only
sorrow. Well, camphor cannot be offered to God without being burnt. Your life is also like
that. As a king I have to conduct myself as a model to my citizens. Though a washer mans,
Mara is also a subject of my kingdom. Therefore it becomes my duty now to renounce you.'
Rama sat for long in a stupefied state. He sent for all his brothers. By then it was
midnight. All of them rushed to him anxiously. Rama narrated to them what the spy had told
him and said he would renounce Sita. They did not agree to that. They said, "Brother,
that our sister-in-law is virtuous is known to the whole world. She underwent even the
fire ordeal in Lanka. She entered the flames and came out unscathed. At that time father
Dasharatha came from Heaven and said, 'Sita is a very virtuous lady. Your dynasty will
prosper by her.' Is the washer man's word more important than father is? Sita is in
advanced pregnancy. However can you think of renouncing her in this condition?"
Rama asked Lakshmana to remain and sent the others back. Then he said, "Brother
Lakshmana, you have never opposed whatever I said in the past. Now also don't do so. I
know that Sita is pure. It is very painful for me to give her up. But it is my duty as a
king to abandon her. Sita has desired to go to the hermitages of rishis. And I have
agreed. So that will be the excuse.
Take her with you and leave her on the banks of the river Ganga."
Lakshmana would never go against his elder brother's words. But his mind was not for
abandoning Sita, so advanced in pregnancy, in the jungle. "All right," he said
to his brother, and departed like a possessed man. By then the night was over and it was