Lakshmana brought his chariot and stationed it at the door of Sita's
palace. Sita had just then got up and was at her prayers. "Why Lakshmana, you have
come so early!" she said. Lakshmana in reply asked, "Mother, why did you desire
to go to the hermitages?"
Sita did not understand him fully. She felt very happy that her desire was being
fulfilled. She thought, 'How much Rama loves me! How good he is! How quickly he fulfills
my wishes!' Her joy and elation were boundless. To take with her she made a package of
turmeric powder, vermilion, bangles, blouses, sarees and and other auspicious articles to
be presented to the wives of sages. Thus Sita and Lakshmana started.
After a while the cl~ariot reached the bank of the Ganga. Beyond the river were the
hermitages. Lakshmana stopped his chariot and unyoking the horses, tied them elsewhere.
With the help of boatmen both of them crossed the river. Then they began to walk. The
Sun's heat was becoming more and more severe. Lakshmana was tired carrying the heavy
package Sita had brought. The delicate Sita had to walk on stones and thorns, and her feet
When they were in the middle of the jungle, Lakshmana said, "Mother, I am a
sinner, a cheat. I have brought you here to leave you in the forest. It seems some washer
man said something bad about you. So Rama has ordered me to abandon you in the jungle. You
are the very peesonification of virtue; but I have to perform this wicked deed of leaving
you in the wilderness. You must pardon me."
As Sita heard his words, her eyes became dark. As a banana stem laden with fruit falls
down to the ground in a storm, Sita collapsed unconscious. Seeing that, Lakshmana's mind
was in turmoil. With fearful eyes he lifted his hands to the sky in supplication saying,
"God, what suffering have you ordained for Sita who is like my mother! You only must
help her." When Sita regained consciousness she said, "My boy Lakshmana, all
this is the result of my sins. None else is responsible for this. When the all-merciful
Rama renounces me, who else can help? You have only done his bidding. I must also obey
Rama's behest. You may now go back. Convey my salutations to everyone in Ayodhya."
Still weeping, Lakshmana said, "Mother, I shall return" and went back to