Sita was utterly alone in a thick forest. She did not know what she
should do now. She sat beneath a tree and wept loudly. All the events of her life came
back to her mind. She was born the daughter of King Janaka;
she married an exalted person, Rama, and so entered the palace of Emperor Dasharatha;
but what she got as her share was only scandal, sorrow and suffering in a forest. As she
thought of all this, she felt a heaviness in the head. She lay down, and got into a deep
Not far from that part of the forest where Sita lay down was the hermitage of the sage
Valmiki. The sage had come to the forest to gather flowers, leaves and twigs of the holy
fig tree for his worship. He saw Sita lying there. He was surprised at a lone woman
sleeping there and approached her. Just then Sita also woke up.
Seeing a rishi standing so near, she was afraid. Suddenly she sat up. Valmiki asked
her, "Mother, who are you? You have the looks of a royal princess. Why are you alone
in the forest? Anyway, do not be afraid. I am sage Valmiki. My hermitage is very near, I
have come to collect twigs."
Sita had heard of Valmiki and his story. Seeing him now, she regained a little courage.
She got up and prostrated before him. She narrated to him her whole story, punctuated by
tears. Valmiki was deeply moved. He said, "Don't be afraid, my child. I shall look
after you as my own daughter. Come, let us go to my hermitage." Sita followed him to
Valmiki made arrangements for Sita's comfort. A beautiful hut was got ready for her.
The wives of sages became her companions. They would help her bathe, comb her hair and set
flowers in it. Among the roots and tubers they had collected for food, they selected the
best ones and gave them to Sita. Valmiki looked her up every morning and evening and
Enquirer about her welfare. Within a few days Sita mingled with the residents of the
ashram as one of them.