We have all heard the legend of Ramayana and every time we hear it we come across something new. So did I; and I think that it will be best to share it with you folks! Of course I don’t know how many of you would be familiar with this version but here it is anyway. This version was read by me in one of the puranic versions of Ramayana and its validity is uncertain. In the city of Ayodhya rules king Dasarath along with his four wives and four young princes, the eldest of them being Rama, an incarnation of Lord Visnu. It is so well known that on King Dasarath’s pretext Rama goes for a fourteen year exile in the forest. Rama also enters the forest of Dandakaranya which is by most historians identified by Andhra and Telangana region. Everything is a blissful with his wife and brother at side and one day fate plays its cards and Ravana wrongly abducts Sita and takes her to his grove in Lanka. Some say she was his daughter who his clan had forced into abandoning, where as some say he was lustful about her. The truth probably depends on which Ramayana one likes to refer.
But according to the Mahatmya of Venkatachala, there is awe moment. It says that when Ravana was scheming to abduct Sita, the plans were leaked out to Agni deva. Agni, who is the priest of the gods according to Veda, is deeply horrified. He narrates this whole incident to the gods. Hence according to the divine plan Agni makes a sacrifice. Agni is pure in its own stature and hence anyone who is in his practice is also considered to be pure. Agni offers his wife Svaha as the person who made the sacrifice in the entire legend. Svaha takes the form of Sita and she exchanges role in the forest with Sita. What is then seen throughout the story is the chaya of Sita and not actually her. Sita on the other end is send to Agni who keeps her safe.
When the entire war of Ramayana is extinguished and the mighty Ravana is defeated, Svaha is won back as the part of the war. Then upon the question of Agni pariksha, which baffles most of us, Svaha readily agrees. Hence Svaha enters the fire. From the fire it is Sita who comes back through Agni and Sita is then united with Rama. Thus ends the legend where everyone goes back to Ayodhya leaving Vibhishan in charge of Lanka.
I would want you all to treat this as a version and decide for yourselves which one you would like to follow. Our mythology is dated so far back in time with semi-unwritten records that it becomes difficult to trace the actual occurrence. However, once in a while, it’s worth giving it a thought isn’t it?
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