“Once upon a time”…..who doesn’t know a magical love story from fairy tales, past present and future? Through my childhood and even today children are still in love with the classics, Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel, Beauty and the Beast and Sleeping Beauty. All seem to have the same common theme a prince, a princess, an evil witch or step mother. In the end ‘true loves kiss’ saves the day. They all live “Happily Ever After!”. I still love snuggling up with my boys with a classic Disney film, that feel good factor.
In the school curriculum English Literature the classic loves stories are still taught, the conflict, the hope, the fight to be with the one they love. No matter what danger or challenges lay ahead. Romeo and Juliet, Cleopatra and Mark Anthony, Lancelot and Guinevere, Robin Hood and Maid Marian all had their special love story to tell.
Even in Indian tradition and historical Hindu tales, love is known to be an overwhelming, all-consuming and an intense passion. How intense can love be?... No one knows the answer. The classic love story of Laila and Majnu is a very famous legend. Its is based on a real story in the 7th Century a story of eternal love, yet a tragic ending.
With Diwali round the corner I couldn’t help turning to the epic love story of ancient Hindu Legend, “The Ramayana”. Again a beautiful love story of the fight of good over evil. The stories of Rama and Sita are famous throughout the world and their tales are told in the Ramayana. Rama and Sita are husband and wife. Sita is kidnapped by the demon king Ravan and Rama goes to rescue her. They have many adventures and troubles along the way. In the end, Rama and Sita are reunited.
So how did Rama meet Sita?... Here is an extract from the Jai Jais Legends Series “ The Ramayana”, Page 9-10
“Rama and Lakshmana accompanied Vishvamitra to the city of Videha. In the city there was a king called Janaka who had the most beautiful daughter in the world. She was called Sita and was an incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi. Her eyes were set like two moons, and her voice was as pure as a nightingale’s song. She left a ray of sunshine everywhere she went. She was always gentle, graceful and delicate.
King Janaka was looking for a suitor for his daughter, and set up a challenge. Whoever could lift Lord Shiva’s bow which was in his possession, would then marry his beloved daughter. Five thousand strong men brought the bow in a magnificent iron chest mounted on eight wheels. Many great warriors and suitors tried but no one could lift the majestic bow. When Rama approached, he not only lifted the giant and heavy bow with ease but also tried to string it. In doing so, he broke it into two pieces. The noise echoed like a crash of thunder and a violent earthquake followed. Stunned by the crash, the only ones left standing were Rama, Lakshmana Vishvamitra and Janaka. At once King Janaka announced that Rama would marry his daughter Sita.
King Dasharatha and the queens were overjoyed when the news came to Ayodhya. The grand wedding was held in Videha with the most beautiful festivities. Sita was truly a perfect image of a goddess on her wedding day and Rama was deeply in love with his beautiful bride. Rama and Sita then returned with the king and queens to Ayodhya, Sita’s new home”.
Even tempted by riches and jewels beyond her imagination Sita refused Ravan’s proposal as her heart belonged to Rama. When she was recused by Rama and retuned to Ayodhya, the court questioned Sita’s purity, and still she remained strong in the name or love showing her true commitment to Rama. She fearlessly walked into the funeral pyre entering the leaping flames showing her pure heart and love for Rama.
This Diwali may the love within continue to light up our world. Read more about Rama and Sita’s adventures in The Jai Jais books.