Friday, November 5, 2010

PDE Ramayana: Sita in Lanka

Reading Guide. Ravana is able to force Sita to come with him to Lanka, but he cannot rape her because of a curse put upon him by the god Brahma. He must seduce Sita so that she willingly agrees to sleep with him, but Sita refuses.

Image: The illustration below is another still from Nina Paley's amazing film, Sita Sings the Blues.

Source. Indian Myth and Legend by Donald A. Mackenzie (1913). [200 words]

Jatayu | 37. Sita in Lanka | Rama and Jatayu

Now, when Sita was dwelling in the palace of the demon king, guarded by rakshasa women, Ravana approached her again and again and addressed to her sweet speeches, praising her beauty and endeavouring to win her love. But Sita rejected him with scorn. Although she was his prisoner, he could not win her by force. She was strengthened by her own virtue; she was protected by Brahma's dread decree: be it known that once upon a time the lustful Ravana had seized by force a nymph of Indra's heaven, whose name was Rambha. When he committed that evil offence, Brahma spake angrily and said that Ravana's head would be rent asunder if ever again he attempted to act in like manner towards another female in heaven or upon earth.

Sita said unto the demon king, “Thou shalt never have me for wife either in this world or in the next. Rather would I die than gratify thy desire.”

Angry was Ravana, and he commanded the female rakshasas to convey Sita to the ashoka grove, believing that her heart would be melted by the beauties of that fair retreat. “Thou wilt provide her with fine raiment,” he said, “and with rich ornaments and delicious food, thou wilt praise me before her, and anon threaten her with dire calamity if she refuseth to become my bride.”

Sita remembered Rama in her heart by day and by night, and wept and moaned for him, refusing to be comforted.

Jatayu | Sita in Lanka | Rama and Jatayu

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