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Maricha turned himself into a golden deer and roamed in front of Sita’s hut when she came out to pluck (lowers. Sita was enchanted to see such a beautiful creature and called out to Rama, “Can you please catch this exquisite creature for me? Let us l ake it to Ayodhya when we get back,” she said.
Lakshmana who also saw the l-.olden deer was cautious. So he told Kama, “Brother, somehow I feel that this is not a real animal. I feel that (his is some Rakshasa in the guise of a deer.”
Sri Rama had also taken a great liking for the deer and he brushed Lakshmana’s advice aside.
“Lakshmana, this deer is rather unusual. I also like it as much a Janaki. If, as you say, it is really a Rakshasa I can kill it and get rid of the Rakshasa. Be careful. Look after
Sita till I return.” So saying Rama went in pursuit of the animal.
Rama ran behind the deer and just as he was about to catch it, it ran faster and faster. Rama chased it on and on but he still could not catch it Tired and unable to catch it alive, Rama used his arrow. As soon as the arrow hit the deer, it fell down and its body turned once again into the body of a Kakchasa. Before dying, Maricha i mitated Rama’s voice and cried out, “Ah Sita! Ah Lakshmana!” Rama at once realised that this was a trick of t he Rakshasa and fearing for the safety of Sita, hurried back to the Ashram.
When Maricha’s cry reached Sita’s oars, she felt scared and told Lakshmana, “Your brother is in danger. Please go to his rescue.”
Lakshmana tried to calm her by assuring that no harm could ever come to Rama. When she insisted that Lakshmana leave at once in search of Rama, Lakshmana refused. She got angry. “Lakshmana, didn’t you hear what I said? Instead of going to Rama’s help, you stand here like a stone statue. Are you Rama’s enemy? Have you no concern for the safety of your brother?” she said. Lakshmana was hurt by Sita’s words, but still he said calmly, “Rama is very valiant. No harm can come to him. As I told you earlier, the golden deer was probably Maricha. My brother Rama has instructed me not to leave you alone. I shall follow his orders.” In her anxiety about Rama’s safety, Sita accused Lakshmana of evil intentions and threatened to end her life if Lakshmana did not go to Rama’s help.
Lakshmana was extremely hurt by Sita’s accusations and so, decided to
go in search of Rama. Before he went, lie warned Sita to be careful, about strangers. He also drew a line just outside the door of the hut with his arrow and told her, “Respected sister- i n-law! Please do not cross this line in any event. I will soon be back with Kama. May God protect you!”
Ravana who had hid behind a tree waiting for Sita to be left alone, turned 11 i inself into a poor Sanyasi and called out in front of the hut, “Alms for a I >oor Sanyasi!” Thinking that a hungry person was at the door, Sita opened it with the food vessel in her hand.
I iavana found her even more beautiful Ilian ever and this made him • letermined to have her at any cost.
Sita stood at the door, not wanting lo cross the line Lakshmana had < 11 awn in front of the hut. So, to make Ini cross the line, Ravana pretended to be very weak with hunger and said, “My lady, please hand over the alms to me here.”
As soon as the unsuspecting Sita walked over and beyond the line, Ravana grabbed her hand and revealed his true identity. “O beautiful Sita, I am Ravana, the mighty king of Lanka. I have come here to take you to my kingdom. Forget about Rama, who cannot even feed you well in this forest. I will treat you like a queen and give you all the luxuries of life.”
Sita was very angry at such indecent talk. She tried to pull away her hand. Ravana ignored her warnings and forcibly dragged her to his Pushpak Viman. Soon he was airborne. Sita, who was trembling like a fawn, cried out, “Rama, Rama, Lakshmana. Where are you? The wicked Ravana is taking me away.” But there was no response. So, she made a fervent plea to the trees and the birds to convey the message to Kama that she was in distress. Jatayu, the king of birds, heard her cries. As soon as she saw him, she pleaded with Jatayu, “Will you please tell Rama about my kidnapping and save me from this wicked man.” Jatayu blocked Ravana’s way and advised him, “Leave Sita alone. A king of your stature should not resort to such a wicked act. Sita is another man’s wife. What would you have done if your wife was kidnapped by .mother man? Rama will certainly kill you for this. But before that, I will tight against you and rescue Sita.”
Ravana laughed at Jatayu. “You are nothing but a bird. Are you going to rescue this beautiful lady?”
“I will show you my strength,” challenged Jatayu. And then they fought with each other high up in the skies. Jatayu scratched and injured Ravana’s body with his sharp claws. He was deeply touched by Sita’s tears and her helpless condition. So, even at the cost of his own life, Jatayu fought with Ravana. With his powerful wings, he broke Ravana’s bow. This made Ravana very angry and he chopped Jatayu’s wings with his sword. He cut off the legs too. Jatayu lost the power to fly and fell on the ground. Sita was dismayed that Jatayu died for her sake. She plunged into immense sorrow. Then, the flight continued.
On the way, the helpless Sita cursed Ravana. “Wicked Ravana, you have invited death, for, my husband is not an ordinary man. He is the bravest among the brave. He is unrivalled in the art of warfare. He ran kill you with a single arrow,” threatened Sita. None of these words had any effect on Ravana. He was mighty pleased with himself that he was about to enjoy Sita’s company.
Feeling desperate, Sita looked down and noticed a group of inonkeymen sitting atop a hill. Without losing any more time, she removed all her ornaments, wrapped them in a portion of her upper garment and threw down the bundle so that it fell amidst the monkeymen. The surprised monkeymen looked up but by that time Ravana had zoomed past them. He crossed the ocean and reached Lanka.
Ravana kept Sita in his royal chamber and appointed Rakshasis to guard her. He instructed them to look d’ter Sita well and not to hurt her.
Ravana thus hoped that Sita would eventually change her mind about him and agree to be his queen.
Ravana made it a habit to visit her everyday, carrying expensive gifts, with him. He pestered her, pleaded with her and tried all sorts of methods to make Sita agree to his desire.
Sita was disgusted by the way he talked. As soon as Ravana came to the chamber she would close her eyes and ears with her hands.
“Ravanasur, you are talking to me in an immoral way. Whatever you say or do, I won’t even look at you or listen to you. You tricked me into believing that you are a Sanyasi. Alas! I did not listen to Lakshmana’s advice,” lamented Sita. Everyday she wept bitterly at her misfortune.
Irritated with her persistent refusals, Ravana warned her, “Sita, I will allow you one year’s time. If by then, you do not change your mind and wed me, I shall cut you into pieces.” He ordered the Rakshasis to guard Sita in Ashoka garden and to try to make her agree to his proposal.