Birth of Sita Devi and The Story of Shiva's Bow

Sri Rama had proved his valour, his divinity, and his redeeming power by now. Sage Vishwamitra's entourage then reached the city of Mithila, the capital of King Janaka. The city was in a festive mood.

Vishwamitra was received with honour by King Janaka, his priest Satananda and many Vedic scholars. Vishwamitra's fame had already reached the city.

Priest Satananda, the son of Gautama, was thankful to Vishwamitra for securing the redemption of his mother Ahalya, through the grace of Sri Rama.

Sri Rama's bearing and conduct attracted everone. Sage Viswamitra briefed the courtiers of Janaka on Sri Rama's prowess and capabilities.

Satananda narrated Vishwamitra's life story, presenting him as a great tapasvi with extraordinary powers, as the one who could try to transport King Trishanku bodily to heaven, and who ultimately emerged as a Brahmarshi, on par with Vasishtha. Janaka welcomed Vishwamitra and the charming princes, talked about the Yajna he was conducting, and mentioned about the remarkable bow to be displayed in the Yajnashala. The bow episode forms the core of Sita Swayamvara.

Lord Shankara entrusted his bow to Devarata, a forefather of Janaka.

Janaka, while ceremonially ploughing the land for his Yagashala, found a jewel of a girl in the furrow of the plough. He named her Sita, brought her up with great affection and devotion. Sita grew up to be a beautiful girl, her physical beauty matched by her qualities of head and heart. King Janaka wanted to find a suitalbe bridegroom for his lovely (adopted) daughter. Janaka had decided that he would give her in marriage only to that hero who would string and handle the mighty bow.

The test of the bridegroom's prowess in a Swayamvaram, for healthy progeny, was customary in those days.

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