Ramayana, probably the oldest 'epic' in the world, and certainly in India, has been known to project ideal virtues in it's heroes and heroines, that is, Lord Rama, Lakshmana, Bharat, Hanuman, Sita, Lav-Kush, Mandodri and others.

Therefore, Sita's role as a dutiful and sacrificing wife naturally comes out as extraordinary, keeping in line with the philosophical and social perceptions of that age. The epic brings out how she devoutly refused to be left behind in the palace in Ayodhya and chose to follow her husband Lord Rama into the forests for exile. Even under great duress, Sita remains devoted to her Lord Rama, as is borne out by the way she repulses all the advances and allurements of the demon-king Ravana when she was abducted by him. Further, after Sita is freed, she even goes through "Agni Pariksha" (trial by fire) to prove her fidelity to her husband. She went through all this for her unflinching love for her husband, Lord Rama.

Rama has himself been idolised in the epic as a picture of a perfect son, a perfect king etc. Kingship was then considered as a form of 'trusteeship', where the king looked after the entire well-being of the citizens, who placed their whole- hearted trust in the king. Therefore, all personal considerations of the king had to be sacrificed to his duties as a king.

Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman have all been depicted as the ideals that emphasize various virtues suiting their particular roles. All of them sacrificed their own personal needs to their own respective relations to Rama.

Probably because of this, other virtues of Sita's character, other than that of a faithful and dutiful wife, were not fully portrayed. No wonder, then, that Sita's role as a strong mother (to bring up her twins Lav and Kush as ideal world citizens) has not found sufficient emphasis.

It is this latter aspect which struck Pradeep Wagh, the author of this Sita Shakti Kavya. As a result of study, research and introspection, the anthology of Sita Shakti Kavya to depict Sita as a strong mother took shape. Not only effort, but a divine inspiration has played a key role in the blossoming of this vibrant Sita Shakti Kavya. The result is that many incidents in the anthology, not recounted in other versions of the life of Rama and Sita, have found place for the first time in Sita Shakti Kavya.

This aspect has been accepted and noted by eminent scholars of Ramayana like Dr.U.M.Pathan, Dr. Umashankar Upadhyaya and Dr. Siyaram Tiwari.

On a personal level, Pradeep would often discuss with me the bits and pieces of the anthology, sometimes as soon as they were received by him and penned down. It gave me immense happiness to share my perceptions of the anthology as it emerged over a couple of years.

It gives me great pleasure, therefore, to recommend to all young and old to peruse this unique Sita Shakti Kavya. I hope that it will give them the same joy and peace as I have got from it.

Brig. P.V.Gole (Retd.), AVSM,
Development Education (International) Society,
Pune, India.
Dated 25 March 2001

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