Why Mata Sita had to go through Agni Pariksha and Exile? What was her fault? Why did Shri Ram made her go through all this nonsense?  These questions have haunted me for years. Knowing the character and actions of Shri Ram, Mata Sita’s Agni Pariksha and Exile were quite contrary to his behavior. But the fact is that Agni Pariksha and Exile did happen. Sadly, most Dharma gurus and Hindu leaders were not able to provide any logical explanation to my satisfaction.  Finally, one day I heard Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev’s explanation that made sense.  After much contemplation and analysis I came out with following rationale:

  1. Shri Ram was a leader and not an ordinary man: A leader’s responsibility is to lead by example, be fair, treat everyone equally, and put followers welfare above his/her own. Following the Raj-Dharma, Shri Ram put his subjects welfare above his own comfort and happiness. That is why, even today, we still admire Ram-Rajya. Sadly, Congress, communists and other leftist parties have put their family’s (Nehru-Gandhi family, Yadav family) interest above the welfare of society; that resulted in partition of Bharat, huge corruption at all levels of beurocracy, destruction of economy, lawlessness, etc.  Luckily, we have a few great leaders (Modi, Yogi, Amit Shah….) who are putting citizen’s welfare above their own, just like Shri Ram did.
  2. To establish purity and dignity of Sita Mata in the eyes of public:  Even though Shri Ram knew that Mata Sita is telling the truth, it was necessary to establish this truth in front of the general public to squash any rumors that could damage her credibility as a queen. 
  3. Applying Literal meaning: Sadly, most people imply literal meaning of Agni Pariksha.  We often use the term of Agni Pariksha to explain the grueling process of examination or an intense interview. So, “Agni-Pariksha” is often used as synonym to describe tough process/interview/interrogation and not literally “walking on fire”. For example, Commander Abhinandan had to go through series of grueling interrogations (Agni Pariksha) and debriefings to ensure his fitness for duty and that he could still be trusted before he could meet his family. Another good example would be an interrogation or examination of a rape victim. To establish that the rape had occurred, the victim must tell every detail of the crime.  It is extremely painful and humiliating for victim to explain the details of rape; the victim literally feels like going through “Agni Pariksha” due to re-living the painful experience. That being said, “No, Mata Sita did not literally walk on fire! She simply went through a rigorous interogation process.”
  4. It was a different time and different mindset:  People had very different morals and values thousands of year ago (Ramayana times) compare to today’s. For instance, during the Ramayana times, every student in Gurukuls, regardless of the Varna and Jati, was treated equally, lived together,  ate together, and received uniform education.  We also need to keep in mind that during Shri Ram’s time period, kings listened and obeyed to Gurus/Rishis (who didn’t have any legal authority over them) out of sheer respect for their knowledge and wisdom! There was a clear separation of power in the society……Brahamans had knowledge, Kshatriyas had Power, Vashyaas were the trade experts and Shudras had skill/wealth. So, no one Varna had absolute power! All four Varnas were complementary to each other and lived in harmony. Therefore, it was a balanced society! Unlike todays society, where greedy leaders have accumulated wealth through power and keep the whole society like slaves. Only rich and powerful have access to premier education, food, and living arrangements. Being rich has become the very definition of success; everything can be bought and sold with money including knowledge, power, and skill.  Thus, there is no separation of power!  Wealthy people own and control everything in our new world! Now, wealthy are getting wealthier and poor are getting poorer. And we still consider ourselves modern, open minded, advanced……really? Hence, evaluating a past incident, that happened in a different era, with contrasting ethics and morals than our current society, can’t be justified with the current mindset.
  5. Sita Mata never showed any remorse or bitterness towards Shri Ram: She never complained or said anything negative about Shri Ram, whether it was Agni Pariksha or living in exile. Matter of fact, she narrated the entire story of Shri Ram to Rishi Valmiki and helped him create the greatest historical epic of Ramayana! Luv and Kush also grew up listening and singing Ramayana. Imagine being in a similar situation where you have to leave your husband, family, friends, home, and luxuries of life. Would you admire your husband and say nice things about him?  Would you inspire your children to be like him? IF your answer is Yes, then you are not upset with your husband and you believe there was no wrong doing!
  6. Our very own biases due to learned behavior:  Here are a few reasons that hinders our ability to understand the Agni Pariksha and Exile of Mata Sita:
    • Communist and Abrahamic propaganda in education system:  We have handed over the responsibility of educating our children to foreign ideology groups. They have brainwashed us and our children intentionally to a point where we only see negative in everything that is Hindu.
    • Have lost the ability to think Independently and Freely:  We follow western life style and raise our children with western values. We are Hindu only by name, color, and shape; rest all is western; we think like them, talk like them, act like them and live like them. That has caused us to think, do, see the world from a westerner’s point of view. This is called mental slavery!
    • Yatha Drishti Tatha Shristi: We perceive the world from our limited perspective, knowledge and understanding. We see our reflection in others behavior and assume that everyone else has the same thought process as ours. There is a saying, a thief always thinks that everyone else is a thief too. So, we make a judgement about Shri Ram’s actions based on our own thoughts and actions. 

SOLUTION: One of the most effective way to tackle these negative notions about Hinduism, is to learn real history of Bharat through Bharatiya intellectuals!  Courses such as “Exploring Hinduism for Teens and Parents” and “Hindu Contributions to the World” by Hindu University of America (HUA) can be a good starting point!

DISCLAIMER: The author is solely responsible for the views expressed in this article. The author carries the responsibility for citing and/or licensing of images utilized within the text.