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Culture and Ecology / Presentation

Sita Devi

Photo by Shabin Paul

Sita Devi

Women honoring Sita Devi

The Hindu goddess Sita was found on a furrow on the earth. At the end of her life the earth opened to welcome her back. The scriptures refer to her as the daughter of Mother Earth. Photo of Sita Devi shrine at Fireflies Ashram, Bangalore.

I pray for peace to pervade all the worlds; I pray for peace in the Sky and Earth; peace in waters; peace in herbs, vegetation and forests; peace among all people and rulers of the world; peace in entire universe; peace for everyone everywhere. Peace, real peace. I pray for that very peace.

Shanti Mantra (Hymn of Peace) in Yajur Veda

Sita Devi as Earth Mother

by Siddhartha

Sita is revered by Hindus as the wife of Lord Rama and a courageous and dignified woman in her own right. She lived many years in the forest with her twin sons. She would therefore be a natural symbol to represent the earth, as the following text indicates. (Editor's note)

At Fireflies ashram, our quest to unearth all the sacred meanings associated with the earth led us to re-discover Sita Devi. Our purpose here is to show that Sita Devi represents Earth Mother, and our veneration of her is a commitment to practise forms of development that are sustainable and lead to a reduction of carbon emissions and other kinds of pollution. It is also an acknowledgement that our earth is indeed sacred, and that we cannot continue to despoil her soil, water, air, trees, mountains and glaciers.

Let us briefly recall the story of Sita Devi. Sita is the wife of Lord Rama (known as ‘maryada purushottam’, or the ideal human being). The story of Sita is known to every woman, man and child in India.

As a baby Sita was found by Janaka, King of Mithila, in a furrow in the earth and was raised as his own daughter. At the end of her days Sita called upon the earth to receive her. The earth opened, embraced Sita, and gently allowed her to descend.

To this day Sita is a symbol of the ideal woman, wife and mother. She is compassionate and forgiving, principled and courageous and free of selfishness.

The scriptures refer to her as the daughter of Mother Earth.

The writer Madhu Kishwar states that “while for women Sita represents an example of an ideal wife, for men she is Sita mata (jagjannani), not just the daughter of earth, but Mother Earth herself who inspires awe and reverence.”

Sita Devi is venerated here as Earth Mother, who watches over her human and non-human offspring. Those who nurture the earth and those who go about their livelihood without endangering the planet are precious to her. Sita Devi is also the goddess who watches over and protects women and children.

I pray for peace to pervade all the worlds; I pray for peace in the Sky and Earth; peace in waters; peace in herbs, vegetation and forests; peace among all people and rulers of the world; peace in entire universe; peace for everyone everywhere. Peace, real peace. I pray for that very peace.

Shanti Mantra (Hymn of Peace) in Yajur Veda