Sita & the Golden Deer

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In the Ramayana, there is a legend of Sita & the Golden Deer. In that story, Lord Rama & his wife, Sita, are living happily in the forest until one day the demon king of Lanka, Ravana, abducts Sita by luring Rama into the forest with a golden deer that Sita begged him to fetch. Before leaving their hut, Rama instructs Sita not to cross the magically-protected threshold of their home. Once Rama has ventured into the forest, Ravana appears at the door. Disguised as a holy beggar, he tricks Sita into crossing the threshold. He then reveals himself as the demon, abducts Sita, & they fly away in his Lanka-bound chariot. Sita desperately cries out “I am Sita, wife of Rama! Bear witness, brothers & sisters, children of my mother earth! Tell Rama! Mark my trail!” She then proceeds to strip her jewelry & shed her riches over the edge of the chariot.

Symbolically, Sita is shedding her identities, roles, & physical attachments as an act of grounding. She is quite literally getting carried away by her thoughts & desires, as are represented by the chariot in the story. Earlier in the story, Sita insisted that Rama get her the golden deer they had spotted. She is carried away by her own desire & is willing to risk their safety to acquire the treasure. She is using her ego-mind, which is the cumulative identification of our “self” through our roles, possessions, & attributes. While there is much more to the story, thematically, issues of attachment & desire to be “more” are presented. Have more, do more, be more, we rarely take time to detach from our live-stream of externally-oriented thoughts & simply be. Even when well-intentioned, as Sita had been when she risked crossing the threshold to help the disguised beggar.

Aside from the more literal ties in shedding attachment to our physical possessions, as Sita shed her jewelry in the story, there are also questions to be asked of the thoughts, desires & stories we tell ourselves in these ‘busy’ minds of ours. 

When we hear a song on the radio & it makes us think certain thoughts or feel a certain way, that is a conditioned response to our sensory input. Our attachments & the thoughts we carry about ourselves & our surroundings influence of very experience of the present. Our work through yoga is to separate the bullshit from the truth as it relates to the present moment. 

Presence becomes increasingly important in the next three limbs of dharana, dhyana, & samadhi. We, as part of nature, are constantly changing. Change is really the only stable thing about us. We cling to attachments in an attempt to distinguish ourselves & in that process further separate ourselves from our inherent unity. Not to mention, in clinging to any attachment, we define ourselves as static. Fundamentally, we know this is not true. As we are continually changing, the moment we define ourselves through an attachment, it becomes an outdated definition. And so, we are left with only the present moment & experience. 

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Larissa Farrell

Ecosexual, environmentalist, rope switch, yogini, sex educator, & freelance writer. Like what you are reading & want to collaborate? Check out my freelance writing, design, & photography site.