Author’s Note: This year I took an amazing course all about the ancient epics of India. Through this course I learned the many heroes and demons that surround Indian culture. I want to share some of my favorite stories with you but in a different way. I have rewritten some of these stories with a different ending, a different characters perspective, or even rewritten the story in the present day. This story is of the hero Rama and his encounter with the demon Soorpanaka in chapter 4 of Narayan’s Ramayana. This story is told from Rama and Soorpanaka’s perspective with Rama’s wife, Sita being a minor character. Her thoughts are not expressed, she is merely there to cause Soorpanaka’s jealousy. I decided to tell the story through Sita’s eyes. How was she feeling while Rama was “flirting with demons”? Was she jealous or was she always confident in he relationship with Rama? These questions are what I expanded upon to retell the encounter.
“Where is he?” Sita thought as she sat in their new home. It was a beautifully crafted cottage made just for Rama and herself. It was Lakshmana’s wedding gift to his brother and her; its beauty blew the newlyweds away. While Sita was getting ready for bed, Rama stepped out to get some fresh air and explore the property, but he hadn’t returned yet and it had nearly been half an hour. Knowing she had joined the brothers on a dangerous journey, her mind began to wonder and she worried of his safety so she slipped into her jeweled robe and sandals and cautiously, but hurriedly, ran to the back door. But then she stopped sharply at the window.
In the yellow haze of the setting sun, she saw Rama, but he was not alone. Standing in front of him was the most beautiful woman Sita had ever laid eyes on. Her hair glittered like silk under the sun’s parting rays. Her eyes shown bright, blinding Sita with their splendor. Her cheeks were flushed red with lust. Every curve on her body screamed to be caressed. This woman was otherworldly as if a spell of desire was placed on every human, man or woman, who placed eyes on her. But being a true beauty herself, Sita was able to shake off the compulsion. She narrowed in on her husband Rama.
Rama stood there comfortable, not resisting this woman’s company, but to be fair, he wasn’t welcoming it either. The woman inched forward, claiming Sita’s husband with her body language and the craving in her eyes was enough to cripple Sita with jealousy. Sita flung open the door loud enough to grab the attention of the unwelcomed visitor but stood there confidently as to not seem threatened by the woman. “Rama darling, who is this guest of ours?”
Sita watched as the woman’s mouth gaped open. The beautiful visitor momentarily appeared threatened. Sita, content with the woman’s noticeable vulnerability, walked up to her husband and placed a protective hand on his arm. The woman began to stutter, trying to regain her composure. Sita looked at her contemptibly and stood strong next to her husband.
The woman turned to Rama and began sputtering nonsense. Sita stood there amused at the insults hurled her way. Apparently she was a sorceress who was tricking her own husband with a mirage of beauty. It was truly laughable. Rama caught on to the humor of the situation and sarcastically retorted to the woman, “Oh my! She is a sorceress? How could I have been so blind? You must be telling the truth because you yourself would know what it means to be truthful and show our true selves. You, of course, are naturally this beautiful; no use of magic or power is used to portray your beauty. But my wife, she must be a demon in disguise. Am I right?” Rama smirked at the visitor. He finally put together who the stranger was and knew how to spite her.
The woman became so angry that her beauty started to melt away. Her silk hair fell out, leaving behind only ashy scalp. The glow in her eyes burned red with fire. Her cheeks lost their blush and became sunken and hollow. The demon Soorpanaka finally revealed her true self. She screamed in anger at Sita. “Go away! Leave me with my beloved! Get out you fool!”
Sita’s confidence was replaced with fear and she cowered in her husband’s arms, turning her face away from the heat of the demon into the protective chest of Rama. This angered Soorpanaka even further and pure fire radiated from her body. With dignity and quiet confidence, Rama held Sita close and turned his back to Soorpanaka. He calmly walked back to the cottage getting his wife to safety. At the door her turned and softly, yet powerfully, spoke to Soorpanaka. “Leave us or my brother will destroy you. We are done with you. Save yourself before it is too late and be gone.” He then shut the door and turned back to Sita, embracing her with his protection and enduring love.
Sita apologized for her initial doubt of her husband and cried in his arms as the adrenaline drained from her body. The realization of what had just occurred crushed her body and she rested her whole soul in Rama’s arms. He held her close and kissed the top of her head. He wiped the tears from her eyes with his thumb and led her to the bedroom. “You are more beautiful than the strongest mirage. I will protect you forever, my love.” And with a smile on her face and sweetness in her heart, Sita fell asleep in Rama’s arms.