Once in the region of Mithilia ruled a great king named Janak.
He was a great ruler, an efficient administrator, and a firm believer of peace and brotherhood. Mithilia had blossomed under his administration spanning over two decades of his ruling.
Apart from being a great king he was also a kind-hearted father. He had a daughter named Sita whom he loved the most.
As Sita was a few days away from turning eighteen, King Janak decided to get her married.
“My dear, you will soon turn eighteen. Don’t you think you should get married?”, asked a concerned Janak.
“What!!”, screamed a startled Sita.
“My sweet child, it’s the right time to get married. However I won’t enforce my decision upon you”, said Janak as he adjusted his <em>angvastram.</em>
“I have full faith in you, Pitamah. Mithilia has never doubted your decision nor have I ever. If you think I should get married, then so be it”, saying so she burst into tears and hugged her father.
“I love you, my dear”, replied King Janak joyously.
“So do I”,mumbled Sita.
King Janak decided that a swayamvar will be held on Sita’s eighteenth birthday.
The preparation for the swayamvar started in full swing amidst great joy and excitement.
“Are you nervous, my dear”, asked Janak as he intently watched her daughter putting on her bangles.
“I am not nervous.I am just worried. What if none of the candidates live upto my expectation?”, replied Sita wearing a worried look.
“Someone will surely live upto your expectations. I am pretty sure”, cajoled King Janak.
The big day had arrived. It was her birthday as well as her swayamvar. She knew it.
“Let’s go, Sita. Enough of your make up. Guests are waiting”, said King Janak angrily.
It had been over an hour and she was still busy grooming herself.
“In a minute”, replied Sita as she adjusted her bindi. She was ready.
Drummers began to beat the drums. The courtroom stood in respect as King Janak alongwith princess Sita entered the courtroom.
“Everybody settle down”, announced Janak.
Everybody sat down in a flash.
Clearing his throat, King Janak continued,”As everybody knows today is Princess Sita’s birthday. Her eighteenth birthday. I wish to get her married to a suitable groom and thus this swayamvar has been organised. I hereby declare the swayamvar open”.
Everybody clapped gleefully and waited for the event to unfold.
Suddenly Sita rose from her seat and said,” This swayamvar however is very different from the traditional swayamvars. There will be no archery nor fighting.”
Everybody in the courtroom including King Janak were stunned. This was an unexpected turn around.
“This is my swayamvar. I get to decide the rules.It pains me that only a handful of people have been nominated for my swayamvar. I hereby declare this swayamvar an open contest”, continued a defiant Sita.
“This swayamvar will be more of a verbal venture. Everybody knows that my father, King Janak is a very great ruler and administrator. I want a groom who matches my father’s capability”, said Sita as she adjusted her saree.
“What should we do to woo you princess?”, asked someone from the crowd.
“State in one line what will you do after you become the king of Mithilia. The person who comes up with the best answer gets my hand”, thundered Sita.
Everybody looked puzzled. The question was simple yet tricky. The proceedings of the swayamvar started.
“I will rule wisely, princess Sita.”, said one participant. He was the prince of Dwarka.
“I did not find your answer appealing. I am sorry. You are rejected”, said Sita stone heartedly.
Everybody were shocked.
“I will annexe all the nearby kingdoms. I will conquer all known territories”, empathetically replied the prince of Gwalior.
“I find your answer very arrogant and selfish. Your ambitions are self driven. You are rejected”, replied Sita.
“I will shower you with all wealth. I will loath you with ornaments,princess Sita.”, replied the prince of Pataliputra.
“That will be a huge burden on the treasury. The citizens will not benefit from your proposal. I am sorry. You are rejected too”, said Sita.
It was a long process. Everyone tried their luck, but to no avail.No answer impressed Sita.
Ram was the last participant in the swayamvar. He stepped forward and bowed his head in front of King Janak and Princess Sita.
“Do you have anything new to say, young boy. Say something that pleases my daughter”, pleaded King Janak.
Ram raised his head and answered, “Princess Sita, I adore you as much as I adore King Janak. I promise that when I become the king of Mithilia, I will make sure that two swords could stay together in one sheath. And why just two swords, I will make sure that multiple swords stay amicably in one sheath”.
Sita was impressed. However she wanted to be doubly sure about her choice. She rose from her seat and said,”I am flattered by your answer. However you will have to answer one more question before I give the nod for marriage”.
“I will answer with utmost humility and honesty, Princess Sita”, replied Ram calmly.
“In a moment of war if the enemy surrenders, what will you do?”, asked Sita.
King Janak was watching the animated conversation very closely. He could judge that Sita was impressed with the young lad.
“Go ahead, my son. Answer the question”, King Janak ushered.
Ram thought for a while. He remembered his Guruji’s teachings.He smiled and answered,”Princess, I am a firm believer of peace and humanity. I would love my sword going back in the scabbard without drawing blood. Bloodshed is evil and a scar on humanity. I would rather do something good than committing a sin for personal gains”.
King Janak joyously rose from his seat and hugged Ram. He was assured the reigns of Mithilia were going to be in right hands.
And as promised Ram and Sita got married amidst great pomp and joy. Mithilia was on course for a new lease of life.