Kaushalyas Instructions To Sita by Sriman Krishna Dharma Das
As Rama and Sita approached the chariot brought by Sumantra, Kaushalya came and tightly embraced Sita, saying, “Wicked are those women who forsake their worthy husbands when fallen upon hard times. Even though such women have in the past been protected and afforded every happiness, they malign and even desert their husbands when misfortune arrives. Such women are heartless, untruthful, lusty and sinful by nature, being quickly estranged in times of trouble. Neither kindness nor education nor gift nor even marriage ties can capture the hearts of such women.”
Kaushalya loved Sita as a daughter. She knew that Rama’s gentle wife was entirely devoted to piety and she spoke to Her only out of motherly affection. She continued, “For virtuous women, who are truthful, pious, obedient to their elders and acting within the bounds of morality the husband is the most sacred object and is never abandoned. Although Rama is being sent to the forest You should never neglect Him, dear Sita. Whether wealthy or without any means whatsoever, He is always Your worshipable deity.” Sita was filled with joy to hear this advice, which was in accord with her life’s aim. Joining Her palms, She replied reverentially, “I shall surely do all that your honorable self instructs. I have always heard from you proper advice about how to serve My husband. Even in thought you should not compare Me to wicked women, for I am unable to deviate from virtue, even as moonlight cannot be parted from the moon. As a lute is useless without its strings or a chariot without its wheels, so a wife is destitute when separated from her worthy husband. Having learned from My elders all the duties incumbent upon a wife, and knowing the husband to be a veritable deity, how can I ever neglect Rama, O venerable lady?”
Kaushalya’s heart was touched by Sita’s reply and she shed tears born of both delight and agony, being moved by Sita’s piety and at the same time anguished at the thought of Her imminent departure. Rama looked with affection at His mother. It was time for Him to leave. He feared Kaushalya would pine away after He left. Rama stood before her with folded palms. “Please do not show My father sad expressions, heightening his grief. Fourteen years will pass quickly, even while you sleep. You will rise one morning to find Me returned with Sita and Laksman, surrounded by friends and relatives.” Rama looked around at all the royal ladies standing there and said, “Please forgive any unkind words or acts which I may have said or done out of ignorance because we have lived closely together. Now I take leave of you all.”
A cry that resembled the plaintive call of cranes separated from their mates rose up from the ladies. Dasaratha’s palace, which had always been marked with the joyous sounds of music and festivities, was now filled with the sound of agonized wails. After holding Dasaratha’s feet and respectfully walking around him, Rama, Sita and Laksman took their final leave of the monarch and left for the forest.
— An excerpt from Rāmāyaṇa Retold by Kṛṣṇa Dharma dasa