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Re: Sita
Date: Fri Dec 04 1998 - 15:49:48 PST

Dear devotees,

>The issue of
>when the substitution was supposed to have occurred is not known 
>clearly from shaastric evidence available to me. I was led to believe 
>by some that it occurred just after Lakshmana left Siitaa but before Raavaana
>kidnapped Her. However,

The Devibhagavata purana (acording to Puranic encyclopedia) says that Agni
appeared and took Sita away a few days before the golden deer Mariica

The Maadhva position may also be the same: KT Pandurangi writes "The events of
Sri Rama being misled by Mariica, Siitaa longing for the deer, Sita being
kidnapped by Ravana etc. are merely lokavidambana."

Presumably the Gaudiya position is also the same. 

This sequence implies that the Sita who accused Laksmana (Sri Ramanuja to be?)
of illictly desiring  Her as his wife was not the real Sita but the jiva. This
makes logical sense, I don't think Sri-devi would ever accuse Ramanujacharya
of that.

>Also, I do not know if the maayaa-Siitaa represents an actual illusion, a
>jiivaa taking Siitaa-maata's place, or some sort of expansion of Siitaa.

Devibhagavata portrays her as a real jiva, who was Vedavati in the last life
and Draupadi in the next life. The jivatma and post cremation ashes of
Vedavati were taken from the South and abandoned in Mithila. When the real
Sita was born,  Her Prakrti (i.e. matter and jiva of Vedavati) are associated
with Her Divine body until the separation (by Agni?) before the kidnapping. In
a sense, one may say that this prakrti is Sita's expansion according to the
Devi-bhagavata purana account.

Gerald Surya