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Who was Sita in previous birth?

Sita is one of the most important figures in Hindu mythology. She is the wife of Rama, the seventh avatar of Vishnu, and heroine of the ancient Sanskrit epic Ramayana. Sita’s past lives and origin stories have been described in various Hindu texts over the centuries.

Sita’s Birth Story

The most common account of Sita’s origin relates that she was found by King Janaka while plowing a field. In this version, Sita arose from a furrow as Janaka was plowing in preparation for a sacred ritual. Janaka named her Sita, meaning “furrow”, and raised her as his own daughter. This story is recounted in the Ramayana and places Sita’s birthplace as Janakpur in present-day Nepal.

However, other texts give alternative accounts of Sita’s birth story. The Padma Purana describes Sita emerging from Bhumi Devi, the earth goddess. In this telling, Sita was manifested by the Earth to become the wife of Vishnu’s avatar Rama. Another version relates that Sita was the reincarnation of Vedavati, a pious woman who committed suicide after being molested by the demon Ravana.

Sita as an Avatar of Goddess Lakshmi

Many Hindu scriptures identify Sita as an avatar of Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune and consort of Vishnu. The Krta-Yuga version of the Padma Purana states that just as Rama is Vishnu incarnate, so is Sita the incarnation of his wife Lakshmi. Their divine forms of Lakshmi and Vishnu descended to earth to destroy the demon Ravana. Sita is extolled as the embodiment of Lakshmi’s virtues – abundant beauty, fortune, purity and devotion to her husband.

Several texts trace the previous births of Lakshmi that led to her incarnation as Sita. The Padma Purana narrates that Lakshmi was first born as Vedavati, who performed austerities for thousands of years to become Lord Vishnu’s wife. After she was molested by Ravana, she plunged into a fire, vowing to return and be the cause of Ravana’s destruction. She was later reborn as Sita specifically to become Rama’s wife and play her destined role in killing Ravana.

Vedavati’s Curse on Ravana

The story of Vedavati and her interactions with Ravana are recounted in various Puranas. Vedavati was born as the daughter of the Brahmin Kusadhvaja. She practiced severe austerities and worshipped Vishnu to attain him as her husband. When Ravana encountered Vedavati at her hermitage, he was captivated by her beauty and propositioned her to marry him. When she refused, Ravana tried to grab her forcibly. Vedavati escaped Ravana’s clutch by leaping into fire while cursing him that she would return to be the cause of his destruction.

Vedavati’s Rebirth as Sita

The Brahmavaivarta Purana describes that Vedavati was later reborn as Sita in order to fulfill her vow. While Vedavati had committed suicide by fire, Agni (the fire god) rescued her and transferred her to the care of Bhumi Devi. Bhumi Devi presented Vedavati as a baby to King Janaka while he was plowing. Janaka named the child Sita, relating her to the furrow (sita) from which she had emerged. Thus, Sita is considered to be the reincarnation of both Vedavati as well as Bhumi Devi.

Sita as the Reincarnation of Vishnu’s Consorts

The idea of Sita being an incarnation of Lakshmi or Vedavati can be traced back to earlier mythology of Vishnu and his various consorts. Vishnu’s wives are viewed as multiple expressions of the same divine feminine energy, which is why several goddesses are identified as Sita’s earlier forms.

Earlier Birth as Rukmini

Some scriptures state that Sita was the rebirth of Rukmini, who was Vishnu’s wife as Krishna. The Padma Purana mentions that Rukmini was an avatar of Lakshmi who was born on earth to marry Vishnu in his incarnation as Krishna. After Krishna’s passing, Lakshmi was born again as Sita to be the wife of Rama.

Myth of Nila Devi

Folk stories also link Sita to Nila Devi, the consort of Vishnu in his dwarf avatar Vamana. When Vamana reclaimed the three worlds from the demon king Bali, Nila Devi supported him by holding the umbrella over his head. Pleased by her devotion, Vishnu promised her that he would marry her in his next incarnation as Rama when she would be born as Sita.

Philosophical and Spiritual Significance

From a philosophical perspective, Sita’s birth story carries deep symbolism. Her manifestation from Mother Earth represents fertility, abundance and prosperity. Her emergence while Janaka is plowing reflects cultivation, growth and the link between agriculture and civilization. Sita is venerated as Shakti, the divine feminine force who imparts strength, power and virtue.

Spiritually, Sita’s descent connects her to the earthly realm and gives her story human appeal. Despite being an avatar of Lakshmi, she goes through trials, tribulations and ethical dilemmas while upholding moral values. Thus, Sita becomes a paradigm of virtue, inner strength and fidelity against adversity. Her past births also foreshadow her pivotal destiny of accompanying Vishnu to destroy evil and restore cosmic balance.


Sita’s origin story has been retold in myriad ways across Hindu scriptures and folklore. These narratives underline her identity as an avatar of Lakshmi, Vedavati, Rukmini, Nila Devi and other goddesses representing the celestial consort of Vishnu. Her divine origins as Vishnu’s shakti ordained her human birth as Sita and earthly marriage to Rama. Sita thus bridges heaven and earth by exemplifying virtue in the mortal realm to fulfill her cosmic purpose.