Eternal Dimensions of An Enigma
Hema Ramakrishna
IN SEARCH OF SITA: REVISITING MYTHOLOGY by Malashri Lal Penguin Books, 2010, 270 pp., 399
January 2010, volume 34, No 1

Like manna from the skies or the well-timed appearance of an oasis to a thirsty wanderer in the desert comes this publication, heralding a critical moment in the study of Indian mythology. And I speak as one with a stake in the venture, who happens to be not only a Hindu, but also a writer with her own views, having published Sanctuary!, a play, in Sri Lanka in 2005. For someone in my position, then, this anthology of Commentary/Dialogue/Version/Interpretation (the four divisions in which the contributions have been arranged by Lal and Gokhale) could not have come sooner. Here, for the first time is to be found collated a wide selection of views and opinions on Sita’s predicament, ever since Valmiki first presented his controversy-creating Adikavya around almost 2500 years ago. Along with his problematic Adi-Nayika, portrayed as an icon of virtue who returns without so much as a scratch upon her skin from the hands of the villain, her abductor, only to face a lifetime of sorrow and humiliation with the sufferings inflicted on her by the hero, her upright, moral husband!

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