Devi Sati tests Lord Ram

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“Oh my dear Sita! Where are you? Where are you? Sita!” saying thus and lamenting pitifully, Lord Ram roamed through the forests with his brother Laxman in search of his dear wife Sita devi, who had been abducted by the wicked demon Ravan. He asked the trees, creepers, dears and other residents of the forests about the whereabouts of Sita devi and searched for her in great anxiety.

While returning to their abode, Kailash, from the hermitage of the sage Agastya where they had gone to visit, Lord Shiva and devi Sati came to the dandaka forest where Lord Ram was searching for his wife. Seeing her husband offering humble obeisances to Lord Ram from a distance, devi Sati asked him whom he was offering obeisnaces to. Mahadev told her that he was offering respects to his most worshipable aradhya dev Sri Ram, who was manifesting his human like pastimes. By the will of the Lord, devi Sati got covered by the energy of the Lord and was thus unable to understand that Lord Ram is the Supreme personality of Godhead. She raised a doubt that if he is actually the Supreme Lord then why is lamenting for his wife, he would know that Ravan has stolen her. Lord Shiva then tried to explain to her the nature of the Lord’s pastimes, but devi Sati was not convinced and wanted to test the Lord. Understanding this to be the desire of the Lord, Mahadev sat under a banayan tree and told devi Sati to go and test Lord Ram if she so desires.

Devi Sati then took the form of Devi Sita and concluded that if Lord Ram is indeed the Supreme Lord then he would know her true identity or else he would believe that she is Sita. She then went in front of Lord Ram, who ignored her and went in the other direction. She then repeatedly went in front of Ram but unlike her expectation, he was not fooled into thinking that she is Devi Sita. When she went again in front of him, Lord Ram offered her respects and asked her, “O Devi! How is it that you are in this forest alone? Where is Lord Shiva?” Hearing this she realized her mistake and was returning to the place where Lord Shiva was seated. However, she was not entirely convinced and therefore, in order to make her realize his true nature, Lord Ram appeared with devi Sita in front of her, happily walking in the forest as if nothing had happened. She was very surprised to see this and rubbed her eyes in disbelief, when she looked again she saw Lord Ram again lamenting for Sita.

She then realized that Lord Ram is indeed the Supreme Lord and that she had committed a grave mistake by trying to test him. She then returned to Lord Shiva, who asked her about her test. Feeling a bit scared about her mistake, she lied that she did not test him and that she had simply believed what he had said. Lord Shiva, however, through his meditation, saw that she had assumed the form of mother Sita to test Lord Ram. Seeing this, he resolved to think of Sati as his mother henceforth, as she had taken the form of Devi Sita, the consort of his most worshipable Lord Sri Ram. Devi Sati also eventually got to know of Lord Shiva’s resolve, which made her morose and that eventually led her to desire to give up her body, which she did when she visited her father Daksha. She later reappeared as Parvati devi and was then accepted by Lord Shiva once again as his wife.