Years passed by. The princes reached adulthood, and as was customary, it was felt that they should marry. The search for appropriate brides led King Dasharath to the state of Mithila where king Janak had four beautiful daughters of marriageable age. Amongst these, Sita was the perfection of purity, grace, modesty and beauty.
King Janak had arranged for Sita's marriage with the condition that she would marry that brave and powerful prince who would break the Bow of Shiva. This Bow of Lord Shiva was unbreakable for ordinary mortals! For the selfish person, it was not approachable. Amongst the poor in spirit and cowards,It created fear and terror.
All the four princes of Ayodhya led by Ram decided to participate in this proposed marriage-ceremony -- Swayamvar -- as is known. With great pomp and show, accompanied by their Guru (Teacher), the foursome left for Mithila on one auspicious day.
[A very beautiful account is given regarding the stay of these princess as the guests of Janak. How the accidental meeting of Ram and Sita leads to blooming of love in their bosoms; how Sita vows in the heart of her heart to marry Ram and Ram alone, etc.]
And the day of reckoning dawns! One by one the princes from various states and kingdom try their luck in attempting to lift and break that Bow of Shiva. But was that ever possible! Was that ever destined!
Even the most powerful amongst all the kings, all over the world, the great Ravan of Lanka could not even move the bow one inch above the ground! Everyone laughed at this tragic show and defeat of Ravan.Ram succeeds.
At last it was the turn of Ram. With due humility and respect, Ram saluted the Bow (i.e. Shiva Himself), and prayed to give him strength and courage to attempt and succeed in this almost impossible task. In one attempt Ram lifted and set apart the bow in two!
The whole Royal Court was filled with shouts of 'Glory Unto Ram, Victory to Ram', etc. However, this made king Ravan jealous and insulted; he mentally vowed to defeat Ram some day if the opportunity arose.
Thus, in the most wonderful setting, the auspicious marriage of Ram and Sita took place. Along with Ram, his three brothers also got married to the three sisters of Sita. Four sons of King Dasharath married four daughters of King Janak!
Now Sita, as already mentioned, was pious, obedient, intelligent, simple and sober ; the perfect embodiment of purity in thoughts, words, and deeds. Other than Ram, she could not and did not even think of other male. This faithfulness towards one man -- husband -- is a very special virtue of Indian Womanhood, and Sita is the true representative of this. It is, of course, also imperative that the husband should not think of other woman except his wife. Therefore, it is common in India to look upon and address every woman other than wife as "Mother or Sister".
[At the death of her husband, therefore, it was not unusual to see the widow attempting to immolate herself at the funeral pyre of her husband (Sati Tradition). Of course, later in medieval India, many instances of widow-burning were related to acquisition of ancestral property etc. But that was an aberration rather than the rule. Today this system is not in vogue any more.]
Coming back to our story, the joyous marriage procession with decorated chariots, bullock carts, horses and elephants reached Ayodhya. The atmosphere was of celebration and merriment, as if the princes had returned after having won a Great War.