Valmiki describes in Uttara Ramayana that one day Sita, adorned with all the jewels and a palatial dress, went to Sri Rama just as Shachi Devi would go to meet her consort Indra. As she was approaching him, Rama noted noticeable features of pregnancy in Sita. He was immensely delighted.
“Devi!” said Rama to Sita who was looking the most beautiful of celestial dames, “Time is now becoming ripe for us to beget a son through your pregnancy. Fair one! What are your special desires? How shall I fulfill them?”
“My Lord, Raghava!” said Sita, “I am desirous of seeing some divine places of penance in forests; I want to spend a few days at the Lotus Feet of Maharshis known for their intense thapas on the banks of river Ganga. I would like to spend at least a night in such a thapovan. Is it possible?”
For one who could easily fulfill the most difficult tasks, Sita’s request was a very easy one for Rama to comply with: “Vaidehi!” said Rama with all assurance, “Do not worry about it; you can proceed to thapo-bhoomi (sacred land) of thapasvis tomorrow itself. You have no doubt about it.”
The land of thapasvis is always a sacred one and so sacred as to radiate peace and tranquility to those who set foot thereon. Apart from this she had probably come to know from Rama a profound secret about bringing up the pregnant child in the foetus – a secret that Rama himself had known from Shiva that “whatever a mother desires during the period of pregnancy, especially the specific ones, the child to be born desires the same thing:
“Maaturyadvishayo lobhastadeaarthayathe sutaha” (Shiva Gita: Chap. 8., Sl:23)
These are the authoritative words from Shiva’s lips intended for Rama, according to Shivagitopanishad of Padma Purana, authored by Sri Vyasa Maharshi. Obviously Sita had known that if she exposed herself soulfully in the spiritual land of Rishis andMahatmas, the benefit of the exposure would be transferred to the foetus child which she was carrying as a “dame with a double heart!” described by Vyasya. The generation of peculiar desires in the maternal mind follows the genesis of desires in the foetal baby.
For the proper development of the foetus within the physical frame of the mother, says Shiva, it is absolutely essential to ensure proper fulfillment of the desire and aspiration of the pregnant mother.
kuryaad-garbha-vivriddhaye” (Cha: 8, Sl. 21)
“If the desires of the dame with the double heart are not properly fulfilled.” says Shiva, “the child to be born will be either bereft of proper development of its limbs or lacking in intellectual qualities:”
syur-garbhasya-vyangataadayaha” (Ibid: Sl. 22)
Naturally, Sita desired that fulfillment of her desire to spend a few days in the divine atmosphere of a Rishis hermitage would mean proper promotion of the physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual qualities of the child in the womb, befitting the glorious attributes of the parents! No wonder that Rama, who had known this straight from Shiva, immediately agreed to arrange for her sojourn in spiritual splendor.
After he assured Sita of his delightful readiness to realize her maternal instincts, Rama left her to meet his friends in the palace.