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ṬIṬṬIBHASARAS - टिट्टिभसरस्

A sacred pond near the āśrama of Vālmīki. There is a story about this pond. Once a water-fowl lived there with his mate. One day the male fowl went out for food and as he was returning home he found a few other water-fowls going that way and the male fowl suspected the chastity of his wife. The male fowl decided to abandon his mate and the innocent shefowl prayed to the Aṣṭadikpālakas for help. The Aṣṭadikpālakas instantly appeared there and made a pond and said that if the she-fowl could reach from one shore to the other without getting herself drowned she must be treated as chaste. The she-fowl was accordingly put into the waters and asked to swim to the other shore which she did without any accident. From that day onwards the poṇd was called Ṭiṭṭibhasaras. (Tiṭṭibha = water fowl. Saras = pond). When Sītā came to the āśrama of Vālmīki after being abandoned by Śrī Rāma, Vālmīki wanted to test her chastity. So the sages asked Sītā to enter the pond and reach the other shore. “Oh goddess of Earth, if even in my dreams no other person than my husband has entered my thoughts, let me reach the other shore safe.” So saying Sītā entered the water and the goddess of Earth placed her in her lap and took her to the other shore. Sītā did not get even wet. All the sages called her ‘Mahāsādhvī’ meaning supremely chaste woman. [Taraṅga 1, Alaṅkāravatīlambaka, Kathāsaritsāgara].

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