It was actually impossible for Ravana to take away Sita. The form of Sita taken by Ravana was an illusory representation of mother Sita - maya-sita

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Expressions researched:
"It was Maya-sita who entered the fire" |"Ravana cannot kidnap. It was externally, Maya Sita" |"Ravana had kidnapped a false form of mother Sita" |"Ravana wanted to take away Sita, but that was impossible, and instead he took away a maya Sita" |"Sita, Laksmiji, she cannot be touched by Ravana. It was maya Sita" |"Sita-devi, when she was supposed to be kidnapped by Ravana, her a false form was kidnapped" |"false Sita which was taken by Ravana" |"illusory Sita was brought before the fire" |"illusory form of mother Sita was then delivered to Ravana" |"illusory representation of mother Sita" |"just to cheat Ravana she sent an illusory, material form"

Notes from the compiler: VedaBase research query: "maya sita"

Srimad-Bhagavatam

SB Canto 9

The form of Sītā taken by Rāvaṇa was an illusory representation of mother Sītā—maya-sītā. When Sītā was tested in the fire, this māyā-sītā was burnt, and the real Sītā came out of the fire.
SB 9.10.11, Purport:

It was actually impossible for Rāvaṇa to take away Sītā. The form of Sītā taken by Rāvaṇa was an illusory representation of mother Sītā—maya-sītā. When Sītā was tested in the fire, this māyā-sītā was burnt, and the real Sītā came out of the fire.

SB Canto 10.1 to 10.13

Rāvaṇa wanted to take away Sītā, but that was impossible, and instead he took away a māyā Sītā. Similarly, Brahmā took away māyārbhakāḥ: boys manifested by Kṛṣṇa's māyā.
SB 10.13.15, Purport:

Brahmā wanted to take away Kṛṣṇa's associates, but instead he took away some other boys and calves. Rāvaṇa wanted to take away Sītā, but that was impossible, and instead he took away a māyā Sītā. Similarly, Brahmā took away māyārbhakāḥ: boys manifested by Kṛṣṇa's māyā. Brahmā could show some extraordinary opulence to the māyārbhakāḥ; but he could not show any extraordinary potency to Kṛṣṇa's associates. That he would see in the very near future. Māyārbhakasya īśituḥ. This bewilderment, this māyā, was caused by the supreme controller, prabhavataḥ—the all-potent Supreme person, Kṛṣṇa—and we shall see the result. Anyone materially born is subject to bewilderment. This pastime is therefore called brahma-vimohana-līlā, the pastime of bewildering Brahmā.

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta

CC Madhya-lila

The Kūrma Purāṇa states that this shadowy Sītā was placed into a fire as a test of chastity. It was Māyā-sītā who entered the fire and the real Sītā who came out of the fire.
CC Madhya 1.117, Translation and Purport:

At Rāmeśvara, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu had a chance to read the Kūrma Purāṇa, in which He discovered that the form of Sītā kidnapped by Rāvaṇa was not that of the real Sītā but a mere shadow representation.

The Kūrma Purāṇa states that this shadowy Sītā was placed into a fire as a test of chastity. It was Māyā-sītā who entered the fire and the real Sītā who came out of the fire.

CC Madhya 9.193, Translation:

"As soon as Rāvaṇa arrived before Sītā, she disappeared. Then just to cheat Rāvaṇa she sent an illusory, material form."

CC Madhya 9.203, Translation:

Upon hearing from the Kūrma Purāṇa how Rāvaṇa had kidnapped a false form of mother Sītā, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu became very satisfied.

CC Madhya 9.204, Translation:

The fire-god, Agni, took away the real Sītā and brought her to the place of Pārvatī, goddess Durgā. An illusory form of mother Sītā was then delivered to Rāvaṇa, and in this way Rāvaṇa was cheated.

CC Madhya 9.206, Translation:

When the illusory Sītā was brought before the fire by Lord Rāmacandra, the fire-god made the illusory form disappear and delivered the real Sītā to Lord Rāmacandra.

Lectures

Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures

Caitanya Mahāprabhu got evidences from the Kurma Purana that Sītā-devī, when she was supposed to be kidnapped by Rāvaṇa, her a false form was kidnapped, and when Sītā-devī was tested, putting her into the fire, she entered into the fire and the māyā Sītā was burned and the original Sītā came out. So it was not possible for Rāvaṇa to touch even the lotus feet of mother Sītā.
Lecture on SB 1.7.43 -- Vrndavana, October 3, 1976:

This morning I was reading about Sītā-devī's being kidnapped by Rāvaṇa. Now, because there was not Rāmacandra present and Lakṣmaṇa was also not present, she was unguarded and Rāvaṇa took the opportunity to kidnap her. So even Sītā-devī, she is goddess of fortune, she is the spiritual potency of Lord Rāmacandra, she is not ordinary woman, but showing us the example that even Sītā-devī... Sītā-devī is the original potency. Of course, Rāvaṇa could not kidnap Sītā-devī as she is. That is not possible. This is described in another Purāṇa, that when Rāvaṇa came to kidnap Sītā, Sītā-devī disappeared from there and she kept a māyā form, false form, and Rāvaṇa kidnapped her. This is stated in very authoritative scripture. When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was traveling in South India, a brāhmaṇa invited Him. So Caitanya Mahāprabhu at noontime went there, but He saw the brāhmaṇa has not cooked anything. There was nothing prepared. And he was crying and reading Rāmāyaṇa. So Caitanya Mahāprabhu inquired, "Brāhmaṇa, why you are in such a depressed condition, you are crying?" "Sir, I am so..." He was in the ecstasy of Hanumān. "Sir, I am so unfortunate that Sītā-devī has been taken by Rāvaṇa and I could not rescue her still." In this way he was puzzled. So he did not cook anything. Then Caitanya Mahāprabhu pacified him. Then he cooked. He could understand that "I invited..." It was done. Then, when he was returning, I forget the name of the Purāṇa... Kūrma Purāṇa. He got evidences that Sītā-devī, when she was supposed to be kidnapped by Rāvaṇa, her a false form was kidnapped, and when Sītā-devī was tested, putting her into the fire, she entered into the fire and the māyā Sītā was burned and the original Sītā came out. So it was not possible for Rāvaṇa to touch even the lotus feet of mother Sītā. But apparently it is externally manifested that Sītā was taken away just to teach us that even Sītā-devī...

Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, "So don't be sorry. Sītā, Lakṣmījī, she cannot be touched by Rāvaṇa. It was māyā Sītā, māyā Sītā. I will tell you. I will give you evidence from the śāstra."
Lecture on SB 1.15.22-23 -- Los Angeles, December 2, 1973:

Sītā was kidnapped by Rāvaṇa. How it is possible that Sītā can be kidnapped by a demon? No. That is stated in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, that Lord Caitanya, He was a guest of a brāhmaṇa in South India. So He took His bath and came to the house of that brāhmaṇa, but the brāhmaṇa did not arrange for any cooking even. There was no food. He was very sorry. So Caitanya Mahāprabhu inquired, "Brāhmaṇa, you invited Me, but I don't see even you have cooked. What is the reason?" "Oh, yes, I am going to cook immediately. The thing is, I am very sorry that Rāvaṇa, the demon, has taken away Sītā, and I could not rescue her still. So why shall I eat? I shall die." He was in the ecstasy of Hanumān, a devotee. He was thinking like Hanumān. So Caitanya Mahāprabhu very much liked that he is, in devotion and in ecstasy of Hanumān, he is thinking like that. So at that time Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, "So don't be sorry. Sītā, Lakṣmījī, she cannot be touched by Rāvaṇa. It was māyā Sītā, māyā Sītā. I will tell you. I will give you evidence from the śāstra." So brāhmaṇa believed Him because Caitanya... "Oh, she is there? Sītā was not taken? A māyā Sītā was taken?" "Yes." Then he become encouraged. He cooked and sufficiently gave Him food.

"When Lord Rāmacandra, after killing Rāvaṇa, He was accepting Sītā back to home, He tested with fire, that 'Sītā, you should enter the fire, and if you are not burned, then you are chaste. Otherwise you are not chaste.' Yes. So the false Sītā which was taken by Rāvaṇa, she entered the fire, and the real Sītā came out."
Lecture on SB 1.15.22-23 -- Los Angeles, December 2, 1973:

So by chance, when Caitanya Mahāprabhu was touring in South India... The Purāṇas, Śiva Purāṇa or something like that, it is stated there. And He brought the evidence again, that "Here you see, in the Purāṇa it is said that when Rāvaṇa came to kidnap Sītā, immediately a false Sītā was given to him, and the real Sītā disappeared. Then again, when Lord Rāmacandra, after killing Rāvaṇa, He was accepting Sītā back to home, He tested with fire, that 'Sītā, you should enter the fire, and if you are not burned, then you are chaste. Otherwise you are not chaste.' Yes. So the false Sītā which was taken by Rāvaṇa, she entered the fire, and the real Sītā came out." This is the statement in the śāstra.

Of course, Rāvaṇa cannot kidnap. It was externally, Māyā Sītā.
Lecture on SB 7.9.11 -- Mayapur, February 18, 1976:

Another definition of Kṛṣṇa is He's full with six kinds of opulences. So He's sufficient to fulfill His desire. He doesn't require anyone's service. Just like we are in need of so many things; therefore we require others' help. But Kṛṣṇa does not require anyone's help. Then why He accepts worship? That is the... That is for the benefit of the devotee, not for His personal benefit. Just like Lord Rāmacandra. He... His one wife Sītādeva was kidnapped by Rāvaṇa. Of course, Rāvaṇa cannot kidnap. It was externally, Māyā Sītā. Still, taking for exception Sītā was kidnapped, so Lord Rāmacandra could have possessed many millions of Sītā by His will, but for one Sītā He had to fight with Rāvaṇa and finish the whole dynasty, because Rāmacandra is the ideal king. It is the king's business to chastise such rogues and ruffians. That is king's business. That is for the benefit of Rāvaṇa.