The Role Models from Ramayana- 7


Contributed by RP Turaga


Lakshmana - Lakshmi Vardhana (one who promotes grace and grandeur)

Lord Lakshmana is the brother of Lord Sri Rama.

Lakshmana is the twin brother of Shatrughna, born in Ayodhya to Sumitra, the third wife of Dasaratha.

Lakshmana married the younger sister of Sita named Urmila.

Lakshmana's life symbolizes the duties of a man to his elders and superiors, and how greatly valued is selflessness in a man's character.

He forgot his own self while rendering service to Rama.

He never covets the throne of Ayodhya, nor hesitates from joining his brother in exile, even though he does not have to.

Valmiki calls Lakshmana a Lakshmi Vardhana (one who promotes grace and grandeur : 1.18.27) ।

Lakshmana, who causes prosperity to grow, always remained very friendly and attached right from his childhood towards eldest brother Rama, the delight of the world.

Lakshmana's supreme love for Rama

Lakshmana's unflinching devotion to Rama is due to the glorious and auspicious attributes of Sri Rama.

Lakshmana was endowed with the most magnificent of bounties-"Kainkarya LakshmI". The good fortune of being of constant service to the Lord is not something everyone can aspire for,

and it is with this priceless treasure that Lakshmana was endowed, in bountiful measure.(1.18.28) ।।

Doing every thing dear to Rama even by offering his body, Lakshmana, possessed of auspiciousness , was attentive as though his very life had taken another form of Rama and moved outside his body as Lakshmana.

To Sri Lakshmana, his elder brother is everything. He is not merely a brother whose words are to be obeyed; He is the doting mother, protective father and guiding Guru.

Lakshmana never left the company of Rama throughout his life (1.18.29 )।।Rama, the greatest among men would not sleep without Lakshmana's company. He would not partake choicest cooked food presented to him also without Rama.(1.18.30) ।।Whenever Raghava goes to forest for hunting riding on horse back, Lakshmana used to follow him holding bow and arrows in his hand.

Lakshmana accompanied Rama to guard the sacrifice of Vishwamitra from demons. In Siddhashrama, he always enaged himself in the service of Rama, and protected the sacrifice of Vishwamitra.

Even Manthara praises the love of Lakshmana for Rama ( 2.8.31) ।।Lakshmana surely protects Rama and Rama also protects Lakshmana. Their brother hood resembles that of 'Ashwini Kumaras' and is renowned in the worlds.

We must remember here that Kaikeyi's order of banishment applied only to Sri Rama. And if Janaki too chose to share the exile, it is nothing remarkable, for the place of a dutiful wife is by her husband's side, whether he is the emperor of the three worlds or a mere pauper eking out his livelihood.

It is Lakshmana's voluntary offer to accompany his brother to the jungle, and his insistence upon its acceptance, that demonstrate his selflessness and readiness to forsake the pleasures of the palace and the company of a recently- wedded wife, all for the sake of Sri Rama's company and for the opportunity of being of service to Him.

Lakshmana says: (2.31.3)

।।" If you have decided to go to the forest where deers and elephants abound, I shall also accompany you to the forest by going in front of you and holding a bow." ।।" I do not want even heaven without you nor do I wish godhood nor the lordship of all the worlds."(।। 2.31.5)

The Power of Destiny

Lakshmana's uncontainable anger is on full display when he hears of the machinations of Kaikeyi aimed at preventing Sri Rama's coronation.

He swears to Sri Rama that he would annihilate not only the scheming stepmother, but also her husband and son, oblivious to the fact that they are his own father and brother respectively.

Sri Rama restrains him with very great difficulty, pointing out that it is the hand of destiny that enacts a play through the medium of Kaikeyi, who is but an instrument. (2.22.15) ।।O Lakshmana! if the kingdom awarded to me is revoked and if I am banished in this manner, you should know that destiny alone is the cause.

।।Unless this thought was inspired by destiny , how Kaikeyi could get such a determination to inflict pain on me ? ( 2.22.16)

।।The power of destiny is incomprehensible. Its power on all beings cannot be averted. It is evident that the adverse destiny has now fallen on me and on Kaikeyi. This is evident(2.22.20).

।।Happiness or misery, fear or anger, gain or loss, birth or death, and all such things are surely the acts of destiny(।। 2.22.22)

।।(2.22.23) ।।Even rishis with intense austerities are restrained by destiny and are swerved from their severe ascetic practices because of anger and passion.

Rama extols Lakshmana (2.31.10 ।)

You are affectionate, devoted to righteousness and are valourous. You always abide in virtuous path. You are dear to me like my own life.

You are not only an obedient brother but also a friend.

Lakshmana's reverence towards Mother Sita

Rama goes chasing a golden deer (which actually is the Rakshasa Maricha in disguise), and does not return for a long time.

When Sita coerces Lakshmana to leave in search of his brother, Lakshmana who cannot bear to see Sita cry in grief, reluctantly decides to go and search for Rama, subject to his condition that Sita not cross the protective line he draws.

Once Lakshmana leaves in search of Rama, the Rakshasa king Ravana comes in the form of a mendicant and asks Sita for alms.

Not expecting a trick, she unsuspectingly crosses the Lakshman Rekha to provide alms to him and Ravana kidnaps her in his Pushpaka Vimana.

The two brothers start searching for Sita and meet Sugriva. Sugriva showed to Rama the clothes and ornaments dropped by Sita. Then Rama tooks those things and asked Lakshmana to see them.

Lakshmana saw them and said:(4.6.22) ।।

Armlets and ear rings are not known to me. I can only identify her anklets as I used to bow down to her to touch her feet.

Lakshmana's discourse on the virtue of Gratefullness

Another occurrence, which attracts Lakshmana's anger, is Sugriva's failure to honour his commitment to search for Sita.

Once he becomes the undisputed king of Kishkinda, he immerses himself in ceaseless merrymaking, completely forgetting his promise to the suffering Sri Rama.

Lakshmana the slayer of enemies entered the dreadful cave of Kishkinda having been commanded by Rama.

Tara, the accomplished and intoxicant lady whose eyes were unsteady whose golden chain of the waist girdle was hanging appeared before Lakshmana with faltering steps and bent down demeanour.

Lakshmana, the great prince, saw that vanara king's wife with down-cast face without showing any reaction. His anger was controlled because of the presence of woman.

She then spoke pleasing and meaningful words executing friendly advice with regard for him.

O Prince Lakshmana! What is the cause of your anger? Who has disrespected your word of command?

Having heard Tara's unhesitant words spoken in a pleasant and friendly manner, Lakshmana spoke these words.

O lady and a well wisher of husband! Your husband is addicted to lust and indifferent to dharma and artha. Why are you not aware of that fact?

O Tara! Sugriva does not consider us who are grief stricken.He does not think of state affairs. He is only enjoying drinks in the company of ministers.

The king of monkeys is addicted to drinking and strolling. Having set four months for waiting he is not realising that the time has exceeded.

It is not proper to drink for one who is desirous of accomplishment of dharma and artha, as these diminish if one is addicted to drinking and pleasures. Even morals will be destroyed.

।। ।।Dharma is violated by not helping the one who has helped. Loss of a good friend leads to loss of wealth and destruction(4.33.47).

O monkey-lord! This praise-worthy verse revered by all the worlds was sung by Brahmana when he saw the ungrateful person.

।। ।।There is atonement for one who kills a brahmin, a wine drinker, a thief and similarly for one who breaks his promise. But for an ungrateful one there is no atonement(4.34.12).

Here we may note:The Chapter 33 of Kishkindha Kanda vies with the 33rd chapter of Aranya Kanda in the attitudes of a king and his kingship.

Here Sugreeva is indulging in bodily pleasures with his own females and in Aranya Kanda, as accused by Shurpanakha, Ravana is hankering after other's women.

Here Sugreeva is dizzy with drinks and in Aranya Kanda Ravana is dizzy with his supremacy.

These two chapters, as detailed by ancient commentators, equally deal with raaja niiti shastra 'political science.'

Here the only rescue to Sugreeva is Tara, who saves the face of Sugreeva before Lakshmana, whereas Ravana has none to come to his aid when chided by Shurpanakha.