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How did Lakshmana react when he came to know that Rama is leaving for forest?

When Lakshmana has come to know that Rama has been asked to go to the forest, he got very disappointed and came to meet Rama. Kausalya has been persuading Rama to change his decision and not go to the forest. Furious Lakshmana intervened and said, “Mother, I also do not want Rama to go to the forest. The King Dasaratha has become old and out his love for pleasures; Keikeyi influences him. I have never heard anybody talking ill of Rama, even our adversaries. Can any ethical and honest person ask his son to go to the forest without reason?”

 

Lakshmana said to his brother Rama, “Brother, I will stand by you and with my help, take over the kingdom. I will kill anybody who comes in support of Bharata, and if the people of Ayodhya are opposite to you, I will kill all of them. If our father, Dasaratha, behaves like an enemy, I will imprison him and kill him if necessary. If one becomes arrogant and loses the judgment between good and evil, he needs to be punished. On what basis, our father Dasaratha, has given the kingdom to Bharata?”

 

Kausalya got some relief with Lakshman’s words and said, “Rama! You have been a great follower of Dharma. Just like you respect your father you have respected me. If you go to a forest, I will not be able to live. As your mother, I am asking you to oppose your father and take claim to the kingdom.” Kausalya grieved miserably and cried uncontrollably.

 

Rama spoke in a soft voice, “Mother, I am not able to violate my father’s words, and I bow down in front of you to allow me to follow my father’s words. This is not a new practice that I have invented. Even in the past, Parasurama killed his mother and a sage called Kandu killed a cow to abide by father’s words. I will adhere to the age old practices that are mentioned in scriptures.”

 

Rama turned to Lakshmana and said, “My mother is grieving because she does not realize the value of truth. You are aware that Dharma is the ultimate and Satya (Truth) is established within Dharma. Our father’s words are established in Dharma. One who follows Dharma always abides by the promise given to the father, mother or sages. Do not think like a warrior who is in the war but think of the dharma that you have to follow”. Rama turned towards Kausalya and said, “Mother, I seek your blessings to go to the forest. I will come back after my exile, and I request all of you to follow father’s directions.”

 

Kausalya did not agree and replied, “Rama! I am also as respectable as your father for you, and I do not give you permission to go away. What is the purpose of living if you are not with me?” Lakshmana also agreed with her and nodded his head. Rama said, “Lakshmana! I know your love and affection towards me. But you are joining with mother, and you are making things difficult for me without understanding my opinion. One who establishes himself in Dharma will achieve Artha (wealth) and kama (desires). One who focuses only on artha or kama without any concern for Dharma will be hated in this world. I do not wish to sacrifice Dharma for the sake of the inferior kingdom, glory, and pleasures.”

Rama turned to his mother Kausalya and said, “Only a cruel person will not live up to the promises given to his father. King Dasaratha is alive and even for you; it is your dharma to follow his words. Please give me permission to leave for the forest.”

 

Kausalya gave her permission very reluctantly, and Rama proceeded to meet Sita to inform about his journey to a forest.

 

Source: Valmiki Ramayana

 

Why Rama refused to come back from forest after the death of Dasaratha?

Ramayana

After the death of Dasaratha, ministers and other kings have proposed to crown  Bharata as king of Ayodhya in a grand coronation ceremony. But Bharata refused and said that he would bring Rama back and crown him as a king. Bharata travelled with his mother Kaikeyi, rishis like Vasishta, ministers and his army to request Rama.

Guha noticed a large army camp on the banks of Ganga and recognised that it is Bharata. Being a Son of Kaikeyi, Guha suspected whether Bharata had any evil thoughts and came to the forest to harm Rama.  Guha decided to meet Bharata and understand his true intentions. Bharata received Guha with lot of affection and said ”Guha!! I came here to persuade my brother Rama and make him the King of Ayodhya. Can you tell me where my brother is?” Guha felt euphoric hearing this and showed them the way to Bharadwaja ashram where Rama was staying.

Eager to meet Rama, Bharata walked very briskly ahead of all others. As soon as he saw Rama, Bharata fell on Rama’s feet and greeted him very respectfully.  Bharata told Rama and Lakshmana that Dasaradha has passed away.  By hearing that, Rama, Lakshmana and Sita grieved uncontrollably.  Accompanied by rishis, brothers Rama paid final respects to his father in Ganga (tarpanam)

Next day, after the morning prayers, Bharata said ”brother! It is my mother who is responsible for your exile. I hate her for her selfish behaviour. Even our father, Dasaratha, was overpowered by his love towards his wife. He made a big mistake by asking you to leave Ayodhya. Do not consider the words of an old fool, with blind love towards his wife as final. Please return to Ayodhya, and we will coronate you as King”. Rama said” Bharata! Father is not a fool, he was not blinded by a woman’s love. He just carried out his promise for fear of being untruthful. There is no greater fear than being untruthful. Father has given the kingdom to you and forested to me. If I take up the throne, I will be untruthful. I cannot return to Ayodhya.”

Kaikeyi came to Rama and said, “Rama, please forgive me. I am ashamed by selfishness and made a blunder mistake by asking for your exile. Please return to Ayodhya and rule the kingdom just like your father.” Rama replied by saying “Mother, I have neither any disrespect nor ill will for you. I will return to Ayodhya only after 14 years of exile. Neither Bharata nor I have any interest in the kingdom. Our father’s promise binds we both, and we will obey it.”

After hearing this Bharata was very disappointed and said “brother, I cannot return to Ayodhya without you. I will also stay in the forest along with Lakshmana and Sita. Otherwise, I will stay on fast until death”. Rama looked at Vasishta and requested him to persuade Bharata. Vasishta told Bharata “Please listen to your brother. Return to Ayodhya and rule the kingdom as a deputy under Rama’s authority. By doing so, neither you nor your father will be untruthful”.

Bharata got convinced and decided to return and rule the kingdom as a servant of Rama. Like his brothers Rama and Lakshmana, he also decided to dress like an ascetic, and he carried the sandals of Rama on his head and returned to Ayodhya. He placed the Rama’s sandals on the throne and ruled the country with utmost sincerity.

Source: Adhyatma Ramayana