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


How to deal with friendship? Hanuma’s advice that saved Sugraiva’s life

After Vali’s death, Rama has coroneted Sugriva as the king of Kishkindha Kingdom. Sugriva thanked Rama and promised Rama that he will assemble a great army to fight Ravana as soon as the rainy season is over. Since Rama has taken a vow that he will not live in any city, he lived on the Prasavana mountain along with Lakshmana. While Rama was waiting, Sugriva engrossed himself in pleasures and comforts of his kingship. He indulged himself with women day in and day out and delegated his responsibilities to able ministers.


Hanuma has observed this and advised Sugriva that, “Now you have acquired your kingdom back and you still have the duty to fulfill your promise to assemble the army. Your kingdom will flourish only if you treat your friends very amicably and address their needs punctually. A king needs to pay attention to his finances, army, friends and his own atman (self). A king who does not addresses his friend’s needs on time, and over indulges in personal comforts will receive lot of adversity. When you delay in acting on addressing a friends’ need, it is as good as not acting at all”.


Hanuma continued, “Rama is a great warrior and he is capable of attacking Ravana alone. Rama values his friendship greatly and he has proved it already by saving your life from your brother and made you as a King. Please do not wait till Rama comes back and remind you to act on your promise. Invest your energies in pursuing Rama’s objectives and command the army to assemble here quickly”. Sugriva thanked Hanuma and ordered immediately to assemble a massive army and prepare for the fight.


The rainy season was over and Rama still did not get any communication from Sugriva on how to proceed to Lanka. Rama became very anguished and said to Lakshmana, “Four months of rainy season feels like hundred years for me. I don’t know how Sita is and without her I am not able to enjoy this beautiful nature as well. Sugriva has used me to get his kingdom back and he is indulging in the worthless pleasures and forgot his promises.” Rama asked Lakshmana to go to Kishkindha and remind Sugriva about his promise. “Tell Sugriva that I have killed Vali with one arrow and if Sugriva does not abide by his words, I can kill Sugriva and his dynasty as well”. Lakshmana became very angry and said “I will kill Sugriva right away and will lead and an army under the leadership of Angada to search Sita”. But Rama asked Lakshmana to have patience and only warn Sugriva and not act in haste.


When furious Lakshmana entered Kishkindha, some of the informers informed Sugriva about Lakshmana’s visit. Sugriva came to Hanuma and said, “ I have never spoken ill of Rama or Lakshmana and I don’t know why Lakshmana is angry with me. Some of my rivals may have created a bad impression about me to Rama. Why don’t you go to Lakshmana and pacify him”. Hanuma replied, “Rama must be upset and he must have sent Lakshmana to remind you about your promise. You have been ecstatic about your kingdom and you have not noticed that the rainy season is over. If Rama is annoyed, it is not good for you and your kingdom. You have been a great friend and you already ordered the entire army to be assembled. I don’t foresee any other way except apologizing to Lakshmana for the delay. If He uses any harsh words, please endure it as Rama is anguished.”


Sugriva apologized to Lakshmana and they all went to the Prasavana Mountain to display the great army that he has assembled to fight the war.


Source : Valmiki ramayana


Kevat – The boat man who is in the same profession as Rama

Rama left the kingdom of Ayodhya for 14 years of exile along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana. In the forest, they had to cross the river Ganges at one place. They requested a boatman, Kevat, to drive them across the river. Kevat replied “With great respects to you, I cannot take you on the boat. I came to know that from the dust of your feet, a stone has turned into a woman. My boat is made of several pieces of wood. If the dust of your feet touches my boat, they can turn into several beautiful women. If that happens, I will not be able to support a large family. Please allow me to wash your feet to take the dust of your feet.”

Rama smiled at him and appreciated his innocent faith and agreed. Kevat washed his feet and asked Rama to step over his hand filled with Ganga water before stepping into the sandals prepared for Rama. On reaching the other bank, Sita gave one of her rings as the gift to Kevat.

Kevat refused to accept the award and said, “How can I accept anything as a payment from you? Two people from the same profession do not exchange tokens. A barber never takes a payment, when he gives a haircut to another barber. A washer man never charges a fellow washer man”. Rama was a little curious and asked him how both of them are in the same profession. Kevat said, “We both do the same work. I ferry people from one bank to another, and you ferry people from this materialistic world to moksha (eternal bliss). I have helped you cross the river today, and I request you to help me cross this material existence.”

Rama was so overwhelmed at his devotional request, he held out his arms and embraced kevat and blessed him.


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


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

Who to be blamed for our miseries? Lakshmana’s advice to Guha

Rama at forest

Rama started from Ayodhya along with Lakshmana and Sita to forests in a chariot driven by Sumanthra. Rama reached the banks of the river Ganga to a place to Sringiberapura.  Guha, the king of the place, dear to Rama, a hunter, well endowed in military strength having heard Rama’s arrival went to him, accompanied by his ministers and relations.

Guha offered some fruits and roots. Pleased by his gesture, Rama, however, said to him in reply, “I shall not enter a town, village or house for fourteen years and I shall not take fruits and roots given by others”. Guha asked Rama to stay in his kingdom forever and give him the pleasure of serving Rama. But Rama disagreed and said, “I cannot disobey the words of my father and the promise given my father to my stepmother Kaikeyi”.  Unable to convince Rama, Guha asked Rama to stay at least for that night.  Rama agreed to his request and decided to take rest there.

Rama and Sita slept beneath the tree on grass. While guarding Rama and Sita,  Lakshmana along with Sumantra and Guha started talking to one another. Guha said “I am not able to control my sorrow after looking at Rama sleeping on the grass. Rama is a prince and I am aware how luxurious and comfortable life he used to live there. Because of Kaikeyi, Rama had to leave all his wealth, luxury and comforts and live in this forest along with wild animals, eat fruits and roots and sleep on the grass. I curse Kaikeyi. Had she not done such worse deeds Rama would have been a king of this great country and enjoy all the power”.

Lakshmana said “It is not proper to blame kaikeyi. One’s misery or joy does not from another person but it is a result of one’s action. Joy and misery are like Day and night and both are unavoidable. There is joy in the midst of misery and misery in the midst of joy. Like mud and water, they cannot be separated. Those who are wise, do not pay attention to these external factors and do their actions without associating with results of their deeds.”

After listening to Lakshmana, Guha has understood the reality. The sky became clear and Rama woke up. After performing their morning rituals, they continued their journey.

Source: Adhyatma Ramayana