Rama's Lesson To Lakshmana
"Once, while moving about in the forest, Rama and Lakshmana sat under a tree. At that time, they heard the neighing of horses and cries of elephants at a distance. Rama asked Lakshmana to find out how horses and elephants happened to appear in the forest. Lakshmana climbed a tree and noticed Bharata coming with a huge army. Immediately, he exclaimed brother! Get ready for a battle. Take up your bow and arrows. Rama smiled at Lakshmana and said. Why are you excited? Do not be hasty. Calm yourself.
What has happened? Lakshmana replied: "Bharata is coming with an army to kill us." Rama said, 'Lakshmana! What a serious mistake you are making? It is impossible for any scion of the Ikshvaaku clan to think of such preposterous idea even in dream. Because we two were not present in Ayodhya when Bharata and Shatrughana returned to the capital, they are coming to see us. Rama sought to pacify Lakshmana. Lakshmana replied:
What is this forbearance and sympathy on your part? If they merely wanted to see us, will they come with a huge army? No. They are coming to slay us. Rama said, Lakshmana! You are too much dominated by Rajasic tendencies. You seem to be attached to kingship. Why worry? Bharata is coming. I shall ask him to crown you king. You may go with him.
Even as Rama was speaking thus, Bharata came rushing towards Rama, fell at his feet crying: Rama, Rama! and said: 'I am not competent to rule over Ayodhya. To reign over the kingdom, Rama Chandra alone is worthy as the eldest son (ofDashratha). You alone are fit to rule over the kingdom properly and establish Rama Rajya. Please return to Ayodhya'. Thus pleaded Bharata. As Bharata was entreating in this manner, Rama looked smilingly at Lakshmana. 'Compare your feelings with the expression of Bharata', he said.
Sage Vashishta also joined in the appeal to Rama to return to Ayodhya. But Rama did not yield to Bharata's entreaties, and acting according to Vashishta's direction, offered his sandals to Bharata and asked Bharata to perform the coronation for the sandals (padukas).
You must recognise the inner significance of this episode. People generally regard the sandals as objects to be despised. But Rama taught a different lesson about them. Rama treated the kingdom and the sandals on a par. 'I don't want a crown. Enthrone my sandals. 'Acting on Rama's injunctions, Bharata performed the coronation of Rama's sandals and spent his time peacefully, contemplating on Rama.' Sai Baba. 5/95. pp.116 & 117
Another Lesson For Lakshmana
"Lakshmana, such an ardent devotee of Rama, with the attitude of complete surrender, once suddenly turned hostile and said, 'Rama! I am leaving you and returning to Ayodhya. Why should I come with you? Only you were asked to go to forest. I shall go back to Ayodhya to join my wife and mother ' Rama was surprised at this unexpected turn in the mind of Lakshmana and asked him to wait for a while, and walking away some distance halted under a tree for shelter. Then Lakshmana repented for his lapse and said, 'I am sorry, I don't want to leave you and go. I do not know why I got such an unnatural attitude all of a sudden.' Rama said, 'You were then in the region ofSurupanakha, the demoness. So, your mind wavered. Now we have come out other territory and you are normal.' This is a lesson to show that even a great devotee like Lakshmana could be upset by traversing the region of a demonic person. Rama saw that Chitrakoot was the seat ofRishis and so decided to stay there. That is why you should shun bad company and bad places haunted by bad people." Sai Baba, SS. 1/99, pp. 25 & 26
Lakshmana's Second Trasgression
"When Rama was on his way back to Ayodhya, the Lord of Time, Yama, came to Rama. While conversing with Yama, Rama had issued a strict order to Lakshmana not to allow anyone inside during his talks with Yama. Rama said if he allowed anyone, he (Lakshmanana) would lose his head.
Lakshmana was a courageous and resolute person. He was guarding the door scrupulously. At that time, the sage Durvasa arrived there. He told Lakshmana: 'I have to go in urgently for a talk with Rama.' Lakshmana firmly refused to let him in. Enraged at Lakshmana's stand, Durvasa angrily declared: I will utter a curse on Ayodhya. I will destroy your entire dynasty by my curse. Beware, Oh Lakshmana!'
Lakshmana was shaken by the irate sage's threat. He was caught in a profound moral dilemma. 'If I let the sage in, my head will be cut off. If I do .lot let him in, not only Ayodhya but also the whole race will be ruined by the sage's curse.' Lakshmana could not reconcile himself to the destruction of his dynasty (Raghuvansha). Nor could he suffer the prospect of the people of Ayodhya being destroyed. He resolved the dilemma in this way. 'By disobeying Rama's orders, I shall be losing only my head. But, thereby, I shall be saving my dynasty and the people of Ayodhya.' Coming to this conclusion, he allowed Durvasa to go in. Lakshmana felt: 'It will be a supreme good fortune to have my head cut off at Rama's hands. I will be the only sufferer. If I do not yield to this sage, my entire race will be wiped out.' Lakshmana thus deeply considered the pros and cons of his decision and chose to sacrifice himself rather than allow others to suffer." Sai Baba, SS, 5/88, p. 117
Rama And Lakshmana-Supreme Examples Of High Character
It is character that marks the life of a good individual. If you go through history, you will find that in the ancient days, people were noted for their control of senses. Take the example of Janaka, the great ruler and father of Sita, offering his daughter in marriage to Rama immediately after the latter broke the Shiva Dhanusha (the formidable bow of Shiva), in terms of the proclamation made by him. When Janaka repeatedly asked Rama to look at Sita and take her hand, Rama looked in a different direction, because he should not look at woman till he tied the wedding knot around her neck. This is the ideal propagated by the great Avatar Rama.
Later on, when Lakshmana followed Rama and Sita to the forest and stayed with them for fourteen long years, he never once looked at the face of Sita who was just an eighteen-year-old damsel. Abundant testimony to this exemplary behaviour of Lakshmana is borne by the episode when Rama and Lakshmana acquired the friendship of the monkey-king Sugriva. Sugriva bade the monkeys to bring the bundle of jewels dropped by Sita when she was being abducted by Ravana. When Rama saw this, he was (emotionally) overwhelmed and asked to identify whether they belonged to Sita. But Lakshmana respectfully said, 'I can only identify the anklets worn by mother Sita as I used to worship her feet every day. I cannot identify the bangles or necklace worn by her as I have never looked up at her face.' Because of such worthy and laudable behaviour, they are remembered even today, though thousands of years have passed. Youth should protect character in that way. Both men and women should consider character as their life breath." Sai Baba. SS. 8/97. p. 204
Lakshmana: A Supreme Example Of Self-Surrender
"Lakshmana is a superb example of the attitude of surrender. When Rama, Sita and Lakshmana went to forest and reached Chitrakoot, Rama told Lakshmana, 'I am feeling tired and Sita too is tired. It is better we stay here for some time. So, I would like you to put up a cottage in which we can stay for a longer duration, if necessary for the whole period often years. You can put the cottage in any place of your choice.'
Hearing these words, Lakshmana felt hurt and bent down his head with grief. Noting this, Sita asked Lakshmana, 'Why are you perturbed, Lakshmana? Your brother did not speak anything harsh. Why do you feel so?' Lakshmana said, 'Have I ever had any choice of my own? I left my mother, wife and all comforts of life and accompanied you both to serve. I have surrendered myself to Rama. Where is the question of my choice? The command of Rama is what I want to carry out. While so, how can I withstand the impact of Rama asking me to put up the cottage at a place of my choice?' Rama realised the sacred feelings of Lakshmana and true attitude of his surrender and pointed out the site himself." Sai Baba, SS, 1/99, p. 25