Pleasing the Spiritual Master

Rama and Lakshmana “…Lakshmana, who is very beautiful and opulent, always serves Lord Rama.” (Chaitanya Charitamrita, Adi 6.90)

Lakshmana is so glorious. Always ready to defend his brother through thick and thin, such a person is worthy of our highest love and respect. From his very birth, Lakshmana had only one interest at heart; the welfare of his brother, Lord Rama.

God comes to earth in many different forms according to time, place, and circumstance. In the Treta Yuga, the Lord came in the form of a brave and pious prince named Rama, born as the eldest son of Maharaja Dashratha of Ayodhya. Rama had three younger brothers, with Lakshmana being the one He was closest too. Just as Krishna, or Vishnu, incarnates on earth, so His expansions such as Ananta Shesha Naga and Lakshmi also incarnate. Lakshmana was an expansion of Ananta Shesha Naga, the serpent with unlimited hoods who serves as the resting place for Lord Narayana in the spiritual planet of Shvetadvipa. Lakshmana played the same role in the material world; that of number one supporter of God. From their childhood, the two were inseparable, with Lakshmana unable to even sleep without his brother. As a perfect devotee, he wouldn’t even take meals unless Rama was there with him.

“That foremost of persons (Lakshmana) did not even attain sleep without Rama’s company, nor did he partake of any sweetmeat that was offered, unless Rama partook of it with him.” (Valmiki Ramayana, Bala Kand, 18.30-31)

Rama and Lakshmana eatingAs the events of their lives unfolded, Rama reached the appropriate age for becoming king. With everyone expecting His coronation, the plans were suddenly changed with Bharata chosen as the successor to the throne instead. At the same time, Rama was ordered to live in the wilderness for fourteen years, having no ties to the kingdom. This was all the doing of Kaikeyi, mother of Bharata and youngest wife to Dashratha. Rama had no problem accepting the new plans, but Lakshmana was outraged. Just as most of us don’t mind being insulted ourselves, but take greater offense to things said about our loved ones, so Lakshmana took great umbrage with the treatment shown to his brother.

“Oh Rama, with me standing by Your side protecting You with my bow, and You appearing like Yamaraja (the god of death) to the enemy, who would be capable of stopping your installation as king?” (Lakshmana speaking to Lord Rama, Vm. Ayodhya Kand, 21.9)

Rama and Lakshmana Not wanting to go quietly, in the above referenced statement, Lakshmana is trying to convince Rama to stay in the kingdom and take over the throne by force. Since Rama was the eldest, He was the rightful heir to the kingdom, so Lakshmana saw nothing wrong with taking back what was due Him. Lakshmana boldly declared that no one would be able to stand in their way, for he would be right by Rama’s side protecting Him with his bow and arrows.

Rama and Lakshmana were born in a family of kshatriyas whose lineage dated all the way back to Maharaja Ikshvaku, the first king in human history. Kshatriyas are the ruling class of men, part of the varnashrama dharma system prescribed in the Vedas. As sons of the king, both Rama and Lakshmana received instruction from their spiritual master, Vashishta, and then further training in military arts from the venerable Vishvamitra Muni. Rama and Lakshmana’s fighting prowess was great and they also had expert knowledge of various mantras which augmented the power of their arrows. Back in those times, all fighting was done with bow and arrows. Just as today there are very powerful nuclear weapons, the same type of artillery existed back then but in the form of arrows. By perfectly uttering specific mantras, one could shoot an ordinary arrow and give it the same power as the greatest of nuclear weapons. In this way, Lakshmana could protect and defend anyone.

“With the club and the disc He (Lord Vishnu) chastises the miscreants so that they may come to their senses and know that they are not all in all. Over them there is the Supreme Lord. And by bugling with the conchshell and offering blessings with the lotus flower, He always assures the devotees that no one can vanquish them, even in the greatest calamity.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 2, Ch 17)

Lord Vishnu God can be very nice, as was demonstrated by Lord Rama and His nature. However, to punish the miscreants, the Lord is willing and able to use force at any time. When we see pictures of Lord Vishnu, He is seen holding two items representing peacefulness; the lotus flower and conch shell, and two items representing force; the club and the disc. Both sets of items are equally as beautiful, for watching the Lord protect His devotees gives great pleasure. Lakshmana had tremendous power, but He only used it for good. In actuality, Rama’s other brothers were all equally as devoted as Lakshmana, but due to his affection for Rama, Lakshmana didn’t hesitate in standing by his brother’s side.

Lakshmana is the symbol of the spiritual master. A holy man is often referred to as a sadhu, which means one who cuts. Since they are God’s representatives, spiritual masters dedicate all their thoughts, words, and deeds towards protecting and serving the Lord. For this reason, they don’t say things just to make people happy, but rather they speak the truth as it relates to Krishna. From Lakshmana’s example, we can see that the Lord’s devotees renounce anything and everything in favor of serving the Lord. They don’t stand idly by when they see the Lord being blasphemed or treated improperly. By the same token, one who properly serves the spiritual master enjoys all the protections afforded by God’s representative. The best way to serve the spiritual master is to always chant the Lord’s names, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.” This will be most pleasing to the guru and, in turn, be most pleasing to the Supreme Lord. By gaining the favor of the sadhu, Lakshmana will protect us and give us the necessary strength to serve God in the same manner that he did.

Categories: glories of lakshmana

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