“Also the highly-splendorous Lakshmana, the enhancer of the joy of Sumitra, offers his obeisances to you and asks of your well-being.” (Hanuman speaking to Sita Devi, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 34.35)
lakṣmaṇaḥ ca mahātejāḥ sumitra ānanda vardhanaḥ |
abhivādya mahābāhuḥ so api kauśalam abravīt ||
Shri Hanuman here refers to Lakshmana as one who enhances the delight of Sumitra. Sumitra is one of the three queens to King Dasharatha of Ayodhya. The reference is intentional, as Hanuman is speaking to Sita Devi, the wife of Shri Rama. Rama is also a son of Dasharatha, but born of the queen Kausalya. Rama and Lakshmana are thus brothers, and Sumitra one of three mothers-in-law to Sita.
It’s understandable for the mother-in-law and the wife of the son to clash. They share an interest, and only one person can handle the majority of the responsibility. The mother has raised the son since birth, providing for his every need. Then suddenly a stranger, from another family, enters the picture and assumes the same role. The mother is not afraid to correct the daughter-in-law. The mother wants the son to be taken care of, and the daughter-in-law feels the pressure of expectation. Someone is always watching over her.
In Sita’s case there were three people, six eyes if you will, watching and recording her every move. The situation was unique for more reasons than just the number of mothers. Sita had no issue with any of Dasharatha’s queens. They all loved her like a daughter, and she was completely respectful. She followed the example of her father, the venerable King Janaka of Videha.
Using basic substitution, we can deduce that Hanuman is saying that Lakshmana increases the ananda, or bliss, of someone who is very dear to Sita. In this situation Hanuman is both trying to relay an important message and prove his authenticity as Rama’s messenger. Sita is in great difficulty, where she can’t trust anyone. Hanuman is a stranger to her, so she is not sure if he really is Rama’s messenger. Sita is separated from Rama and feeling the grief caused by that separation.
Hanuman says that Lakshmana is maha-tejah, or highly-splendorous. As the son of a king, Rama is of the kshatriya order, which is the warrior class. The Sanskrit word tejah also refers to power. A good kshatriya should be full of tejah, and it was the case with both Rama and Lakshmana. The highly splendorous Lakshmana would later accompany Rama to Lanka and rescue Sita. Thus she should not worry over how she will be saved. Even though the fiendish king of Lanka took her away in secret, he would soon enough reap the proper punishment.
Hanuman says that Lakshmana has asked of Sita’s welfare and offered his obeisances. This aspect of the message was very important to the situation. The last time Sita saw Lakshmana, she insulted him greatly. Her husband Rama was led away from the hermitage by a deer that Sita asked Him to chase. Then there was a troubling sound that resembled Rama’s voice. Lakshmana was instructed not to leave Sita alone, but she told him to go check on Rama. As he was not listening to her, Sita resorted to insults. She finally succeeded in driving him away.
She obviously felt remorseful later on. Hanuman’s words meant that Lakshmana did not harbor any ill will. He understood that her words, though hurtful, were rooted in love for Rama. Lakshmana wanted to save Sita as much as Rama did. Lakshmana is the faithful younger brother of Rama. He cannot live without Rama. In youth, he would not take his meals or go to sleep unless Rama had done so first. Sita knew all of this, and so by hearing these words she understood that Hanuman knew Lakshmana as well.
That enhancer of the delight of his respectable mother would soon apply his great splendor in the mission to remove Sita’s woes. This is the greatness of Lakshmana. He works only for Rama, for pleasing Him. It is said in the Padma Purana by Lord Shiva that greater than worship of Vishnu, or God, is worship of anything related to Vishnu. Rama is the same Vishnu, and so Sita is directly related to Vishnu. Lakshmana and Hanuman worship Sita by risking their lives to protect her.
They feel tremendous joy as a result of this engagement, and one who follows their example gets the same benefit. The worship and respect of Hanuman, Lakshmana, Sita and others directly related to Rama leads to the pinnacle achievement of life: devotion. That is the one thing to ask for from the higher authorities, the only reward worth seeking. Lakshmana gives that devotion through his example and the words he passes down in the chain of disciplic succession, of which he is the origin. He empowers the guru, the bona fide representative of Rama, with tejah to deliver fallen souls who remain humble and sincere in their desire to be lifted out of the pain and suffering of the material existence.
To sincere with devotion gifted,
So that out of material ocean lifted.
From Lakshmana, Sumitra’s son,
Deviating from Rama’s service none.
Message from Hanuman to Lanka tasked,
That Lakshmana of Sita’s welfare asked.
Meant Ravana’s punishment soon coming,
Maha-teja applied for victorious becoming.
Categories: hanuman the messenger