Three Times Shri Rama Politely Declined Service Offered To Him

[Sita-Rama]“My dear beautiful wife, what you have said is befitting the occasion and also indicative of the greatness of your family heritage. You are dearer to Me than My life, for you are My companion in the performance of religious duties.” (Lord Rama speaking to Sita Devi, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 10.21)

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He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, after all. What can any person really do for Him? Lying down in rest, in His personal form of Lord Vishnu, just through inhaling and exhaling, the universes come into existence, maintain state for some time, and then eventually dissolve. The symbolism to the reality should not be missed. Through an act otherwise considered involuntary, Vishnu does work that has bewildered the entire world since before anyone can remember.

Empowered by destiny, sometimes the influence of bad characters is too much for even those entrusted with protection of the innocent to handle. Divine intervention is required, and the man upstairs does not disappoint. He descends to earth whenever and wherever there is such a need, and He plays the role of greatest protector.

As Shri Rama, Bhagavan is so beloved that others are eager to offer service to Him. He proves His capabilities many times, yet still others do not sit back. They would rather accept suffering than see the person beloved by so many have to take great effort on their behalf. The Supreme Lord is so kind that He sometimes even declines offers, as the sentiment alone is enough to win His favor.

1. Lakshmana wanting to stage a coup

Take over the throne by force. If every person enlisted in the royal army were assigned to the task of protection, if family members objected, if it was the greatest sin to carry forward, Lakshmana still had no reservations. Rama was being wronged. It was the eldest son who succeeded the father on the throne; that was tradition and righteous. The next king of Ayodhya should be Rama and no one else.

[Rama-Lakshmana]The elder brother appreciated the sentiments of the younger. Lakshmana was a loyal protector, though typically the eldest is the one offering the protection. There was no need for violence, as there were other purposes to fulfill by leaving the kingdom and roaming the forest.

2. Guha’s kind hospitality

One person Rama met subsequently in the forest was Guha. He was the chief of the Nishada tribe, which is considered lower on the scale of possible human births. They were too uncivilized to live in the city, but Rama did not discriminate. He knew the pure devotion in Guha’s heart.

So when offered the kindest hospitality, Rama accepted the sentiment. There were stipulations to living in the forest, though. The wife Sita and the younger brother Lakshmana were accompanying, but Rama was to live like an ascetic. He could not accept high class food or royal-style transportation while serving out the exile punishment.

3. Sita’s words of warning

Though mild-mannered and gentle, sometimes the wife Sita would assertively speak. She thought that perhaps Rama was inviting unnecessary violence by roaming the forest while carrying weapons. Doing the wrong thing would incur sin, and the wife was only looking out for the husband’s welfare.

Shri Rama kindly accepted her well-meaning words. He did not chastise her, though dharma was on His side. The weapons were required, as the sages living in the forest were regularly being attacked and eaten away by wicked night-rangers, appearing in disguise. The weapons were there for defense only; Rama would not attack without cause.

[Sita-Rama]Despite dealing with someone of such great stature, in these cases there is a noticeable lack of fear. There is potential to become very close in a relationship with the Supreme Lord, surpassing awe and reverence. Though denied in their requests, there was an inherent lack of fear in making them. More than someone to be worried about for their ability to retaliate, God is someone to be known and held close by in the heart, as He is already the best well-wishing friend.

In Closing:

No need for forever fearing,

God of pastimes endearing.

Like from wife advice hearing,

That from weapons sin nearing.

Lakshmana war with family to wage,

Guha’s hospitality in forest stage.

Shri Rama declining but sentiments to accept,

He of kindness and dharma to protect.

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