“Rama’s younger brother, Lakshmana, has reddish eyes and a voice that resounds like a kettledrum. His strength matches that of Rama’s, and his face shines like a full moon. Just as wind gives aid to a raging fire, Lakshmana has joined forces with his brother. It is that best of kings, Shriman Rama, who has brought down the Rakshasas fighting in Janasthana.” (Akampana speaking to Ravana, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 31.16-17)
A wise person accepts valid information from hearing. That is to say they don’t insist on personal observation and experience when not necessary. One example is the weather forecast. The experts say that it will rain today. From morning until night. Heavy at times, but ever-steady, there will be no parting of the clouds on this day.
Skepticism is always an option, so if I decide to not take an umbrella with me on my walk to the bus station in the morning, the negative consequences are on me. I get validation of the forecast through the rain drenching my face and clothes, and so there is no more doubt. The situation could have been prevented by accepting the knowledge on authority. There is an element of faith, for sure, but that is the case with virtually every aspect of living.
Many thousands of years ago a powerful ruler received eyewitness testimony of the amazing fighting ability of two men. They were brothers, and the person who observed decided to compare them to fire and wind. The leader, the elder brother, Shri Rama, fired arrows that were like heat-seeking missiles. In whichever direction the enemies fled, the arrows followed. The fighters could find no escape. Though the origin Himself was known to be peaceful, calm, kind and fair, the specific face they saw of Him was terrifying.
That fire-like fighter was aided by the wind-like younger brother named Lakshmana. Having a voice like a kettledrum, just from speaking there was intimidation. Lakshmana followed Rama as a matter of duty, though the guiding sentiment was love. Rama was enough to take on fourteen-thousand of the king’s men, and Lakshmana was there in the background, just in case.
A wise person would have taken heed. These are not people to be messed with. The king of Lanka, Ravana, thought his forces were enough to secure victory. They were the aggressors. They went to the forest of Janasthana specifically to attack Rama. Instead, reports came back of a heavy attack, originating from the son of King Dasharatha.
Ravana learned enough to not try a similar mission in the future. Instead he went the cowardly route. Combining with the advisor Maricha, Ravana changed his shape. He used deception to steal Sita away. Rama’s beautiful wife was alone at the time, not bothering anyone. She had amazing abilities acquired through asceticism, but she would not use them in a place where Rama was tasked with defending her.
The heavy attack that Akampana experienced was nothing compared to what awaited Ravana in Lanka. Rama was defending before, but this time He came in full force, bringing along an army of monkeys and bears. Just as Rama’s arrows met their targets, so too did the rocks and trees hurled by the dedicated servants, who were not nearly as skilled in warfare as Ravana’s men, who could employ black magic when desired.
The Ravana-like mentality existed prior to his time on earth and it continues through to this day. The less intelligent will deny the expert testimony passed on in Vedic literature and held safe through the system of disciplic succession. Taking shelter of skepticism, of the inaccurate information provided by the flawed senses, the choice will be made for material enjoyment. Forget the Almighty. Forget dharma. Forget right and wrong. Just as the forecast of fire and wind eventually wiped away Ravana and his clan, so the all-devouring agent of time shows its gruesome face to erase the gains acquired through human effort.
Just like the fighters dedicated to Rama were protected, so His servants are spared the cruel death that continues the cycle of reincarnation. No more changing bodies for the liberated soul, who no matter where they reside always sees the fearless Rama standing in their heart, holding His illustrious bow and arrow, with Lakshmana by His side.
Standing guard to preside,
With Lakshmana by His side.
Like wind aiding the fire,
Of enemy’s defeat to transpire.
What Akampana in Dandaka saw,
That Ravana’s army flawed.
Same brothers today at the ready,
To protect those of devotion steady.
Categories: glories of lakshmana