Three Family Relationships To Learn From In The Ramayana

[Rama and Lakshmana]“O Lakshmana, do you rule this earth with Me. You are like My second self, so this glorious opportunity has been presented to you as well. O Saumitra, do you enjoy all the pleasures you desire and the fruits of the regal life. My life and this kingdom I covet for your sake alone.” (Lord Rama speaking to Lakshmana, Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodhya Kand, 4.43-44)

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लक्ष्मणेमां मया सार्धं प्रशाधि त्वं वसुन्धराम्।
द्वितीयं मेऽन्तरात्मानं त्वामियं श्रीरुपस्थिता।।
सौमित्रे भुङ्क्ष्व भोगांत्स्वमिष्टान्राज्यफलानि च।
जीवितं च हि राज्यं च त्वदर्थमभिकामये।।

lakṣmaṇemāṃ mayā sārdhaṃ praśādhi tvaṃ vasundharām।
dvitīyaṃ me’ntarātmānaṃ tvāmiyaṃ śrīrupasthitā।।
saumitre bhuṅkṣva bhogāṃtsvamiṣṭānrājyaphalāni ca।
jīvitaṃ ca hi rājyaṃ ca tvadarthamabhikāmaye।।

1. Ravana and Vibhishana

There was so much love coming from Vibhishana. The family were Rakshasas, which are something equivalent to man-eating ogres. Nature did not bless them with auspicious forms, to say the least. Yet from our personal experience and even studying history we see that circumstances do not always create a uniform type of character.

प्रह्लादश् चास्मि दैत्यानां
कालः कलयताम् अहम्
मृगाणां च मृगेन्द्रो ऽहं
वैनतेयश् च पक्षिणाम्

prahlādaś cāsmi daityānāṁ
kālaḥ kalayatām aham
mṛgāṇāṁ ca mṛgendro ‘haṁ
vainateyaś ca pakṣiṇām

“Among the Daitya demons I am the devoted Prahlada; among subduers I am time; among the beasts I am the lion, and among birds I am Garuda, the feathered carrier of Vishnu.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 10.30)

In the Bhagavad-gita, Shri Krishna says that among the Daitya class He is the saintly Prahlada. Daityas are a race of demons described in Vedic literature. They descend from a woman named Diti, and every person who appears in their line tends away from dharma and the people trying to uphold it.

Yet Prahlada is different; he is an exception. He has saintly qualities from the time of birth. He is nothing like the other Daityas, who are led by Prahlada’s father, Hiranyakashipu. In the same way, Vibhishana stands out in the city of Lanka.

He does not denounce everyone as sinners and neither does he plot behind the scenes to overthrow the leader, who is named Ravana. Vibhishana has affection for his brother, who is ruthless in character and scary in sight, with his ten heads and twenty arms.

When Ravana has gone too far in stealing the goddess of fortune, Lakshmi Devi, Vibhishana is the only advisor in the kingdom to speak what is right. He tells the truth that Sita’s husband, Shri Rama, will forgive the offense. In other words, the city does not have to be doomed. Return Sita to Rama and everything will be alright.

2. Sugriva and Vali

Shifting from the man-eaters to the forest dwellers, these two brothers live in the kingdom of Kishkindha. Both are very powerful, having taken birth from demigods. Brothers are of the same family. They should look out for one another. The material world is a dangerous place, since every person is struggling to survive.

You could use any support you can get. Who better to lean on in times of trouble than your own brother? Yet the closeness, both in terms of interest and proximity, can lead to intense feuds. This was the case with Sugriva and Vali.

[Sugriva and Vali]The issue for Sugriva was that Vali was much more powerful. If Vali’s anger rose to the point of desiring to inflict lethal punishment, there was nothing Sugriva could do but flee. He took shelter on the summit of Mount Rishyamukha, where he was assisted by the trusted servant named Hanuman.

3. Lakshmana and Rama

With these two brothers, the love is so strong that there is almost a back and forth in the offering of service. This should make sense, as Rama is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Lakshmana is the first expansion, something like the ideal servant. Both are God, but in different manifestations. One is the worshipable God and the other the worshiping God.

A single moment from their dealings reveals everything about the relationship. Shri Rama receives the news that the father Dasharatha has made an important decision. Rama will be the next king. The transfer of power will occur soon. Everyone in the kingdom is delighted. If a poll were taken, the decision would receive one hundred percent support, with zero margin of error.

Yet Rama is so kind towards His brothers that He doesn’t want them to feel minimized. He offers to share the honor with Lakshmana. Rama proclaims that He does everything for Lakshmana, and this is not an exaggeration.

The principle transitions to daily life, in that when there is a struggle for advancement of some kind of material condition, there is sure to be strife, anger, resentment, competition, joy at another’s reversal of fortune, and sadness at another’s ascension.

These emotions are only natural, as we see from the Rakshasas in Lanka and the Vanaras in Kishkindha. If we made the attempt at purification through the bhakti-yoga path, dedicating our words and deeds for the pleasure of Rama and Lakshmana, then the attitude will surely shift.

[Rama and Lakshmana]A person is much happier living with the mood of Rama towards His brothers than the other way around. Envy and competition within one’s own family is no way to live, and through purification of the consciousness a universal brotherhood develops, where I view every person as related to me and sharing in my interest and wellbeing.

In Closing:

Sugriva and Vali for kingdom fighting,
Vibhishana eating words biting.

Instead universal brotherhood sharing,
Kind, patient and forbearing.

No more the previous envy to see,
Like affectionate Rama is He.

Such as honor offering to brother,
Who dear to Him like no other.

Categories: for his brothers, the three

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