“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)
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।।
“To me the argument is a little too convenient. Start with your own desires. Those take top priority. Then find a way to justify the behavior necessary for meeting those desires. It would be like someone wanting to rob a bank. This is what consumes their mind twenty-four hours a day.
“Then, as they are on the verge of carrying out their plan, one of their friends raises an objection. They wonder how a person could think of doing such a thing, especially when applying rational thought. A drug-dealer, a person with too many gambling debts, or a person gone mad through addiction might consider such nonsense, but this person was in none of those situations.
“Then the creator of the idea comes up with justifications. They say that the rich deserved to be plundered, after what they had done to society. They remind the friend that the government writes off a much greater amount of money; it is like a rounding error in their annual budget.
“These are not valid justifications, and neither is the primary reason provided for enjoying in this world at the expense of other living entities. They say that God gave them that right. The reasoning is that God put us on this earth to enjoy this kingdom, in whatever way we see fit. All we have to do is believe in Him and we will be saved.”
An incident from the Ramayana provides some clarity. There is an actual kingdom, with a physical address. The people are pious in that area, and they are beautiful in every way. This is because the highly respected Dasharatha is the king. The city has strong physical protections in well-guarded gates. Intruders will not be able to enter. In modern terms, we could say the kingdom has strong borders.
Every person is engaged in their proper occupation, suitable based on the material qualities, gunas, accepted at the time of birth. Invoking a favorite phrase of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, there was unity in diversity.
The control of that majestic kingdom was ready to be handed over. A transfer of power. Following both tradition and the will of the people, Dasharatha would pass on the honor to his eldest son, Shri Rama. This was the son that Dasharatha had longed for; the one who arrived after a special yajna conducted for that purpose.
When Rama heard the news, His immediate thought was to share the honor with Lakshmana, the beloved younger brother. Rama did not have to do this. Lakshmana was more thrilled to have the eldest brother receive the honor than if the same had arrived his way.
Rama asked for Lakshmana to enjoy everything the royal kingdom had to offer. Rama and His brothers would share the honor; they would rule together. This is symbolic of the way the entire world is meant to operate. It is Rama’s kingdom, after all. He owns the original title to every piece of property.
The potential for enjoyment is certainly there, but in a responsible way. The offer to Lakshmana was to rule the kingdom together, which meant taking care of others. It was not a license to kill indiscriminately or to put innocent life into distress simply for the purpose of satisfying the senses.
The proper way for enjoyment is through dharma, which descends from a chain of teachers. This is known as parampara, or the disciplic succession. Each instance of life has their right to live, and incorporated in the Divine consciousness is the spiritual vision.
“A true yogi observes Me in all beings, and also sees every being in Me. Indeed, the self-realized man sees Me everywhere.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 6.29)
If I really know and understand God, I will see Him everywhere, especially in other instances of life. My first inclination will be to respect, even though the external treatment will take into consideration the body type and basic behavior. For instance, I will not treat the tiger and the cow as the same, though I understand the equality in terms of the spiritual vision.
This measured enjoyment, where the consciousness connects to the Supreme Lord, is in line with yoga, which otherwise has strict requirements. The human being can volunteer for certain austerities, known as tapasya. This controlled way of life will do me more good than if I went for enjoyment in an unregulated way.
The highest benefit to this kind of enjoyment is always connecting with that elder brother of Lakshmana, who will forever remain king of the universe, where His gates are kindly guarded by worshipable souls like Shri Hanuman.
For brother affection and care,
Offer for that kingdom to share.
When honor to Him descending,
To Lakshmana gesture extending.
But not only in Ayodhya found,
Property the entire earth’s ground.
Meant for His children’s enjoyment measured,
Happily that life in dharma treasured.
Categories: for his brothers