“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 Kanda, 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।।
Sitting at home. Bored and nowhere to go. The weather outside is nice, but everything is closed. The government leaders say this is supposedly in our best interests. We cannot be trusted to go to the beach without officials “watching” us. They will monitor our behavior and enforce rules pertaining to distancing.
It strikes you as odd, since they turn a blind eye to so many other violations. A person illegally entering the country and stealing personal identification information begs for amnesty. Violent criminals get released from prison early. Innocent children get killed in the womb and sometimes moments after taking birth.
Whatever your opinion on the matter, there is little that can be done. You are lying in wait, hoping to one day have freedom again. Fortunately, when interacting with Bhagavan, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, you could be thrust into blissful service at any moment. You may even get the opportunity to run a kingdom, where you set the rules.
We can take the lesson from Shri Rama, who is the main character of the ancient Ramayana poem of Maharishi Valmiki. This depicts real-life events, where the author was inspired by the creator, Lord Brahma, to put pastimes to poetry.
Valmiki discovered his ability in composition almost by accident. He saw an unsuspecting krauncha bird killed one time while engaged in kama. The culprit was a hunter. Valmiki’s response was spontaneous. The words that exited his mouth became known as shloka, and it was the origin of poetry as we know it.
In the Ramayana, there is a moment when Shri Rama offers to share the kingdom with His younger brother Lakshmana. Rama is an avatara of Bhagavan, a visual manifestation of the person who is all-pervading, Vishnu, and omnipresent, antaryami. To further specify, Rama is the saguna version of God, where others can make out distinguishable features to the person who is beyond the dualities of matter and spirit.
It is Rama who owns the honor. The father, King Dasharatha, is ready to pass control of Ayodhya to his eldest and most beloved son. Rama loves Lakshmana so much that He is willing to rule as two instead of one. Lakshmana neither sought this honor nor accepted it, but the gesture shows what is possible in the relationship with the Almighty.
As events played out, it was another brother who became king. Bharata, born from the womb of Queen Kaikeyi, was mortified to learn as to how the power came his way. It was at the expense of Rama, who was exiled from the kingdom for fourteen years. By extension, Lakshmana and also Rama’s wife, Sita Devi, had to share the hardship.
Ultimately, there was a meeting in the forest that concluded with Bharata ruling the kingdom with Rama’s sandals symbolizing the true leader. Bharata would live in a hut. He is one of the few people in this world to become king and try his best to refuse the honor, only to fail in the endeavor.
He is the exiled leader of the Vanaras in the forest community of Kishkindha. Without Rama’s assistance, Sugriva would have been stuck on Mount Rishyamukha, which was the only place he could stay safe from the violent rage of his brother Vali.
Rama released an arrow that struck a mortal blow to Vali. The purpose was to make Sugriva king again. What the individual was unable to accomplish, the Supreme Lord took care of in an instant, with minimal effort.
He left the kingdom of Lanka after he could no longer tolerate the sinful ways of his brother, Ravana. Vibhishana did not go to Rama’s side to seek any high stature, but that was the end result. Rama marched to Lanka, defeated Ravana in battle, and reclaimed his missing wife Sita. Vibhishana then became the next king, installed on the throne directly by Rama.
After returning home after fourteen years, Rama’s two other brothers were thrilled to see Him. Shatrughna felt left out since he had no opportunity thus far to make a direct sacrifice in Rama’s favor. That quickly changed, as the eldest brother, who was now the king of Ayodhya, ordered Shatrughna to deal with a bad character named Lavana in a distant land. Shatrughna did just that and became the new king of the area in the process.
Service to the Divine is full of adventure, pushing us past our self-imposed limits. Devotional service is not simply staring at a carved statue and praying for the best. It is not simply shutting off the outside world and declaring everything to be false. It is an active, involved engagement, where even something simple like meditation can be exhilarating: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Not on boredom’s ground,
Endless adventure found.
When to Rama’s feet turning,
Possible even kingdom earning.
Like Bharata the sandals taking,
And Sugriva again leader making.
For Lakshmana on the honor passing,
But in kindness none surpassing.