“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।।
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is so kind. He does not insist on honor and obedience, though He could. He does not force anyone into loving submission, though He has the most power to potentially wield in that direction. He does not intentionally deceive others into a false sense of panic, though He has the most logic and reason available for making a convincing argument.
His pastimes on earth display His supremely magnanimous nature, such as the time Rama went to Lakshmana with the idea to share control over the important kingdom of Ayodhya. Just as Rama reveals the nature and tendency of the Supreme Lord, Lakshmana embodies the spirit of devotion in the representative, who is also known as guru.
As Lakshmana is so dear to Rama, so the guru is held in the highest esteem by the person they represent. This is because the spiritual master wants nothing for themselves. They are not in it for the money. Fame and fortune may arrive at their doorstep, with minimal effort, as if a sudden downpour nourished the crops in the field desperately awaiting food, but the guru is not affected.
That is to say the spirit of devotion does not change based on the temporary circumstances. Whether barely getting by in paying the monthly bills or having enough to distribute to many people in need, the person following in the footsteps of Lakshmana keeps only one goal.
They desire the pleasure of the one they serve. Lakshmana always stays by Rama’s side; sometimes even in defiance of the elder brother’s insistence. That is the special relationship they have, as the eldest son of Dasharatha also has two other younger brothers in Ayodhya.
As Lakshmana is fearless in his defense of the interests of the sun of the solar dynasty, so the spiritual master does not care how many followers they have, what their approval rating is in an opinion survey, or whether they have offended others in speaking the timeless truths of the Vedic tradition.
On the occasion of Vyasa Puja we honor such a representative. They helped us in immeasurable ways, such as by lifting us out of illusion and placing us into the light. We can finally see clearly, knowing things as they are. We know the past and the future, as how we have lived before and will continue to live moving forward. We see the dangers of uncontrolled kama and how it can grab ahold of our intelligence and lead us astray.
इन्द्रियाणां हि चरतां
यन् मनो ऽनुविधीयते
तद् अस्य हरति प्रज्ञां
वायुर् नावम् इवाम्भसि
indriyāṇāṁ hi caratāṁ
yan mano ‘nuvidhīyate
tad asya harati prajñāṁ
vāyur nāvam ivāmbhasi
“As a boat on the water is swept away by a strong wind, even one of the senses on which the mind focuses can carry away a man’s intelligence.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.67)
The guru, who ascends the seat of Vyasa, the literary incarnation of the Supreme, teaches in so many ways. When they assume the role of acharya, they lead by example, such as with His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. We honor him on a daily basis, and even more so on the anniversary day of his auspicious appearance in this world.
Honoring on appearance’s day,
The one showing me the way.
From darkness into the light,
Devotional spirit to alight.
Like Lakshmana not for honor caring,
Only on how interests of brother faring.
Making ideal acharya brave,
Prabhupada the world to save.