“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
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।।
“I can’t believe I am stuck where I am. Where did the time go? How could I have allowed this to happen? Everyone else has grown up, so to speak. I mean, it is not like I am useless. I am not sitting in the basement all day, playing video games.
“I am an adult in most respects, but when I mingle in social circles, it is easy to see where I am lagging behind. I need to make up for the lost time. I need to be at least on an equal footing with my peers, so that I will not feel inferior to them.”
“I don’t know how to advance. How do other people afford the homes they live in? Around me, the property taxes on a fully paid-off house are more per year than what people across the country pay in rent. This doesn’t make any sense.
“I don’t want to be in debt. I don’t want to live above my means. This is so frustrating. I am not asking for much. Just a basic house to live in, without going broke. I am growing up in the wrong time period of history.”
“I blame my parents. They could have steered me in a different direction. They could have prepared me for what lay ahead in adult life. Instead, they were mostly hands off. They did not want to be bothered. Sure, I wasn’t spoiled in the sense of getting too many toys or living without rules in the house.
“But they could have done more. I will never forget this omission on their part. Now look where I am. It’s embarrassing. I am better off not talking with people, not exposing my glaring flaws. This will spare me much shame.”
4. Joy at another’s reversal of fortune
“That person lost their job. I never liked them to begin with. They have said some mean things to me in the past. Still, I think they consider me to be a friend. I don’t know why, but that’s how they are. I am sort of glad that they finally got what was due to them, even though they appear to be quite distraught at the moment.
“Their monthly bills are high. They may not be able to pay them. That large home they purchased might have to be put on the market. They won’t be as ahead of me in the game of life anymore. I should be sad, but I can’t help but feel elated.”
5. Sadness at another’s ascension
“Well, after being let go from my company, that person just got hired somewhere else. Who would ever make that mistake? I like this person, but I would never think of relying on them for anything important. What makes matters worse is that the new salary is quite high. They are making a boatload of money now; way more than I am. I still have my old job. I wasn’t let go, but just see where that loyalty got me. It feels like I am stuck behind, while everyone else is moving on to bigger and better things.”
These feelings are only natural in a material existence. It is such a struggle just for survival. No one makes it out alive. There is no such thing as a true survivor of a particular disease, because the death clock started as soon as there was birth.
जातस्य हि ध्रुवो मृत्युर्
ध्रुवं जन्म मृतस्य च
तस्माद् अपरिहार्ये ऽर्थे
न त्वं शोचितुम् अर्हसि
jātasya hi dhruvo mṛtyur
dhruvaṁ janma mṛtasya ca
tasmād aparihārye ‘rthe
na tvaṁ śocitum arhasi
“For one who has taken his birth, death is certain; and for one who is dead, birth is certain. Therefore, in the unavoidable discharge of your duty, you should not lament.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.27)
From an incident described in the Ramayana, we get an idea of how things can change. There doesn’t have to be a concerted effort, either. When you are in the Divine consciousness, there will naturally be less envy and competition. You will feel happy at another’s joy and you will want others to share in what you have.
Shri Rama, the avatara of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, receives news of the greatest promotion possible. He will become the next leader in Ayodhya, following in a long line of rajarshis. These are heroic warriors living with the saintly mentality. They govern to uphold dharma, and they are always interested in the welfare of the people.
Rama immediately offers to share the honor with Lakshmana. Rama has three younger brothers and Lakshmana is the one closest to Him in terms of association. Rama does not want Lakshmana to feel neglected. There needn’t be competition, as Rama lives His very life for Lakshmana.
This is more than just a kind gesture meant to soften a potential blow to the ego. The Supreme Lord is genuine in this way, always compassionate and standing by ready to assist. He is inside the heart of both the thief and the priest. The difference is that the saintly person has learned to take direction from that all-pervading witness, antaryami.
The spiritual master is the blessing from above to help make the turn inwards, in the proper direction. Through that connection with Rama’s expansion, the attitude soon shifts. I now want to help others, to watch them advance, knowing that they can soar well beyond their self-imposed limits, and towards the spiritual sky of Vaikuntha.
Since living with purpose for,
Now wanting others to soar.
To heights of Vaikuntha to reach,
Possible for soul appearing each.
Embodying attitude in Rama found,
Making gesture to Lakshmana profound.
Guru wanting to give and never to receive,
That liberation possible for everyone to believe.