“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।।
Friend1: Shrimad Bhagavatam explains that Rama is the complete amsha of Vishnu, the personal God. Shri Ramachandra, the eldest son of King Dasharatha, appeared alongside three younger brothers. They were partial amshas of Vishnu. In other words, they were incarnations of God, but not in the way that Rama was.
Friend2: It is difficult for us to understand, but shastra presents these concepts for our benefit. Rather than study the history of the material world and classify different periods of time, shift the attention towards the Divine. You will get much more to analyze and there will be an accompanying advancement of the consciousness.
Friend1: There is certainly plenty to study with Rama. We could focus on just the time spent in Ayodhya, the kingdom ruled by King Dasharatha.
Friend2: Who was one in a line of great leaders. The Raghu dynasty. The Ikshvaku dynasty, if you want to extend further into the past.
Friend1: Ikshvaku is mentioned in the Bhagavad-gita.
Friend2: He was one of the first people to hear the sacred wisdom spoken by Krishna to Arjuna.
इमं विवस्वते योगं
प्रोक्तवान् अहम् अव्ययम्
विवस्वान् मनवे प्राह
मनुर् इक्ष्वाकवे ’ब्रवीत्
imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ
proktavān aham avyayam
vivasvān manave prāha
manur ikṣvākave ’bravīt
“The Blessed Lord said: I instructed this imperishable science of yoga to the sun-god, Vivasvan, and Vivasvan instructed it to Manu, the father of mankind, and Manu in turn instructed it to Ikshvaku.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 4.1)
Friend1: Ayodhya was a special place. In one of the early pastimes, we see Rama willing to share the throne with His younger brother Lakshmana.
Friend2: Who happens to be one of the partial expansions you described earlier.
Friend1: It is certainly a wonderful gesture. Rama and Lakshmana are really close, in terms of association.
Friend2: It is said that Lakshmana would not eat or sleep unless Rama had done so first. What a nice way to live. No sibling rivalry.
Friend1: That was going to be my question today. Why wasn’t there a rivalry?
Friend2: You expect there to be one?
Friend1: Of course. Maybe not from the parents’ perspective, but shouldn’t Bharata and Shatrughna have been envious of how close Lakshmana was with Rama?
Friend2: No. They loved each other equally. They were not envious. The four brothers were happily living with each other.
Friend1: How does that happen, though? Weren’t people in the community envious that Rama would become the next king?
Friend2: Again, the same answer. This is the spiritual kingdom. The affairs are different from what we are accustomed to.
Friend1: Then you have the changing mood of Kaikeyi, one of Dasharatha’s queens. She suddenly becomes envious and wants her son, Bharata, to be the next king instead of Rama.
Friend2: Remember, she is the only one. There are special circumstances. She changes her mind after instigation from her servant, Manthara. Prior to that Kaikeyi is just like everyone else in sharing joy.
Friend1: How do we create such an atmosphere today? I don’t think it’s possible, especially with the concerted attacks on world leaders by opposition parties.
Friend2: It is the Divine way of living, so connect with the Divine consciousness. It is good you bring up this incident today. One way to tell if your religion is genuine, if you are progressing along the proper path, is to see if your attitude has shifted from competition, rivalry, and enviousness to universal brotherhood.
Friend1: Meaning that if I still take pleasure at the misfortunes befalling my friends and family, I have not made progress?
Friend2: The consciousness is not yet pure. More devotional life. More practice. Steadiness. Dedication. Try for a deeper understanding, being aware of the finish line and how everything will be left behind for every person making that transition to the next life.
Friend1: It is certainly not easy to do. We are struggling in this life. How can I be happy for someone else? How can I be willing to share good fortune that is so difficult to achieve, in the way that Rama was with Lakshmana?
Friend2: Remember those two brothers and their love for each other. Live for them. Try to please them. Try to bring others to the same culture. Always chant the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Others into culture bringing,
With holy names singing.
In those brothers today confide,
Light of Divine my guide.
Then mentality to understand,
How Rama to Lakshmana to hand.
Control of kingdom to share,
Not for competition a care..