“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।।
1. My new toy
“Why are you making me share this with my brother? It was my birthday present. I asked for it. It’s not my fault he never thought of it before. You know that he only wants to play with it because it is mine. Watch. I give it to him today, and tomorrow you won’t know where it is. It’ll be lost because he just threw it aside. No way. I am not sharing.”
2. My new room
“I’m the eldest among the siblings. I went with Dad to see the model homes, prior to ours being built. I chose the biggest room at that time. It is not my fault you didn’t want to come along, that you weren’t interested to see things. This is my room; you can have the smaller one. I am done sharing. We had bunk-beds for so long, but now we can each sleep alone.”
3. My new car
“I intentionally chose a manual-transmission car so that no one else in the family could drive it. This is a high-end model. A classic that only appreciates in value over time. Try doing that with any of these modern cars. As soon as you drive it off the lot at the dealership, the value declines a significant amount.
“You are free to ride around with me, if you want. Even if you did somehow learn to handle a stick-shift, I am not allowing you to drive this. Get your own. Stop mooching off me.”
4. My new house
“It’s a new construction. Thanks for the compliments. I concur that the neighborhood is very nice. The tennis court is in close proximity. There is a continuous sidewalk throughout, so you can go for an evening stroll and enjoy the scenery.
“But let’s be clear. Under no circumstances can you live here. This is my house. You can visit every now and then, but you will have to find your own place to stay permanently. I am willing to help you find a nice place, but it has to be your own.”
5. My new kingdom
Rare it is to receive such an honor in the modern day, but we can revisit the scene in Ayodhya many thousands of years ago. The avatara of Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Rama received news that He would be the next king.
This followed the protocols of succession, the desires of the people, and the long-held dream of the father, King Dasharatha. Rama was the eldest son; this only made sense. It was not a matter of if, but when.
Rama immediately went to give the news to Lakshmana. It wasn’t to show off. It wasn’t to make the younger brother feel neglected. It wasn’t to evoke feelings of envy. Rather, Rama offered to share the kingdom with Lakshmana. They would rule together. Everything in life Rama did for the sake of that beloved younger brother.
More than just a lesson for non-avataras to follow, we see that the person who has the most is not the least bit miserly. He is neither angry nor petty. He has plenty of room to share in the experience of His transcendental kingdom, which is safely guarded by Shri Hanuman, and abundantly wealthy due to the goddess of fortune, Sita Devi.
Not like miserly one to care,
With plenty of room to share.
Of others feelings’ aware,
So going to Lakshmana there.
When offer of kingdom came,
Rama to brother the same.
Meaning that God most magnanimous is He,
Wanting only our happiness to see.