“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।।
“One of the things I find humorous when reading Vedic literature is the criticism from the enemies of the avatara of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. We are accustomed to worship. For many of us the tradition descended from within the family. In other words, I have known no other way than to daily light welcoming incense and ghee lamps for the pleasure of God, realizing His personal presence and grace.
“That attitude of awe and reverence extends to hearing. Hari-katha is the most important of kathas. The charitra, the gunas, the karma, the janma – everything about Him is Divine. The qualities and activities are not like ours, and one who knows this nature automatically is eligible for liberation.
जन्म कर्म च मे दिव्यम्
एवं यो वेत्ति तत्त्वतः
त्यक्त्वा देहं पुनर् जन्म
नैति माम् एति सो ऽर्जुन
janma karma ca me divyam
evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ
tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma
naiti mām eti so ‘rjuna
“One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 4.9)
“The compilers of Vedic literature are well-acquainted with the tools and techniques required in good writing. They present dialogue, poetry, contradiction, argument, discussion, tragedy, and even humor. Perhaps I laugh at things that aren’t intended to be funny, but I can’t help it.
“In the Ramayana, for example, we start out with the setting of universal love in Ayodhya. Everyone adores Shri Rama, who is the eldest son of King Dasharatha. No one knows Rama’s real identity, but if they were informed they probably wouldn’t care. The love is natural and spontaneous. They are not looking to get anything out of Him.
“Then you have the king of Lanka, Ravana. He is the central villain of the historical telling. A man-eating ogre with ten heads and a horrible character, he is not impressed in the least with Rama after hearing about Him from associates.
“One of the criticisms Ravana levels is that Shri Rama is weak for having voluntarily left the kingdom for fourteen years. There was infighting in the family, between Kaikeyi and Dasharatha. The king’s youngest wife was suddenly jealous and decided to ask for irrevocable favors previously offered to her. The result was Rama’s banishment from Ayodhya.
“Ravana wondered why a powerful prince wouldn’t protest the decision. Fight your way to the top. If you are so skilled in battle, why allow anyone to tell you what to do? Why not assert your might for everyone to see? They may not like you, but at least they would respect you.
“Is there any validity to the criticism? I don’t subscribe to any of it, but I’m wondering just in case you meet a troublemaker today. It is not uncommon for the villains to garner more sympathy these days, to have supporters just because they go against the grain.”
Ravana certainly thought that Dasharatha’s eldest son was weak for living like a hermit in the remote forest of Dandaka. Bereft of the royal army, a beautiful palace, and throngs of supporters, Rama should have been lamenting His situation on a daily basis. Ravana, for his part, would never tolerate going from riches to rags.
The Rakshasas will never be able to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead, even with ample evidence presented before them. If Rama was so weak, how did He defend against fourteen thousand of Ravana’s men at a single time?
For that matter, if Ravana really thought that Rama was nothing to worry about, why send so many men to Dandaka in an attack? One should have sufficed. The truth is the Supreme Lord retains full potency in every situation. Rama had Lakshmana and Sita with Him. These close associates were sufficient companionship for the one who is atmarama, satisfied in the self.
Bhagavan has no need to be greedy. If Bharata is the selected leader for Ayodhya, everything will be fine. This is one of Rama’s younger brothers. On a previous occasion, Rama had offered to share control of the kingdom with Lakshmana. Those two brothers are leaders society should take any day.
They possess complete strength, but also immeasurable compassion. They will let others take the lead when necessary, receiving the chance to offer service. Compared to those servants, what can I really do? But those brothers accept my worship in sincerity all the same: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Worship accepted all the same,
When chanting holy name.
So ideal leaders to make,
Who any day I will take.
Brothers Rama and Lakshmana so,
Ravana their natures not to know.
That as weak and scared treating,
But his army in defeat retreating.