“O Rama, You should know that just as fish cannot survive when taken out of water, neither Sita nor I can live without You for even a moment.” (Lakshmana, Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodhya Kand, 53.31)
न च सीता त्वया हीना न चाहमपि राघव।
मुहूर्तमपि जीवावो जलान्मत्स्याविनोद्धृतौ।।
na ca sītā tvayā hīnā na cāhamapi rāghava।
muhūrtamapi jīvāvo jalānmatsyāvinoddhṛtau।।
1. You are cool under pressure
“It seems like nothing ever bothers you. I wouldn’t say that you are dead inside or that you are emotionless. It is more like you are practical in every situation. It is as if you know lamenting too much or complaining for no reason serves little purpose. There is value to keeping a steady mind.
“I have observed you for years and the same has been true. You have been steady in your steadiness. It is an admirable quality. If only more people were like you, there would be less problems in this crazy world.”
2. You are overly forgiving
“Seriously, I can’t believe how easily you let things go. That incident you described the other day, the one from childhood. I can’t believe that happened to you. How could your supposed friend pin the blame on you for something that he actually did? Both of you knew what occurred in truth.
“Then, you stayed friends with him, after the fact. I could not do the same. I see it in your dealings with others, now that you are an adult. You never write someone off completely. It is as if you are willing to overlook their faults. Their shortcomings are mere opportunities for growth. You give people one chance after another to come to the proper side.”
3. I would never get tired of your company
“I could spend every day with you. I am not kidding. It is not an exaggeration. It is not based on limited experience, either. It would make sense if I only spend time with a few people in my life. If I have yet to witness variety in companionship, that would be one thing. But I have come across every kind of person.
“Seriously, though, you have this calming influence. If I am with you then I know that things will be alright. There is a rational person on the other side to bounce ideas off. There is intelligence to fix my wayward thoughts that are driven by emotion.”
4. You can work by yourself and also within a team
“It is a unique skill. I noticed this about you in the office. Some people can’t figure things out by themselves. They need handholding. The requirements for the project have to be laid out in exquisite detail. Without a specification, another developer will not get to work. If they run into trouble later on, they immediately look for someone to blame.
“You are different. You take responsibility, almost to a neurotic level. You cannot sleep at night unless and until the problem gets solved. You view it as an affront to your skill level to give up, to admit defeat in an endeavor.
“At the same time, you work well within a team. You are fine with handing off responsibilities. You cover for their mistakes; you never try to embarrass someone else to make yourself feel better. People value your input, and they go the extra mile to please you, to live up to your standard.”
5. Living without you is like a fish being taken out of water
This was spoken one time by Lakshmana to his elder brother Rama. The source of the words had the highest intelligence. Lakshmana embodies the position of the guru. The Supreme Lord and the spiritual master are one, in a sense, because the interest is the same. One is the person serving God, and the other is the object of service; two sides to the same entity.
Lakshmana said that Sita Devi was the same way. Neither of them could survive without Rama’s association. The comparison is to the fish taken out of water. The fish simply will not survive. The love for the home, for the suitable habitat, is beyond what words can describe. The water is almost part of the fish’s existence.
To say that Rama is part of his existence means that Lakshmana’s love for Rama is beyond what words can describe. This is the true meaning of bhakti. Pure devotion can only apply to the Supreme Lord. In every other relationship there is some expectation of reciprocation, some type of enjoyment to derive.
Whether Rama travels to the forest for fourteen years, enters a dangerous area to face attacking enemies, has to build a bridge made of floating rocks, or gets installed as the king of a majestic city, Sita and Lakshmana will feel the same way. Their pure devotion is a shining example of the meaning to living, the standard to which to strive, the constitutional position of the living entity.
We have forgotten this position since time immemorial, and fortunately the guru and those following in his footsteps remind us. They give us the hints to reclaim our forgotten relationship, to find true happiness in full surrender, sharanagati, at the lotus feet of Bhagavan.
Even spoken once to suffice,
Where compliment nice.
Such that I am calm and steady,
And to defend others ready.
Can work with others or alone,
As compassionate and forgiving known.
But Lakshmana with best statement of all,
That life and soul his brother to call.
Categories: the five