The Four Sons Of King Dasharatha

[four brothers]“Rama, Bharata, Lakshmana and Shatrughna, of such beautiful and auspicious names – remembering those four sons of King Dasharatha and worshiping them fulfills all the desires of the mind.” (Dohavali, 121)

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राम भरत लचिमन ललित सत्रु समन सुभ नाम ।
सुमिरत दसरथ सुवन सब पूजहिं सब मन काम ॥

rāma bharata lacimana lalita satru samana subha nāma ।
sumirata dasaratha suvana saba pūjahiṃ saba mana kāma ॥

1. Shatrughna

He is the destroyer of foes. He is the killer of enemies. He lives up to the meaning of his name. He is one of the four sons of King Dasharatha of Ayodhya. Kings in that line were fearless in their defense of dharma. Since they were saintly in nature, they were known as rajarshis.

राजर्षीणां गुणश्रेष्ठस्तपसा चर्षिभि स्समः।
चक्रवर्तिकुले जातः पुरन्दरसमो बले।।

rājarṣīṇāṃ guṇaśreṣṭhastapasā carṣibhi ssamaḥ।
cakravartikule jātaḥ purandarasamo bale।।

“He had the best of qualities among saintly kings. In austerities he was equal to the great sages. Born in a family of great rulers, he was equal in strength to Indra.” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 31.3)

Shatrughna is one of twin sons born to Queen Sumitra. He is of fair complexion. He learns the military arts together with his three brothers. Since he dutifully follows the eldest brother Rama, he is also known as Ramanuja. Shatrughna is close in association to Bharata.

2. Lakshmana

He is the other twin born to Sumitra. Being also of fair complexion, since he follows the eldest brother Rama, Lakshmana is also known as Ramanuja. In association He is close to Rama. The important daily responsibilities of eating and sleeping are synchronized with Rama.

Lakshmana is considered to be an incarnation of Ananta Shesha Naga, who is the serpent bed upon which Lord Vishnu lies in the spiritual world. Lakshmana follows the same role in his time as one of Dasharatha’s sons. He is the staunch defender of Rama. He will continue in that role for as long as the eldest brother requires.

अहमस्यावरो भ्राता गुणैर्दास्यमुपागतः
कृतज्ञस्य बहुज्ञस्य लक्ष्मणो नाम नामतः

ahamasyāvaro bhrātā guṇairdāsyamupāgataḥ
kṛtajñasya bahujñasya lakṣmaṇo nāma nāmataḥ

“I am His younger brother, Lakshmana by name. Due to His transcendental qualities, I have taken up service to Him, as He is grateful and very knowledgeable.” (Lakshmana speaking to Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Kishkindha Kand, 4.12)

3. Bharata

[Bharata meditation]He is the son of Queen Kaikeyi, who is the youngest wife to Dasharatha. Bharata is dark in complexion. In association, he is close to Shatrughna. In the Ramayana history, Bharata has the notable distinction of losing everything, voluntarily abandoning power and influence, in his service to the eldest brother.

4. Rama

He is the eldest son of King Dasharatha. He is the son that the king desperately longed for. He is the son who finally arrived, to continue the family line, despite the advanced age of the king. Rama was born to Queen Kausalya, and He was close to Lakshmana in association.

तस्यापि भगवान् एष
साक्षाद् ब्रह्ममयो हरिः
अंशांशेन चतुर्धागात्
पुत्रत्वं प्रार्थितः सुरैः
शत्रुघ्ना इति संज्ञया

tasyāpi bhagavān eṣa
sākṣād brahmamayo hariḥ
aṁśāṁśena caturdhāgāt
putratvaṁ prārthitaḥ suraiḥ
śatrughnā iti saṁjñayā

“Being prayed for by the demigods, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth Himself, directly appeared with His expansion and expansions of the expansion. Their holy names were Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrughna. These celebrated incarnations thus appeared in four forms as the sons of Maharaja Dasharatha.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 9.10.2)

Goswami Tulsidas says that these names are both auspicious and beautiful. Remembering and worshiping them fulfill every desire. The sankalpa becomes satya. There is success in meeting the interests of the mind.

Does this mean that if I am desperate for a new car, I should remember those four brothers? If I want to vanquish my enemy, out of spite, out of ill-will, due to a vendetta, should I remember the four sons to that pious king?

If my desire is to merge into nothingness, to find a stateless existence through a practical realization of the feature known as Brahman, are those four brothers the conduit? Are they the way towards success for anything the mind can conjure up?

The actual meaning is not difficult to decipher. Behind every desire, behind every dream, behind every hope and every wish, is some type of taste. There is some type of satisfaction longed for. It is not necessarily the car that I want, but the peace of mind from knowing that I will be able to drive safely.

I do not necessarily wish ill upon my enemy. I just want to be safe and secure in knowing that justice has been properly delivered and that I will be able to live my life without interruptions or distractions. That association for which I am desperate is to alleviate the pain from feeling inadequate. I do not measure up to others in society; let me be on equal footing.

Every desire we can think of converges at the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Those four brothers are all Vishnu. Rama is perhaps more of Vishnu than the others, but the auspiciousness of the association is the same.

[four brothers]I am never a loser for remembering those brothers. It is never a waste of time to worship them. Even if I spend only five minutes in a day recalling the glories of those chivalrous, brave, pious, and selfless princes, I have moved closer to transcendence. This is the natural state of existence, tied directly to the spirit soul, which represents my identity.

In Closing:

Beautiful those brothers four,
All of Ayodhya to adore.

As sons of Dasharatha appearing,
Wicked from the world clearing.

Remember tomorrow and today,
Auspicious their names to say.

Such that transcendence to find,
When keeping always in mind.

Categories: dohavali 121-160, the four

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