Shatashloki 33: Lakshmana decides to accompany Rama into the forests.

Taṃ vrajamtaṃ priyo bhrātā Lakṣmaṇo nujagāma ha

Snehādvinayasampannaḥ sumitrānandavardanaḥ.

Meaning-  Rama’s dearest brother is Lakshmana. Lakshmana has undying love for Rama. Humble Lakshmana, displaying the natural love for his brother Rama, accompanied him to the forest. Through the performance of this great deed, he brought happiness to his mother Sumitra.

Rama, who had firmly determined to execute his father’s command, left Kaikeyi’s palace and proceeded to mother Koushalya’s house, along with Lakshmana. Koushlaya affectionately greeted her son and offered him a seat. Very humbly, Rama said, “Dear Mother, this is not the time to take this seat.  This is the time for me to sit on the seat made of grass (darbha). A calamity has approached us. It brings grief to you, Sita and to Lakshmana. I am leaving for Dandakaranya now. There I have to spend 14 years living on honey, fruits and roots. King Dasharatha has decided to conduct the coronation ceremony to Bharata. I have been asked to retire to the forests for 14 years”.

Upon hearing these words, Koushalya swooned. Gently Rama lifted her up, and consoled her.  Koushalya, who was completely afflicted by grief, said, “Rama, although my husband, is a great emperor, I have never enjoyed any happiness in life. I hoped that at least after my son is crowned the king, I shall enjoy some respect as a queen-mother. Even when you were by my side, I had to put up with all the insults. Now with you away, I cannot, in this old age, listen to the disagreeable words and insults thrown upon me by my co-wives. I will accompany you to the forest and spend my time looking after you”.

Lakshmana was pained seeing Koushalya’s grief. His anger knew no bounds. He condemned the actions of his father. He said, “Brother Rama, I will be by your side. I will kill anyone who comes in your path. This kingdom rightfully belongs to you. The king has no permission to simply gift it away to Kaikeyi. You please be courageous. I will wash away your sorrow totally”.


Rama remained unruffled. Calmly and peacefully, he acted based on dharma and consoled his grieving mother. He convinced her that he would return in 14 years. He gently asked for her blessings and circumambulated her. He asked his brother to make all the necessary arrangements for him to leave. Mother Koushalya uttered auspicious words and blessed her son. She bid him farewell.

Lakshmana said, “Dear brother, I will come with you. I will hold the bow and clear the path for you. The lordship over the three worlds is meaningless to me in your absence. Please permit me to accompany you to the forest”. Deeply touched by the love shown by his dear younger brother, Rama agreed.

Lakshmana, the incarnation of Adiśeṣa, had already firmly determined to protect Rama, as an eyelid guards the eye. To protect Rama zealously in this manner, it is essential to give up food and sleep. An ordinary human being cannot accomplish this great feat. Being spiritually accomplished, Lakshmana could accomplish this feat. Just before he left for the forest his wife Urmila Devi addressed him and said, “please give to me your share of sleep. I will compensate for it”. It is said that Urmila slept for the entire period until Lakshmana returned. Lakshmana diligently performed his duties towards his brother Rama during these 14 years.

Lakshmana’s decision brought great joy and delight to his mother Sumitra. She was pleased that Rama was not alone; her son would be there to look after him.

Om Seeta Raamabhyaam namaha.

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