Categories: Hindu God and Goddess

Lakshmana: The Devoted Brother

Lakshmana, the younger brother of Rama in the Hindu epic Ramayana (Valmiki Ramayana), is celebrated for his unwavering loyalty and bravery. Known by the epithets Saumitra and Ramanuja, he shares a special bond with Rama and is always by his side, even during the most challenging times. Along with his twin brother Shatrughna, Lakshmana forms an inseparable part of Rama’s trusted circle, demonstrating remarkable courage and skill in battle throughout their adventures.

Despite his youth, Lakshmana willingly accompanies Rama into exile, forsaking comfort and luxury to support his brother’s cause. His devotion to Rama and his deep respect for Sita exemplify virtues of loyalty, sacrifice, and familial duty. Lakshmana’s character remains a symbol of unwavering dedication and selflessness, inspiring generations with his portrayal in the Ramayana.

Birth and Matrimony

King Dasharatha of Ayodhya had three wives: Kausalya, Kaikeyi, and Sumitra. He wanted sons, so he performed a special ritual. Kausalya had Rama and Bharata, while Kaikeyi had Bharata. Sumitra had Lakshmana and Shatrughna. Lakshmana, described as an incarnation of Shesha, a serpent deity, was especially close to Rama.

When Rama was asked to defeat demons, Lakshmana went with him to Mithila, where Rama married Sita. Lakshmana married Sita’s sister, Urmila, and they had two sons, Angada and Chandraketu. When Rama was sent into exile for fourteen years, Lakshmana left his wife to join Rama and Sita in the forest.

Rama’s Companion in Exile

Rama, Lakshmana and Sita during Rama’s exile

During Rama’s exile, Lakshmana served Rama and Sita with great respect. He even built a hut for them to live in while they were in Panchavati. When Ravana’s sister, Surpanakha, tried to seduce Rama and insult Sita, Lakshmana got angry and cut off her nose.

Crucial Role in the War

In the war against Ravana, Lakshmana played a crucial role. He fought and defeated Ravana’s sons, Indrajita and Atikaya.

Once, when Sita asked Rama to get a magical golden deer, Rama sensed danger and asked Lakshmana to guard them. The deer was actually a demon named Maricha. When Rama went after it, Lakshmana stayed to protect Sita. When Sita thought Rama was in trouble and asked Lakshmana to help, he had to leave to find Rama, drawing a line (Lakshmana Rekha) for Sita not to cross. However, Sita, out of duty and compassion, crossed the line to give alms to a disguised Ravana, leading to her abduction.

During the war, Lakshmana fought bravely and defeated Indrajita and Atikaya. However, he was wounded by Indrajita’s deceitful tactics, but Hanuman intervened and saved him from certain death.

Life After Exile

After the Lanka war, Rama became King of Kosala and Bharata became the crown prince. Rama wanted to make Lakshmana the crown prince, but Lakshmana insisted Bharata deserved it more because he was older. Rama was happy with Lakshmana’s humility and promised to be his younger brother in the next life. In the next life, Rama became Krishna and Lakshmana became Balarama.

Lakshmana was the one who left Sita in the forest near sage Valmiki‘s ashram when she wanted to leave the kingdom. He stayed loyal to Rama and fought against Rama’s sons, Lava and Kusha later on.

According to the Uttara Kanda, Lakshmana ruled over Karupada. His elder son, Angada, inherited it, while his younger son, Chandraketu, inherited Mallya, with its capital Chandrakanti being built by Rama.

Sacrifice and Renunciation

Sage Durvasa visited Rama’s home, but Lakshmana, aware of Rama’s private conversation with Yama, refused to let him in. Knowing the consequences of disobeying Yama’s instructions, Lakshmana decided to sacrifice himself to protect Ayodhya from Durvasa’s wrath. He interrupted Rama’s meeting and informed him of the sage’s presence, resulting in Durvasa cursing Lakshmana to ascend to heaven alive.

In fulfillment of his brother’s promise and as an act of renunciation, Lakshmana went to the Sarayu river, intending to end his life by drowning himself. However, Indra intervened and transported him to heaven, honoring his sacrifice and ensuring his peaceful journey to the afterlife.

Enduring Legacy

Lakshmana, known from the Ramayana, is depicted as fiercely loyal and devoted to his elder brother, Rama, standing by him in good times and bad. According to legend, Rama entrusted Lakshmana with the Bandhavgarh Fort in Madhya Pradesh, symbolizing their bond as brothers. In the Malay Archipelago, military officers akin to admirals are honored with the title “Lakshmana” in recognition of his virtues.

Honored in Worship

In the Medak district of Telangana, there’s a special temple named Sri Kalyana Ramachandra Sannadhi. This temple honors Lakshmana and Urmila, featuring statues of Rama’s brothers and their wives—a unique sight in India. Another temple dedicated to them can be found in the Bhind district. Additionally, in the Bharatpur district of Rajasthan, another temple stands to honor Lakshmana and Urmila.

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Krishna Das is an experienced article writer. He writes about Hinduism in his spare time.

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