Rama, the ‘Maha Vrata’

Published - April 15, 2019 09:33 pm IST

It is unthinkable for Lakshmana that he should stay in Ayodhya when Rama goes to the forest. But he also realises that the chances of his going along with Rama are flimsy considering that Sita has to struggle and argue painstakingly with Rama to get His consent to accompany Him. Valmiki describes Lakshmana’s face as filled with tears as he is unable to bear the grief of impending separation from Rama. To serve the Lord as His personal attendant is his only aim. Since there is no question of his leaving his brother’s side, he musters courage to take refuge in Rama’s grace and to seek surrender at His feet, pointed out Kalyanapuram Sri Aravamudhachariar in a discourse. He falls prostrate on the ground clasping Rama’s feet, while addressing his plea to Sita as well as Rama. This is in accordance to the doctrine of Saranagati in the Visishtadvaita philosophy. It is essential that one supplicates his cause in the presence of the benign grace of the Lord’s consort who always intercedes on behalf of all. The epithet ‘Maha Vrata’ in this context is to emphasise Rama’s vow of protection to all beings in the entire creation. This is the very essence of His boundless compassion. This vow, that is the hope for all, is explained in detail later in the Yuddha Kanda, when Rama accepts Vibhishana. In all humility Lakshmana prays to be allowed to serve his Lord and master now that it is decided that Rama is to undertake the exile. Lakshmana would be most happy serving Rama and Sita, walking ahead of them in the forest, procuring wild roots and shoots for food, twigs and firewood for oblations and rituals, etc. Lakshmana desires no other goal, neither the heavens, nor godhead, nor ruler-ship of the spheres. Even the state of liberation is meaningful only if he is engaged in devoted service to the Lord.

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