Title:  The Sharpest Knife: Lakshmana and His Words of Wisdom

Author:  Krishna’s Mercy

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Chapters/Essays:  35

Introduction:

Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa, Araṇya-kāṇḍa, Chapter 36:

tam tathā śoka santaptam vilapantam anāthavat ।

mohena mahatā āviṣṭam paridyūnam acetanam ॥

tataḥ saumitriḥ āśvāsya muhūrtāt iva lakṣmaṇaḥ ।

rāmam saṃbodhayāmāsa caraṇau ca abhipīḍayan

“Rāma bewailing thus, like one who had no protector, being stricken with grief and overwhelmed by great illusion appeared impoverished and lifeless.  Thereafter, Lakṣmaṇa, the son of Sumitra, lovingly pressing His lotus feet, instantly reassured Him thus:” (66.1-2)

mahatā tapasā rāma mahatā ca api karmaṇā ।

rājñā daśarathena asi labdho amṛtam iva amaraiḥ

“Like the demigods obtaining ambrosia, King Daśaratha, after performing great austerities and great deeds, obtained You as a son.” (66.3)

tava caiva guṇaiḥ baddhaḥ tvat viyogāt mahipatiḥ ।

rājā devatvam āpanno bharatasya yathā śrutam

“Being attached to Your qualities, the king, as we have heard from Bharata, attained the divine nature due to separation from You.” (66.4)

yadi duḥkham idam prāptam kākutstha na sahiṣyase ।

prākṛtaḥ ca alpa sattvaḥ ca itaraḥ kaḥ sahiṣyati

“O Kakutstha, if You are unable to tolerate this distress, then how will the common person or the meager be able to tolerate it?” (66.5)

āśvasihi naraśreṣṭha prāṇinaḥ kasya na āpada ।

saṃspṛśanti agnivat rājan kśaṇena vyapayānti ca

“Tell me, O best of men, which living entities aren't affected by danger, which is like a fire that catches on and then eventually vanishes?” (66.6)

duḥkhito hi bhavān lokān tejasā yadi dhakṣyate ।

ārtāḥ prajā nara vyāghra kva nu yāsyanti nir।hvṛtim

loka svabhāva eva eṣa yayātiḥ nahuṣa ātmajaḥ ।

gataḥ śakreṇa sālokyam anayaḥ tam samaspṛśat

“My Lord, if, through Your effulgence, You set the entire planet ablaze and put it into a distressful situation, where will the distressed citizens go, O tiger among men, for solace? This [having to deal with temporary setbacks] is certainly characteristic of this world. Even King Yayāti, the son of Nahuṣa, after ascending to the heavenly planets of Indra was touched with inauspiciousness.” (66.7-8)

mahāṛṣi yaḥ vasiṣṭhaḥ tu yaḥ pituḥ naḥ purohitaḥ ।

ahnā putra śatam jajñe tathaiva asya punar hatam

“Vasiṣṭha, who is a mahārṣi and our father’s priest, begot one hundred sons in one day, only to see them slain again in one day.” (66.9)

yā ca iyam jagato mātā sarva loka namaskṛtā ।

asyāḥ ca calanam bhūmeḥ dṛśyate kosaleśvara

“O Lord of Kośala, even the Earth, who is the mother of the world and respected by everyone, suffers distress in the form of earthquakes.” (66.10)

yau dharmau jagatām netre yatra sarvam pratiṣṭhitam ।

āditya candrau grahaṇam abhyupetau mahābalau

“Even the mighty sun and moon, who are the eyes of the world, the epitomes of virtue and duty, and in whom the whole world is situated, have to suffer through eclipses.” (66.11)

sumahānti api bhūtāni devāḥ ca puruṣa ṛṣabha ।

na daivasya pramuṃcanti sarva bhūtāni dehinaḥ

“O best among men, what to speak of demigods and even great beings [planets] - every living entity who accepts a material body becomes subject to the influence of destiny.” (66.12)

śakra ādiṣu api deveṣu vartamānau naya anayau ।

śrūyete nara śārdūla na tvam vyathitum arhasi

“We have heard that even the demigods, who are headed by Śakra [Indra], are subject to auspiciousness and inauspiciousness. Therefore, O tiger among men, You should not be perturbed.” (66.13)

hṛtāyām api vaidehyām naṣṭāyām api rāghava ।

śocitum na arhase vīra yathā anyaḥ prākṛtaḥ tathā

“O Rāghava, even if Vaidehī [Sītā] has been killed or taken away, it is not appropriate for You, O brave one, to lament in the same way as an ordinary person.” (66.14)

tvat vidhā nahi śocanti satatam sarva darśinaḥ ।

sumahatsu api kṛcchreṣu rāma anir।hviṇṇa darśanāḥ

“O Rāma, keen observers such as Yourself never lament even when faced with the most distressful of situations, for they are able to maintain a steady outlook.” (66.15)

tattvato hi naraśreṣṭha buddhyā samanuciṃtaya ।

buddhyā yuktā mahāprājñā vijānanti śubha aśubhe

“O best among men, after fixing your intelligence in transcendental knowledge, do you follow completely the course of action decided by your mind. Being engaged in activities guided by intelligence [buddhyā-yukta], those possessing great wisdom can decipher between auspicious and inauspicious activities.” (66.16)

adṛṣṭa guṇa doṣāṇām adhṛvāṇām ca karmaṇām ।

na antareṇa kriyām teṣām phalaṁ iṣṭam ca vartate

“Unseen and indefinite are the good and bad reactions of fruitive work. And without taking action, the desired fruits of such work cannot manifest.” (66.17)

mām evam hi purā vīra tvam eva bahuśo uktavān ।

anuśiṣyāt hi ko nu tvām api sākṣāt bṛhaspatiḥ

“O hero, many times in the past You had spoken the same words of instruction to me. Of course how can anyone, be they even Bṛhaspati [the priest of the demigods] himself, be capable of instructing You?” (66.18)

buddhiḥ ca te mahāprājña devaiḥ api durhanvayā ।

śokena abhiprasuptam te jñānam sambodhayāmi ahaṁ

“O You of great intellect, not even the demigods can fathom the level of Your intelligence. Due to bereavement Your wisdom is currently in a dormant state, and I am here to rouse it.” (66.19)

divyam ca mānuṣam ca evam ātmanaḥ ca parākramam ।

ikṣvāku vṛṣabha avekṣya yatasva dviṣatām vadhe

“O best of the Ikṣvākus, considering Your powerful divine and human capabilities, please strive for the destruction of Your enemies.” (66.20)

kim te sarva vināśena kṛtena puruṣa ṛṣabha ।

tam eva tu ripum pāpam vijñāya uddhartum arhasi

“O best of men, what is the use of Your destroying the entire world? After finding out Your sinful enemy, You should uproot him alone.” (66.21)