Vagaries of public suspicion

As the day dawned, Lakshmana and Sumantra left their  camp on the banks of Gomathi river and proceeded towards Ayodhya. By afternoon their chariot reached the captivating city of Ayodhya. As they were approaching Sri Rama’s palace, Lakshmana was overcome by a new wave of sorrow. “What should I submit at the lotus feet of Sri Rama?” was his worried mark of self-interrogation. As he was trying to find an answer to his own question, the palace was in sight.

 

Lakshmana got down from the chariot and with a bent head proceeded straight to Rama’s chamber without being accosted or halted by anyone. He saw his elder seated on the throne but in deep distress. After the traditional prostration. Lakshmana said to him with folded hands:

 

“Worshipful warrior!” he said to Rama, “in consonance with your command, I have left the reputed paragon of virtue and daughter of Janaka at Valmiki’s ashram on the banks of the Ganga and come back to Ayodhya to serve you.”

 

Sancity of time

Lakshmana said:

“Maa Shuchaha purushavyaaghra

kaalasya gatireedrishee:

Twadvidhaa nashi shoohanti

buddhimanto manasvinaha” (U. Kan. Sar: 52, Sl. 10)

 

He prevailed upon Sri Rama not to grieve over anything as such situations were products of the inexorable factor of time. He told him that intellectuals and strong – willed persons of his caliber would not grieve over such matters.

 

“All the accumulations of money, gold, wealth and vehicles in this world will be destroyed at the end by the sanctity of time. The more they add to one’s possessions, sooner the doors of destruction are opened. Mutual  combinations of such comfort will end in any of them being snatched away by conspiracy of time. Life itself results ultimately in culmination of death.”

 

“Thasamaat-putrteshu daareshu

mitreshu, cha dhaneshu cha;

Naatiprasangaha kartavya

viprayogo hi tairdhruvam.” (U. Kan. Sar. 52, Sl. 12)

 

“Therefore,” continued Lakshmana, “There should be no excessive attachment towards wife or sons and friends or wealth. For, oppressive time will take them away gradually. This is certain.”

 

“You are capable of controlling atma, mind with mind and of controlling all the worlds. When this is the truth, what is there special about your controlling the sorrow that has taken birth within yourself?”

 

He continued:

“Nedrusheshu vimuhyanti

twadvidaaha purusharshabhaaha;

Apavaadaha sa kila the

punareshyati Raghava.”

 

“In these matters, “Lakshmana sought to clarify, “great men like you should not be carried away by considerations of attachment. If you continue to grieve, (over losing Sita for fear of public suspicion and ridicule) there will be one more stigma of public criticism against you (that you banished Sita to the forest and chosen to sit in the palace in deep sorrow)”

 

No end to Public comment

“Whatever fear of public comment made you reject Sita, one or more cobra of comment will raise its hood in the town in some other form. There can be no doubt about it.”

 

The futility of fears of public suspicion and the endlessness of personal grief and public grievances were underlined by Lakshmana. A weak mind that broods over these futile exercises should be rejected outright, he emphasized.

 

Lakshmana told Rama that he should no longer worry about it in future.

 

Rama composes himself

“Lakshmana!” said Rama composing himself, “what you have said is very appropriate. It is correct too. You have carried out what I enjoined on you. I am happy with what you have done. I am now free from sorrow. I have removed grief from my mind. Your sweet and very pertinent words have brought peace to my mind.”

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