I would like to share with you all, another story which brings out how noble and loyal Lakshman was. When Seeta had been abducted, she had dropped her jewels. When Sugreev asked Ram asked to identify Seeta’s jewels He was not able to do it. Instead He was able to identify the yellow cloth in which the jewels had been wrapped, as Hers. Disappointed, He then passes the jewels to Lakshman asking Him to identify if they were Seeta’s jewels. Lakshman immediately identifies the anklets as Seeta’s. Ram asks Lakshman how He was so sure. To this Lakshman replied that, everyday after having His bath, He used to prostrate Seeta and worship Her. He had only looked at Her feet. During the fourteen years of exile, He had never looked at Her in the face. This was one the reasons that Lakshman could kill Indrajith (also known as Meghnadh), the son of Ravan. There were three conditions which were to be satisfied by a person if he wanted to kill Indrajith. He should not have slept, eaten or looked at a women’s face for fourteen years. Since Lakshman satisfied all these conditions, He was able to kill Indrajith.
Recently, I was listening to Ramayana being chanted in a temple near my home. The priests were narrating the part where Seeta was arguing with Ram, regarding accompanying Him to the forest during the exile. Finally Ram had to give in. When Seeta and Ram come out, ready to leave for the forest, they find Lakshman waiting outside. He says he would also accompany Him and Ram agrees reluctantly.
That was when it occurred to me that a very important character has been forgotten. Ramayana speaks greatly of how ideal a wife, Sita is. But it never mentions much about Urmila, Lakshman’s wife. Ramayana probably devotes only a stanza or so to her. Seeta atleast got to stay with her husband, and fulfill her duties of staying with her husband during difficult times. But Urmila did not get that privilege. What happens to her, back in the palace is not mentioned in the epic.
When Ram and Seeta decide to go to the forest, despite Lakshman pleading with Him to not take Kaikeyi’s words seriously, Lakshman becomes upset. He decides to accompany them to the forest, and comes to his chamber to inform Urmila about this. Urmila does not insist that she would come to the forest along with him, like Seeta did. Instead, she asks him to take good care of Ram and Seeta and not to think about her. She foresaw that if she went along with Him, He would not be able to devote himself completely to the service of Ram and Seeta. Such is the great sacrifice of Urmila. Lakshman could become the ideal brother only because of Urmila’s sacrifices.
So what did Urmila do during those fourteen years ?
One version says that Urmila slept during the fourteen years that she was away from her husband. Before you misinterpret her, here is what happened. Lakshman was guarding Ram and Seeta at night, lest somebody attack them. Thus, when the Goddess of sleep, Nidra devi approached Him, He asked her to leave Him alone for the next fourteen years so that He could take care of His brother and sister in law, day and night. But as per the rules of nature, someone would have to bear the consequences of His sleepless. Lakshman asked her to inform this to His wife who was in the palace of Ayodhya. When Urmila was told this, she willingly asked that all her husband’s sleep for the next fourteen years be given to her. Hence, she was asleep for the fourteen years that Lakshman was away and during those fourteen years of exile Lakshman did not sleep at all. It was primarily due to this very reason that Lakshman was able to defeat Meganadh, the son of Ravan. Only one who had not slept, eaten or looked at a women’s face for fourteen years could defeat him. Lakshman could do this only due to Urmila’s sacrifice.
There are many other equally noble characters who have not been given the importance that they should have gotten, for example, Sumitra, Mandavi, Sruthakirthi, Mandothari, etc.. But then again, Ramayana is filled with noble characters. If each character were to be described in detail, the epic would be endless and this would also take the focus away from the main moral, which is the victory of good over evil.
Today, I thought I would post about how I spent my Ram Navmi. I know that it’s been more a week since Ram Navmi. I could not post last week because I was busy with some last minute that I had to submissions that I had to do. Better late than never.
For those people who don’t know why Ram Navmi is celebrated, it is the day on which Hindus celebrate the birthday of Lord Shri Ram, one of the deities, worshiped by Hindus. It falls on the 9th day of Chaitra Month of Hindu lunar year.
Lord Rama, being my favorite God, I eagerly look forward to celebrating Ram Navmi every year, ever since I remember. In a small place called Punkunnam in Thrissur, the residents of Pushpagiri Agraharam very ardently celebrate Ram Navmi. I make it a point to come home during this part of the year, no matter how many classes I have to bunk or many assignment-submissions I have to delay 😉 There is a temple of Lord Rama here. The Ram Navami celebrations here go on for eleven days, starting from the Prathama of Chaitra Month, and continuing till Ekadeshi, which is the ninth day of the month.
Everyday during these eleven days, in the mornings the idols are worshiped with abhishekam in the temple, and during the evenings the bronze idols of Lord Rama, Sita, Lakshman and Hanuman are taken around the village in a chariot. Out of the eleven days, every day the idols are decorated in different styles, and are brought out for the entire village to see. The significance is that Lord Rama comes to visit His devotees around this time every year.
Day 1 :
Day 3 :
Day 4 :
Day 5 : Lord Krishna
On the fifth day, the Lord is dressed as Krishna, with butter in his hands. On this day, every house keeps a little bit of butter in the prasad that they offer to Lord everyday.
Day 6 : Anandashayanam
On this day, He takes the Anandashayanam pose. This signifies eternal relaxation.
Take a closer at the Lord
Day 7 :
Day 8 :
On this day, three chariots are brought out. As you can see, one chariot is of Lord Hanuman, who carries Lord Rama. Another one is that of Goddess Sita riding a peacock. Yet another, is the chariot that is used everyday, in which all the other Gods – Hanuman, Lakshman, Ganesh, Shiva and His consort Parvathi, Karthikeyan and his two consorts Vall and Devyani, are placed.
Day 9 : Rama Navmi
On this day, the idols of Lord Ram, Sita, and Lakshman are placed on a chariot which is approximately 15 feet tall. The Lord is dressed up in Raja Alankaram. In the photo, it can be seen how majestically He sits, His legs crossed, just like a king.
Day 11: Anjaneyotsavam
It is believed that the best way to please God is to please his devotees. On the last day of the celebration, Lord Hanuman is given importance. He is dressed up beautifully, with garlands of rose apple and betel leaves. As the chariot stops at each house, crackers are bursted, since Hanuman likes crackers a lot.