Two Brothers- Laxmana And Vibheeshana

Most people have this issue of how to balance their internal and external lives. In this context it is ideal for one to take lessons from the life of Lord Rama. He does not subscribe to just one shore of human behaviour or consciousness. He also does not comply with just a single viewpoint or aspect of life. He connects to various levels of consciousness and serves as a bridge across the panorama of different levels of thought, emotions and opinions. Wherever there is a yawning gap between philosophies or points of view, Lord Rama becomes the ideal example, of a character who harmonizes varying degrees of temperament.

The bridge built by the monkeys was a later event. Prior to this event Lord Rama poses a question in front of the monkeys and King Vibheeshana (विभीषण) as to what means need to be taken so as to get across the ocean and enter Lanka. King Vibheeshana was a new entrant into the fold of the monkey-army. He was the first to offer his suggestions. He said “King Sagara (सगर), the personified aspect of the ocean was the ancestor of Lord Rama’s clan and if Lord Rama were to take the initiative of praying to King Sagara, then it were possible to find a solution for the problem at hand. Here Goswami Tulsidas stresses on the distances in the minds of people, the distance between places being a secondary thing. Lord Rama is overjoyed and immediately responds to the suggestion from King Vibheeshana. He says “My friend, you have given a very beautiful suggestion.” Lord Rama also added this to his reply “God-willing, we shall be successful in this attempt.” The response of the Lord indicated that the Lord was a supporter of adopting peaceful means, that He was theistic in His approach and believed in the hand of fate. But as soon as the Lord made this statement, the Lord’s eternal brother, Lord Laxmana spoke. His words  was indicative of the distance between the approaches of King Vibheeshana and that of Lord Laxmana Himself. The distance between their characters was a massive one. One was the Lord’s brother and the other was the brother of the enemy demon, Ravana. History looked at Lord Laxmana as an ideal brother while the same history puts King Vibheeshana in the category of an individual who cheated his own doting brother. Here is Lord Laxmana who would never think of deserting His brother and here is King Vibheeshana who had joined the enemy camp, deserting his brother. King Vibheeshana was a staunch believer of fate while Lord Laxmana believed in the philosophy of challenging fate; He was the last one to leave things in fate’s hands.

Laxmana’s response to the suggestion of King Vibheeshana was notable. He said “Why should we depend on the response of King Sagara? It is equivalent to accepting defeat. Only weaklings resort to dependence on other people by leaving their fate in others’ hands. It is better to take out our weapons and challenge the ocean. King Vibheeshana and Lord Laxmana, although, stood side-by-side, yet there was a yawning gap in their approaches. Both were separated by a wide ocean of differences in terms of their thoughts as well as their emotions. But Lord Rama was a bridge that connected two hearts that stood at opposing ends. It was possible for Lord Rama to have accepted the suggestion of His divine brother, saying that it was just a matter of a few moments for them to have picked up their divine weapons and terrorize the ocean. The ocean would have no option but to make way for the monkey-army so that they could simply walk across the ocean, even without a bridge. It was also possible for Lord Rama to have simply accepted King Vibheeshana’s opinion and reject the voice of His brother. But Lord Rama preferred to bridge both the opposing approaches. Humans find it difficult to find the middle path, which would bridge two apparently opposing viewpoints. What Lord Rama saw in common among the two brothers was that both had immense love for Him and that was the meeting point. In fact, that was the single meeting point from where the solution to cross the ocean was to emerge. The Lord could observe that both were aiming at a common goal and that was to cross the ocean. So the Lord decided to conjoin both their views on the problem at hand.

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