Among the Hindu epics, Ramayana is one of the greatest. Lord Rama, Goddess Sita, and Lakshman are highly important characters in Ramayana. He is the highly devotional and inseparable bother of Lord Rama.
Lakshmana’s loyalty, honesty, and short temper are known to all, and not having him would mean missing an arm for the Lord. Thus, without him, the great war of Ramayan couldn’t have been won. He was a great character having great qualities but is lesser-known.
1. An incarnation of Sheshnag
Lakshmana is an avatar of Sesh Naag, the serpent upon whom Lord Vishnu rests in Kshirasagara, which is the ocean of milk. Shesh naga is king of all nagas. He holds all the planets of the universe on its hood. Sheshnag and Lord Vishnu are inseparable. Lord Vishnu is often depicted as resting on sheshnag; when Lord Vishnu descended on earth as Rama, Sheshang accompanied him as Lakshman. This is the reason why we see ‘Tatik’ (a serpent sent by Ravan to destroy Mithila) running away after seeing Laksham.
2. Lakshmana reincarnated as Balarama
Lakshmana once said that since he was younger than Rama, each command by his elder brother had to be obeyed by him. This is why his wish to become the elder brother was fulfilled in the next incarnation. While Lord Vishnu became the younger Lord Krishna, Sesh Naag became the elder brother Balarama.
Lakshmana was an incarnation of Sheshnag, and Sheshnaag is inseparable from Vishnu, so when Vishnu descended on earth as Rama, Sheshnaag incarnated as Lakshman. When Vishnu later incarnated as Krishna, Sheshnaag accompanied him as his elder brother Balarama.
3. Lakshmana is also known as ‘Gudakesh.’
During Rama’s exile, Lakshman decided to stay awake for 14 years. He requested Nidra Devi, the Goddess of Sleep, not to give him sleep for 14 years so that he could be awake and guard Rama and Sita. Nidra Devi was impressed with his dedication and granted him the boon.
This is the reason why Lakshmana is also known as Gudakesh. This was a very strong condition that made him capable of killing Meghnad. Meghnad had a boon that a Gudakesh could only kill him, a person who has defeated sleep.
4. Lakshmana never saw the face of any lady for 14 years
Lakshmana was a true gentleman. During the exile, Lakshmana stayed with his brother Ram and Sister-in-law Sita, but he never looked at her face. He only gazed at her feet. When Sugriva showed them the jewelry thrown by Sita when Ravan was carrying her to Lanka, Lakshman could only identify Sita’s anklet. He said he had seen them while laying his head on her feet in worship. He could not recognize any other jewelry as he had never presumed to look closely at them.
5. Lakshmana killed Ravana’s son Indrajit
After the battle, Sage Agastya came to Ayodhya. The Sage said Meghnad was not an ordinary asura; he was a conqueror of Indralok. He also possessed the three ultimate weapons of Trimurti, Brahmastra, Narayanastra, and Pashupatastra. He could only be killed by someone who had not eaten, slept, or seen a woman’s face for 14 years. People were surprised at how Lakshman could fulfill these conditions.
Lakshman explained that he didn’t sleep for 14 years to guard Rama and Sita at night. Before going to exile his mother, Queen Sumitra, told him to guard Rama and Sita while they sleep.
He didn’t eat for 14 years because Ram gave him food but never asked him to eat it. Lakshman, in his loyalty, believed that he was born to serve Lord Rama, so he never did anything without being told.
He had never seen the face of any lady during exile; though he was staying with Rama and Sita, he never saw Sita’s face; he always gazed at her feet. Thus, he could not recognize any of Sita’s jewelry except her anklet.
6. The reason for his death.
When Rama realized that he had fulfilled his duties on earth, it was time for him to return to Vaikuntha. Yama wanted to meet Rama to remind him about the time of departure; Rama invited Yamaraj, the God of death. Yama said that their conversation should be confidential and a death sentence should punish anyone who entered the room. So, Rama entrusted Lakshman to guard the room so that no one could enter.
Meanwhile, Sage Durvasa came and expressed his desire to meet Rama. At first, Lakshman refused politely, but the sage insisted and threatened to curse Ayodhya. To save Ayodhya, Lakshman decided to intercept the meeting. After the incident, to fulfill Ram’s promise, he went to the bank of river Saryu and gave his life.
However, Lakshman’s death was necessary before Rama’s death as he was an incarnation of Sheshnag, and he had to return before Vishnu could return to Vaikuntha.
7. Lakshmana’s love and devotion for Rama was second to none.
Before the exile, Rama tries to convince his wife and tells her that she could stay back in the kingdom with her in-laws if she so wishes. Rama does not even bring this topic of discussion to convince Lakshmana to stay back because Rama knows that Lakshmana will follow him to exile anyway.
8. Lord Rama too immensely loved Lakshmana
Rama immensely loved Lakshmana. When Lakshmana was injured on the battlefield and almost died, Rama wept and confessed that he could live without the riches in Ayodhya, he could live without his beloved Sita, but he could not live without a brother Lakshman on his side.
9. Lakshmana was also an advocate of Rama
Lakshmana constantly talked to Rama after he got depressed about Sita’s disappearance. The Valmiki Ramayana quotes many occasions during the exile when Rama incessantly cried like a madman, asking trees, flowers, plants, and animals in the jungle about Sita’s whereabouts and often fainted on the ground, depressed and agonized. At the same time, Lakshmana took the role of a caretaker and counselor who enthused him with words of motivation.
10. Lakshmana’s Guru
Rama was not just a brother to Lakshmana but also a father and a guru. Rishi Vishwamitra initiated Rama into many Astras and Shastras and became Rama’s guru (preceptor). Rama, in turn, gave them to Lakshmana and became the preceptor of Lakshmana.