Head bent low in deep thoughts, he was walking up and
down the length of the carpeted hall. There was an un-
usual silence in the palace that morning. The birds sat
brooding, totally forgetting to chirrup their gleeful welcome to the clear dawn. King Ramacandraji was lost in
his thoughts. The conflict within him was becoming un-
bearable: his love and his duty, his personal just opinion
and the unjust criticism of the public were tearing him
asunder. He knew that his consort, dear Sita, was the
most chaste, honest, and loving wife, but his subjects had
questioned Sita's moral purity. He had to remember that
Sita was not only his consort but also the queen of his
subjects in Ayodhya.
As king he had to fulfill the wishes of his subjects.
As husband he wanted Srta to be with him, after all the
many years of their exile and Sita's extreme sufferings in
the Ashoka Forest of Lanka.
But he was the king. As king he was the servant of his
subjects and was duty-bound to submit to the wishes of
the people of his land.
Time stood still. In the restless sorrows of indecision,
the man in him did not clearly know the duty of the king in
He paused at the open window, watching the sunrise.
Then suddenly he bristled into a decision. His heart was
throbbing with sorrow, but his head was cool and deter-
mined. A king had to make sacrifices in order to rule
effectively and administer law and justice.
"Who's there?" he thundered. The soldier outside the
door respectfully entered the royal hall, saluted, and
stood at attention. Sri Ramacandraji took a long breath,
cleared his throat, and said, "Go and inform Laksmana
that I want him here immediately." The soldier bowed
and, walking backwards, left the room quietly.
Sri Rama started walking up and down in determined
Slightly panting in his hurry, Laksmana walked into the
presence of his devoted brother and bowed down in utter
reverence. Anxiety and curiosity played on his face;
traces of fear were in his eyes.
Very lovingly, almost in an apologetic tone, Rama said,
"Now they all must have had their breakfast. Sita was
expressing a wish to go back to the Rishi Ashram that we
had traveled through during our days of exile. Get the
chariot ready and take Sita out into the forest. There drive
to some place near the Saint Valmiki Ashram. And .. . near
Valmiki Ashram . . . take STta . . . and leave her there . ..
drive the empty chariot to reach here as quickly as pos-
"But, Brother! Why? She is pregnant! Why? How
"Stop it!" roared Rama. He came near Laksmana, embraced him, lifted his tearful face, and with a rare seriousness looked deep into his eyes and said in a soft,
penetrating voice, "If you say anything more, you will be
murdering me here and now. It was not easy for me to
come to this decision, but it has to be done. You go and
do what I want you to do and come back soon."
Weeping silently, wondering at the cruelty in his
brother's harsh command, Laksmana left.
Later, after performing his painful duty, a confused
Laksmana returned to the palace. Shattered within, con-
fused in his thinking, desperate in the contradictory emo-
tions surging within him, he felt totally broken down and
was drowning in his own dejection and despair. Days
One day, hesitantly, Laksmana approached Rama
while he was sitting alone. He asked Rama about the
morality - the beauty and ugliness - that is inherent in
all actions that man can and does undertake. The
exhaustive discourse given out by Sri Rama, the perfect
mystic, in response to his dear brother's question is
These sixty-two verses of Sri Rama-Gita are found in
Veda Vyasa's Adhyatma Ramayana, in the Uttarakanda,
as its fifth chapter. It is conceived in the literary style
called Pauranic. The text, popularly known as Sri Rama-Gita, is also often described as sruti-sara-sangraha, a
brief summary of the very essence of all the Vedas.
Sri Rama GJta is a truly authentic exposition of Vedanta. Implicitly following his usual technique, so familiar
in the Bhagavad-Gita, Vyasa puts this poem into the mouth of Sri Ramachandra himself; Laksmana, who had
purified his personality through years of selfless service to
his divinely righteous brother, is the disciple listening to
Sri Rama's words.
Since the pure-hearted Laksmana is the listener and Sri
Rama himself the teacher, the discussion soars to vivid
heights of subtlety. In short, this is no elementary
textbook; indeed, it is a postgraduate text, given out to a
highly spiritual student. Laksmana-like students alone
can comprehend the truths expounded herein:
Reality is most ancient because the world of things and
beings came from Him alone. Thus, He, the Father of the
Universe, is more ancient than time. This "ancient
Purusa'91 is the theme of all scriptures, including Sri Rama
Gita. In it, Sri Rama talks about this eternal, timeless
Essence in all of us, the Self.
The sanctity of the text, the thoroughness of the delivery, the depth of suggestion, and the sublimity of the goal
pointed out are all rendered valid and eloquently clear
because of the spiritual perfection in Sri Rama, the
teacher, and the glorious personality of his lifelong devotee, Laksmana, the disciple.
The style of the Puranas is to relate philosophical
truths through the vehicle of stories, telescoped one into
the other. In Sn Rama-Gita, Parvati, the consort of Siva,
requests him to describe what happened to Sri Rama
after he had banished his pregnant and innocent queen,
Sita. Thus, we are not privileged to listen directly to the
divine discourse of Sri Rama as he gave it out to
Laksmana. Instead, we hear this Rama-Laksmana discussion through the words of Lord Paramesvara as he reports it to his inquisitive consort. Mother Paramesvari.
This reminds us of the Vyasa technique in the Bhagavad-Gita, where we hear the Krsna-Arjuna discussions through the words of Sanjay.