Rāmāyana | Ayodhyā Kaṇḍa | Chapter 31

31. Rāma's Permission to Lakṣmaṇa

[Lakṣmaṇa requests permission to accompany Rāma and Sītā. Initially Rāma protests saying that Kaikeyi would trouble Kausalya and Sumitrā. Lakṣmaṇa points out the virtues of Bhārata and says that their mothers would be safe. Lakṣmaṇa is permitted to accompany Rāma and Sītā.]

Lakṣmaṇa, the delight of the Raghu clan, who had already come there already, heard the conversation between Sītā and Rāma and was unable to bear the sorrow and his eyes were filled with tears and he caught hold of the feet of Rāma tightly and he who had done great penance addressed the famous Sītā and Rāma and told. 31.1-31.2

"If both of you have taken a decision to go to the forest filled with deer and elephants, I also shall accompany you and walk there in front of you holding the bow." 31.3

"You will roam many forests echoing with the sounds from all directions of multitude of birds and animals in my company." 31.4

"Without you I have no desire to either conquer the world of devas nor get immortality or the sovereignty over the worlds." 31.5

Hearing these words of the son of Sumitrā who had decided on living in the forest, Rāma tried to console him and dissuade him and then Lakṣmaṇa told. 31.6

"Earlier you had given permission to come and so why are you now preventing my coming with you?" 31.7

"Oh man without any blemish, why this protest when I want to go with you and so I request you to clear this doubt in my mind." 31.8

Then Rāma with the great lustre told Lakṣmaṇa who was in front of him, who was prepared to walk in front of him in the forest and who was begging him with folded hands. 31.9

"You have always been affectionate, follower of dharma and a valorous one. You always travel by the path of goodness. You are my obedient brother, a great friend and more than a soul to me." 31.10

"Oh son of Sumitrā, if you come to the forest along with me who would look after Sumitrā and Kausalya who are with Great fame." 31.11

"The great lustrous king who used to shower favours to his people like the god of rain is now in the clutches of passion." 31.12

"Kaikeyi the daughter of Aśwapatī, if she gets control over the kingdom, would make the co-wives sad and would not bother about their welfare." 31.13

"Once Bhārata obtains the kingdom setting all his confidence on Kaikeyi, will not remember Kausalya and the very sad Sumitrā." 31.14

"Oh son of Sumitrā either by your own efforts or by taking the help of the king, accomplish the objective of looking after the welfare of venerable Kausalya." 31.15

"Oh master of Dharma, If you do this for me, you would have shown clearly your devotion to me and worshipping of the elders is a matchless and great Dharma." 31.16

"Oh son of Sumitrā, Oh son of the Raghu clan, please do this for me because deprived of our company, they would not experience any happiness." 31.17

Hearing these gentle words of Rāma, Lakṣmaṇa, the expert in speech and an expert in eloquence Lakṣmaṇa replied to him. 31.18

"Due to your great power oh valorous one, Bhārata will worship Kausalya and Sumitrā in a humble manner." 31.19

"One thousand villages obtain their wherewithal from Kausalya, and such a Kausalya can support one thousand persons like me." 31.20

"That famous lady Kausalya can not only look after herself, but she can look after Sumitrā as well as me." 31.21

"You make me your companion and this is not considered against Dharma and I would have also accomplished my objective and your object would be fulfilled." 31.22

"Holding a bow and arrow as also a basket and a spade, I will walk in front, giving directions to your way." 31.23

"I will collect fruits and roots and any other thing which is eatable and provide you food fit to the ascetics." 31.24

"When you go for a stroll for pleasure on the mountain tops or when you are awake or when you are asleep, I would do every task of yours." 31.25

Rāma after having been highly pleased by these words said, "Oh Lakṣmaṇa, go and take leave from all your friends." 31.26

"Oh Lakṣmaṇa, the great Varuṇa gave two divine awesome looking bows, two shields that cannot be penetrated, two inexhaustible quivers and two swords plated with gold and shining like Sun to King Janaka during a fire sacrifice. All these, after being worshipped have been deposited by me in the house of our Guru Vasiṣṭha. Please go and collect these and come back quickly." 31.27-31.29

Lakṣmaṇa who has decided to live in the forest, took leave of his friends, went to the home of the Guru of Ikshvāku clan and collected the weapons. 31.30

The tiger among princes Lakṣmaṇa, after worshipping those divine weapons, decorated them with flower garlands and showed them to Rāma. 31.31

That very spiritual Rāma looked lovingly at Lakṣmaṇa who has arrived and told him, "Oh gentle Lakṣmaṇa, you have come back at the exact moment as desired by me." 31.32

"Oh Lakṣmaṇa who defeats his enemies, I want to give away, along with you, all my wealth to ascetic Brahmins." 31.33

"To the best of the Brahmins who are highly devoted to their Gurus as well as those of them who are dependent on me for their livelihood, I want to distribute freely all my wealth." 31.34

"Go and bring Sujajñā, the son of sage Vasiṣṭha and all Brahmins belonging to a high race [pravara], swiftly so that, I can pay my homage to them and then go to the forest." 31.35

This is the end of Thirty First Sarga of Ayodhyā Kanda which occurs in Holy Rāmāyaṇa composed by Vālmīki as the First Epic.