Lakshmana Revived by an Herb from the Himalayas

Seeing Lakshmana soaked with blood from being felled by the mighty Ravana’s spear and having given a fierce battle to the wicked Ravana, Rama spoke to Sushena even as He continued shooting volleys of arrows: “Here is the valorous Lakshmana knocked on the ground by Ravana’s strength and writhing like a snake, causing me anguish. Seeing this warrior, who is dearer to me than my own life, drenched with blood, my mind is disturbed and I do not have the energy to fight. If my handsome brother proud of war should die, what is the use of life or happiness to me? My valor seems shy. My bow is slipping from my hand. I am dropping arrows and my vision is clouded by tears. My limbs are faltering like those who sleep. My sharp anxiety is increasing and I feel like dying when I see my brother struck down by the wicked Ravana, fatally wounded in His vital areas and agonized.”

Seeing His younger brother, who was His own life air externalized, Rama was stricken with sorrow and became absorbed in thoughts of grief. Seeing Lakshmana knocked down in the dust of the battlefield, Rama became despondent and lamented as follows: “O hero, even victory will not seem very pleasing to Me. What delight will the moon bring one who has no sight? What is the use of fighting? What is the use of living? I have no need of war now that Lakshmana is lying dead on the frontline of battle. As Lakshmana followed me when I went into exile in the forest, I shall likewise follow Him to the abode of death. Lakshmana who was always fond of His relatives and ever-devoted to Me, has come to this stage due to the rakshasas who fight so treacherously. Wives can be found in different places, and relatives too, but I do not see any place where I can find a brother like Lakshmana.

“What gain shall I achieve by sovereignty without Lakshmana? What shall I say to Mother Sumitra who is so fond of her son? I shall not be able to endure the reproached given by Sumitra. And what indeed shall say to Kausalya and Kaikeyi? What shall I say to Bharata and the mighty Shatrughna when They ask Me how I returned alone after being accompanied by Lakshmana to the forest? It would be better to die here right now than to suffer the rebukes of my relatives. What misdeed did I perform in previous lives that my pious brother is laying dead before me? O my brother! O best of men and foremost of warriors! O master! Why are you leaving me and going by yourself to the other world, even though I am lamenting? Why do you not speak to me? Get up! Look! Why are you lying on the ground? Look at My wretched self with your eyes! You have been my comforter whenever I wandered listlessly and was stricken with sorrow in the mountains and forests, O mighty-armed one!”

While Rama’s senses were thus overwhelmed with grief, Sushena tried to console Him and spoke to Him the following words: “O tiger among men, give up this mentality which is causing You anguish, this anxiety which is causing You sorrow like arrows on the fore of battle. Lakshmana has not died, for His face has not changed nor has it turned dark. See how His face is effulgent and pleasant! The palms of His hands are like the petals of a lotus flower and His eyes are most pleasing. The appearance of those who have passed away is not like this, O monarch. Do not be despondent, O warrior. This conqueror of enemies is still alive. The repeatedly throbbing heart of Lakshmana lying asleep on the ground with relaxed limbs indicates that He is still alive, O warrior!”

After saying all this to Rama, Sushena said to the great monkey Hanuman, who was standing nearby: “My dear friend, please quickly leave this place to Mount Mahodaya, which Jambavan previously told you about. From its southern slope bring back the following powerful healing herbs: vishalyakarani, savarnyakarani, samjivakarani and the potent herb named sandhani. Bring them so that we can restore the life of Lakshmana.”

When given this instruction, Hanuman jumped into the sky in route to the mountain bearing those herbs. The glorious Hanuman became thoughtful when he realized that he did not know those potent herbs. The following idea occurred to the mighty Hanuman: “I shall bring the whole mountain peak back. By reason I know that it is on this peak that those healing herbs grow, for Sushena said so. If I return without bringing the herb vishalyakarani to extract the spear, in the course of time there may be some further damage to Lakshmana, giving rise to a great calamity.”

Thinking in this way and moving quickly, the mighty Hanuman reached Mount Mahodaya. Shaking it three times, he broke of the peak of that excellent mountain that was covered with all kinds of flowering trees. Balanced in his hand, the mountain peak resembled a dark-blue rain cloud resting in the sky. Holding it carefully, he jumped into the sky. When Hanuman reached Sushena, he set the mountain peak down. Resting for a while, Hanuman said to Sushena: “Since I was not familiar with those herbs, here is the entire peak of that mountain which I have brought.”

As Hanuman was speaking, Sushena thanked him and gathered the herbs. All the monkeys were amazed to see Hanuman’s feat, which was difficult even for the gods. Crushing the herb, Sushena administered it to Lakshmana through the nostrils. When the impaled Lakshmana smelled the herb, He instantly became free from the spear and rose up from the ground healed of His wound. Seeing Lakshmana risen from the ground, the monkeys were overjoyed and offered their respects to Lakshmana, saying: “Very good! Very good!” Rama said to Lakshmana: “Come here! Come here!” and embraced Him to His bosom with eyes brimming with tears. After embracing Lakshmana, Rama said to Him: “O warrior, by good fortune I am seeing You returned from the dead. There would have been no purpose in my living, or regaining Sita, or achieving victory. What would have been the use of my life if you had died?”

Depressed by Rama’s loose words, Lakshmana replied as follows: “Having vowed to slay Ravana and crown Vibhishana as king, you should not talk as if you were a weak and powerless man. Those who speak the truth never break their promise, for the fulfillment of one’s promise is the sign of greatness. Moreover, it is not right for you to give into despair on my account, O sinless one. Fulfill your promise by killing Ravana today. When your enemy is subdued by your arrows, he cannot survive, any more than could an elephant caught by the sharp teeth of a roaring lion. I want that wicked fellow killed before the sun sets. If you wish to kill Ravana in combat, if you wish to fulfill your promise, if you long for Sita, then immediately do what I say.”

Thus completes 101st Chapter of Yuddha Kanda of the glorious Ramayana of Valmiki, the work of a sage and the oldest epic.

Sriman Moola Rama Vijayate