In the previous episode we witnessed a very important portion wherein Sumithra gives advice to her son Lakshmana as to how to conduct himself during the exile period. She advices Lakshmana that he should see a father in Rama and a mother in Sita and be of service to both of them at all times! Lakshmana was very happy to hear this from his mother and all the three set out on their journey!
As the three of them come out of the palace clad in the dress of “Tapasvis’ (Saints), the entire city of Ayodhya could not stand it! Scores of citizens came alongside Rama and tried to convince him to go back to the palace and take up the kingdom. The entire Ayodhya was in tears of sorrow as their beloved Rama started to walk away from the city. However Rama convinced the people by saying that it is his duty to obey the words of his parents and that he would definitely come back to Ayodhya after fourteen years and will rule the kingdom as per the people’s wish. He requested the people thus to be patient and to wait for his return.
Thus, consoling his subjects, the three of them get on the chariot, driven by the charioteer Sumanthra. He drives them to the banks of the river Ganges to the hamlet of Guha – The leader of the hunter community.
From this point onwards, we are going to see the significance of unconditional surrender of a devotee to Bhagawan! This entire set of episodes of the meeting between Rama and Guha is an epitome of “Sharanaagathi Bhakthi” (Complete surrender to the Lord). We can worship the hamlet of Guha even today, at a place called “Shringiberapuram” on the banks of the river Ganges, some 30 miles away from Ayodhya in the present-day state of Uttar Pradesh, North India.
Thus Rama, Lakshmana and Sita reach the hamlet of Guha. Guha welcomes them with surprise and excitement! He never expected Rama to come to his place and he was nervous, but at the same time, overjoyed upon seeing Rama at his place! Rama, Lakshmana and Sita stay for that night at Guha’s place and when the dawn broke out the next morning, Guha brings one of his boats and helps the three of them to cross the river Ganges and reach the other side and they proceeded further to “Chithrakuta”.
Meanwhile during the night, when Rama and Sita were sleeping on the floor at Guha’s place, Lakshmana was in tears upon seeing this sight! He couldn’t digest the fact that his brother Rama and Sita who deserved all the comforts possible in the world were in this pitiable situation. Hence he decided that he would try his level best to comfort them with whatever little facilities available at that moment. Thus, in that way, out of his extreme devotion to his brother, Lakshmana was walking around Rama and Sita, just to make sure that nobody comes and attacks them while they are asleep! He was trying to give them a “security blanket” by sacrificing his sleep! Such is the level of “Bhakthi” exhibited by Lakshmana!
Upon seeing Lakshmana walking around Rama and Sita, Guha was a little skeptical and a mild doubt arouse in his mind – Why is Lakshmana not sleeping? He is also a prince from Ayodhya isn’t it? Anyhow, Bharata took away the kingdom from Rama. Will Lakshmana follow suit and take away Rama’s life? This doubt arouse in Guha’s mind because the beauty of Rama who was sleeping moved him! He was in tears upon seeing his hero sleeping on the floor!
Thus, Guha looks at Lakshmana and tells him,
“Iyam thaatha sukhassayyaa tvatharthamupa kalpita!”
Guha says, “Oh my dear Lakshmana! I’ve prepared a bed for you near Rama. Please go to sleep!” Lakshmana denies Guha’s request and replies back,
“Katham daasharathau bhoomou sayaane saha seethayaa!
Sakhya nidhraa mayaa labdhum jeevitham vaa sukhaanivaa!!”
Lakshmana says, “Oh dear Guha! Thank you for the hospitality! However, I’m not in a position to go to sleep right now! I’ve never seen my brother Rama lying on the floor like this! This is just out of the blue! Even if Rama sleeps on the floor, I’ve never even thought in my wildest dreams that Sita would sleep on the floor! She was born and brought up at the luxurious Janakpuri. She’s never used to all these hassles in her life! What a shame! Upon seeing these two people sleeping on the floor, this Lakshmana cannot sleep even for a moment! These two should go back to Ayodhya once again after the exile, they should again sleep in their royal bed in the palace and only then will this Lakshmana go to sleep again!”
Upon hearing this from Lakshmana, Guha’s doubts intensified even more! He started to conclude in his mind that Lakshmana is planning a plot to kill Rama and Sita who were sleeping on the floor! What did Guha do to spoil this “plot”? What was his reaction to Lakshmana’s reply? Let’s wait till the next episode to find out!