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Ramayana is an epic in Hinduism written by sage Valmiki. It is a story of love, friendship, loyalty, and dignity. Recently, I was watching a podcast interview of Gaurang Das Prabhu hosted by Ranveer Allahbadia on Youtube. He made a beautiful analogy of the essence of Ramayana, which I want to share with you in this article.

Ayodhya, as per the name, is unconquerable according to the scriptures, but we hardly know about the kingdom itself. We never come across the inner workings of such an established territory and infrastructure. The story of Ramayana focuses on the dynamics of the relationships in the royal family instead. Hence, he is implying that maintaining a relationship is more complex than ruling a strong kingdom. Valmiki wants us to know about the value of friendship and family, which help us triumph over evil, both inside and outside. As Gaurang Das Prabhu said in the interview, the four brothers in Ramayana – Ram, Laxman, Bharat, and Shatrughna symbolize four pillars of a relationship on which it exists. The relationship could be to your spouse, children, parents, or to God.

1. Ram – The epitome of integrity

Lord Ram is revered by everyone because of his integrity as a son, a husband, and a king. He is called Maryada Purushottam Ram, which loosely translates to the most self-righteous man. He lived abiding by the universal conduct of his duties until his death. Even though he was the king of Ayodhya, he spent his life in the midst of suffering. He never had any ill-will towards those responsible for his misery. Whether it was Kaikeyi, who sent him to the forest for fourteen years, or Ravan, who kidnapped his wife Sita, he always maintained his righteousness. There is a famous verse written by Tulsi Das, the great poet, as following:

रघुकुल रीत सदा चली आई,

प्राण जाए पर वचन न जाई

It means that the lineage of Lord Ram is known to practice integrity as tradition. They would rather die than break their promises. In Gaurang Das Prabhu’s own words, “Honesty means to speak what you have done, but integrity is to do what you have spoken.” Lord Ram did what he said and never broke his promises. He represents integrity in a relationship.

2. Laxman – The immense wealth of servitude

Lakshman represents artha. As Gaurang Das Prabhu said, Lakshman literally means “one for whom the real Lakshmi, or wealth is seva.” Lakshman devoted his life to Ram because he considered him as his bahir prana, his external life force. He was not in any way obligated to leave Ayodhya upon Ram’s banishment. But he chose to do so because his true happiness lied with Ram, not in the comforts of the palace. He never left his side because he considered his life as an opportunity of selfless service to Ram. Laxman teaches us to be selfless in our relationships and be of service to others without any expectations.

3. Bharat – the symbol of immense tolerance

Bharat represents moksha. According to Gaurang Das Prabhu, Bharat is an embodiment of extraordinary patience and tolerance. He was not involved in Kaikeyi’s conspiracy against Ram. But since he was the one who got benefitted from it, everyone thought he was responsible for Ram’s exile. He was criticized by everyone, even his father on his deathbed. Vashishta didn’t allow him to perform his father’s last rites because Dashratha had denied him the right to even touch his body. He had to live with the fact that his father died believing he was one of the conspirators. His own people despised him and threw stones at him. He endured the condemnation despite being the king because of his love for Ram. Ram had assigned him the duty to serve Ayodhya in his absence, and he fulfilled his wishes even though it was painful for him.

We all may have faced insolence and disrespect under situations that are not our fault. We, just like Bharat, may have become the victim of the circumstances. But instead of walking away from that, Bharat teaches us to persevere out of love. He reminds us that the pleasure of love is greater than the burden of hatred.

4. Shatrughna – the conqueror of Ego

Shatrughna, the youngest brother, represents humility. Shatrughna means, as Gaurang Das Prabhu said, “one who has conquered the shatru of ego.” He chose to support Bharat when the entire city of Ayodhya was condemning him. He did not care about his brother’s unpopularity among the masses. He did not care how it would affect his image in society. He continued to serve his brother because he believed in him.

We may be hesitant to support someone who is controversial or on the wrong side of the law. Shatrughna taught us how to keep our loved ones above our own egos and be there when nobody is.


So, the four principles we learn from the four brothers of Ramayana are – Integrity from Ram, Selfless service attitude from Lakshman, Tolerance from Bharat, and Humility from Shatrughna. These are the four elements needed for a sustainable relationship with anyone. Sustainable relationships with people give us purpose in life. Without purpose, life is meaningless.

Gaurang Das Prabhu has also spoken about the role of Sita, Hanuman, and Ravan in the epic of Ramayana. To know more, click on the link here.

Thank you for reading!

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