Sleepless Laxman


We have all had sleepless nights. But nobody ever thought of insomnia as a super power. Right?

When the eldest Prince of Ayodhya was banished to the forest for fourteen years, his younger brother followed him. He served his elder and his wife with devotion, not even taking a blink of sleep during the period of their exile.
When Sita was abducted and Ram went to war with the Lord of Lanka to bring her back, Lakshman was there standing next to him. Ravana’s son Meghnad had a boon that prevented him from being defeated by just about anyone. Meghnad was to meet his end at the hands of someone who had defeated sleep.

Lakshman’s sleepless nights proved to be the one thing that distinguished him from anyone else in the world at that particular point in time.

Of course, a fate has it, behind every successful man is an even more charismatic woman….. Laxman would not have been able to pull this feat of epic insomnia without Urmila.

Laxman had taken a vow to keep awake through out the exile period of fourteen years in order to better serve and protect Sri Rama and Ma Sita. Days, weeks, months and years passed. After a while, the goddess of Sleep became aware of Laxman’s penance. Pleased with his unwavering dedication and attention to Rama and Sita, she appeared in front of Laxman. She said that she was impressed by his sense of devotion to his purpose and was there to bless Laxman so that he would not get tired by those sleepless nights. Laxman responded by saying that he could never get tired of serving his Lord and his Mother. To accept her blessings for the purpose she mentioned, would amount to self doubt. And Laxman begged the goddess’ forgiveness.
The goddess of sleep was silent and thoughtful for a while. Finally, she said: “Now that I am here, I cannot go away without giving you some kind of boon. Ask for anything.”
Laxman folded his hands and replied: “Devi, I am here under protection (chhatrachhaya) of my Lord Sri Rama and Mother Sita. In Ayodhya, Urmila is fighting a lone battle looking after my parents. So please visit her and bless her so that she does not suffer.” So great was Laxman’s dedication Sri Rama and Sita that he remembered Urmila for the first time in years.

The goddess was pleased and promised Laxman that she would fulfill his wish. She visited Ayodhya, met Urmila and told her about her visit to Laxman and about Laxman’s wish for the goddess to bless her. Urmila’s reply was a typical one that only Urmila could give: “Hey Devi, I am honored. But, I am not tired. I can not get tired of looking after my near and dear ones. Moreover, it was my husband’s wish that I stay back and it is my solemn duty to obey him. Again, he had not compelled me. He had merely stated his wish. I am happy. Still, if you want to fulfill my wish and bless me, please see to it that Laxman doesn’t remember me even once during rest of the remaining exile period, otherwise he will worry about me and that will hinder his dedication to Sri Rama and Ma Sita, which I do not want. So remove me from his memory till then so that he can concentrate and serve them without his mind wavering.”

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