At the behest of his father Sri Rama had to go to renounce the kingdom and go to the forest for 14 years. His beloved wife Sita and loving brother Lakshmana followed him. In the forests Lakshmana took upon himself to serve his brother and sister – in – law as the lid does an eye. He was doing duty all the 24 hours and never had even a wink of sleep. Goddess sleep did not like this. She had everyone under her power and as soon as she approached anyone he obediently went to sleep. When they stayed away without approaching they felt very miserable and begged her hard to be kind and come to them. There was Lakshmana never taking a nap, nor even needing it. She somehow or other wanted to bring him under her sway. So one day she came to him with all her winnign ways and tried to tempt him to take a nap. No, Lakshmana was firm and adamant. He said ” Thank you Goddess, for our compassion. I am in deeksha now for 14 years to serve my brother without relaxing. Until this period is over and we are back in Ayodhya I wont even take a wink. “
Hearing his firm decision the Goddess had to admit her defeat and retreat. While leaving she, however laid a condition. ” Very well. For these 14 years I will stay away from you. But once you reach Ayodhya you must allow me to have my way. I will choose my own time to visit you and you shouldnt resist me then.” Lakshamana solemnly agreed, little thinking of the consquences. Fourteen years passed away. Sri Rama returned to Ayodhya. All the citizens rejoiced their return. Sri Rama’s coronation day was fixed. At last the great day approached.
Lakshmana was sitting in his seat, happy and joyous, for he had eagerly waited for years to see the coronation of his beloved brother. Suddenly his eyes drooped down heavily and a yawn came which he could not resist… and there wa sa low whisper in his ears, ” Ah, Lakshmana, I kept my promise for 14 years and never approached you. Now you keep your promise and succumb to me.” It was the sweet voice of the Goddess of sleep. Lakshmana could not but laugh at her eagerness. And the laugh came from within him gurgling, in peals and thunders and in roars and floods. He could not stop himself and he went on laughing and roaring uncontrollably. The laughter was heard by all. This was a occasion to smile and rejoice and, of course, Lakshmana was the first person having the right to enjoy. But an uproarious laughter? and what was it for? It was not a mere joyous laughter but a mocking, cajoling one. Whom was Lakshmana mocking? What for?
Sri Rama heard the laughter. He thought, ” Sita was in Ravana’s garden for one year. Shamelessly I brought her back and made her the queen because of my lust. Lakshmana is mocking at my infactuation.” He felt injured and hurt.
Sita heard the laughter. She thought, ” I was impriosned by Ravana for one year and so have become fallen. Yet because of my love of power, shamelessly I sat on the throne along with Rama as the queen. Surely Rama laughs at me for my foolish ambition.” She felt ashamed an hurt.
Kaikeyi heard teh laughter. She thought, ” 14 years ago I myself sent out Rama to the forests, and now here I am, enjoying his installation as king. Lakshmana must be thinking that I am putting on an act and in mocking at me. ” She covered her eyes and shed bitter tears.
The most revered Kula Guru Vasishtha heard the laughter and thought, ” I fixed up an auspicious day for Rama’s coronation as crown price 14 years ago, after consulting the auspicious stars, but teh function never took place at all. Now again I have shamelessly fixed up another auspicious day for his installation. Lakshamana must be laughing at me for this sign of foolish old age.” He felt hurt and humiliated.
The citizens heard the laughter. They thought, ” When Rama was banished to the forests, none of us shared his difficulties and sorrows. Today we have come here to rejoice when he is in affluence. Certainly Lakshamana is mocking us for our selfish nature.” They all felt ashamed of themselves and hurt.
Sri Rama looked at each one and could understand what was passing though each one’s mind. He stood up from his throne and drew his sword, loudly demanding, ” What do you mean Lakshmana, by your mocking laughter? Whom are you mocking and for what? Poor Lakshmama the cause of all this havoc, never knew what his innocent laughter did. He proceeded to relate the whole story. When the story was heard all felt relieved and they blamed themselves for ever having misunderstood a nobel person like Lakshmana.