Is Lakshmana’s dharma less than Lord Rama’s because he encourages Rama to fight for his title as King? 

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't necessarily see Lakshmana's dhamra as any less because he suggests that Lord Rama fights.  Lakshmana's dharma compels him to be supportive and defensive of Lord Rama.  This is seen when Lakshmana is ready to strike at the sight of Bharata entering the forest, thinking that he is approaching in malevolence.  Lakshmana's purpose is singular in his devotion and defense of Lord Rama.  It is written in the epic that when he, Devi Sita, and Lord Rama would walk, Lakshmana would be frustrated when Devi Sita was in the middle of the three as it would block his view of Lord Rama.  This is not an example of possessing lesser qualities of dharma.  Rather, I would suggest that his fervor and zeal towards his brother represents the greatest fulfillment of dharma.  There are times when Lord Rama must educate him, but this becomes the essence of his character and what makes him all the more understandable for human beings.  His dharma is not lessened because he reveals himself to be human.  Rather, it is enhanced because it shows that he is in constant support of Lord Rama.  At the same time, his encouragement of Lord Rama to fight for his title is a reflection of the basic idea that there are times when one must engage in some form of conflict in order to restore that which is right and change what is wrong.  His encouragement to Lord Rama to fight is never done out of personal gain and a sense of satiating the ego.  Rather, it is an acceptance of the fact that Lord Rama is the embodiment of virtue and honor.  In demanding that he fight, Lakshmana is suggesting that good must fight in order to dislodge evil. This is an idea that is present in much of Hindu thought, in that evil must be confronted and good must wage battle in order to unsettle it.  Lakshmana is acting in this light through his encouragement to Lord Rama to fight and, in doing so, embodies his dharma.