Indian culture enjoins people to revere elders verily as God. In fact, elder brothers occupy a venerable position equal to that of the father. At an age when the inherent sense of affection among brothers and respect and regard for the elder siblings are totally sacrificed for selfish interests and property disputes, The Ramayana presents before us a treatise on ideal brotherhood. We come across three sets of brothers in The Ramayana. Sri Rama and his three brothers, Vali and Sugriva and Ravan and his two brothers.
Sri Rama has a mission in his life that of killing the demonic forces and restoring Dharma on this earth. To this end, all the four brothers act in unison. What sacrifice can bring about in a family is demonstrated to the core in the story of Ramayana. No doubt all the four brothers are given to suffering in their own ways, but ultimately they all play their individual role so effectively to achieve a holistic mission. Sri Rama accepts the command of his father and goes in exile. Lakshmana accompanies his brother and takes care of attending to all his needs in the forest. He leaves back his wife at Ayodhya and spends sleepless nights to safeguard his brother and sister in law.
Bharat learns the plot played by his mother Kaikeyi and Manthra in sending his beloved brother to the forest. He wails in agony and resorts to the dress of an ascetic and moves out in search of his brother. In the absence of his brother, the royal throne won for him by his mother becomes a burden for him. Upon the orders of Sri Rama, he chooses to take care of Ayodhya on Sri Rama’s behalf after seating Sri Rama’s sandals on the throne. Till Sri Rama’s return from the exile, he remains in the outskirts of Ayodhya in a place called Nandigram. In fact, he says Sri Rama that he would give up his life by jumping into fire if Sri Rama does not return on the allotted day at the end of exile. To avoid this from happening, Sri Rama had to send Hanumana on a quick flight to the place to inform Bharata of his arrival. Each of the four brothers excel one another in demonstrating the values of true brotherhood.
On the other hand, Vali and Sugriva deceive each other, covet each other’s wives and seek to take vengeance on each other. In case of Ravana and his two brothers, Ravana could not bear with Vibhishana when he seeks to correct him while committing a serious crime of abducting Mother Sita. In fact, he prepares himself to kill Vibhishana and drives him out of Lanka. Kumbhakarana tries to advice his brother Ravana, but to demonstrate his gratitude for his brother, he chooses to remain on his side and die in the war fighting for Ravana. However, the three brothers fail to act in unison and act for a noble goal. In this regard, the third set of brothers too are unworthy to set an ideal.
Looking at Sri Rama and his three brothers, we are moved to wonder and marvel at the sense of sacrifice they can demonstrate to uphold their love for each other. The ideals taught by them are to be emulated to see peace within families in particular and on this earth in general.