- Lakshmana rekha
Lakshman Rekha (
Sanskrit: लक्ष्मण रेखा), in some later versions of Ramayana, is a line drawn by Lakshmanaaround the dwelling he shares with his brother Ramaand Rama's wife Sitain the forest. The line is meant to protect Sita, while he is away searching for Rama. Ramacharitamanas, the wildly popular North Indianrendering of story of Rama, does not feature the Lakshmana Rekha stoty in the Aranya Kanda. Neither does the original, the Valmiki Ramayana. However in Lanka Kanda of the Ramcharitmanas, (35.1) Mandodarirebukes Ravanon his boisterous claims of valour by hinting that his claim of strength and valour is shallow for he could not even cross a small line drawn by Shri Rama's younger brother Lakshmana.
In the story, Rama goes chasing a golden deer (which actually is the
Rakshasa Marichain disguise), and does not return for long. When Sita coerces Lakshmana to leave in search of his brother, Lakshmana who cannot bear to see Sitacry in grief, reluctantly decides to go and search for Rama, subject to his condition that Sita not cross the protective line he draws. Anybody other than Rama, Sita and himself attempting to cross the line would be singed by flames erupting from the line.Once Lakshmana leaves in search of Rama, the Rakshasaking Ravanacomes in the form of a mendicant and asks Sita for alms. Not expecting a trick, she unsuspectingly crosses the Lakshman Rekha to provide alms to him and Ravana kidnaps her in his Pushpaka Vimana.
Radhey Shyam Ramayan mentions that the crossing of Lakshaman Rekha by Sita was done absent-mindedly by an anxious Sita only to honour the great Indian tradition of "अतिथि देवो भवः" (Atithi Devo Bhava): the guest is embodiment of a Deva (divine entity). Sita crosses the boundary line only to give alms to Ravana once he insists that alms cannot be accepted across a barrier as having a boundary in between was against the principle of
free willof the donor.
Lakshman Rekha, in modern
Indian parlance, refers to a strict convention or a rule, never to be broken. It often refers to the ethical limits of an action, traversing which may lead to undesirable consequences. Example of use::"Constitution is very clear on the roles of the Judiciary and the Legislature, Lok SabhaSpeaker Somnath Chatterjeesaid both should not cross the Lakshman Rekha".
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