Lakshmana and Kumbakarna, Connected by Boons!

When it comes to mythological narratives (or mythical narratives, as they are often fantastic), one thing can be said for sure: They are interesting. As they transport the listener or the reader to an altogether different world. Hence whatever our beliefs are, we can enjoy them and try to absorb the message within. Here’s one for you.

Lakshmana and Kumbakarna, brothers each to the two protagonists of the Ramayana (Rama and Ravana), are connected by boons that dramatically alter their cycles of sleep and wakefulness.

While Kumbakarna is granted continuous sleep for six months a year, Lakshmana is allowed to give up his sleep completely and bequeath it (give it) to his wife for the 14 years of his exile.

In the course of time, as happens with the extreme of anything, both boons seem to acquire the dimensions of a curse for their holders. And the Life itself became uncomfortable for the two.

For Kumbakarna, who slept for six months, it became difficult to keep up with the things that occurred during the period of his sleep. By the time he makes sense of events, his sleep overcomes him again, interrupting this wakefulness.

On the other hand, Lakshmana’s loss of sleep enabled him to work many extra hours, but his dilemma lies in the unspecified nature of his boon and its potential long-term consequences. That’s what will be long term consequences of his boon.

If stories are to teach us lessons, then what lesson can we learn from the boons of Lakshmana and Kumbakarna. One lessons I can think of is: Too much of anything is not good.

On a little bit more of thinking, I get another lesson from the story: We may be crazy about something, but we must not sacrifice everything else for that single dream. If Laziness is bad; so is Workaholism.

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