Tuesday, 30 June 2015

282. The rage of Rama.

          As suggested by Vibhishana, Rama started to pray the lord of rivers, Varuna by spreading sacred grass on the sea shore, making a respectful salutation by joining his palms to the great ocean with his face turned eastward, lied down with his arm, resembling the body of a snake, as his pillow. His arm formerly adorned with armlets of gems and gold and the most excellent jewels of pearls, was touched more than once, by excellent women i.e. Kausalya and other mothers and by royal maids and of course, by his dear wife Seetha. Formerly, his arm used to be tended with sandalwood and aloe and with saffron pastes and made beautiful like the splendor of a rising sun. Until that rakshash Ravana kidnapped her (i.e. Rama's dear wife Seetha), the aforesaid arm was graced by the head of Seetha. It resembled the body of Takshaka supported on the water of the Ganga. The aforesaid arm resembled a yoke. It enhanced the grief of his enemies in battle. It was delightful to his friends. It is now placed on the sands on the shore of the sea. The aforesaid arm whose skin had been hardened by the strokes of his bow string, off the left arm resembling a great mace and that mighty right arm that bestowed thousands of cows in charity was used as a pillow. Rama, making a resolve to get the help from Varuna laid down by the ocean, restraining his speech and with a pious disposition according to tradition.
          Following the scriptural injunction,  Rama who was devoted to his sacred vow, while sleeping on the ground spread with Kusha grass, spent three nights there. Remaining there for three nights, Rama who was skilled in policy and fond of piety, waited upon the ocean, the lord of rivers. Though honored according to his worth by the self subdued Rama, the careless ocean did not deign to appear in his personal form to Rama. Rama becoming angry with the ocean, having the outer corners of his eyes turned red, shouted "O, what arrogance of the ocean, who does not appear himself personally before me! Indeed the qualities of noble men viz. calmness, forbearance, kindness and forwardness seem to give weak results, when directed towards those having no virtues. This world honors that man, who boasts himself, is corrupt and shameless, runs about in all directions advertising himself and commits every kind of excess. In this world, it is not possible to obtain fame, glory or victory at the end of a battle, by conciliation. I will now make this ocean suffocated with its crocodiles floated on all sides and broken asunder by my arrows. See here, O, Lakshmana, the coils of water snakes, the huge bodies of alligators and the trunks of sea elephants being shattered by me. I will make the ocean with its multitude of conches, oyster shells, fishes and crocodiles, dry up now by my asthras. This ocean is considering me as an incapable man endowed as I am with forbearance. It is a great mistake to show forbearance to such an individual. The Ocean is not appearing himself before me on kind words or by humble supplication. O, Lakshmana! Bring my bow and the serpentine arrows. I shall dry up this ocean, so that our vanaras can cross it by feet. Being provoked now, I will shake this ocean, even if it is unshakable. I will force the ocean, which is demarcated by banks and agitated with thousands of waves, bereft of any boundary by my arrows. I will agitate the great ocean thronged with great asuras."
        Rama with his eyes made larger by anger and wielding the bow (handed over to him by his brother) with his hand, became dreadful to look at, as a blazing fire at the end of the world. Swaying his terrific bow and making the earth tremble by his violence Rama released the arrow resembling a powerful thunderbolt of Indra. Those excellent arrow having a great speed and ablaze by their splendor, penetrated the waters of the ocean, striking the water- snakes with terror. The great jerk of water with fishes and alligators of the ocean, together with the resonance of the wind became very much dreadful. Immediately that great ocean, became shaken by the cluster of huge waves enveloped by a multitude of conches in its rolling waves and a smoke came out. Sea-snakes having brilliant faces and glittering eyes and the very valiant Danavas residing in Patala, were perturbed. Thousands of waves, so large resembling Vindhya and Mandhara mountains, jumped up from the sea with its crocodiles and sea monsters. That ocean with its multitude of fluctuating waves, with its frightened serpents, rakshashas and huge crocodiles coming out, became  very noisy.
          Seeing that awful outcome of Rama's anger, Lakshmana rushed towards Rama who was set in action to punish the ocean once more, crying "O! My! my!, that will do" and held the bow to prevent Rama from using it. He then told his angry brother "Even without the destruction of the ocean your purpose will be fulfilled. Men like you do not fall into the sway of anger. Let us look into some durable, noble  and viable alternatives." Brahmarshis and devarishis, cried from above in the sky in loud voices "Please do not repeat! Once by you is plenty!"

Monday, 29 June 2015

281. Ravana tried to disengage Sugreeva from Rama.

           Let us now go back to our villain of this epic, Ravana. Even though he pooh-poohed his brother Vibhishana, he was highly perturbed by what Vibhi was telling about Rama coupled with the atrocities of that animal Hanuman at Lanka. While he was  being perturbed about this matter, one of his spies, the rakshash Shardula informed him that an ever huge army, commanded by Sugreeva, is drawn up in battle array at the northern shore of the ocean. He, that spy told him, Ravana "Boundless and immeasurable like another ocean, this multitude of vanaras and bears is approaching Lanka. Those brothers Rama and Lakshmana, the sons of Dasharatha, acclaimed as the most excellent and dignified men endowed with beauty have arrived in the sea shore and have camped there. Your Majesty! The strength of their army is said to be around a radius of ten yojanas (eighty miles) on all sides. You have to get a confirmation of this info quickly. Your other spies should be able to ascertain the fact quickly. Under such circumstances, either conciliation or an act of giving away or sowing dissention  in the enemy's ranks, whichever your Majesty deems fit  may be employed."
      Shardula's info was like adding petrol (or something like that in those period) to fire. After scratching all his ten heads he came to a conclusion. He called the rakshash Shuka the foremost among those who know their duty and told him "Going quickly, speak fearlessly to the king Sugreeva on my behalf, according to my command, in an excellent and gentle voice, as follows  'O, great king! You are indeed born in a noble family, possessor of a great strength and the son of Riksharaja. No gain whatsoever but only harm will accrue to you from this battle. O, lord of vanaras! Nevertheless, you are like a brother to me. What does it matter to you, if I have embezzled the wife of a wise prince? Therefore, return to Kishkindha. This Lanka cannot be reached by you vanaras in any way. When it cannot be acquired even by devas and Gandharvas, why to talk about men and vanaras?' "
       Then Shuka, the rakshash as instructed by Ravana turned himself into the form of a bird, flew into the sky towards north. Reaching the other shore and remaining in the sky Shuka repeated all the words the wicked Ravana had asked him to tell Sugreeva. Before he could finish, some vanaras bounced into the air, seized  and brought him down to the ground from the sky. The harassed and terrified Shuka wailed loudly "O, Rama! Messengers are not to be killed. Let your vanaras be restrained."
         Hearing Shuka's howl, Rama asked the vanaras not to harm that rakshash. Shuka was much relieved and cried "O, Sugreeva, rich in courage and possessing great strength and valor! What am I to tell Ravana, whose nature is to cause world to cry?"
         Sugreeva shouted back his reply "Tell your boss 'O, Ravana, worthy of killing! You are not my companion. You are not worthy of sympathy. You are not a person who helped me in any way. I do not like you, as you are Rama's enemy. Hence, You are worthy to be killed like Vali, along with your associates. I am killing you along with your sons, relatives and other kinsfolk. Arriving with a great army, I will reduce the entire Lanka and all of you to ashes. You along with your brother will not be left alive by Rama, even if you are protected by all including Indra, the lord of devas or even if you have disappeared by some conjuring trick or obtained the solar orbit or entered the nethermost subterranean region or even if approached the lotus feet of Shiva, the lord of Kailasa mountain. I do not see any protector for you as such in the three worlds, nor do I see any devilish being or a rakshash or a Gandharva or an ogre coming forward to protect you. You killed Jatayu, the king of vultures and who was senior to you by age. Why the wide-eyed Seetha was not tried to be taken away in the presence of Rama or Lakshmana? Having made her captive, you do not recognize her for what she is. You are unaware how strong, high souled and irresistible even to devas, is this Rama the excellent man of Raghu dynasty, who shall deprive you of your life.' "
       Thereafter, Angada the son of Vali told Sugreeva "O, Sugreeva! He is not an ambassador. He appears to me as a spy.  Hovering there high above in the sky all info about our army would have been indeed evaluated by him. Let him be made captive. Let him not return to Lanka." King Sugreeva agreed and Shuka was made a captive. The frightened Shuka started wailing loudly "O Rama! My wings are being pulled out forcibly. My eyes are being pierced. If I die, all the sins incurred by me between my birth and my death would become yours."  Hearing that cry of Shuka, Rama suggested Sugreeva to release him, as he came as an ambassador. However, Sugreeva did not agree and kept him as a prisoner. 

Friday, 26 June 2015

280. Vibhishana suggests a way to cross the ocean.

          At the time Rama was informing his decision about Vibhishana, Vibhishana bent down and glanced towards the earth. Looking at the faces of  Rama and others Vibhishana felt that his request for refuge was being agreed to. He, therefore, descended joyously from the sky to the ground along with his faithful companions and alighted in the vicinity of Rama. Thereafter, reaching Rama, Vibhishana along with his four comrades fell prostrate and told Rama "I am the younger brother of Ravana and was humiliated by him. I seek refuge in you, who are the refuge for all beings. Abandoning Lanka, friends and possessions, I place my life and happiness at your disposal."   
           Nodding in token of acceptance, Rama in a soothing tone and with a refreshing look in his eyes asked Vibhishana "Tell me really the strength and weakness of the rakshasas."
        Vibhishana replied "O, prince! Because of a special boon given by Brahma, Ravana can not be killed by  Gandharvas, serpents, and birds. Kumbhakarna, my elder brother born after Ravana, who is valiant and highly powerful, has enough strength to fight against Indra in battle. You might have heard about Prahasta, his chief of army. He defeated Manibhadra in a battle on the mountain of Kailasa. When furnished with gloves made of the skin of Iguana (to prevent injury from the bowstring) and clad in armor that no arrow can pierce, that Indrajit (son of Ravana) standing in battle wielding a bow, becomes invisible, if and when he so desires. The glorious Indrajit, having propitiated Agni, strikes his enemy while remaining invisible in the battle field with a huge battle array on both sides. Mahodara, Mahaparsva and Akampana who are equal to the guardians of the world in battle, are the commanders of his army. In the city of Lanka ten thousand crore rakshasas, who can assume any form at will and who consume flesh and blood as their staple food are residing. King Ravana along with those rakshasas made war against the guardians of the earth. Those guardians of the earth along with the devas were defeated by the wicked Ravana."
       Rama then told   "O, Vibhishana! I already know those feats you told me standing to the credit of Ravana,. After killing Ravana along with his son Indrajit and Prahasta, I will make you the king. This is a solemn affirmation from me. Ravana may well hide in Rasaatala  or even Paataala   or seek the protection of Brahma, he will not be left alive by me. I will not enter Ayodhya without killing Ravana together with his sons, companions and relatives in battle. I take oath on my three brothers."
       Vibhishana, who was thrilled as well as stunned to hear Rama's oath saluted him by bowing his head and said "I will extend my help in killing the rakshasas and in attacking the city of Lanka. According to my strength, I will also penetrate into the army of the adversary to fight."    
          Rama was duly delighted to hear the reaction of Vibhishana, embraced him affectionately. Then he told  Lakshmana "Bring some water from the ocean. O, Lakshmana! Quickly consecrate as the king of rakshasas this greatly intelligent Vibhishana with that water." Lakshmana consecrated Vibhishana as  king, in the presence of the leaders of vanaras. Perceiving that instant graciousness in Rama, all the vanaras were surprised as well as pleased.
      Hanuman prompted by Sugreeva asked Vibhishana "How can we cross the imperturbable ocean, the habitation of Varuna, the god of water by all of us? Please let us know in case you happen to know it."
         Vibhishana replied with a smile "The simplest way is prince Rama seeks the ocean as his refuge. This immeasurable great ocean was excavated by Sagara*. Hence, this great ocean will be pleased to do all the help for Rama in this regard."

*Sagara was one of Rama's ancestors. His story is told in Balakanda. Read again and refresh your memory "7. Legend of River Ganga."

        Thrilled and exhilarated by the suggestion of Vibhishana, Sugreeva  rushed to Rama. Lakshmana was with Rama, naturally. The long necked Sugreeva eagerly conveyed the solution of Vibhishana, and suggested Rama to approach the ocean forthwith. Rama who by nature is of pious attitude found the solution very good. Turning to his brother he said "O, Lakshmana! This idea of Vibhishana is agreeable to me. Sugreeva is a learned person. You are ever wise in your thoughts. Both of you discuss and  advise me the course of action in this regard."
      Both Lakshmana and Sugreeva replied in unison "O, Rama! We do not find any reasonable reason to not to accept Vibhishana's wonderful suggestion. Without constructing a bridge across this fiery ocean, which is an abode of Lord Varuna, even the Suras and Asuras along with Indra cannot reach the city of Lanka. Let us accept Vibhishana's suggestion. We already wasted quite some time thinking the ways and means of crossing the ocean. Let the ocean be commanded to yield a passage for the army to reach the city being ruled by Ravana."
      Having been thus exhorted, Rama smilingly agreed.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

279. Vibhishana becomes an ally of Rama.

            Hearing Hanuman's opinion, the inviolable Rama smilingly nodded. Then he said "Now let me tell you my decision about Vibhishana. I do not desert anyone who seeks refuge, protection or shelter even if he has a defect. His acceptance is irreproachable by all means in the eyes of Dharma. And I am a firm believer of Dharma."
           Sugreeva was sort of stunned to hear those words of Rama. With an unbelievable look on his face he asked Rama "I feel that would be unwise as he may be  very dangerous and unreliable. If he can desert his own brother at a time of peril what he would not do us to harm us?"
      Hearing Sugreeva, Rama smiled  and told his brother, Lakshmana, who was suppressing his giggle with great difficulty, "Without studying scriptures and without serving elders, it is not possible to speak such words as Sugreeva spoke." Then looking at Sugreeva, he continued "It appears to my mind that the peculiar circumstances which impels one to take a certain course of action should clearly be seen in all lives of kings as well as others. It is told that persons of the same family and rulers belonging to adjoining territories become enemies and strike in times of adversities. For a similar reason he has come here. Even if belonging to the same family, persons who are virtuous do respect their own well wishers in that family. Generally among kings, even a virtuous person is apprehended. With regard to the draw back you told me in the matter of accepting a person coming from the side of an adversary, I abide by the scriptures. If a man comes as a friend, how can I reject him? It is against the law of my life. All of you, my friends and helpers, should know this. Once a man surrenders himself, one should overlook all his faults.
      "We do not belong to the same family. Further, Vibhishana, the rakshash is perhaps desirous of acquiring the kingdom. A few of the rakshashas also may be rather learned ones. That is why, Vibhishana is acceptable. Kinsfolk do not live together in a fearless mode and in a delightful manner. Hence, they get a split among themselves. For this reason, a fear has come to him. This loud appeal is also a major cause. That is why, Vibhishana can be accepted. Neither all brothers are like Bharata, nor all sons of a father like me nor all friends are like you."
       Sugreeva, wearing a deep concern on his face and shaking his head said "O, Rama the excellent among the tolerant! It is highly possible that  Ravana himself has sent Vibhishana to us as a spy. He and his four companions should, therefore be arrested and kept behind bars. I am sure that he is being sent to kill you who is unsuspecting, or to kill Lakshmana or me in trust. He came here with a crooked mind. He with his counselors is fit to be imprisoned. Is not Vibhishana the brother of that cruel Ravana?"
       Smilingly Rama replied Sugreeva "O, Sugreeva, What does it matter whether that rakshash is good or bad? He is incapable of doing even a little harm to me. If I wish, I can kill all the supernatural beings and ogres living on the earth with just a tip of my finger. That apart, under the present context let me tell you the story of the dove and the hunter. When the hunter sought refuge from the dove, he was received by the dove according to the rules of hospitality in  spite of the fact that the hunter killed his wife.  Not only that the dove invited the killer of his wife for a feast with its own flesh. I, as a human, feel that I am loftier than that dove. Hear the sayings inculcating virtue so long ago, by Kandu, the son of a sage called Kanva, a great sage and a speaker of truth. Even an enemy, who formed a cup with his hollowed hands, a miserable person, a person who is begging and who is seeking a refuge should not be killed with the aim of not being cruel. An enemy who comes for protection against others, even if the aforesaid enemy is oppressed or arrogant, is to be protected by one who has a disciplined mind, even by abandoning one's life. If he does not protect rightly through his strength, by fear or by ignorance or by desire, it is a sin to be reproached by the world. If having not been protected, a refugee dies before the eyes of a man who was able to protect him, the former takes along all his moral merit and goes. In not protecting thus the persons who take refuge, there is a great blemish involved in it. It does not bestow heaven. It destroys reputation. It devastates strength and valor. I will follow the indubitable, undeniable, indisputable, irrefutable and unquestionable saying  of Kandu. It becomes a very righteous thing, gives reputation, leads to heaven and the rewards appear consequently. He who seeks refuge in me just once, telling me that 'I am yours', I shall give him assurance of safety against all types of beings. This is my solemn pledge. Let him either be Vibhishana or even Ravana himself; I have given an assurance of safety to him. Bring him here."
     Hearing Rama's words, Sugreeva the lord of vanaras, overwhelmed as he was with cordial friendship, said "O, Rama, who knows righteousness, the crest jewel among lords of the world! What surprise is there in thinking that you, duly endowed with true essence of life and established in a right path, speak these venerable words? My inmost spirit also feels Vibhishana to be a genuine person, he being well examined from all angles, by act of inference and by his appearance. Hence, let the highly wise Vibhishana be equal among us soon together. Let him get our friendship too."

Saturday, 20 June 2015

278. Vibhishana seeks refuge from Rama.

            Having said what he wanted to tell Ravana, Vibhishana,  along with his four pals flew towards north. When they reached the ocean, they halted. After a moment of thinking as to where to go, Vibhishana thought of a destination. Then he asked his pals silently and they nodded vehemently. Then they proceeded straight ahead and arrived almost immediately to the other side of that ocean where Rama was together with Lakshmana and others. Those leaders of vanaras standing on the ground saw Vibhishana, resembling the peak of the Mount Meru and shining like a thunderbolt in the sky. His four companions of terrific prowess were also there with him. They were wearing weapons and armour and were adorned with excellent ornaments. Vibhishana resembled a mass of cloud, like the God who wields the thunderbolt. He was holding excellent weapons and was adorned with wonderful jewels. Sugreeva also saw Vibhishana and his companions and was wondering why they had come over there. Seeing that all the five of them looked very strong and armed with excellent armours, he (Sugreeva) concluded his own reason as to why they had come. He then told his soldiers in general and Hanuman in particular: "See these rakshashas possessing all types of weapons, coming along to us. There is no doubt that they are coming to kill us or at least harm us."
      Hearing Sugreeva, all those valiant Vanaras equipped themselves with trees and mountains told Sugreeva "Do command us to slay these wicked rakshashas, O, king. We will strike these rakshashas down until they drop lifeless on the ground!"
        In the meanwhile, Vibhishana and his four chums reached the northern shore and  coolly looking at the vanaras from above.   Vibhishana, who  was highly  intelligent saw Sugreeva with his army of vanaras and guessed correctly what they were thinking about him and his friends. He, therefore shouted at them from above "Hi! There is a rakshasha called Ravana, the king of all rakshashas, having a bad conduct. I am his younger brother, known as Vibhishana. It is Ravana who, having killed the bird Jatayu, took away Seetha from Janasthana. That unfortunate lady is held captive against her will and she is now amidst the rakshasis who guard her jealously. I tried to persuade Ravana again and again to restore  Seetha honorably to Rama. That Ravana, impelled by fate, did not receive my sage advice, as a perverted person does not accept any prescribed medicine. Reviled by him and humiliated as a slave, I, leaving my sons and my wife, have come to take refuge with Rama. Inform immediately Rama, the protector of all the worlds, that I, Vibhishana, have come here."
       Sugreeva then hurriedly went to Rama who was with his dear brother Lakshmana and told "A guy from the enemy Ravana is now here wants refuge from you. It is obvious that his intention is  to slay us at the first opportunity like an owl destroying crows! You not only are aware of the design, distribution, leading of the army and the secret service of the vanaras but about your foes, also. May good come to you, always! These rakshashas can assume any form at will and can disappear. They are valiant and deceitful. We can not trust them at any time. He may be a spy of Ravana. If he is unable to kill us then he will try to create differences. Or  he will try to get the weak points in us. Having first gained our confidence by craft, he may even at any time attack us. An ally supplied by friends or an inhabitant of the woods (like our selves), or  by hereditary warriors or paid servants can be accepted but not that furnished by an enemy. He is indeed a rakshash by birth and a brother of an enemy from whom he has come to us. How can we trust him? The younger brother of the famous Ravana, called Vibhishana along with four other rakshashas has approached you for refuge. Know that Ravana is sending Vibhishana. I opine that Vibhishana is fit to be arrest. Being sent with a crooked intent, this rakshash came here to attack when you are going to repose faith in him. This Vibhishana is indeed the brother of that cruel Ravana. Hence, let him along with his ministers be killed."
         On hearing Sugreeva, Rama told all the vanaras before him, including Hanuman staying near by "All of you heard Sugreeva. It is possible that you may have other opinions in this matter. Please let me know them."
             The vanaras who were free from lassitude, wishing to do good and out of their politeness said "O, Rama! Nothing is unknown to you in the three worlds. You are consulting us with a friendly heart, as an honor to us. You are avowed to truth, a valiant man and a righteous man of firm fortitude. You take action only after proper investigation. You have good memory and a very astute brain. You are committed in your heart to your friends. Hence, your counselors, who are rich in their minds and are moreover efficient, one by one, will tell their opinion with reason."
           Then Angada said "Vibhishana who came from an enemy should not be accepted on his words alone. He is not to be made as a trust worthy person without proper examination. Deceitful persons move around, concealing their peculiar nature and attack at weak places. They will create a very great misfortune. One must take a decision, after ascertaining the pros and cons of it. One should take up the action, if there is an advantage and reject it, if it is faulty. If there are great faults in him, he should be rejected undoubtedly. If we recognize many good qualities in him, then he can be accepted."
       Sharabha on his part opined "Let a spy be set to shadow him. By setting out a spy and after a thorough investigation by a keen and intelligent spy, he can then be accepted if the spy reports favorably about him."
   Then, the discerning Jambavan said "This Vibhishana came from sinful Ravana who has contracted hostility with you and that too at a wrong place and time. He is to be suspected by all means."
       Then Mainda, skilled in discriminating good and bad conduct in others observed the matter carefully and spoke in his perfect oratory words: "O, king of kings! This Vibhishana is indeed the younger brother of that Ravana. Let him be questioned slowly by sweet words. Having read actually his mind whether he is dangerous or not, you should act according to your feelings."
      Then the well educated Hanuman said "Even Brihaspati, will not be able to surpass you in reasoning, arguments and the like. You, who is possessing an exalted intellect need no advice from any of us in this matter, too. You are known to be the powerful and the foremost man among those who are eloquent. I am talking neither for argument, nor for competition with other counselors, nor for superiority, nor out of passion for debate but on account of importance of this matter in hand. I perceive an error in what was advised by my friends regarding Vibhishana. It is not possible for such a judicious investigation into his character. Without entrusting any work, it is not possible to understand his ability. But at the same time, it occurs to me that it would be a mistake to entrust any work to a stranger about whom we know nothing. I feel that it is not at all possible or practicable to implement the suggestion to send spies to Vibhishana. It has been said that Vibhishana came into a wrong place and time. In that matter, I beg to differ. I feel that his place and time are absolutely right, for the reason that he obviously considered you to be superior to Ravana. It is evident he found merits in you and demerits in Ravana. It is indeed appropriate for him to arrive at this place and time, by seeing the prowess in you and the wickedness in Ravana. It is worthy of his judgment.
          "O, king! One of the suggestions of questioning Vibhishana by spies does not seem to be appropriate. A wise man  questioned suddenly would be wary of that questioning. In those circumstances, an easily obtained friend becomes faithless upon facing a deceitful questioning. Without possessing a high skill of reading his diversified tones, it is not possible  to quickly comprehend his intention. I do not see any bad intention at all in his talk. His face seems bright and honest, too. I do not see any viable reason to doubt him. A deceitful person does not approach so fearlessly and confidently. His expression too does not seem to be suspicious. Hence, I do not find any reasonable reason to doubt him. It is not possible to completely hide expression of the face, even if it is concealed. By force of habit, the internal intent of persons certainly gets popping up. An action endowed with proper place and time transacts successfully, if it is performed quickly. Seeing your perseverance and the improper conduct of Ravana as well as hearing about Vali having been killed and Sugreeva anointed as king, might have prompted him to come here, with a possible desire to get the kingdom of rakshasas. On consideration of this aspect alone, he is worthy of acceptance by us. I told you all this according to my ability to assess the sincerity of this rakshash. The final decision is, of course,  yours."

Thursday, 18 June 2015

277. Vibhishana became a persona non grata.

         Ravana did not at all relish the peroration of Vibhishana. He, Ravana told his brother Vibhishana "One can stay outright  with an enemy or even with a furious snake, but one cannot stay with an adversary claiming himself to be his friend. I know the conduct of kinsmen of your class in all the worlds. These kinsmen are always  rejoiced at the calamities of their kinsman on whom they are dependent. The kinsmen indeed insult and even humiliate that kinsman, who is an efficient and effective leader, a person of education and right conduct and a valiant person. The horrible kinsmen with their concealed thoughts and treacherous minds, terrific ones as they are, always rejoice each other in the adversities of their kinsman on whom they are dependent. Previously in a forest called Padmavana, some maxims were spoken by elephants, which saw men with nooses in their hands. The maxims enunciated by the elephants are 'For us, fire or weapons or nooses are not begetting fear. The terrific kinsmen, incited by selfishness are begetting fear to us. These kinsmen will inform our strategy to our enemies to seize us. There is no doubt about this. Out of all fears, the fear of such kinsmen is very much disturbing and disastrous for us.' It is well known that there is wealth in cows, fear for kinsmen, fickleness in women and austerity in Brahmins. It is now abundantly obvious that you do not like people venerating me, that I am very enormously rich and that I am sitting tight on the heads of enemies. As drops of water fallen on lotus leaves do not get clung to those leaves, so also a friendship does not cling to vulgar ones. As rainy clouds in autumn, even though thundering, cannot get the earth saturated with water, so also friendship does not have tenderness of heart in vulgar people. As a honey bee, even though getting adequate nectar from a flower, does not stick on to that flower due to its eager desire for more, you also belong to that category as friendship does not stick on to vulgar people. As even though trying to drink nectar from a flower of grass, a honey bee cannot get it, so also friendship cannot be extracted from vulgar persons. As an elephant abuses its body by helping itself with dust after taking bath earlier with its trunk, friendship gets an abuse in vulgar persons in the same manner. If any other person had uttered these words in this manner, he would have ceased to exit by now. A curse upon you!"
      Vibhishana could not stomach those harsh words from Ravana. He i.e. Vibhishana felt very much hurt and insulted for rendering good, sensible,  rational, sound, realistic and sober advice. He, therefore, decided to call it a day and bid adieu to his brother Ravana.
          Wielding a mace in his hand and accompanied by four of his very dear pals (of course they were rakshasas, too), he, Vibhishana, soared high into the sky. From there he shouted at his brother 'You are my elder brother. You utter whatever you like. Elder brother is like a father. Even if he is not staying in a right path, he is to be respected. But I am unable  to stomach those highly harsh and unreasonable words from you. Those who have an ill composed mind and who get conceded to undesirable passion do not assimilate the words of prudence spoken by a well wisher. Men who forever speak pleasing words are easy to get. It is hard to find someone who listens to sensible but unpleasing words and accepts it. I could not ignore you being destroyed, as none can ignore a burning house. I do not wish to see you being killed by Rama with his sharp arrows, adorned with gold and each resembling like a blazing fire. Persons who are not  following righteousness will sink down as a dam constructed with sand sinks down, even such persons are highly valiant, strong and skilled in weaponry, when time comes. As an elder brother, bear the words spoken by me, who desires your welfare. Guard this city and yourself along with the rakshasas, by all means. Let all be well with you. I am departing. Feel happy without me. I reiterate that what all I said were for your benefit. It is very unfortunate that you do not like them. Persons whose duration of life is to end, do not accept the salutary words spoken by their well wishers."

Saturday, 13 June 2015

276. Verbal duel between Vibhishana and Indrajit.

            Eventhough Indrajit, the son of Ravana and the chief of army, was well aware that his uncle Vibhishana was as intelligent as Brihaspati (god Of wisdom and eloquence), but was now unable to agree with him. He countered his uncle "O, youngest uncle! You seem to be blabbering nonsense. I do not understand why you should be so frightened by those humans Rama and Lakshmana. Under the like circumstance, even someone who is not born in our lofty race would neither speak such words nor do such a thing as you say and suggest. In our race, you Vibhishana, my youngest uncle is the only individual lacking in strength, heroism, prowess, courage, valor, vital powers etc. Those two princes are mere human beings and as such can be killed even by one very ordinary rakshash among us. Why are you frightening us needlessly? You are well aware that the competent Devendra, the lord of three worlds, was  tossed down on the floor by me. All the flocks of devas were made to shiver with fright and all of them fled to different quarters. Airavata, which was making noise discordantly, was hurled down by me on the floor. I forcibly extracted its teeth and frightened the entire flock of devas . How can you presume that I, with such a great valor, who suppressed the arrogance of even the devas  and who made the lives of even highly valorous rakshashas miserable, not capable of conquering the two princes who are ordinary human beings?"
       Vibhishana was well aware of the capability of Indrajit as well as all his  triumphant victories over devas, asuras and others. However, he (Vibhishana) was sure from what he had heard about Rama that his dear nephew Indrajit was no match with that all-powerful, invincible and unconquerable Rama possessing great vital power. Vibhishana did not like his dear nephew vanquished or killed in a battle fought for an unreasonable reason. He, Vibhishana, therefore, tried to hammer sense into his head by saying "O, my lad! There is no stability of thought in you. Being a boy, you are still immature in mind. That is why, many a meaningless word was prattled by you. They will only lead to your destruction. Without knowing it yourself, you, in the guise of a son, are acting or behaving like an enemy of your dear papa Ravana.
         "In spite of hearing me if you continue to be so belligerent like that then your destruction at the hands of Rama will be a foregone conclusion.  Please do not blindly agree with your papa and/or his sycophants. I, now consider that your father is fit to be killed for bringing you, a reckless immature boy here today and ushered him foolishly in the proximity of sycophantic counselors for his support. You are a stupid, irresolute, without humility, rude-natured, unwise, inexperienced and highly evil minded young rakshash. You are speaking in this manner because you are an immature boy. Offering riches, precious stones, good jewellery, excellent clothes, bright colored gems AND the god-like Seetha to Rama, let us live here, free from anguish."

Thursday, 11 June 2015

275. Vibhishana advises Ravana to return Seetha to Rama.

              After hearing the boastings and braggings   of  his brothers, Vibhishana decided to instil some good and sensible sense in the minds of his brothers. Standing up he addressed his brother Ravana "Dear brother, obviously you are not aware what you have been wrapped around your neck is the great serpent of gigantic body called Seetha, with heaps of hoods as her bosom, with  deadly poison as her anxiety, with sharp fangs as her sweet smile and with five hoods as her five fingers. Even before the vanaras with their body size as mountain peaks, having their teeth and nails as weapons, storm full upon the city of Lanka, give back Seetha to Rama. Even before arrows resembling thunder bolts and with a speed equal to wind, dispatched by Rama, take away the heads of chiefs of rakshasas, give back Seetha to Rama. O, king! Kumbhakarna or Indrajit or Mahaparsva or Mahodara or Kumbha or  Atikaya cannot withstand Rama in battle singly or collectively. Even if you are protected by Brahma or by Maruts  or Indra or god of Death or if you have penetrated into the regions of heaven or under the earth you will not be spared by the arrows of Rama."
         Irritated by the advice of Vibhishana, Prahasta spat out angrily "We do not know what fear is. We were never afraid of either devas or danavas at any time. We do not have any fear from Yakshas or Gandharvas or  Nagas  or from birds or reptiles on the field of battle. When such is the case, it is absolutely ridiculous of you to advice us  to be afraid of  Rama, the son of a human king, in battle?"
       Vibhishana who was very fond of his brothers and his clan, desired to save them from the valorous Rama. Accordingly he told Prahasta "O, Prahasta! The series of actions our king or Mahodara as also yourself and Kumbhakarna propose to take against Rama are impossible of being accomplished, any more than going to heaven by wicked minded persons. How is it possible by me or by you or by all the rakshasas to kill Rama, who is a past master in all matters. In comparison to Rama the capability of any one of us or all of us united is like that of a person who without having even a bark boasts to cross a great ocean. Even Devas would feel bewildered to defy or challenge the prince Rama who gives priority to righteousness, is a great car warrior, was born in the dynasty of Ikshvaku and is capable of accomplishing his objectives and who is said to be  displaying remarkable sangfroid when everyone else was panicking during any crisis. The sharp arrows discharged by Rama, which are furnished with heron's feathers and are dangerous to be faced, have not yet penetrated, duly piercing, your body. That is why, you indulge in such  boastful talks. The sharp and fatal arrows, discharged by Rama with the speed of a thunderbolt, have not yet penetrated, duly splitting your body. That is why you are indulging in such boastful talks. Ravana or Triseersha or Nikumbha the son of Kumbhakarna or Indrajit or yourself are not capable to resist or overpower Rama, who is equal in strength of Indra, in battle. Even Devantaka or Narantaka or Atikaya or Atiratha of gigantic proportions, or Akampana who is mighty as an ocean are not capable to withstand against Rama in battle. Any king who is overcome by evil addictions* will be rude in nature and would act inconsiderately. Such a king is always surrounded by caucus like you who are his companions acting like his enemies for the ultimate destruction of the king.
*The following are the seven evil habits to which kings are generally found addicted: --Harshness of speech and severity of punishment, extravagance, drinking, love of women, hunting and gambling.
        "You lift up and release our king and make him completely free from the bonds forcibly wrapped around him  by a terrific and exceedingly strong snake of boundless proportions having thousand hoods. All his well-wishers who are getting their desires fulfilled by our king, should come together and protect our king, by hook or crook, by coercion even by pulling his hair if necessary as one who is taken possession of by evil spirits with terrific strength, is protected by one's kith and kin. Our dear lord and king Ravana, for his part is like one, who is about to fall into the mouth of Patala  in the shape of Rama, is fit to be rescued united by you. I am telling these right and wholesome words, to wit,  'Let Sita be given back to Rama' for the benefit of this city and the rakshasas inhabiting in it as well as to the king and his well wishers. A good counselor is one, who after evaluating the strength of the enemies and that of his own master and duly grasping with his intellect, the status quo, fall, or rise in military power like-wise on both sides, renders advice which is beneficial to his king."

Monday, 8 June 2015

274. Ravana rues about the curse of Brahma.

          Very concerned to hear the obsession of Ravana with that damsel Seetha, one Mahaparsva wanted very much to help his king by hook or crook. Suddenly he was hit with the obvious solution. With a smiling face he addressed his master "Your Majesty! It is common knowledge that only a fool, who after reaching a forest inhabited by wild beasts and vicious elephants and having duly found honey, does not drink it. As YOU  are the lord of all, whatever you decide and do are deemed correct, and no one will dare to question it.  I, therefore, suggest that your majesty act in the mode of a cock, forcibly take her. Enjoy that Seetha, by charging on her again and again and revel with her. Then I am sure she will not even turn in the direction where that human Rama is said to be. She will be your slave for ever. In case any problem arises we will take car of the same. When Kumbhakarna and Indrajit of great might are with us, we are capable of keeping off even Devendra. Overstepping the methods of giving away gifts or conciliation or even showing dissension being followed by right men, I like accomplishment of actions through hostile means. We shall make all your enemies reaching here to surrender, by the power of our weapons. There is no doubt about it."
            Hearing Mahaparsva, King Ravana nodded his heads in appreciation. A few moments latter he said "O, Mahaparsva! You must be a fool to have thought that such a course of action did not occur to me. I could not take such a recourse for a certain reason. It was about an unfortunate incident, which occurred to me long ago. Once I saw a celestial nymph, called Punjikasthala flashing like a flame, concealing herself in the sky and proceeding towards the abode of Brahma. I did with her exactly what you now suggested for  Seetha. Thereafter, appearing like a crumpled lotus, she went to the abode of Brahma and reported to him about me.  Brahama then called me and told "From today onwards, if you revel with any woman forcibly, then all your heads undoubtedly will break asunder into hundred pieces, each." That is the reason, my dear chap, I am not violently making Seetha, to mount on my bed forcibly. My swiftness is like that of an ocean. My movement is like that of a wind. Rama does not know this and hence he seems to be thinking of having an encounter with me. If not otherwise, who would dare to arouse me  as one would awaken a lion asleep, sitting at a place in a mountain cave or arouse into activity an enraged Yama? Rama did not see the arrows, looking like two tongued serpents, coming forth from me. That is why he is marching against me for a battle. I shall blaze up Rama summarily  with my arrows in hundreds resembling thunderbolts discharged from my bow, like tormenting an elephant with fire brands. Surrounded by great army, I shall take away that strength of Rama, as a rising sun at dawn takes away radiance of the stars. Even Devendra with thousand eyes or Varuna  can not conquer me in battle. Once upon a time, this city of Lanka ruled by Kubera was conquered by me with the power of my arms."

Thursday, 4 June 2015

273. Ravana sought suggestions.

        Then Ravana, seeing that all the important persons were present, told  majestically in a royal voice Prahasta, the chief of his army "O, commander! you, hereby are allowed to issue any order to ensure that well-trained warriors belonging to the four divisions of the army (viz,. cavalry, infantry, chariots and elephants) are on top alert for the defense of the city." Prahasta replied "Your Majesty! Our army, as strong as ever, has already been positioned both outside and inside the city. There is no need for you to have any inhibition about them."
          Hearing that Ravana nodded and said "All my works undertaken by you with an act of attention were never in vain. I will obtain maximum prosperity, while abiding with you, as Indra obtains prosperity while abiding with moon, planets, stars and celestials. I  intent on reminding all of you again. But I could not inform this matter earlier to Kumbhakarna because of his hibernation. My most powerful and very dear Kumbhakarna, the top among all the wielders of weapons, was sleeping for the past six months and now he has woken up.
        "Seetha the beloved wife of Rama was brought from the forest of Dandaka, the place frequented by rakshasas. Seetha does not like to reach my bed. I do not imagine any other woman similar to Seetha exists in the three worlds. She has a slim waist, well-developed hips, and a face similar to an autumnal moon. Looking like an idol of gold and being placid she appears like an illusory image created by Maya.
       "Seeing her feet with rose-coloured soles, smooth and evenly resting on ground with the rosy soles, my lust is  kindled manifoldly. Seeing her countenance similar to the flame of a sacrificial fire and looking like the radiance of the sun, with her prominent nose and the pretty, clear and handsome eyes, I became unrestrained, having submitted to the will of my passion. I have been polluted by lust and equally by anger and pleasure thus making me pale and I have been ever since in grief and anguish. Looking forward Rama, her husband, that longish large eyed Seetha, requested me to give time for one year. I did not have the heart to deny that request from the beautifully beautiful Seetha. I am wearied of this lust, like a horse galloping along infinitely continuously. How the vanaras or even Rama and Lakshmana can cross the unassailable ocean, completely infested as it was with sea-animals? On the other hand, a huge destruction was done to us, by a single vanara. This leads me to believe that the consequences of their acts are unpredictable. Tell me what is there in your mind, according to your own understanding. We have no fear of human beings. Nevertheless, the matter can be discussed. Earlier, together with you, I conquered the celestials in the battle with the them. Knowing the whereabouts of Seetha, Rama and Lakshmana together with Sugreeva and his force of vanaras have reached the other shore of the ocean. Let a consultation be held by you and a judicious line of action suggested, so that Seetha may not have to be handed  over to them back and Rama and Lakshmana may be killed. I do not see any probability of crossing the ocean by them even with the vanaras. Victory is surely mine without any iota of doubt."
        Hearing the lamentation of Ravana who was obsessed with lust, Kumbhakarana became angry and almost shouted "You should have contemplated thoroughly that very moment when Seetha was brought here forcibly after a single impulsive thought, from the hermitage of Rama, who was accompanied by Lakshmana, like the river Yamuna fills the depression at its source the moment it descends on earth. O, emperor! If all this act of consultation with us was done before the beginning of this action itself of bringing Seetha here, it would have been worthy of you. A king who performs king's functions with a mind duly ascertained by justice, will not repent thereafter. Actions done perversely without the use of any stratagem get spoiled, even as oblations not intent on devotion got spoiled. He who is not aware of prudence and imprudence, wants to do actions, which were to be done before, at a later stage and actions which are to be done later at a stage before. Seeing superior strength in a hasteful enemy, some look for his weak point, even as swans seek the cleavage in the Kraunca mountain. God Kartikeya (son of Lord Shiva) made a cleavage in Krauncha mountain with His javelin. (Mahabharata, Salya Parva 46-84). This act was undertaken by you without proper thinking. By good fortune, Rama did not kill you even as the meat mixed with poison would kill the consumer. O, irreproachable brother! Now, to return Seetha can be viewed as an act of cowardice. Therefore, by killing your enemies, I shall neutralize the dishonourable act undertaken by you in relation to your enemies. I shall destroy your enemies. I shall fight with the two brothers, even if they are Indra and the sun-god or the god of fire and the wind-god or Kubera and Varuna. Entering the combat with a mountain-sized body and fiery teeth, roaring the while and attacking with an immense bludgeon, I shall strike terror in Indra himself! Even before Rama strikes me once more with a second arrow, I shall drink his blood. Cheer up. I will  fetch you victory, which brings pleasure to you, by killing Rama. By exterminating Rama along with Lakshmana, I shall devour all the leaders of the vanara army. Enjoy yourself freely. Drink excellent wines to the extent of your desire without any anxiety. Rama, having been dispatched by me to the abode of death, Seetha will be at your beck and call forever."

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

272. Ravana goes to hold further consultation.

              Ravana's lust, infatuation and desire for Seetha were so strong that he became emaciated. These sinful sentiments prevailed upon him so much that he did not at all like the advice nor the persons advised him for the return of Seetha back to her husband Rama. In fact he loathed such advices and the advisors. Accordingly his dear younger brother Vibhishana fell into this category. 
          Despite the unsavory episode of Hanuman and his threat of war with Rama did not bother him as he believed that it was impossible for Rama to cross the ocean. Nevertheless, Ravana thought that consulting his ministers and well-wishers now itself would be a good idea. He was pretty sure that barring Vibhishana no one would dare to offer advice or suggestion or even a hint for the return of Seetha. Accodingly approaching his great chariot, covered by a golden net, adorned with gems and corals and yoked with trained horses, Ravana mounted on it. Ravana in that most beautiful chariot, with a rattling sound resembling the rumbling of a large cloud proceeded towards the assembly-hall. Warriors holding swords and shields as well as wearing all types of weapons, marched in front of Ravana. Rakshasas wearing all types of unusual dresses and adorning various kinds of jewellery marched surrounding him from sides and behind. Great chariot-warriors in chariots, some on excellent elephants in rut and some others on horses supportively coming in different gaits, rushed after Ravana promptly. Some had maces and iron bars in their hands. Some had javelins and iron clubs. Some were holding axes. Some others had darts in their hands.
         As Ravana was proceeding to the assembly-hall, loud blare of thousands of trumpets along with tumultuous noise of conches were produced. That excellently great chariot soon entered the beautiful royal high-way. The spotlessly white umbrella, held on Ravana's head was shining like a full-moon. On his left and right, two fans of yak's tails with crystal handles and golden fringes were shining. All those rakshasas standing on the ground offered him their salutation by bending their heads and joining their palms. Ravana, the harasser of enemies, possessing great splendor, while being praised by rakshasas through cheers of victory, approached that assembly-hall.
        Ravana with great splendor, with his body shining brightly, entered that assembly hall, which was paved with gold and silver, whose interior was wrought with pure crystal, carpeted with skins of deer, guarded by six hundred evil spirits, ever shining and well-constructed by Visvakarma (presumably again after the Hanuman's episode). Ravana occupied a big and excellent throne embedded with jewels covered with the skin of deer called Priyaka and furnished with pillows. Thereafter Ravana, as the king, ordered his messengers "There is a gigantic work before us. I know what the enemies are doing. Therefore, bring all the rakshasas here quickly."
         The king's order was promptly complied with fully. Congregating in the assembly hall at the king's command, the rakshasas took their position around Ravana, the king, each according to his rank. Ministers who were scholars and well versed in deciding action, those endowed with good qualities, those who were all-knowing, king's ministers who could perceive things by their power of intellect and many warriors in hundreds, positioned according to their importance in that assembly hall, wrapped with gold, for providing felicity in all actions.
          Vibhishana, ascending an excellent, auspicious and large chariot yoked with good horses with its various parts decked in gold  drove towards the assembly-hall. Suka and Prahasta followed suit. Ravana gave them suitable seats separately. The aroma of the best aloe and sandal paste painted on the persons as also of garlands worn around the necks of those rakshasas duly adorned with ornaments of gold and gems and attired in excellent clothes diffused all round in the assembly-hall. The assembled persons there did not speak or spoke in whispers when required. None uttered any untruth or talked vociferously. All of them were ready for action and were endowed with terrible energy. When all were settled comfortably were looking  at the faces of Ravana with great expectation and eagerness. In that assembly Ravana was shining with brilliance among the assemblage of those rakshasas possessing great strength, like Devendra  amidst Vasus.