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.

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