Friday, March 26, 2021

Double tongue Sugriva in Ramayana

 Double tongue Sugriva in Ramayana

Ravana abducted Sita from Panchavati by keeping Rama and Lakshmana away chasing Maricha. Rama cried. Rama and Lakshmana started the search operation, met Jatayu and traveled further down to the south west direction, crossed Kaunchvan and entered into the forest leading to Rishi Matang Ashrama. They encountered Kabandha (Rakshasa without head). Kabandha was killed but he took divine form after the cremation and advised Rama to follow the rule of Samashraya (taking help of the victim of similar act), make friendship with Sugriva (in exile) to search Sita. Sugriva knew the geography of the continent very well. Kabandha explained the location of Sugriva living in Rishyamook mountain to the east of Pampa Sarovar and explained the route in detail. It was beautiful forest rich in flora and fauna. 

Rama Lakshmana first went to Shabari Ashrama located in the west to Pampa Sarovar. She welcomed them, showed them the forest area, and as her goal of life meeting Rama was achieved, she entered into the fire and went to heaven. Thereafter, both brothers moved to Rishmook mountain to meet Sugriva. It was spring season. The poet beautifully described Shringar of nature and Vipralambha of separation from Sita in the heart of Rama. 

Sugriva was living in the caves of Rishyamook mountain with his four ministers including Hanuman. It was a safer zone due to the curse of Rishi Matanga to Vali. As directed by Sugriva, Hanuman took a form of monk and approached Rama and Lakshmana and took them to Sugriva after introduction. Hanuman told them that Sugriva was passing through sorrow of wife abduction and was living in exile. Sugriva extended the hand of friendship which Rama accepted, they hugged each other and tied friendship by circumambulation a fire lit by Hanuman. On hearing about the abduction of Sagriva’s wife by Vali, Rama instantly promised Sugriva that he would kill Vali (उपकारफलं मित्रं विदितं में महाकपे। वालिनं तं वधिष्यामि तव भार्यापहारिणम्।). Sugriva in turn promised him to find Sita and showed the ornaments dropped by Sita. Sugriva thereafter explained his enmity with Vali, pain of exile, losing the status of Yuvraj and abduction of his ladylove wife. Rama didn’t verify the facts with Vali, took the pledge to kill Vali. 

Ramayana explains Sugriva’s mind twice. Once when he met Rama and explained his misery of losing kingdom and Roma. And second when he cried after killing of his elder brother Vali. He hided some facts when proposed friendship with Rama. 

Vali and Sugriva were two brothers, sons of Riksharja. After the death of Riksharja, elder Vali became the King of Kishkindha and younger Sugriva was made Yuvraj. One day demon Mayavi the son on May Danava and elder brother of Dudumbhi attacked Kishkindha at midnight. Vali and Sugriva chased him but he went into a hole of a refuge cave. Angri Vali ordered Sugriva to stand alert in front of the entry till he returned and himself entered into the cave to kill the demon. Sugriva passed one year (संवत्सरो* गत:) and one day saw a blood flow coming out of the cave and heard the roaring sound of the demon. His brother was roaring but he couldn’t recognise his sound. He thought that Vali was killed. He closed the cave by placing a big rock and returned and became King of Kishkindha. But Vali returned after killing Mayavi. He was very angry with Sugriva. Sugriva tried to explain his side but Vali was not convinced. Vali told his version how he killed the demon and when returned he found cave closed with a big rock. He believed that Sugriva had intentionally did it to seal him in the cave so that he could be the King. Sugriva was exiled and his wife Roma was abducted. Sugriva didn’t mention that he enjoyed Tara, the wife of Vali when Vali was in the cave. Wives surrender to the victor. 

Sugriva thereafter explained the story of Dudumbhi Vadh and strength and power of Vali. When Vali threw the dead body of Dudumbhi (wild buffalo) away, it fell down near Rishi Matanga Ashrama and impurified it, therefore, Vali was cursed and Rishmook mountain became a safe hiding place for Sugriva as Vali wouldn’t come due to the curse. Sugriva thereafter took the test of Rama‘s capacity to kill Vali. Rama proved it by cutting seven Saal trees by one arrow. 

As planned Sugriva challenged Vali, but Rama couldn’t differentiate Vali and Sugriva, therefore Sugriva had to run away to Rishmook mountain to save his life in the first encounter. As guided by Rama, he went second time wearing a necklace to differentiate and challenged Vali. Hearing the excited roaring sound of Sugriva, Tara the wife of Vali inferred that he had surely came with some aid. She knew that Rama and Lakshmana were there with Sugriva. She therefore advised Vali to do compromise with Sugriva. But Vali opted for fight. He had assurance in mind that Rama wouldn’t commit sin (न च कार्यो विषादस्ते राघवं प्रति मत्कुते। धर्मज्ञश्च कृतज्ञश्च कथा पापं करिष्यषि). Vali and Sugriva fought and when Rama saw Sugriva losing strength he unleashed the arrow from a hiding place and killed Vali from the back. 

Injured by the arrow, dying Vali asked Rama what did he gained by killing him immorally (पराड्ंमुखवधं कृत्या रेडक्रास प्राप्तस्त्वया गुण:). He told Rama that he possessed high quantities कुलीन: सत्वसम्पननस्तेजस्वी चरितव्रत:. and he trusted those qualities and therefore came to fight with Sugriva without fear of cheating though Tara resisted (तान् गुणान् सम्प्रधार्याहमग्रयं चाभिजनं तव। तारया प्रतिषिद्ध: सन् सुग्रीवेण समागत:). He cursed Rama that his act was unrighteous, a sin and a betrayal like a well filled up with grass (स त्वां विनिहतात्मनं धर्मध्वजमधार्मिकम्। जाने पापसमाचारं तृणै: कूपनिवावृतम्।). He questioned Rama upon his act against the virtues of righteousness, of a King, of a Kshatriya, of Raghukul, of Dharma, and called him roguish and sinner (शठो नैकृतिक: क्षुद्रो मिथ्याप्रश्रितमानस:; कथं दशरथेन त्वं जात: पापो महात्मना।) छिन्नचारित्र्यकक्ष्येण सतां धर्मातिवर्तिना। त्यत्कधर्माड्ंकु़शेनाहं निहतो रामहस्तिना। He boasted that had he came in front of him (द्रृश्यमानस्तु युध्येथा मया), he would have killed him (पश्येस्त्वं निहतो मया). Why was he killed from a hiding place? He further told that if he could’ve told him first regarding search of Sita, he would have searched her in one day (मामेव यदि पूर्वं त्वमेतगर्थमचोदय:; मैथिलीमहमेकाह्ना तव चानीतवान् भले:). He could’ve brought Ravana by tying his neck with a rope (कण्ठे बद्ध्वा प्रदध्यां तेडन्हतं रावणं रणे)

Rama replied Vali that he (Vali) didn’t know Dharma. He boast that entire earth including the land, mountains, forests, creatures, belonged to Ikshvaku Kings. Bharat was the King, and under his command, they were moving on earth for the implementation and spread of dharma. He had a right to punish those who had deviated from the righteous path. Younger brother Sugriva was like his son (यवीयानात्मन: ...पुत्रवत्ते..) but he used his wife Roma for sex (रुमायां वर्तसे कामात् स्रुषायां पापकर्मकृत्) It was a sin and therefore, he was liable for death penalty. (औरसीं भगिनीं वापि भार्यां वाप्नुजस्य य:; प्रचरेत नर: कामात् तस्य दण्डो वध: स्मृत:). Rama forgot that Tara being a wife of elder brother was like a mother who was used by Sugriva when Vali was in the cave and later he would be using her after Vali’s death. Rama applied the human rules over monkeys one sidedly. The second reason Rama gave was his friendship with Sugriva and he had promised Sugriva to get back his wife and kingdom. The third reason Rama gave May surprise the readers. He argued that it was like a right of a non vegetarian man killing an animal as Mrigaya (hunting), whether the subject was in fight or not. He had therefore no regret for killing him from the back (न मे तत्र मनस्तापो न मन्युर्हरिपुंगव). Rama in earlier hymn telling Vali to follow Dharma like humans and in these hymns he turned him down to the level of animal who could be killed in hunting. He further told Vali neither to criticise Raja (Rama) nor to charge him because he was a deity moving as human on earth. (तान न हंस्यान्न चाक्रोशेन्नाक्षिपेन्नाप्रियं वदेत्। देवा मानुषरूपेण चरन्त्येते महीतले।). Vali didn’t argue much and surrendered himself to the wisdom of Rama. He handed over custody of Angad, Tara and Golden necklace to Sugriva and died. 

Here comes the regrets and confession of Sugriva. He remembered that Vali always returned him alive without killing in fights to save his life. But he used Rama to kill his elder brother. Vali didn’t wish his death but he did for him. When he was injured in fight, he gave him solace and told to go back but didn’t kill. 

Vali was cremated. Monsoon season arrived. Sugriva was sworn in as a King of Kishkindha and Angad was made the Yuvraj in the month of Savan. Rama and Lakshmana stationed on mount Prasavangiri to pass the monsoon season. Rama became very sad remembering Sita in Varsha Ritu. He looked at black clouds and lightening, and compared Sita‘s position with Ravana. (नीलमेघाश्रिता विद्युत् स्फुरन्ती प्रतिभाति मे। स्फुरन्ती रावणास्याड्के वैदेहीव तपस्विनी।) 

Varsha Ritu injected fire of aphrodisia, after delegating powers to the ministers, Sugriva drowned in sex with Roma, Tara and others beauties. It was play of mad and madira. Rama on other side was burning in pain of Sita‘s separation (वर्षरात्रे स्थितो राम: कामशोकाभिपीडित:). His depression comes out in his feelings (प्रियाविहीने दु:खार्ते ह्रतराज्ये निवासिते।.. अनाथो ह्रतराज्योडहं रावणेन च घर्षित:  दीनो दूरगृह: कामी मां चैव शरणं गत:).

In the beginning of Sharada, Hanuman and Lakshmana woke Sugriva up from the lust, teams of monkeys were sent in different directions to find Sita. Sita was found in Lanka by Hanuman. Lanka was invaded. Ravana was killed in the battle of Lanka. Rama won his beloved Sita and they returned to Ayodhya by Pushpak. 

Ramayana is a story of three pairs of brothers: Rama-Bharata, Vali-Sugriva, Ravana-Vibhishana. Bharata returned the kingdom of Ayodhya to Rama while Sugriva and Vibhishana took away the kingdoms of their brothers, Kishkindha and Lanka respectively, after getting them killed!


28 November 2020

1. Srimadvalmiki Ramayana, Kishkindha Kand

* the translator counted Samvatsara a year here but counted it a day in other verses considering the metaphors in the epic.


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