Friday, March 26, 2021



One may find a child named Ravana but hardly find name Vibhishana. Rama won the battle of Lanka with the help of Vibhishana but history didn’t forgive him for his betrayal to his brother. Kumbhakarna didn’t agree with the abduction of Sita by Ravana but he fought the battle bravely and sacrificed his life for the respect to his brother and for the dynasty but didn’t betray his brown at the time of crisis. 

Hanuman came to Lanka crossing the sea, found out Sita from the Pramada forest, the park area of the Palace; but before leaving Lanka, he opted for bravery with an objective to kill some Rakshasa to make the enemy soft (हतप्रवीराश्व कणों तु राक्षसा: कथंचिदीयुर्यदिहाध मार्दवम्।). He also wanted to assess the strength of Ravana (तत: समासाद्य रणे दशाननं समंन्त्रिवर्ग सबलं सयायिनम्। ह्रदि स्थितं तस्य मतं बलं च सुखेन मत्वाहमित पुनर्व्रजे।). He thought that angry Ravana would come with the army to fight with him. Hanuman destroyed the park area. Ravana sent eighty thousand Kankar rakshasas. He killed them. He thereafter destroyed the Chaitya Prasad (park hall) and killed the security guards. Mahabali Jambumali the son of Prahasta (Commander in Chief of the army of Lanka) came but was killed. Thereafter seven sons of the ministers, five generals of the army were sent but all were killed. Smart archer and powerful Akshaykumar, the younger son of Ravana came to control Hanuman but he was also killed. Ravana ultimately sent his bravest son Indrajit who successfully caught Hanuman using Brahmashtra and produced him before Ravana for punishment. Hanuman saw Ravana first time and was impressed with his personality and thought that had he not followed the path of Adharma, he could’ve been the great protector of the Devas (यधधर्मो न बलवान स्यादयं राक्षसेश्वर:; स्यादयं सुरलोकस्य सशक्रस्यापि रक्षिता।) When was asked, Hanuman introduced himself as an ambassador of Lord Rama. He told that he destroyed the park for the meeting with Ravana and killed Rakshasas in self protection. He explained the the power and strength of Rama and Lakshmana and advised Ravana to not to send him and the army of Lanka into the mouth of death. Ravana ordered him death penalty. But Vibhishana intervened, opposed death penalty to an ambassador. He praised Ravana’s quality of high end morality and advised him to make him ugly by cutting his body part or balding instead of killing (वैरूप्यमड्ंगेषु कशाभिधातो मौण्डयं तथा लक्षणसंनिपात:; एतान् हि दूते प्रवदन्ति दण्डान्; वधस्तु दूतस्य न न: श्रुतोडस्ति।) Ravana accepted his advice and ordered to put Hanuman’s tail on fire. Hanuman used the opportunity, jumped from building to building and set Lanka on fire. How could an ambassador create such a terror and kill many Rakshasa including the son of Ravana? Vibhishana had no regrets. Ravana could’ve killed Sita in reaction but he didn’t. Hanuman returned safely, army of one billion monkeys was assembled and was moved. Ramsena reached to the sea coast, other side of Lanka. 

One monkey crosses the sea, burned Lanka and returned. Ravana realised the threat therefore called a meeting of ministers and advisers. They reviewed their strength and considering the power of Ravana and Indrajit became confident enough to win the battle. The Chief Commander of Lanka Army Prahasta and other brave commanders gave assurance of victory and all of them jumped up with their weapons and proposed to attack Rama’s army immediately. 

Vibhishana looked at them and came forward and told Ravana to assess the strength of the enemy first before the attack. He mentioned how one monkey jumped the sea and devastated Lanka. He justified the killing of Khar in Jansthana and advised Ravana to return Sita to save Lanka and its brave army. Ravana listened his advice and returned to the palace. Next day morning, Vibhishana went again to the Ravana’s palace where he was sitting with his wise ministers and confidants. He was welcomed and given a seat. He made his brother happy with sweet talk first and then explained how Lanka was facing ominous events since Sita was brought. He advised him to return Sita. Ravana didn’t agree and sent him back (विसर्जयामास तदा विभीषणम्). 

When Ravana came to know that Rama and Lakshmana had reached to the other side of the sea coast with a big army of monkeys, he called a formal meeting of hundreds of important Rakshasas and commanders in the meeting hall. Vibhishana and Kumbhakarna attended. Chief Commander Prahasta after assigning duties to the army at different posts to guard Lanka joined the meeting. 

Ravana explained them the story of abduction of Sita, his madness after her beauty, and his waiting for the twelve months time limit to get over. He mentioned that one monkey had devastated Lanka and they had reached to the other coast of the sea but they would win. Kumbhakarna became angry over Ravana and asked him why did he not consult them before abducting Sita, reprimanded him for his thoughtless act of putting everybody in danger. However, he assured him that he would fight and kill the enemies so that he could stay with Sita for long. Vibhishana once again advised Ravana to return Sita. He depressed them by telling that none of them was capable enough to fight against Rama and wherever they were hided but would be killed by his arrows. The Chief Commander Prahasta argued that they were not afraid of the enemy. Vibhishana again praised the power of the arrows of Rama and told that none of them including Ravana, Indrajit, Kumbhakarna and other commanders could win against him. He finally advised that returning Sita to Rama was in the interest of Lanka, Ravana and the Army. Indrajit reacted sharply to this advice sharply and told his uncle fearful and weak. He praised his victory over Indra and shown confidence to take on the enemies. Vibhishana felt insulted and in reply told him childish, foolish, impetuous, unintelligent, unable to understand the devastation by war, an enemy to his father who could be given death penalty. Ravana couldn’t tolerate the words of Vibhishana and told him that he was a selfish brother in the service of the enemy, and feeling happy with the crisis came over the community. He was made minister but he was not losing a single opportunity that could bring down the morals of the family. He knew that selfish brother was more dangerous than fire or weapon. He would tell the secrets to the enemy that could defeat them but to live with such brother was more dangerous than the defeat. He told him a black ship of the dynasty and could’ve been killed if he was not his brother. Vibhishana couldn’t tolerate the harsh words from Ravana, became angry, took his four ministers, jumped up in the sky and told Ravana that he was his well wisher, was trying to save his life from the arrows of Rama but he didn’t understand his good, therefore wishing him good luck he left away. Vibhishana crossed the sea in just two ghadi (48 minutes), reached near the camp of Rama and requested for the asylum from the sky. He gave his introduction and explained how his advice of returning Sita was not accepted and was insulted. Sugriva proposed to arrest them and kill. Rama took opinions of Angad, Jambvan, Mainda and Hanuman. Hanuman knew Vibhishana who took his side when he was given death penalty by Ravana. He gave affirmative opinion. Rama gave consent, Vibhishana came down, surrendered, and explained the strength of Lanka and proposed his help in winning the battle of Lanka. Rama listened and hugged him. He send Lakshmana to bring water from the sea and instantly sworn him as King of Lanka. Thereafter, Hanuman and Sugriva asked him for the solution to cross the sea. Vibhishana reminded them that Rama belonged to the family of Sagar who had engraved the sea, and therefore a request to Rama to the sea would serve the purpose. Rama worshiped the sea, slept three nights near the coast but when nothing happened he took bow and arrow and started unleashing arrows towards the sea. The sea manifested and advised him to build a bridge using trunks and stones with the help of monkeys. Monkeys under the engineering direction of Nala built the bridge in just five days, army of one billion monkey crossed the sea and the battle of Lanka began. Vibhishana was a great help to them as he could easily uncover the spies of Ravana. He explained the geography and war strength of Lanka. He explained the commanders placements with their strength and their location at each of the four gates of Lanka and accordingly the deployment plan of Ramsena was chalked out to attack all the four gates. The battle began and the commanders of Ravana were falling one after another. Indrajit entered in the battle hit Rama and Lakshmana, made them both unconscious and returned thinking that they died. But Garuda came and saved their life. Prahasta and Kumbhakarna, Ravana’s three sons were killed. Indrajit came and once again made Rama, Lakshmana unconscious, injured many commanders and put the army of monkeys in unconscious stage by Brahamarstra. As directed by Jambvan, Hanuman went to Himalaya and brought the mountain of Sanjeevni buti and saved Rama and Lakshmana. Kampan, Shonitaksh, Yupaksha, Nikumbh, Makrasha were killed. Indrajit again entered into the battlefield but performed yagya in Nikumbhila temple to gain more strength. Vibhishana knew that if he finishes the yagya, he couldn’t be won. He knew the place and therefore took Lakshmana and brave segment of army of monkeys for the attack over Indrajit. When Indrajit saw Vibhishana with Lakshmana he criticised his uncle for his betrayal. Vibhishana replied him in the same language and gave cover and protection to Lakshmana from the Rakshasas. Lakshmana killed Indrajit. Ravana was killed by Rama. Vibhishana cried after his death counting great qualities in him and after cremation sworn in as the King of Lanka.

Vibhishana supported the side of Dharma, ditched his own brother and helped Rama’s triumph over Ravana by providing information about every power and secrets of Ravana and became the instrument to destroy them. He was rewarded with immortality to guide people like him! He is one of the seven immortal humans (चिरंजीवी) according to Hindu mythology*. However, whenever there is an act of betrayal, the betrayer is called Vibhishana. History doesn’t forget and forgive.


29 November 2020

1. Shrimadvalmiki Ramayana, Yuddhakand. 

* अश्वत्थामा बलिव्यासो हनुमांश्च विभीषण:। कृप: परशुरामश्च सप्तएतै चिरजीविन:। सप्तैतान् संस्मरेन्नित्यं मार्कण्डेयथाष्टमम्। जीवेद्वर्षशतं सोपि सर्वव्याधिविवर्जित।


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