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Chapter 17: Vibhishana Seeks the Shelter of Rama

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Vibhishana Seeks the Shelter of Rama

Summary

Vibhishana together with four of his companions reach Rama’s place. Halting in the sky itself, Vibhishana asks Rama to give a refuge to him. Sugreeva tells Rama that he cannot trust Vibhishana the demon. Then Rama asks for opinion of the leaders in his group. Angada, Sharabha, Jambavan and Mainda expressed their apprehensions to accept Vibhishana. But Hanuman says that Vibhishana need not be doubted because he thinks that Vibhishana understands the merits in Rama and demerits in Ravana. Hanuman further adds that Vibhishana is approaching Rama for refuge because Vibhishana is desirous of obtaining the kingdom of demons. Hanuman requests Rama to take his final decision on the matter.

Chapter [Sarga] 17 in Detail

iti uktvaa parusam vaakyam raavanam raavana anujah |

aajagaama muhuurtena yatra raamah salakshmanah ||6-17-1

Having spoken the aforesaid harsh words to Ravana, Vibhishana arrived almost immediately to the place where Rama was together with Lakshmana.

tam meru shikhara aakaaram diiptaam iva shata hradaam |

gaganastham mahiisthaas te dadrishur vaanara adhipaah ||6-17-2

Those leaders of monkeys standing on the ground saw Vibhishana, resembling the peak of Mount Meru and shining like a thunderbolt in the sky.

te caapyanucaraastasya catvaaro bhiimavikramaah |

te.api varmaayudhopetaa bhuusanottamabhuusitaah ||6-17-3

His four companions of terrific prowess were also there with him. They were wearing weapons and armor and were adorned with excellent ornaments.

sa ca meghaacalaprakhyo vajraayudhasamaprabhah |

varaayudhadharo viiro divyaabharanabhuusitah ||6-17-4

Vibhishana also resembled a mass of cloud, the equal of the God who wields the thunderbolt. He was holding excellent weapons and was adorned with wonderful jewels.

tam aatma pancamam dristvaa sugriivo vaanara adhipah |

vaanaraih saha durdharsah cintayaam aasa buddhimaan ||6-17-5

Sugreeva the valiant of monkeys, who was difficult to be overpowered, having seen Vibhishana, the fifth one along with four others, became thoughtful along with monkeys.

cintayitvaa muhuurtam tu vaanaraams taan uvaaca ha |

hanuumat pramukhaan sarvaan idam vacanam uttamam ||6-17-6

Having thought for a moment, Sugreeva spoke these sterling words to all those monkeys and to Hanuman in particular.

esa sarva aayudha upetah caturbhih saha raaksasaih |

raaksaso abhyeti pashyadhvam asmaan hantum na samshayah ||6-17-7

 “See this demon possessing all types of weapons, coming along with four demons. There is no doubt that he is coming to kill us.”

sugriivasya vacah shrutvaa sarve te vaanara uttamaah |

saalaan udyamya shailaamh ca idam vacanam abruvan ||6-17-8

Hearing Sugreeva’s words, all those excellent monkeys lifted trees and mountains and spoke as follows:

shiighram vyaadisha no raajan vadhaaya esaam duraatmanaam |

nipatantu hataah ca ete dharanyaam alpa jiivitaah ||6-17-9

 “Do you swiftly order us to slay these wicked doers, O, king? Let us strike these fools down so that they drop to the ground!”

tesaam sambhaasamaanaanaam anyonyam sa vibhiisanah |

uttaram tiiram aasaadya khastha eva vyatisthata ||6-17-10

While the monkeys were speaking thus among one another, Vibhishana had reached the northern shore and indeed coolly halted there.

sa uvaaca ca mahaapraajnah svarena mahataa mahaan |

sugriivam taamh ca sampreksya khastha eva vibhiisanah ||6-17-11

That great and highly intelligent Vibhishana, halting in the sky itself, saw Sugreeva and those monkeys and spoke to them in a loud voice (as follows):

raavano naama durvritto raaksaso raaksasa iishvarah |

tasya aham anujo bhraataa vibhiisana iti shrutah ||6-17-12

 “There is a demon called Ravana, the king of demons, having a bad conduct. I am his younger brother, known as Vibhishana.”

tena siitaa jana sthaanaadd hritaa hatvaa jataayusam |

ruddhvaa ca vivashaa diinaa raaksasiibhih suraksitaa ||6-17-13

 “It is Ravana who, having killed a bird Jataayu, took away Sita from Janasthaana. That unfortunate lady is held captive against her will and she is now amidst the female titans who guard her jealously”

tam aham hetubhir vaakyair vividhaih ca nyadarshayam |

saadhu niryaatyataam siitaa raamaaya iti punah punah ||6-17-14

 “I persuaded Ravana again and again by my diverse words and arguments to restore Sita smoothly to Rama.

sa ca na pratijagraaha raavanah kaala coditah |

ucyamaano hitam vaakyam vipariita iva ausadham ||6-17-15

 “That Ravana, impelled by fate, did not receive my sage advice, as a perverted person does not accept his prescribed medicine”

so aham parusitas tena daasavac ca avamaanitah |

tyaktvaa putraamh ca daaraamh ca raaghavam sharanam gatah ||6-17-16

 “Reviled by him and humiliated as a slave, I, leaving my sons and my wife, have come to take refuge with Rama.”

nivedeayata maam kshipram raaghavaaya mahaatmane |

sarva loka sharanyaaya vibhiisanam upasthitam ||6-17-17

 “Inform immediately to high soled Rama, the protector of all the worlds that I, Vibhishana, have come here.”

etattu vacanam shrutvaa sugriivo laghu vikramah |

laksmanasya agrato raamam samrabdham idam abraviit ||6-17-18

The swift-paced Sugreeva, having heard the words of Vibhishana, spoke more hurriedly to Rama, in front of Lakshmana as follows:

pravistah shatru sainyam hi praaptah shatruratarkitah |

nihanyaadanntaram labdhvaa uluuko vaayasaaniva ||6-17-19

 “Belonging to the enemy force, here is an adversary taking us unawares, who unexpectedly has come here to slay us at the first opportunity like an owl destroying crows!”

mantre vyuuhe naye caare yukto bhavitumarhasi |

vaanaraanaam ca bhadram te paresaam ca paramtapa ||6-17-20

 “O, annihilator of enemies! You ought to be aware of the design, distribution, leading of the army and the secret service of the monkeys and also of your foes. May good come to you!”

antardhanagataahyete raakshasaah kaamaruupinah |

shuuraashca nikritijjnaashca tesaam jaatu na vishvaset ||6-17-21

 “These demons can assume any form at will and can disappear. They are valiant and deceitful. We can not trust them at any time.”

praniidhii raakshasendrasya raavanasya bhavedayam |

anupravishya so.a smaasu bhedam kuryaanna samshayah ||6-17-22

 “He may be a spy of Ravana the king of demons. He will succeed to become a member among us and create differences. There is no doubt.”

athavaa svayamevaisa chidramaasaadya buddhimaan |

anupravishya vishvaste kadaacitpraharedapi ||6-17-23

 “Otherwise he, intelligent by himself, can get into possession of a weak point in us. Having first gained our confidence by craft, he may even at any time attack us.”

mitraataviibalam caiva maulabhrityabalam tathaa |

sarvametadbalam graahyam varjayitvaa dvisadbalam ||6-17-24

 “A contingent supplied by friends or an inhabitant of the woods (like our selves), or furnished by hereditary warriors or paid servants - all these contingents can be accepted but not that furnished by an enemy.”

prakrityaa raakshaso hyesa bhraataamitrasya vai prabho |

aagatashca ripoh saakshaatkathamasmimshca vishvaset ||6-17-25

 “O, Lord! He is indeed a demon by nature and a brother of an enemy who came directly from an adversary. How can we keep trust in him?"

raavanasya anujo bhraataa vibhiisana iti shrutah |

caturbhih saha raksobhir bhavantam sharanam gatah ||6-17-26

The younger brother of the famous Ravana, called Vibhishana along with four other demons approached you for refuge.”

raavanena pranihitam tam avehi vibhiisanam |

tasya aham nigraham manye ksamam ksamavataam vara ||6-17-27

 “O, the excellent one among men knowing what is right! Know that Ravana is sending Vibhishana. I opine that Vibhishana is fit for arrest.”

raaksaso jihmayaa buddhyaa samdisto ayam upasthitah |

prahartum maayayaa channo vishvaste tvayi raaghava ||6-17-28

 “O, the faultless one! Being sent with a crooked intent, this demon came here to attack when you are going to repose faith in him, (remaining hidden by his witchcraft).

badhyataam esa tiivrena dandena sacivaih saha |

raavanasya nrishamsasya bhraataa hi esa vibhiisanah ||6-17-29

 “This Vibhishana is indeed the brother of cruel Ravana. Hence, let him along with his ministers be killed, by imposing severe punishment on them.”

evam uktvaa tu tam raamam samrabdho vaahinii patih |

vaakyajno vaakya kushalam tato maunam upaagamat ||6-17-30

The chief of army Sugreeva, who knew how to speak expressed thus hurriedly to Rama, who was skilled in oratory and thereafter entered into silence.

sugriivasya tu tad vaakyam shrutvaa raamo mahaabalah |

samiipasthaan uvaaca idam hanuumat pramukhaan hariin ||6-17-31

Hearing those words of Sugreeva, the exceedingly strong Rama addressed as follows to the monkeys in front of Hanuman staying near by:

yad uktam kapi raajena raavana avarajam prati |

vaakyam hetumad atyartham bhavadbhir api tat shrutam ||6-17-32

 “The very reasonable words uttered by Sugreeva about Vibhishana were heard by you too.”

suhridaa hi artha kricchesu yuktam buddhimataa sataa |

samarthena api samdestum shaashvatiim bhuutim icchataa ||6-17-33

 “An efficient and intelligent person ever desirous of everlasting well being of his friends should properly advise them well in difficult matters. Hence, tell your opinion one by one"

iti evam paripristaas te svam svam matam atandritaah |

sa upacaaram tadaa raamam uucur hita cikiirsavah ||6-17-34

Thus asked by Rama, those monkeys free from lassitude [fatigue], wishing to do good and out of their politeness, spoke their respective opinions to Rama as follows:

ajnaatam na asti te kimcit trisu lokesu raaghava |

aatmaanam puujayan raama pricchasi asmaan suhrittayaa ||6-17-35

 “O, Rama! Nothing is unknown to you in the three worlds. You are consulting us with a friendly heart, as an honor to us.”

tvam hi satya vratah shuuro dhaarmiko dridha vikramah |

pariiksya kaaraa smritimaan nisrista aatmaa suhritsu ca ||6-17-36

 “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. You are committed in your heart to your friends.”

tasmaad eka ekashas taavad bruvantu sacivaas tava |

hetuto mati sampannaah samarthaah ca punah punah ||6-17-37

 “Hence, your counselors, who are rich in their minds and are moreover efficient, one by one, will tell their opinion with reason.”

iti ukte raaghavaaya atha matimaan angado agratah |

vibhiisana pariiksaa artham uvaaca vacanam harih ||6-17-38

Having spoken thus by the monkeys, Angada the intelligent monkey told Rama to arrange for examination of Vibhishana before hand.”

shatroh sakaashaat sampraaptah sarvathaa shankya eva hi |

vishvaasa yogyah sahasaa na kartavyo vibhiisanah ||6-17-39

 “Vibhishana who came from an enemy is indeed to be doubted by all means. He is not to be made as a trust worthy person so soon.”

chaadayitvaa aatma bhaavam hi caranti shatha buddhayah |

praharanti ca randhresu so anarthah sumahaan bhavet ||6-17-40

 “Deceitful persons move around, concealing their peculiar nature and attack at weak places. They will create a very great misfortune.”

artha anarthau vinishcitya vyavasaayam bhajeta ha |

gunatah samgraham kuryaad dosatas tu visarjayet ||6-17-41

 “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.”

yadi doso mahaams tasmims tyajyataam avishankitam |

gunaan vaa api bahuun jnaatvaa samgrahah kriyataam nripa ||6-17-42

 “O, king! If there are great faults in him, let him be rejected undoubtedly. If we recognize many good qualities in him, let him be accepted.”

sharabhas tv atha nishcitya saartham vacanam abraviit |

ksipram asmin nara vyaaghra caarah pratividhiiyataam ||6-17-43

Thereafter Sharabha on his part spoke the following meaningful and decisive words: “O, tiger among men! Let a spy be sent to shadow him”

pranidhaaya hi caarena yathaavat suuksma buddhinaa |

pariiksya ca tatah kaaryo yathaa nyaayam parigrahah ||6-17-44

 “By sending out a spy and causing a suitable investigation by a keenly intellectual spy, he can then be accepted as per justice.”

jaambavaams tv atha sampreksya shaastra buddhyaa vicaksanah |

vaakyam vijnaapayaam aasa gunavad dosa varjitam ||6-17-45

Then, the discerning [showing insight and understanding] Jambavan on his part, perceiving the matter through his learning derived from scriptures, advised the following fault-less and qualitative words:

baddha vairaac ca paapaac ca raaksasa indraad vibhiisanah |

adesha kaale sampraaptah sarvathaa shankyataam ayam ||6-17-46

 “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.”

tato maindas tu sampreksya naya apanaya kovidah |

vaakyam vacana sampanno babhaase hetumattaram ||6-17-47

Then Mainda, skilled in discriminating good and bad conduct in others observed the matter carefully and spoke in his perfect oratory in the following highly reasonable words:

anuho naama tasya esa raavanasya vibhiisanah |

pricchyataam madhurena ayam shanair nara vara iishvara ||6-17-48

 “O, king of kings! This Vibhishana is indeed the younger brother of that Ravana. Let him be questioned slowly by sweet words”

bhaavam asya tu vijnaaya tatas tattvam karisyasi |

yadi dristo na dusto vaa buddhi puurvam narasabha ||6-17-49

 “O, the best among men! Having read actually his mind whether he is dangerous or not, you should act according to your feelings.”

atha samskaara sampanno hanuumaan saciva uttamah |

uvaaca vacanam shlaksnam arthavan madhuram laghu ||6-17-50

Then the well educated Hanuman, the excellent among counselors; spoke the following smooth meaningful, sweet and brief words:

na bhavantam mati shrestham samartham vadataam varam |

atishaayayitum shakto brihaspatir api bruvan ||6-17-51

 “Even Brihaspati, while talking cannot excel you, who possess an exalted intellect. You are powerful and the foremost man among those who are eloquent.”

na vaadaan na api samgharsaan na aadhikyaan na ca kaamatah |

vaksyaami vacanam raajan yathaa artham raama gauravaat ||6-17-52

 “O, king! O, Rama! 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.”

artha anartha nimittam hi yad uktam sacivais tava |

tatra dosam prapashyaami kriyaa na hi upapadyate ||6-17-53

 “I perceive an error in what was advised by your counselors assigned to look into advantages and disadvantages, accruing from accepting Vibhishana. It is not possible for such a judicious investigation into his character.”

rite niyogaat saamarthyam avaboddhum na shakyate |

sahasaa viniyogo hi dosavaan pratibhaati me ||6-17-54

 “Without entrusting any work, it is not possible to understand his ability. But at the same time, it occurs to me as a mistake to entrust any work so soon to a stranger.”

caara pranihitam yuktam yad uktam sacivais tava |

arthasya asambhavaat tatra kaaranam na upapadyate ||6-17-55

 “What ever was told by your counselors that it was befitting to send spies to Vibhishana, that action is not possible due to impracticality of the proposition.”

adesha kaale sampraapta iti ayam yad vibhiisanah |

vivaksaa ca atra me asti iyam taam nibodha yathaa mati ||6-17-56

 “It has been said that Vibhishana came into a wrong place and time. In that matter, I have to express my thought. Listen to it.”

sa esa deshah kaalah ca bhavati iha yathaa tathaa |

purusaat purusam praapya tathaa dosa gunaav api ||6-17-57

 “This place and time become rightly obtained in his mind , as he has thought that you are superior to Ravana and also found merits in you and demerits in Ravana.”

dauraatmyam raavane dristvaa vikramam ca tathaa tvayi |

yuktam aagamanam tasya sadrisham tasya buddhitah ||6-17-58

 “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.”

ajnaata ruupaih purusaih sa raajan pricchyataam iti |

yad uktam atra me preksaa kaacid asti samiiksitaa ||6-17-59

 “O, king! Whatever was told by your counselors that let Vibhishana be questioned by spies of unknown identity, my considered view is as follows:

pricchyamaano vishanketa sahasaa buddhimaan vacah |

tatra mitram pradusyeta mithya pristam sukha aagatam ||6-17-60

 “A wise man being questioned suddenly would be apprehensive of that questioning. In those circumstances, an easily obtained friend becomes faithless upon facing a deceitful questioning.”

ashakyah sahasaa raajan bhaavo vettum parasya vai |

antah svabhaavair giitais tair naipunyam pashyataa bhrisham ||6-17-61

 “O, king! Without possessing a high skill of reading his diversified tones, it is not possible rapidly to comprehend his intention.”

na tvasya bruvato jaatu laksyate dusta bhaavataa |

prasannam vadanam ca api tasmaan me na asti samshayah ||6-17-62

 “I am not seeing any bad intention at all in his talk. His face is also bright. Hence, I do not doubt him.”

ashankita matih svastho na shathah parisarpati |

na ca asya dustaa vaagasti tasmaan na asti iha samshayah ||6-17-63

 “A deceitful person does not approach so fearlessly and confidently. His expression too is not bad. Hence, there is no doubt to me on him.”

aakaarah chaadyamaano api na shakyo viniguuhitum |

balaadd hi vivrinoti eva bhaavam antar gatam nrinaam ||6-17-64

 “It is not possible to hide expression of the face, even if it is concealed. By force, the internal intent of the persons certainly gets revealed.”

desha kaala upapannam ca kaaryam kaaryavidaam vara |

saphalam kurute ksipram prayogena abhisamhitam ||6-17-65

 “O, the eminently skillful man in work! An action endowed with proper place and time transacts successfully, if it is performed quickly.”

udyogam tava sampreksya mithyaa vrittam ca raavanam |

vaalinah ca vadham shrutvaa sugriivam ca abhisecitam ||6-17-66

raajyam praarthayamaanah ca buddhi puurvam iha aagatah |

etaavat tu puras kritya yujyate tv asya samgrahah ||6-17-67

 “Seeing your perseverance and the improper conduct of Ravana as well as hearing about Vali having been killed and Sugreeva anointed as king, he deliberately came here, with a desire to obtain the kingdom of demons. On consideration of this aspect alone, he is worthy of acceptance by us.”

yathaa shakti mayaa uktam tu raaksasasya aarjavam prati |

pramaanam tu shesasya shrutvaa buddhimataam vara ||6-17-68

 “O, Rama the best among the wise! It has been told by me this according to my ability about the sincerity of this demon. After hearing my words, you are indeed the final judge of the issue.”

ityaarshe shriimadraamaayane aadikaavye yuddhakaande saptadashah sargah

Thus completes 17th Chapter of Yuddha Kanda of the glorious Ramayana of Valmiki, the work of a sage and the oldest epic.

Sriman Moola Rama Vijayate

References

K. M. K. Murthy. (2002). Yuddha Kanda - Book Of War.

Merriam-Webster. (2007). At http://www.m-w.com.

Reference.com. (2007). At http://www.reference.com.

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