Rama's arrow hits Vali on chest and Vali fallen down. But Vali is not dead yet. When Rama and Lakshmana approach dying Vali, he questions the propriety of Rama in killing him. Vali's questioning explicitly is straightforward befitting to the defeated mighty Vanara King. But implicitly, there are ancient commentaries that deduce many more meanings in visualizing Vali as a devotee of Rama, who wanted to die at the hand of Rama, like Viraadha and others, as a means of salvation.
Chapter [Sarga] 17 in Detail
tatah sharena abhihato raamena rana karkashah |
papaata sahasaa vaalii nikrittaiva paadapah || 4-17-1
When Rama's arrow hit him then Vali, the scourger in war, suddenly fell down like a hewed down tree. [4-17-1]
sa bhuumau nyasta sarvaa.ngah tapta kaa.ncana bhuusanah |
apatat deva raajasya mukta rashmir iva dhvajah || 4-17-2
He who glittered with pure golden ornaments, that Vali fell down on earth while all of his limbs sank to dust, like the flag of Indra when released from its ropes. [4-17-2]
asmin nipatite bhuumau hari risaanaam ganeshvare |
nasta candram iva vyoma na vyaraajata medinii || 4-17-3
On the fall of that lord of hosts of monkeys and bears onto earth, un-illuminated is the earth like the welkin that has forsooth lost its moon. [4-17-3]
bhuumau nipatitasya api tasya deham mahaatmanah |
na shriir jahaati na praanaa na tejo na paraakramah || 4-17-4
Though that great souled Vali fell onto earth, neither his brilliance, nor lives, nor resplendence, nor his bravery are unfettering from his body. [4-17-4]
shakra dattaa varaa maalaa kaancanii ratna bhuusitaa |
dadhaara hari mukhyasya praanaan tejah shriyam ca saa || 4-17-5
That superb and gem-studded golden pendent given by Indra sustained that monkey chief's lives, resplendence and brilliance. [4-17-5]
sa tayaa maalayaa viiro haimayaa hariyuuthapah |
sa.mdhyaanugata paryantah payodhara iva abhavat || 4-17-6
By still wearing that golden chest-pendant around his neck, that brave general of monkeys Vali appeared like a black-cloud smeared with the color of golden sunset all around its edges. [4-17-6]
tasya maalaa ca dehah ca marmaghaatii ca yah sharah |
tridhaa iva racitaa laksmiih patitasya api shobhate || 4-17-7
Even though Vali has fallen on ground his splendor is as though refulgent devising itself into three aspects, namely by his body, chest-pendant, and the arrow of Rama, which arrow is given to strike the crucial body parts alone, and which is still stuck in Vali's chest. [4-17-7]
tat astram tasya viirasya svarga maarga prabhaavanam |
raama baanaasana ksiptam aavahat paramaam gatim || 4-17-8
That arrow which effectuates the pathway to heaven, now discharged from the bow of Rama has brought forth that redemption to brave Vali. [4-17-8]
tam tathaa patitam sa.mkhye gata arcisam iva analam |
yayaatim iva punyaante deva lokaat paricyutam || 4-17-9
aadityam iva kaalena yugaante bhuvi paatitam |
mahendram iva durdharsam upendram iva dussaham || 4-17-10
mahendra putram patitam vaalinam hema maalinam |
vyuudha uraskam mahaabaahum diiptaasyam hari locanam || 4-17-11
laksmana anucaro raamo dadarsha upasasarpa ca |
Then on seeing him who has fallen in war, the one with golden pendant, enormously chested, mightily armed, face golden, eye greenish, but who is like a fire extinct of its flame; who is like Indra in unassailability and like Upendra in indomitability [unconquerable]; and who like Yayaati who has fallen from heaven, as well like the sun who falls onto earth from solar orbit when Time-ender flings him at the end of era; such as he is, on seeing that son of Indra, who forsooth has fallen, Rama neared him followed by Lakshmana. [4-17-9, 10, 11, 12a]
tam tathaa patitam viiram gata arcismatam iva analam || 4-17-12
bahumaanya ca tam viiram viikshamaanam shanairiva |
upayaatau mahaaviiryau bhraatarau raama lakshmanau || 4-17-13
On seeing the brave Vali fallen like that, who by now is like fire with extinguished tongues of flames, and who is seeing droopily, those two valiant brothers, Rama and Lakshmana, neared him with due honor. [4-17-12b, 13]
tam dristvaa raaghavam vaalii laksmanam ca mahaabalam |
abraviit parusam vaakyam prashritam dharma sa.mhitam || 4-17-14
sa bhuumau alpatejosuh nihato nasta cetanah |
artha sahitayaa vaacaa garvitam rana garvitam || 4-17-15
On seeing Rama and the great mighty Lakshmana as well, he who fell to ground flatly hurt by arrow, and whose energy and lives are trifling and vigor trivialized thereby, that Vali spoke these sarcastic words in his proper pride to Rama, who is taking pride in this conflict as a victor, which words at the same time have meaning, politeness, and self-righteousness. [4-17-14, 15]
tvam naraadhipateh putrah prathitah priya darshanah |
paraanmukha vadham kritvaa ko atra praaptah tvayaa gunah |
yadaham yuddha sam.hrabdhah tvat krite nidhanam gatah || 4-17-16
"You are a renowned prince with pleasing looks… but, which kind of death I am getting now, that too when I was in the commotion of conflict with another, alas, that ignoble death is owing to you, and what merit is achieved by you in this undertaking of yours to kill someone who is facing away from you… [4-17-16]
kuliinah sattva sa.mpannah tejasvii caritavratah |
raamah karunavedii ca prajaanaam ca hiteratah || 4-17-17
saanukrosho mahotsaahah samayajno dridhavratah |
iti etat sarva bhuutaani kathayanti yasho bhuvi || 4-17-18
"Rama is high-born, they say, gifted with mightiness, resplendent, pursuer of vows, mindful of mercy, delighter in people's welfare, sympathetic, greatly enthusiastic and assertively committed in doing good deeds, knower of time-and-action, all these living-beings on earth are thus relating your renown, aren't they. [4-17-17, 18]
damah shamah kshamaa dharmo dhriti satyam paraakramah |
parthivaanaam gunaa raajan dandah ca apakaarisu || 1-17-19
"To be able to control senses and will, forgiveness, conscientiousness, resoluteness, truthfulness, and adventurousness, oh, king, are the aptitudes of a king, and even punishing the wrongdoers, too. [4-17-19]
taan gunaan sa.mpradhaarya aham agryam ca abhijanam tava |
taarayaa pratisiddho api sugriivena samaagatah || 1-17-20
"Concluding that those kingly characteristics will be obtainable in you, and even judging by the noble dynasty of yours, I have confronted Sugreeva though Tara dissuaded me. [4-17-20]
na maam anyena sa.mrabdham pramattam veddhum arhasi |
iti me buddhir utpannaa babhuuva adarshane tava || 1-17-21
"When you have not appeared before me when I confronted Sugreeva my concept was, 'it will be inapt of Rama to hurt me while I am combating with another combatant, besides, when I will be unvigilant in that fight…' [4-17-21]
na tvaam vinihata aatmaanam dharma dhvajam adhaarmikam |
jaane paapa samaacaaram trinaih kuupam iva aavritam || 1-17-22
"Not known that your soul is put to death, not known that you are the unrighteous flag bearer of righteousness, to me not known that you are insidious like straw covered well. [4-17-22]
sataam vesa dharam paapam pracchannam iva paavakam |
na aham tvaam abhijaanaami dharma chadmaabhi sa.mvritam || 1-17-23
"I have no knowledge that you are a sinner, one in the garb of a benign soul, and explicitly mantled under the garb of probity like ash covered fire. [4-17-23]
visaye vaa pure vaa te yadaa paapam karomi aham |
na ca tvaam avajaane aha.m kasmaat tvam ha.msi akilbisam || 1-17-24
phala muula ashanam nityam vaanaram vana gocaram |
maam iha apratiyudhyantam anyena ca samaagatam || 1-17-25
"I am non-guilty as I have not committed any misdeed either in your country or in your city, nor I have taunted you; I am a Vanara subsisting on fruits and tubers and always moving in forests alone; such as I am, what made you to torture me when I was not combating with you en face, furthermore, when I was involved with another? [4-17-24, 25]
tvam naraadhipateh putrah pratiitah priyadarshanah |
lingam api asti te raajan drishyate dharma samhitam || 1-17-26
"You are renowned to be a prince with charming looks, oh, king, and indications agreeable to rectitude are also appearing on your body. [4-17-26]
kah ksatriya kulejaatah shrutavaan nastasa.mshayah |
dharma li.nga praticchannah kruuram karma samaacaret || 1-17-27
"Will anybody born in Kshatriyas family, a learned one in Veda-s, thereby who is rid of ambiguities with respect to right and wrong, and who is cloaked in an air of probity, execute such a ruthless deed like this? [4-17-27]
raama raaghava kule jaato dharmavaan iti vishrutah |
abhavyo bhavya ruupena kim artham paridhaavase || 1-17-28
"Though born in Raghava's dynasty and renowned as a moralist you are actually amoral, and for what purpose you run around with this moral aspect? [4-17-28]
saama daanam ksamaa dharmah satyam dhriti paraakramau |
paarthivaanaam gunaa raajan dandah ca api apakaarisu || 1-17-29
"Influencing, largesse, forbearance [patience], probity [adherence to the highest principles and ideal], candor [unstained purity], and conquering are the attributes of the kings, oh, king, and even punishing the wrongdoers. [4-17-29]
vayam vanacaraa raama mrigaa muula phala ashanaah |
esaa prakritir asmaakam purusah tvam nareshvarah || 1-17-30
"We as animals live in forests while you are city dwellers, we live by eating fruits and tubers while you enjoy feasts and banquets, our nature is such to kill and get killed, thus you and me have no correlation. And you, even if you are a man and a prince for humans, you resorted to this animalistic way of killing me lying in the wait, thus your action is worse than that of an animal, if not subhuman or un-princely. [4-17-30]
bhuumir hiranyam ruupam ca nigrahe kaaranaani ca |
tatra kah te vane lobho madiiyesu phalesu vaa || 1-17-31
"Territory, gold, and silver will be the causes while counteracting somebody, in that case, by what you are decoyed into these forests of mine or in the fruits of mine. [4-17-31]
nayah ca vinayah ca ubhau nigraha anugrahau api |
raaja vrittir asa.mkiirnaa na nripaah kaama vrittayah || 1-17-32
"In the pairs of propriety and compliance, punishment and pardoning, no admixture is exercised in kingcraft, for the kings do not conduct themselves volitionally. [4-17-32]
tvam tu kaama pradhaanah ca kopanah ca anavasthitah |
raaja vrittesu sa.mkiirnah sharaasana paraayanah || 1-17-33
"But, to you your self-interests are primary, and you are a wrathful, capricious, contriver of kingcraft, and an impetuous shooting-happy archer. [4-17-33]
na te asti apacitih dharme na arthe buddhir avasthitaa |
indriyaih kaama vrittah san krisyase manujeshvara || 1-17-34
"Oh, king, you have no devotion to probity, nor your mind is firm about material gains, but as a free-willed one you are distracted by senses. [4-17-34]
hatvaa baanena kaakutstha maam iha anaparaadhinam |
kim vaksyasi sataam madhye karma kritvaa jugupsitam || 1-17-35
"How you are answerable to gentlemen, Rama, when you have done this detestable deed of killing an unoffending one like me with your arrow? [4-17-35]
raajahaa brahmahaa goghnah corah praanivadhe ratah |
naastikah parivettaa ca sarve niraya gaaminah || 1-17-36
"A regicide [a person who kills a king], a Brahman-cide [killer], a cow-slayer, a thief, an inveterate killer, an atheist, and an younger brother who marries before his elder, all of them will go to hell. [4-17-36]
suucakah ca kadaryah ca mitrghno gurutalpagah |
loka.m paapaatmaanam ete gacchante na atra samshayah || 1-17-37
"A slander-monger, skinflint, friend-killer and one who makes love with his teacher's wife, they all go to the worlds of evil-souls, no doubt about it. [4-17-37]
adhaaryam carma me sadbhii romaani asthi ca varjitam |
abhaksyaani ca maa.msaani tvat vidhaih dharmacaaribhih || 1-17-38
"My skin is un-wearable, holy people forbid my hair and bones, and uneatable is my meat for your kind of reputable people. [4-17-38]
panca panca nakhaa bhaksyaa brahma ksatrena raaghava |
shalyakah shvaavidho godhaa shashah kuurmah ca pa.ncamah || 1-17-39
"Raghava, five kinds of five-nailed animals, viz., a kind of wild rodent, a kind of wild-boar, a kind of lizard, a hare and fifthly the turtle are edible for Brahmans and Kshatriya-s. [4-17-39]
carma ca asthi ca me raajan na sprishanti maniisinah |
abhaksyaani ca maa.msaani so aham pa.nca nakho hatah || 1-17-40
"Sensible people will not touch my skin and bones, oh, king, nor meats from my body are to be eaten, such as I am, a five-nailed animal, I am killed. [4-17-40]
taarayaa vaakyam ukto aham satyam sarvajnayaa hitam |
tad atikramya mohena kaalasya vasham aagatah || 1-17-41
"Though Tara appraised me with truthful and favorable words, I just disregarded her advise owing to my own delusion, and gone into the control of Time. [4-17-41]
tvayaa naathena kaakutstha na sanaathaa vasu.mdharaa |
pramadaa shiila sa.mpuurnaa pati eva ca vidharminaa || 1-17-42
"With you as her espouser the Earth is not with a correct spouse, as with any lady who is with full-fledged chastity, but with a husband who is without rectitude. [4-17-42]
shatho naikritikah ksudro mithyaa prashrita maanasah |
katham dasharathena tvam jaatah paapo mahaatmanaa || 1-17-43
"How are you borne to that great-souled Dasharatha when you are artful, felonious, knavish, disposed to a false modesty subconsciously, and an evildoer? [4-17-43]
chinna caaritrya kaksyena sataam dharma ativartinaa |
tyakta dharma ankushena aham nihato raama hastinaa || 1-17-44
"I am killed by an elephant called Rama that snapped off its girdle-cord called tradition, that infringed the conventions of righteous people, and that discarded the goad called virtue. [4-17-44]
ashubham ca api ayuktam ca sataam ca eva vigarhitam |
vakshyase ca iidrisham kritvaa sadbhih saha samaagatah || 1-17-45
"On accomplishing this sort of unpropitious, unjustified killing, which is condemned by the righteous people, what can you say when you meet the godly men? [4-17-45]
udaasiinesu yo asmaasu vikramo ayam prakaashitah |
apakaarisu te raama na evam pashyaami vikramam || 1-17-46
"The valor that which is displayed on the unprejudiced few like us, oh, Rama, I do not see that sort of valor is shown by you in respect of your enemies. [4-17-46]
drishyamaanah tu yudhyethaa mayaa yudhi nripaatmaja |
adya vaivasvatam devam pashyeh tvam nihato mayaa || 1-17-47
"Had you been in combat with me en face oh, prince, you would have been killed by me and by now you would have seen the death-god Yama. [4-17-47]
tvayaa adrishyena tu rane nihato aham duraasadah |
prasuptah pannagena iva narah paapa vasham gatah || 1-17-48
"An unassailable one, such as I am, I am killed by you while you remained invisible on the field of fight, as with a sinner bitten by a snake while he is asleep. [4-17-48]
sugriiva priya kaamena yad aham nihatah tvayaa |
maam eva yadi puurvam tvam etad artham acodayah |
maithilim aham eka aahnaa tava ca aaniitavaan bhaveh || 1-17-49
raakshasam ca duraatmaanaam tava bhaarya apahaarinam |
kanthe baddhvaa pradadyaam te anihatam raavanam rane || 3-17-50
"For which purpose I am killed, intending to do good to Sugreeva is incidental to it, you should have assigned me for that purpose in the first instance itself, and I would have brought that evil-minded demon Ravana, the abductor of your wife in one day, that too without killing him in any fight, but by fastening him by neck, and I would have presented Maithili to you. [3-17-49, 50]
nyastaam saagara toye vaa paataale vaa api maithiliim |
aanayeyam tava aadeshaat shvetaam ashvatariim iva || 4-17-51
"I would have brought Maithili at your order even if she is lodged in oceanic waters or in nether worlds, as with the White Horse of Vedic lore. [4-17-51]
yuktam yat prapnuyaat raajyam sugriivah svar gate mayi |
ayuktam yad adharmena tvayaa aham nihato rane || 4-17-52
"The fact of Sugreeva's getting the kingdom after my going to heaven is proper, but the fact of your killing me in war, un-righteously, is improper. [4-17-52]
kaamam evam vidham lokah kaalena viniyujyate |
ksamam cet bhavataa praaptam uttaram saadhu ci.ntyataam || 4-17-53
"Admittedly the world is this way, and if possible a relevant reply may gently be thought of about your propriety in killing me..." So said Vali to Rama. [4-17-53]
iti evam uktvaa parishuska vaktrah
shara abhighaataat vyathito mahaatmaa |
samiiksya raamam ravi sa.mnikaasham
tuusniim babhau vaanara raaja suunuh || 4-17-54
That great-souled son of a Vanara king Vali, whom the arrow impaled and agonized, on keenly seeing Rama whose resplendence equals the brightness of the sun, said that much and remained silent when his mouth has dried up. [4-17-54]
iti vaalmiiki raamaayane aadi kaavye kiskindha kaande saptadashah sargah
Thus, this is the 17th chapter in Kishkindha Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.
Sriman Moola Rama Vijayate