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Vaali Vadam: Halebidu : Part 1


Vali Vadham

Rama too is eager to do so. He says to all of them,”Let us go.” And they move towards Kishkind­ha where Vali lives. Roar­ing and shout­ing, Sug­ri­va chal­lenges Vali to come out. Vali, who is undoubt­ed­ly of supe­ri­or strength, is sur­prised at this auda­cious­ness and comes out to meet the chal­lenge of Sug­ri­va. Quick­ly, they join hands in a duel. The two broth­ers, Vali and Sug­ri­va, strike each oth­er and kick each oth­er. The fight­ing is fierce. Rama, Lak­sh­mana and the oth­ers watch this ter­ri­ble fight­ing from behind trees which are at a dis­tance. Though Rama stands with his bow in readi­ness to shoot the most dead­ly arrow, he does not shoot because he can­not make out who Vali is and who Sug­ri­va is! They resem­ble each oth­er so much that Rama is unde­cid­ed. Nat­u­ral­ly, Sug­ri­va is severe­ly wound­ed and he flees from the place and rush­es up Rishya­mu­ka hill. Vali chas­es him right up to the foot of the hill and then with­draws. Rama seeks the pres­ence of Sug­ri­va imme­di­ate­ly. Sug­ri­va is ter­ri­bly dis­ap­point­ed and dis­heart­ened. He says to Rama,”O Rama, you have let me down ter­ri­bly. You could have told me ear­li­er that you did not wish to kill Vali, and I would not have ven­tured to go to him.” Rama explains,”I could not make out who was who! I did not want to dis­charge my arrow lest I should kill you. To kill one to whom I have giv­en asy­lum would be a great sin. Please go again. But this time wear some­thing to dis­tin­guish you from Vali! In this way, I may know who is who when both of you close in on each oth­er to fight the duel.” At Rama’s instruc­tion, Lak­sh­mana gath­ers some wild flow­ers known as Gaja­push­pi, makes a gar­land out of them and puts this gar­land around the neck of Sug­ri­va. All of them go to Kishkind­ha once more. Armed with their weapons, Rama, Lak­sh­mana and the Vanaras enter Kishkind­ha. Sug­ri­va is itch­ing for a fight. He advances towards the palace of Vali and roars. The sound is so pow­er­ful and heart-rend­ing that the birds and the beasts are scat­tered by it. Hear­ing Sug­ri­va roar­ing once again, Vali is ter­ri­bly annoyed. His van­i­ty is hurt and his anger aroused. He rush­es out of his apart­ment, unable to tol­er­ate this insult. Tara, his wife and a very wise woman, how­ev­er, inter­venes and polite­ly says to him,”Lord, I wish you would not rush out to met Sug­ri­va like this. It is bet­ter to reflect over this new devel­op­ment and take stock of the sit­u­a­tion and then fight if nec­es­sary after some time. Sug­ri­va was bad­ly wound­ed and made to flee just a lit­tle while ago. He has now returned. Sure­ly, he has some­one to help him. Sug­ri­va is clever. He would not trust an ally whose strength he has not clev­er­ly test­ed. This should be con­sid­ered.” She fur­ther dis­clos­es that their son, Anga­da, got intel­li­gence reports from spies that the sons of Dasharatha, Rama and Lak­sh­mana, had arrived and entered into a friend­ship with Sug­ri­va. She says,”Rama is mighty, and he is also the abode of dhar­ma. There­fore, I con­sid­er that hos­til­i­ty with Rama is unwise. Let there be no enmi­ty between you and your broth­er Sug­ri­va, and let there be friend­ship with Rama too. Let Sug­ri­va be prince regent and let love be restored between you broth­ers. Sure­ly, your broth­er deserves your love and affec­tion.” This wise coun­sel does not please Vali. He says stern­ly to Tara,”Thank you for your advice. You have done your job. You have shown me enough affec­tion. Now you may return home. I shall return after sub­du­ing the arro­gant Sug­ri­va. I can­not tol­er­ate his insult­ing behav­ior.” Tara could only invoke the bless­ings of God on Vali. The two mighty broth­ers imme­di­ate­ly join in the fiercest bat­tle. Vali hits Sug­ri­va; and Sug­ri­va vom­its blood pro­fuse­ly. Sug­ri­va hits Vali with a big tree, and Vali reels under the impact. How­ev­er, soon Vali gets the upper hand and begins to belabour Sug­ri­va with all his might. Thus tor­ment­ed, Sug­ri­va con­tin­ues to fight, look­ing around, as if seek­ing help. Rama knows that the time has come for him to inter­vene. He fix­es a dread­ful arrow to his bow and fires it. The arrow, when fired, leaves his bow with the sound of thun­der and strikes the chest of Vali. Hit by Rama’s arrow, Vali, the mighty war­rior who is radi­ant with val­our, falls. But, Vali does not die. He wears a celes­tial chain which was giv­en to him by Indra, the king of the devas, and which pre­served his life ener­gy, radi­ance and charm. But the arrow of Rama, with which he is hit, illu­mi­nates his path to heav­en and brings him to the supreme state. Rama and Lak­sh­mana go for­ward to where he lay on the ground. Look­ing at them, in cour­te­ous words but with a harsh tone, Vali address­es Rama,”You who are born of the great emper­or Dasharatha, Rama, have com­mit­ted an adharmic act. You shot me while I was fight­ing some­one else. You shot me from a place of hid­ing. Peo­ple glo­ri­fy you that you are the abode of dhar­ma, devot­ed to truth and com­pas­sion­ate. I thought all this was true. So, though Tara, my wife, had heard that you were here as an ally of Sug­ri­va, I fought with him. No one would expect you to strike me in an unchival­rous man­ner. Rama, I have giv­en you no offence at all. I did not encroach upon your ter­ri­to­ry, nor invade your cap­i­tal, nor did I com­mit an act of aggres­sion against you. Yet, you sought to kill me, while I was fight­ing anoth­er per­son! Yet, again, you appear in the guise of a dharmic per­son, wear­ing a mat­ted lock and deer-skin and bark of trees. Peace­ful nego­ti­a­tion, char­i­ty, for­give­ness, dhar­ma, truth, firm­ness, val­our and pun­ish­ment of crim­i­nals – these are the qual­i­ties of kings. We are prim­i­tive jun­gle folk liv­ing like ani­mals on fruits and roots. Peo­ple usu­al­ly fight for land, gold and beau­ti­ful women; but we have none of these here! Yet you have sought to kill me, for no appar­ent rea­son. You have trans­gressed the bounds of dhar­ma; you have bro­ken the code of moral­i­ty. My wife Tara did tell me about your arrival here, and of your friend­ship with Sug­ri­va to achieve your mis­sion. Had you told me of your mis­for­tune, I would have brought your wife back in no time! I would have roped Ravana alive and brought him to you. I sup­pose my end is near, no one can escape death. But, what is your jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for bring­ing about my end?” Rama replies to Vali,”You do not know dhar­ma, or world­ly affairs, or the laws gov­ern­ing enjoy­ment, nor the peo­ple’s behav­ior in dif­fer­ent con­di­tions and cir­cum­stances, and yet you blame me. The whole earth belongs to the kings descend­ed from Manu and there­fore my father Iksh­vaku. The present ruler in the dynasty of Iksh­vaku is my noble broth­er Bhara­ta. He is the supreme monarch of the whole earth, and I derive my man­date from him, to ensure that all the sub­jects of that noble emper­or observe dhar­ma. I con­sid­er that you are the worst among sin­ners. I shall tell you why. Accord­ing to the code of right­eous­ness, one’s elder broth­er, father and one’s teacher are to be treat­ed as one’s father. In the same way, one’s younger broth­er, son and dis­ci­ple should be treat­ed as one’s son. Yet, here you are: you are liv­ing with your younger broth­er’s wife who is like a daugh­ter to you! Dhar­ma is extreme­ly sub­tle and dif­fi­cult to under­stand; and the con­duct of the vir­tu­ous is dif­fi­cult to under­stand; only the Self dwelling in the hearts of all knows what is right and what is wrong. The first and fore­most rea­son why I struck you down was, you are liv­ing in sin with your younger broth­er’s wife, and I as a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the emper­or con­sid­er it my duty to mete out this pun­ish­ment to you. In con­nec­tion with this, there is the well-known com­mand­ment – ‘By under­go­ing the just pun­ish­ment met­ed out by the king, the crim­i­nal is puri­fied and goes to heav­en. If the crim­i­nal goes unpun­ished, the king is guilty of the crime.’ Even mighty ones have thus been pun­ished, and oth­ers have car­ried out expi­a­to­ry actions to get rid of sins. Sec­ond­ly, Sug­ri­va is my friend, even as Lak­sh­mana is. I have giv­en him my word of hon­our that his king­dom and his wife shall be restored to him. It is my duty there­fore, to hon­our this promise. You might ask, why I did not fight direct­ly with you and kill you. I say: peo­ple kill wild ani­mals or ani­mals which serve as meat from a place of hid­ing or with­out any provo­ca­tion. Hence, it was right on my part to kill you whether you are fight­ing with me or not, for you are of the same species as for­est-dwelling ani­mals. Thus relieved of your sin by accept­ing the right­ful pun­ish­ment, you will ascend to heav­en, Vali.” Lis­ten­ing to Rama’s rea­sons and under­stand­ing how he is a man who is ever cen­tered in dhar­ma, Vali retracts his accu­sa­tion and apol­o­gis­es for his harsh words. He then begs of Rama,”Please, let my son Anga­da be prop­er­ly looked after. I know that Sug­ri­va, who has your guid­ance, will rule effi­cient­ly and just­ly. But my only anx­i­ety con­cerns Anga­da.” Rama reas­sures him in this regard.

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