Ms. Lakshmi Varma

Kishkinda was ruled by a monkey king Vali who was renowned for his strength and valour.  Once, an asura named Mayavi challenged him for a duel.  A fierce fight erupted between Mayavi and Vali in the outskirts of Kishkinda, and Vali's brother Sugriva watched them praying that his brother should win the duel.  The two entered a cave and continued fighting in the cave for more than a year.  Sugriva who waited all this period, returned home in sorrow assuming his brother was dead.  The elders of Kishkinda appointed Sugriva as the king to succeed Vali.

After some years,  Vali suddenly returned to Kishkinda, and found that his country was now being ruled by his brother Sugriva.  He mistook that his brother usurped his kingdom and threw him out of the Kishkinda and captured his wife.  "A wise monkey        is the monkey that does not monkey with another monkey's monkey "  Sugriva took refuge on a mountain named Rishyamooka as he knew that his brother could not pursue him there because of a curse on him by a sage.

One day he noticed two young men who looked like tapasvins wandering around his hiding place, searching for someone. He also noticed that they had bows, arrows and swords.  He was afraid that they were hitmen employed by his brother to kill him.  He sent his minister Hanuman to investigate.  Hanuman disguised himself as a brahmin and approached the two men and politely enquired about their credentials.  They introduced themselves as Dasarathaputras Rama and Lakshmana and that they were in search of Rama's wife Sita who was abducted by a rakshasa.

They also told Hanuman that they were on the lookout for Sugriva for help.  Convinced of their good intentions, Hanuman identified himself and guided them to Sugriva.  He introduced Rama and Lakshmana to Sugriva and appraised Sugriva of Rama's need for help.  Sugriva was pleased about the noble stature of the brothers and greeted them.  During the conversation that followed, he narrated his sorrowful story of how he is being hounded by his own brother and pleaded with Rama to put an end to his misery.  Rama who always stood by Dharma promised to kill Vali and redeem his kingdom.

Later Sugriva told them about an incident a few days back when he saw a Rakshasa drag a beautiful princess like lady across the sky.  Sugriva heard her shout the names of Rama and Lakshmana and then saw her drop her jewels tied in a piece of cloth she had torn from her mantle down to the place where Sugriva was sitting.  On hearing this Rama was anxious to see the bundle.  On seeing it, he immediately recognised the piece of silk yellow cloth as that of Sita's.  To be doubly sure, he then asked Lakshmana to identify the jewels.  Lakshmana replied that other than the anklets which he used to see every time he fell at the lotus feet of Sita for her blessings, he had no idea of what other jewels she wore.  He confirmed that the anklets were that of Sita.  Rama was very upset now that Sita's abduction was confirmed, but revived himself after being consoled by Sugriva.

A bond of friendship was forged, built on mutual affection.

Though Rama had promised to kill Vali, Sugriva had his doubts since he knew about Vali's valour and also since he had not yet seen Rama's skills being displayed.  With great hesitation, he asked Rama to prove his mettle by successfully overcoming two challenges- one to lift the skeleton of the asura named Dhundhubi and throw it to a distance of 100 bows and the other to pierce sala tree with his arrow.  Rama was unperturbed by the challenge and very soon, proved himself to better than Sugriva's expectations.  Sugriva, overcome joy, requested Rama to kill Vali immediately.  Accordingly, they went to the gates of Kishkindha and Sugriva let out a roar signifying his intention to challenge Vali for a bout of fight.

Vali, on hearing this, became  amused rather than angry as he thought that Sugriva was no match for him.  Nonetheless, as is customary to honour such challenges, he set about for a duel with Sugriva.  A fierce duel ensued and the brothers fought valiantly.  Sugriva was confident that very soon Rama would keep up his promise and kill Vali.  But then as time ;passed by, Sugriva was slowly being overpowered by his elder brother and Rama did not keep up his promise.  He retreated hastily, thoroughly confused about Rama's lack of response.  When he met Rama later he expressed his disappointment at what had happened.  Rama explained to him that he could not kill Vali because he looked so identical to Sugriva and there was a possibility that the wrong person would be killed.  To overcome this problem, a garland was placed on Sugriva's neck.

Once again, Sugriva challenged Vali, certain that Rama would not fail this time.  As the fight progressed, Rama waited for the right opportunity to kill Vali and when such a moment came by, he shot an arrow which pierced 6 sala trees and lodged itself straight into the heart of Vali.  Vali fell to the ground, hurt more by the fact that he was felled by a third person who was not part of the fight than by the arrow itself.  Vali accused Rama of being an adharmi who attacked him unwarrantedly.  With great distress he said that Rama lacked qualities of truthfulness and valour.  Vali asked "what right did you have to interfere in my personal fight with Sugriva? You are a Kshatriya and you are well versed in the nuances of Dharma but then I was deceived by your reputation.  You righteousness is just a pretence.  If you had challenged me and fought with me I would certainly have defeated you.  But you stealthily attacked me and killed me because you wanted to please Sugriva so that he may help you finding Sita.  Had you approached me first I would have released Sita from the clutches of Ravana and brought her back to you in a single day."

On hearing all these accusations Rama replied with great choice of words clarity of thought. He said, " You don't seem to know all about Dharma, Artha and Kama and yet you accuse me of having overstepped the boundaries of Dharma.  This world, this forest with its mountains, its rivers and lakes, are all ruled by the Kings of Raghuvamsa and its well within their limits to punish inmates of their cities or forests. You are an adharmi since you are sinful in behaviour and lustful.  You should have treated Sugriva like a son, but have wronged him by ill-treating him and capturing his wife.  You have transgressed the rules of Dharma and I, as a representative of king Bharatha, have punished you for it.  Moreover we rajarishis will always kill wild animals by hiding and by various traps and snares.  I consider you a wild animal and hence am justified in treating you as such.  I do not think I acted wrongly.

On hearing Rama's words Vali was now convinced that Rama was flawless.  He said, " I abide by what you say.  I am convinced that you can do no wrong.  Please bless me before I leave this world.  Please protect my wife and son and guide Sugriva in ruling Kishkindha from now on."  He then breathed his last.  His wife Tara was grieved to learn that her husband was dead.  Hanuman tried to console Tara and said,

" A man reaps the fruit of his actions whether good or bad and death grants him these fruits.  There is no cause for grief in this world where everything is transient.  Birth & Death are inevitable and life on earth is not permanent.  That is the reason why a man should try to do as many good things when he is alive. As the wife of Vali, your duty to comfort your son Angada and think of his welfare".    Despite this effort from Hanuman, Tara was inconsolable.

When Sugriva saw Vali's wife weeping piteously, he was filled with a sense of remorse and guilt for having been the reason for all this unhappiness fro a mere piece of land.  Sensing the mood of unhappiness all around him, Rama reminded everyone gently about the need to get on with life and perform Vali's last rites.  He spoke again about the power of fate over everyone and everything.  He said, " No one can circumvent fate.

In this world fate is the only cause for every happening.  No man does anything on his own; nor is he free to command anyone to do anything.  Fate is the sole power which rules the actions of man.  No one can escape the rulings of fate.

How  true !  It is my fate that I am here in front of you talking about a subject with minimal knowledge and it is your cruel fate that you should be here listening  to it.

Fate is neither partial nor has it any personal gain or loss to sustain.  Fate makes man suffer or enjoy pleasure and man is helpless in the hands of fate.

Raise up yourselves from this despondency and perform the last rites of Vali"  With this elaboration on fate by Rama, the vanaras were convinced and proceeded to perform the last rites of Vali.

After the last rites of Vali, everyone stood silent, not knowing what to do next.  Hanuman requested Rama to command them and lead them to Kishkindha but Rama refused saying he had vowed never to step into any kingdom for fourteen years.  With the best wishes of Rama and Lakshmana, Sugriva was crowned as the king and Vali's son Angada the yuvaraja.  Sugriva was reunited with his wife and spent many years ruling Kishkindha.

Shri RamajayaM

Ms. Lakshmi Varma

From the earlier  explanation  we understand how Lord Rama succeeds in returning Sugreeva his lost kingdom and glory and crowns him King of Kishkinda. As it turns out to be the beginning of the rainy season, he  proceeds  to the Prasravena mountains, eagerly waiting for the rainy season to get over and for sugreeva to fulfill his  promise to help him find  Sita Devi  along with with the assistance of the mighty Hanuman and the other vanaras.

Meanwhile, Sugreeva gets so enthralled in his worldly attachments that he had to be reminded by Hanuman  of his present position  which was because of a favour from Lord Rama. Hanunam tells him in  a very subtle but emphatic way to awaken and not to forget the promise he had  made to Lord Rama.  Hanuman’s sincerity and devotion  towards his master Lord Rama cannot  be surpassed by anyone , as he is so well aware of his responsibility and needn’t be reminded.  His dedication is shown , when  he takes the responsibility  to remind  Sugriva  how essential it is for one to keep his word. On the other hand we  have the short tempered Lakshmana  whose life also literally rotates around Sri Rama and whose anger knows no bounds and who has to be finally pacified by Angada and Tara.

Even a noble soul like Sugreeva lapses into failure of duty while living in the midst of luxury. What we need to understand is though for a moment he had forgotten, but a good soul that  he is, he corrects himself immediately. A good soul is always  amenable to correction.

Sugreeva then summons all the monkeys and assigns each one different directions to pursue the search.  For sometime it appeared that their search was all in vain and all were totally dejected but they do not want to face Lord Rama unsuccessful as they  have seen how he missed his wife. It is there that they come across  Sampati brother of Jatayu  who  then  directs them  to Lanka the abode of Ravana. The vanaras were filled with hope and started planning as  to how to  reach their destination and finally come to a conclusion that it is only Hanuman who is capable of completing this formidable task. Hanuman then leaps into the sky towards Lanka.

Hanuman , known for his humility, though aware of his strength, still silently waits for  Jambavan  to order him to go ahead. He doesn’t want to supersede anybody and this shows his respect and obedience for  the authority .  These days we hear something called the generation gap. We  on the whole refuse to listen to what  our elders have to say as we think that they are not in tune  with today’s modern world and  it is only when our actions fail  that we realise, Oh ! How I wish I could have obeyed my elders advice.

Knowing one’sstrengths and yet  learning  to remain humble shows nobility of  one’s character.

In these chapters we see Lord Rama sitting very patiently thinking about Sita Devi  all the time hoping to see her soon and wishing for her well being.  One always wonders  why Lord Rama who is an incarnation of GOD himself had to go through all these travails. There is certainly a hidden reason to this.

It is a clear indication to us that every human undergoes different emotions whether  it is happiness or sorrow and during our times of sorrow  we have to wait patiently without losing our hope, and  GOD alone will set things right at the right time.  We have the misconcept that our timings of our actions are perfect as we cannot see the future and that’s where we go wrong. All of us are in a hurry to let things happen and the childlike impulse in each one of us sometimes make us commit blunders.  We forget the fact that everything is ruled and controlled by the LORD and no matter how much anxiety we show  we have to wait  for the time, when things are destined to happen . Large number of people turn to GOD  when they have lost everything and  are  weakest, and then find  that GOD was there all along and  ever waiting  to fill his strength in  them.

It is very human to lose our mental equipoise when our tensions are at its peak. It is at that time that our trust and faith in  GOD help us regain our normal self. And a sincere heartfelt word of encouragement from someone who understands our situation helps us actually face it with more vigour.

It is by the grace of GOD that we meet the right people during our  troubled times who really shower their love and support us like a strong pillar.  It  is like Lakshmana’s undaunted love and support towards Rama  at a time when he was separated from SitaDevi.

In life we come across instances  where we have been helped by strangers. We  do owe them a lot for their  timely help .

What we need to understand from Lord Rama’s gesture to help Sugreeva is that just as he didn’t think twice before he helped Sugreeva the king of Vanaras, we shouldn’t discriminate while offering help and  should not expect anything in return.

Lord Rama had not hoped for anything when he helped Sugreeva.  It is after Sugreeva gained all that he lost, that he made a promise to Lord Rama that he would help him find Sita Devi.  Our help shouldn’t be business like with any ulterior motive, let us be genuine and sincere and have a selfless attitude. Sometimes we may not be able to repay the person who has helped us , but we can always willingly help out someone else who seeks our help.  And being able to help someone  keeping aside our own problems is  total selflessness.

Man is what his mind is.  Whatever he experiences in the world is according to his mind. When our mind is happy we find  the whole world happy and when we are depressed we find the whole world depressing. We have to control our thought process tune our mind  and try and be a better person.

Like Gurunanak has said he who has conquered the mind has conquered the world.

Jai shree Ram.