Who convinced Vibheeshana to perform the last rites of Ravana?

After Rama killed Ravana in the war, Ravana’s army ran towards Lanka city with fear. Sugreeva, Angada, and their army became elated with joy and started celebrating their victory. Vibheeshana reached towards Ravana’s dead body, lying the in the mud and soaked in blood, Vibheeshana became very sad.


With grief, Vibheeshana said to Ravana’s dead body, “Brother, Look what has happened. As a king, you used to sleep on the most comfortable bed and now you are lying in the mud. I have always warned you that you made a mistake by abducting Sita. But because of your arrogance and lust, you never paid attention to my words. Kumbhakarna, Indrajit, and other warriors also did not listen to me and now you are experiencing the consequences.”


Rama consoled Vibheeshana by saying, “Ravana did not run away from the war. He fought the battle like a great warrior and he has made every effort possible to win the battle. You should not grieve for the death of such a warrior. In a war, a warrior should either kill all his enemies or get killed. Ravana was a very powerful warrior and no one could fight with him including the Devas (Gods) “.


Rama continued, “Ravana was a great king and he has developed his country very well and he has created a lot of wealth for his people. In his kingdom, Yajnas (sacrifices) and other rituals were conducted daily. Ravana was well educated and he has developed proficiency in several Shastras(subjects), Vedas and Vedanta. Ravana enjoyed his life with several pleasures. Since he has been killed in a well-fought war, you should honor him by performing his funeral rites. Enmity ends with death.”


Vibheeshana replied, “Rama, I don’t need to perform last rites for Ravana. He was cruel, cheated and he desired others’ wives. He is an enemy in the guise of a brother. People may criticise me for not performing the last rights for my brother. But when they come to that my brother is Ravana, everyone will agree that I have done the right thing. ”


Rama said, “Vibheeshana, Ravana was very wise, powerful but he has not followed his Dharma and he created unpleasantness for everybody. But he was a great warrior and he fought very bravely till his death. Ravana is eligible for his last rites. Perform your duty and gain glory.”


Vibheeshana got convinced with Rama’s words and performed the last rites of Ravana.




Source : Valmiki Ramayana

How did Lakshmana react when he came to know that Rama is leaving for forest?

When Lakshmana has come to know that Rama has been asked to go to the forest, he got very disappointed and came to meet Rama. Kausalya has been persuading Rama to change his decision and not go to the forest. Furious Lakshmana intervened and said, “Mother, I also do not want Rama to go to the forest. The King Dasaratha has become old and out his love for pleasures; Keikeyi influences him. I have never heard anybody talking ill of Rama, even our adversaries. Can any ethical and honest person ask his son to go to the forest without reason?”


Lakshmana said to his brother Rama, “Brother, I will stand by you and with my help, take over the kingdom. I will kill anybody who comes in support of Bharata, and if the people of Ayodhya are opposite to you, I will kill all of them. If our father, Dasaratha, behaves like an enemy, I will imprison him and kill him if necessary. If one becomes arrogant and loses the judgment between good and evil, he needs to be punished. On what basis, our father Dasaratha, has given the kingdom to Bharata?”


Kausalya got some relief with Lakshman’s words and said, “Rama! You have been a great follower of Dharma. Just like you respect your father you have respected me. If you go to a forest, I will not be able to live. As your mother, I am asking you to oppose your father and take claim to the kingdom.” Kausalya grieved miserably and cried uncontrollably.


Rama spoke in a soft voice, “Mother, I am not able to violate my father’s words, and I bow down in front of you to allow me to follow my father’s words. This is not a new practice that I have invented. Even in the past, Parasurama killed his mother and a sage called Kandu killed a cow to abide by father’s words. I will adhere to the age old practices that are mentioned in scriptures.”


Rama turned to Lakshmana and said, “My mother is grieving because she does not realize the value of truth. You are aware that Dharma is the ultimate and Satya (Truth) is established within Dharma. Our father’s words are established in Dharma. One who follows Dharma always abides by the promise given to the father, mother or sages. Do not think like a warrior who is in the war but think of the dharma that you have to follow”. Rama turned towards Kausalya and said, “Mother, I seek your blessings to go to the forest. I will come back after my exile, and I request all of you to follow father’s directions.”


Kausalya did not agree and replied, “Rama! I am also as respectable as your father for you, and I do not give you permission to go away. What is the purpose of living if you are not with me?” Lakshmana also agreed with her and nodded his head. Rama said, “Lakshmana! I know your love and affection towards me. But you are joining with mother, and you are making things difficult for me without understanding my opinion. One who establishes himself in Dharma will achieve Artha (wealth) and kama (desires). One who focuses only on artha or kama without any concern for Dharma will be hated in this world. I do not wish to sacrifice Dharma for the sake of the inferior kingdom, glory, and pleasures.”

Rama turned to his mother Kausalya and said, “Only a cruel person will not live up to the promises given to his father. King Dasaratha is alive and even for you; it is your dharma to follow his words. Please give me permission to leave for the forest.”


Kausalya gave her permission very reluctantly, and Rama proceeded to meet Sita to inform about his journey to a forest.


Source: Valmiki Ramayana


How to deal with friendship? Hanuma’s advice that saved Sugraiva’s life

After Vali’s death, Rama has coroneted Sugriva as the king of Kishkindha Kingdom. Sugriva thanked Rama and promised Rama that he will assemble a great army to fight Ravana as soon as the rainy season is over. Since Rama has taken a vow that he will not live in any city, he lived on the Prasavana mountain along with Lakshmana. While Rama was waiting, Sugriva engrossed himself in pleasures and comforts of his kingship. He indulged himself with women day in and day out and delegated his responsibilities to able ministers.


Hanuma has observed this and advised Sugriva that, “Now you have acquired your kingdom back and you still have the duty to fulfill your promise to assemble the army. Your kingdom will flourish only if you treat your friends very amicably and address their needs punctually. A king needs to pay attention to his finances, army, friends and his own atman (self). A king who does not addresses his friend’s needs on time, and over indulges in personal comforts will receive lot of adversity. When you delay in acting on addressing a friends’ need, it is as good as not acting at all”.


Hanuma continued, “Rama is a great warrior and he is capable of attacking Ravana alone. Rama values his friendship greatly and he has proved it already by saving your life from your brother and made you as a King. Please do not wait till Rama comes back and remind you to act on your promise. Invest your energies in pursuing Rama’s objectives and command the army to assemble here quickly”. Sugriva thanked Hanuma and ordered immediately to assemble a massive army and prepare for the fight.


The rainy season was over and Rama still did not get any communication from Sugriva on how to proceed to Lanka. Rama became very anguished and said to Lakshmana, “Four months of rainy season feels like hundred years for me. I don’t know how Sita is and without her I am not able to enjoy this beautiful nature as well. Sugriva has used me to get his kingdom back and he is indulging in the worthless pleasures and forgot his promises.” Rama asked Lakshmana to go to Kishkindha and remind Sugriva about his promise. “Tell Sugriva that I have killed Vali with one arrow and if Sugriva does not abide by his words, I can kill Sugriva and his dynasty as well”. Lakshmana became very angry and said “I will kill Sugriva right away and will lead and an army under the leadership of Angada to search Sita”. But Rama asked Lakshmana to have patience and only warn Sugriva and not act in haste.


When furious Lakshmana entered Kishkindha, some of the informers informed Sugriva about Lakshmana’s visit. Sugriva came to Hanuma and said, “ I have never spoken ill of Rama or Lakshmana and I don’t know why Lakshmana is angry with me. Some of my rivals may have created a bad impression about me to Rama. Why don’t you go to Lakshmana and pacify him”. Hanuma replied, “Rama must be upset and he must have sent Lakshmana to remind you about your promise. You have been ecstatic about your kingdom and you have not noticed that the rainy season is over. If Rama is annoyed, it is not good for you and your kingdom. You have been a great friend and you already ordered the entire army to be assembled. I don’t foresee any other way except apologizing to Lakshmana for the delay. If He uses any harsh words, please endure it as Rama is anguished.”


Sugriva apologized to Lakshmana and they all went to the Prasavana Mountain to display the great army that he has assembled to fight the war.


Source : Valmiki ramayana


Did Sita and Rama argue over going to forest?

On the day of the Rama’s coronation ceremony, Dasaratha has informed Rama that he has agreed to grant two wishes of his wife, Keikeyi. Dasaratha asked his son Rama to live in the forest for 14 years, and Bharata will be coronated as the King. Rama happily agreed to follow the orders of his father. Rama took the blessings of his father Dasaratha and his mothers.


Unaware of the happenings, Sita was very excited to get ready for the ceremony and offered prayers. Looking at her excitement, sudden grief overcame Rama, and he informed Sita that he is going to live in the forest. Rama said, “When I am gone, please take interested in religious practices and fasting. Pay respect to my three mothers and father. Treat Bharata and Satrughna as your brothers and sons. Bharata is our King and the head of our family. Do not displease him.”


After hearing Rama’s words, Sita became angry out of love and said, “What are you saying? For any woman, father, son, mother or self are not the real companion and only husband the true companion. Even in heaven, I would like to stay when you are not with me. When you are on a difficult journey that is full of obstacles and thorns, I will accompany you and support you. I will live in the forest with you eating roots and fruits only and doing all religious practices regularly. I am aware that you can protect me from animals in the forest.“


Rama tried to persuade Sita by saying, “Living in the forest is not easy. I am thinking about your well-being, and I am advising you not to come to the forest. Wild animals wander around the forest and attack, humans. Rivers and streams are filled with dangerous crocodiles. Pathways are covered with thorns and creepers and can cause harm. There will not be proper sleep as we will have to gather some leafs and sleep on it. There will not be proper food, and you have to sustain by eating fruits and roots. One need to show restraint in thought, food and practice daily prayers three times a day. Living in the forest is going to be tough for you. I advise you to listen to me and stay in Ayodhya.”


Sita was distressed to hear these words and she spoke very slowly with tears, “I understand the challenges of living in a forest. Where is the cause for fear of wild animals like tigers, jackals when you are near me? Besides, when I was young one of our astrologers predicted and told my father, Janaka that I would live in forests. From that moment onwards, I have always been excited and waiting for an opportunity to live in the forest. Why are you not willing to take me to forest? You are my Lord, and I am your devotee. We feel alive in pleasure and pain, and we share joy and sorrows. Even scriptures say that a woman, given away by parents over water in a marriage, belongs to the husband event after death”.


Sita continued, “If you do not want to take me to the forest, I am willing to die by taking poison. Why has fear overtaken you? Did my father marry me to a great warrior with courage or a woman in the form of a man? It is improper for you to go to the forest without taking me. Please take me along with you. When I walk with you, even the thorns will feel like cotton and the dust raised by the wind feels like sandal dust. I will not demand anything and fruits and roots that you give me will feel like nectar. I will not remember my father’s house and annoy you. Your companionship is heaven for me, and when you are not with me, it is a hell. I cannot bear your separation even for a moment. I will kill myself if you do not take me” and Sita wept uncontrollably and cried loudly.


Rama embraced her in his arms and said, “Sita, I do not wish to live even in heaven when you are not with me, and there is no fear in me. I am going to forest to honor my father’s vow to my mother, Keikeyi. Father, mother, and teacher, are equal to God and servicing them is more important than performing prayers to Gods.

But without knowing your opinion, I did not want to take you to Forest. Accompany me to the forest help me in my journey. Let us start the preparations for our journey and donate our wealth to the deserved ones.”


Sita became delighted with Rama’s words and started their preparations for their journey.


Source: Valmiki Ramayana


Was Rama unnecessarily violent? Sita’s doubt

Rama, Lakshmana and Sita reached Dandaka forest and met several rishis who practiced severe penances. They met several rishis who have been meditating only by consuming water or air as food, some rishis preferred meditating in neck deep water and some rishis reciting mantras with fire around them. Rama arrived the hermitage of Sarabhanga rishi and got his blessings. When Rama was speaking to Sarabhanga Rishi, several rishis approached Rama and said, “Rama! We all have heard about your valor and your commitment to adhere to dharma. We came here to apprise you about the great danger that we have from Rakshas and seek your protection.”


Rishis said, “Rama! Go and see the riverside of Pampa, Mandakini and the surroundings of Mount Chitrakuta and you will find heaps on bones. We are here to meditate and realize the truth and we do several yagnas for the benefit of the society. But Rakshasas are disturbing our practices and they are killing us. Please protect us from these rakshasas”. Rama replied, “Please do not request me. You have the power to command me. I came to live in forest to honor my father’s promise. But I have got a great opportunity to serve great sages like you by killing the Rakshasas.“


Rama, Lakshmana and Sita moved forward in the forest in search of a dwelling. On their way, Sita said to Rama in friendly words, “We came to Dandaka forest not live like a Kshatriya (Warrior) but to live ordinary life. Now, you and lakshmana are carrying weapons and you have promised to kill Rakshasas. An honorable man should not indulge in three things – Lying, desire for women and killing without any enmity. I am aware that you do not lie nor you have desire for other women. But with the best intensions to save the sages, you have promised that you will kill rakshasas. Our situation reminds me of an old story.”


Sita continued, “There was a sage who was meditating to realize the truth. Indra, the lord of the Devas, came to visit the sage to test his sincerity. Indra gave a great sword to the sage and asked him to keep it safe. The sage was very excited to see Indra and happily obliged. After that, the sage’s attention was always around the sword. Wherever he went, event to get roots and fruits, he always carried the sword. Finally, his meditation was not successful as the sage kept thinking about the sword all the time. I know that you know all the dharmas and you are very wise. Is it appropriate to carry arms and kill the rakshasas without any enmity?”


Rama looked Sita with great affection and said, “Your friendly and wise words indicate the legacy and upbringing of your great father, Janaka. The scriptures say, a Kshatriya’s (warrior) weapons should ensure that there are no tears and misery. These sages have been doing great sacrifices and meditating. They have come to my refuge as the rakshasas are eating them alive and causing great distrubances. Though the sages are capable of obstructing these rakshasas, they do not wish to fight and preserve their energies for higher purpose. I have given my word to the sages that I will protect them”.


Rama continued, “You know that truth is dear to me. After giving my word, I cannot abandon my responsibilities. In pursuit of my responsibilities, I may lose Lakshmana or I may lose you. As long as I am alive, I am incapable of not keeping up my words. You have always been a great pursuer of dharma along with me. Your words of caution are very appropriate and you are dearer to me than my life.”


Sita realized the nature of dharma through Rama and they continued their journey through the forest.


Source : valmiki ramayana


After death, do your ancestors have any relevance to your life? Rama’s view

After Dasaratha has expired, Bharata returned to Ayodhya and realized that Rama, Lakshmana and Sita have been sent to forest for 14 years. Bharata refused to accept the crown and he went to the forest to persuade Rama to return back to Ayodhya and accept the kingship. Along with Bharata, his council of ministers, family members, Rishis, brahmanas and several other people from Ayodhya reached the forest. Bharata, his mother Kaikeyi and several others unsuccessfully tried to persuade Rama to return back.


Jabala, very well read Brahmana, tried to persuade Rama by saying, “Rama! You are an intelligent man. Do not speak like a common man. Why are you still worried about the promise that is given to your dead father? Every creature is born alone and dies alone. No one belongs to another and relationships like mother and father have no meaning. The father is only the seed of the being that is developed in the mother’s womb. Dasaratha is none to you and he is gone. Do not suffer by thinking about him. ”


Jabala continued, “I pity the people who do not spend their wealth in getting physical comforts and waste it. I don’t understand the logic of sraddha. People say Sraddha is important and the food you offer will be useful for the dead person in his after life journey. How can a dead man eat? If the food eaten here reaches another’s body, why cant people eat on behalf of their friends who are going on a distant journey? Practices like performing sacrifices, giving gifts, renunciation are established by wiser people to exploit others and take their wealth. “


Jabala said, “Listen to me. There is nothing beyond this universe. Give precedence to what you see and do not waste your time on what is beyond your knowledge. Honor the judgment of wise people and accept the kingdom. Return back to Ayodhya and enjoy the wealth”


After listening to Jabali’s words peacefully, Rama replied, “Your words are like a dish that looks very good from outside but un healthy. A person with bad conduct, unruly behavior can never get respect. Our conduct itself indicates our history. A king’s behavior and conduct has a great influence on the conduct of his people. The root of kingship does not lie in cruelty but it lies in the truth (satyam). When I am dishonest and follow adharma, how can I advice my people to follow good conduct? People fear of a person whose speaks untruth as they fear a snake”



Rama continued, “Truth (Satyam) is the god(Iswara) and there is nothing higher than adhering to truth. Practices like Renunciation, Gifts, sacrifices that are laid out in scriptures are rooted in the truth. There is no higher purpose in this world than following truth. Depending on your adherence to truth, you can get control over the world, develop a race, attain heaven or sink into hell. Prosperity and fame cause a man to deviate from the path of truth.


My father has always been truthful. I made the promise to my father infront of Kaikeyi. I cannot abandon my words after my father’s death. I will follow the truth and honor my promise and I will not deviate from truth because of forgetfulness or pride. I will continue my life journey in the forest by remaining pure in my mind and body, controlling my senses to external pleasures, offering prayers to devatas(gods) and ancestors. You words may sound very logical and wishful but they are unworthy. ”



Jabali said, “Rama! I am a follower of the truth and the practices mentioned in scriptures. I used these arguments only to persuade you to return back to Ayodhya.” Rishi Vasishta said, “Rama! Jabali is only trying to convince you. He is a great follower of truth”.


Source : valmiki ramayana