Wasn’t It Wrong Ram Striking From Behind to Kill Vali?
“Lord Sri Ram helped Sugriv by killing his brother monkey-king Vali, shooting an arrow from behind. It was unethical on Ram’s part to kill Vali hiding behind a tree. So, Ram is an evil doer and adharmic. He is a back-stabber,” a reader, Nikesh from Kannur, wrote to me alleging that I am trying to justify Ram in my article titled “Why did Ram Abandon Sita in the forest “(Link to the article: http://udaypai.in/?p=960 ).
“Nikesh, there is a VERY BIG technical error in your question. Ramayana (all versions) clearly states that the arrow pierced in though Vali’s chest. So target was Vali’s chest. Now tell me, if Ram did strike Vali from behind, how can he target the chest?”
“Hmm…I didn’t think that way…” he said.
“Now let me quote Vali’s last words: “My dear Lord Ram, lives I’ll get many, but a death like this when will I get again? To die in Your presence is the greatest fortune and it is a perfection of life. I seek only that I can behold Your face and die in your presence.” Why did Vali utter these words if he considered Ram as a deceitful killer and adharmic?”
He didn’t answer.
“The problem with people like you Nikesh, you don’t read original Valmiki Ramyana, which is the 100% truthful biography of Sri Ram Chandra, King of Kosala. Without reading the original, you go by wrong interpretations, manipulated translation and dirty propaganda to brain-wash zombies like you.”
Ram is best explained by his arch-enemy, Maricha (Ravan’s uncle), who was killed by Ram. He said: “Ramo Vigrahavan Dharmah” meaning, Lord Ram is embodiment of Dharma! Ram was a Dharam Purush, that means he could do nothing wrong!
Whoever got killed by Ram, Vali, Ravan and Maricha, died happily, praising him! They don’t have any complaints against Ram. All their relatives turned to be devotees of Ram. So the problem is with mis-interpreters.
“But Ram killed Vali…”Nikesh said.
“It is easy to argue that Ram DIDN’T kill Vali, But I am not going to do that.” I said. Read any version of Ramayana. You can argue that technically and theoretically, Ram didn’t kill Vali. It is said that Ram’s arrow nailed Vali to the ground but couldn’t kill him. Only after Vali interrogated Ram and after he was satisfied with Ram’s responses to his questions and after he acknowledged his adharma, did Vali remove the divine necklace around his neck. Only after removing this necklace and handing it to Sugriv did he die. Vali tells this before removing such necklace. This necklace given to Vali by Indra ensured that Vali would never die so long as this necklace was around his neck. Using Jambavaan’s knowledge of medicines to cure him, Vali could have gone back to his palace with that arrow in his chest and cured himself and lived. He chose not to himself. So then, who killed Vali really?
He passed it and said: “Uday sir, in fact, I asked this question based on a speech I listened at a political symposium. A scholar, who did research in Ramayana, has said that Ram was hiding while he shot arrow…”
Let me quote two incidents from Ramayana itself.
1. During the war, Ravan’s son Meghanath was releasing arrows hiding from the sky, the entire army of Ram was getting killed within minutes. Lakshman asked Ram: “Can I release arrows in the direction of Meghanath’s arrows and kill him?”
Ram: “No, it is not dharmic. If a warrior is not able to see his opponent, he cannot fight against him”
2. During first battle against Ravana, Ram destroys his chariot, his charioteer, all his weapons and Ravana stands still without any weapons. Ram tells to Ravana that he cannot kill him since he is not having any weapons and hence Ravana goes back to his kingdom.
Clearly, no matter what happens, Ram always is on Dharma’s side. Hence how can you tell Ram killed Vali hiding somewhere?
“But that scholar, justifying Ram said this: Brahma or Indra, I don’t remember, gave Vali an excellent boon. On confrontation with an opponent Vali will conquer half of his strength. If Ram faced Vali directly then He would have lost half His strength respecting Brahma’s boon and could have been killed by Vali”
“Yes, there is a myth like that. Tara, wife of Vali is cleary informing Vali that Ram is unconquerable in conflicts, in spite of her being aware that Vali has that divine boom or necklace, whatever, which is supposed to suck half the energy of Vali’s opponents. Tara’s statements clearly indicate that “no necklace” and “nobody” can stop Ram in a war. So, the theory that Ram was hiding behind the tree otherwise Vali would have taken away half of Ram’s energy is absolutely untenable and doesn’t stand ground,” I said.
Valmiki has clearly illustrated the incident that lead to Vali’s death. Read the discussion between Vali and Ram, that’s self-explanatory.
After getting shot from Ram, Vali asks: “An unassailable one, such as I am, I am shot by you while you remained invisible on the field of fight, as with a sinner bitten by a snake while he is asleep. I was fighting with some other person and was not careful enough when you shot me. In my own drunkenness of unassailable might, I could not see and confront you in fight, and had I been sober, though dead at your hands, I would have been victorious in going to heavens…’
It is clear – It is not Ram that has not shown himself up, it is Vali who did not try to find where Ram is. Ram was standing away so that Vali couldn’t see him. Vali’s words also clearly burst the popular misconception that Ram shot from behind.
And even if hypothetically, Ram killed Vali from behind, as a Kshatriya it is his duty to hunt an animal like Vali from behind. Animals are hunted from behind by Kshatriyas and in fact by hunters. According to Dharma Sastra, Kshatriyas codes say: “A hunter can kill an animal while being in a tree, while being concealed in the bushes.” And hunting king does not care whether the animal was careful or not.
“First, your concept of Do and Don’ts related to social morality has nothing to do with Dharma (See “The immoral Hinduism and Morally Strict Semitic Religions” in http://udaypai.in/?p=843 ). Ram didn’t do anything adharmic here.” I told him: “So your question should be limited as to why did Ram chose to shoot arrow at Vali?”
Anybody can give a layman answer: “Everything is fair in love and war”. It’s fairer if the opponent can have an up hand unfair privilege. But this is Ram – he cannot do anything that’s adharmic.
Valmiki Ramyana, Kishkindha Kanda, clearly explains everything. Vali himself fumes and rants at the apparent injustice in being killed while be engaged in a duel with another. Vali raises the following basic issues with Ram before dying:
1. What was my crime?
2. Even if I committed a crime (with my brother), what is your right to kill me?
3. As Vali did not commit any sin or offense against Ram, where was the need to kill him?
4. There can possibly be no area of conflict between a monkey (dwelling in a forest and subsisting on roots and fruits) and Ram who is a king and a great human being. Even the flesh of a monkey is not fit to be consumed by a righteous man following dharma.
In a perfect display of humility, Ram listened to all that Vali had to say without interrupting him. As soon as Vali finished his speech, Ram chose to answer him point by point as follows:
The younger brother should be treated like a son. Even if he made a mistake you should forgive him, especially when he promised to respect you for your whole life.
About his authority Ram said he had permission from King Bharath to spread righteousness and punish evils. “In punishing evildoers, I am carrying out my brother Bharata’s decree to enforce dharma”
Finally, Ram says that he had given a word to Sugriv (in presence of all the monkeys after forging an alliance with the latter) that he would punish Vali. And there is no way he would let it go in vain. If Vali is excused, promise given to Sugriv fails. (These question answer section runs in to many pages. I have just given a summary)
And then Lord Ram goes further and says, “O Vali, if you still feel that I have wronged you than I can give you back your life right now.”
Then Vali said: “O, Ram, best one among men, what you have done is proper, undoubtedly. You alone are the knower of recourses and their real nature – dharma, artha, kaama, moksha (for details of these words please refer to the article ‘Anytime Hindu’ http://udaypai.in/?p=979 ) O, Ram, the knower of probity, I am the one who digressed from the rightness and a forerunner among such transgressors, such as I am, give absolution even to me with words abounded with rightness.”
Vali being completely purified, he gave his own necklace which was given to him as a source of his power and as long as he was wearing that necklace he could not die. He took that necklace and he gave it NOT to his own son but he gave it to Sugriv.
Now, it’s natural for him to give it to his son. And nobody could have blamed him because that would have made his son invincible. But actually Vali himself was so convinced and transformed by Lord Ram’s answer that he realized that he had wronged Sugriv and to seek forgiveness to Sugriv, he gave him his own necklace.
And before giving that necklace he told Angada, his son: “Don’t bear any animosity against Sugriv or Ram because they have not killed me. It is my own bad deeds that have caused my death. Please serve Sugriv as you have served me and please serve Lord Ram as The Supreme Lord.”
When Ram answered Vali’s question, Vali was convinced but unfortunately people who read today’s funny Internet versions of the Ramayana are not convinced. Vali was convinced and the conviction was demonstrated through his transformation.
“Nikesh, before asking such illogical questions, one has to use his brain. But in your case, the brain-washing already happened. So you cannot think unbiased. Still, ask yourself – Valmiki was the first and foremost devotee of Ram. He could have easily avoided such incident that could tarnish Ram’s image. If he didn’t include that event, nobody would have known it. Ask yourself, why did Valmiki add this incident? It was intentional. It was just to show Ram’s perfectness, not the other way around. Once you read original Ramayana, you will understand this.”
In next birth, Vali was born as Jara and he unknowingly killed Ram’s rebirth Krishna (from behind, thinking it was an animal)…this was done to teach humans that everyone is effected by their own karma…Ram killed Vali and Jara become the reason of Krishna’s death. That’s how Karma works – it will get you in this life or next.
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