Rāmāyana | Sundara Kaṇḍa | Chapter 52

Chapter: 52
Vibhīṣaṇa’s Advice

[Vibhīṣaṇa with soft words of logic and justice advises Rāvaṇa that Hanuman should not be killed but can be punished in other ways.]

Vibhīṣaṇa thought it is wrong to sentence an emissary, who has brought the message of someone else, to death by the bad soul Rāvaṇa. 1

(During ancient times, it was thought that an emissary, who is only delivering the message of some one else, should not be punished. This theme occurs in several Purāṇas.)

He who always takes action, when it should be done, seeing that his brother was very angry and bent upon on carrying out his words, thought as to what he should do. 2

Then he who was capable of serious thought, he who had an expert in his language and he who had decided as to what he should do, addressed his elder brother by good humble words and told him that which was good for him. 3

"Hey, King of Rākṣasas, leave out this anger, become pleased and hear my words. Great Kings who know the tradition do not sentence an emissary to death". 4

"Hey valorous one, death sentence to this monkey is against law, against hoary traditions of the world and not proper." 5

"You, yourself are an expert in the knowledge of justice, who observes tradition, an expert on kingly justice, an expert on tradition, and one who knows the secrets of this world." 6

"Suppose even wise people like you are caught in the grips of anger, then getting knowledge of science of life is an useless effort." 7

"Hey chief of Rākṣasas, who cannot be opposed by any one and who can kill his enemies, therefore leave out this anger and calm down. Let the emissary be punished after deciding as to what is proper and what is improper." 8-9

Rāvaṇa, the King of Rākṣasas, hearing the words of Vibhīṣaṇa became very angry and told him the following reply. 10

"Hey, killer of his enemies, there is no injustice in giving sentence of death to sinners. I am going to get this monkey, who took sinful actions killed." 11

That Vibhīṣaṇa, who was the foremost of intelligent ones, hearing these words which were the root of injustice, which had many flaws and which was suitable to unjust people, again told words which were the essence of just action. 12

"Hey King of Lanka, please calm down and be pleased to hear wise words of justice, Hey King, learned and just people think that emissaries do not merit punishment of death nowhere and at no time." 13

"There is no doubt that this is a very great enemy. This has done several unpleasant things. It is seen that emissaries are given several type of punishments but nowhere it is told that emissaries can be put to death." 14

"It is told that emissary can be punished by disfiguring him or giving lashes by a whip or by shaving off his head or by marking his organs in an untraceable manner. But it is never heard that emissary has been put to death." 15

"How can you, who is very wise and just, who is an expert on good and bad of traditional wisdom, come under the control of anger. People who do not swerve from Dharma (just action) do avoid anger." 16

"Hey valorous one, there is none equal to you neither in the knowledge of Dharma (just action) nor in worldly duties and nor in deep knowledge of the science of life. You are the greatest among all devas and asuras." 17

"Not only that, I do not find any merit in killing this monkey; this punishment should be given to them who sent this monkey." 18

"This may be a just one or unjust but is an emissary, who is in the control of others, who has been sent by them and is telling what is told by them. And so it does not merit punishment by death." 19

"Hey King who conquers the forts of other cities, if this is killed who can come again to this place which is far-far away from the ocean. I do not see anyone else who is capable of travelling in the sky and so please do not try to kill him. It is necessary for you to show this type of wisdom to your enemies including Indra." 20-21

"Hey, King who likes war, suppose this dies, I do not find any other emissary who can send those two sons of a King of men, who are both bad people and who are far away." 22

"If this chieftain of monkeys is killed, good people will tell lot of bad things about us. I do not see them saying good words and words of fame about us. All the world will only find fault with us." 23

"Not only that, hey King, who travels in darkness, we should try fast to take action for the destruction and death of those people, who are bad natured, who are very proud of themselves, who are not intelligent and who have sent this monkey." 24

"Hey enemy of Devendra, immediately take efforts to enforce justice among Devas, who include Indra and Daityas which include Dānavas." 25

"Hey, King of Rākṣasas, approve by your mind my words, take firm action with utmost care, get killed those two princes and make victory thine." 26

"Hey King, who creates happiness in the mind of Rākṣasas, it is not proper for you, who has qualities like valour, courage and enthusiasm and who cannot be won over by even devas and Rākṣasas, to stop the forthcoming war." 27

"Under you control you have crores of heroes, who do good to you, who are great warriors, who desire only your good, who have won in several good events, who are enthusiastic, who are the greatest among those who carry weapons and who are good servants." 28

"So let few people along with a part of your army start now itself to fulfil your orders, to kill these two princes and to prove your power against your enemies." 29

That very strong King of Rākṣasas, who was the chief among Rākṣasa Kings and who was the enemy of the world of devas, hearing the good words of his younger brother Vibhīṣaṇa understood them and decided that they should be agreed upon. 30

That King of Rākṣasas thought in various ways like, "There is no doubt that this definitely is the power of Vishnu which has taken the shape of a monkey to destroy me. This warrior monkey is the essence of the power of Vishnu, who is deva among devas, which is the very greatest and very intolerable power, which is the root of everything. Or is this the Para Brahma (the ultimate essence of god)" and again became very angry. 31-32

But the King of Rākṣasas, who is a great soul, controlling the anger in his mind which was raging like fire, recognizing Vibhīṣaṇa who was the greatest among those who carry weapons and respecting the words of Vibhīṣaṇa told as follows. 33

Thus ends the fifty second chapter of Sundara Kanda in the Rāmāyaṇa which is the first epic written by Vālmīki.