Under normal circumstances, one would expect that every individual must be loyal to his or her family. But when one’s family discards dharmic ways, one is duty bound to keep one’s distance from such a family. This is exactly what Vibhishana does, when he leaves Ravana and comes to Lord Rama.

Protests against Vibhishana come from the monkey troops, with each one of them giving a different reason for rejecting Vibhishana. They feel that Vibhishana is not to be trusted. But Rama is determined to admit Vibhishana into His camp, and He gives many reasons why it would be wrong to turn Vibhishana away.

The reasons Rama gives are not specific to this instance alone. They, in fact, are intended to elaborate the concept of saranagati. Rama elaborates on this because Vibhishana’s saranagati is the perfect example of complete surrender at the Lord’s feet, said Navalpakkam Vasudevachariar, in a discourse.

Vibhishana advises his brother Ravana to return Sita to Rama, but his advice is not heeded. Vibhishana then departs from Lanka, leaving behind everything that belongs to him, and his family too. It is at this juncture that Valmiki uses the word ‘Sriman’, to refer to Vibhishana. Vibhishana has given up all his wealth, and yet it is at that moment that Valmiki refers to him as a rich man!

The reason for this is that Vibhishana has only given up perishable wealth. He is now going to approach Rama, the imperishable wealth. Again Vibhishana is described as standing suspended in the sky, even while his fate is being debated by Rama and the monkeys. He remains there, without crashing to the ground. This shows that a person who puts his trust in God, never loses out.

To indicate Vibhishana reaching Rama’s camp, Valmiki uses the word ‘arrived.’ He does not say that Vibhishana went to Rama’s camp; he “came” to Rama’s camp. Reaching the Lord’s feet is actually like our reaching home. Vibhishana has arrived at the right place, and so the word ‘came’ is rightly employed.

Vibhishana arrives humbly, and says that he is the brother of the wicked Ravana. Thus humility is evident in the way he introduces himself.

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