When one surrenders to God, He thinks of the person as His friend. When Vibhishana arrives from Lanka, he is viewed with suspicion by everyone. Sugriva is sceptical of Vibhishana’s intentions and points to the fact that he is carrying weapons.

Demons, furthermore, can assume any form or shape at will. Perhaps, Vibhishana has come to create quarrels between the monkeys and foment trouble in Rama’s camp. Even a paid warrior may be trusted, for he fights for the money. But can a person from the enemy camp be trusted? So argues Sugriva. Others too advise against admitting Vibhishana into the camp.

Hanuman, however, disagrees with them. There is nothing wrong with the timing of Vibhishana’s arrival. He has come because he knows the demerits of Ravana and recognised Rama’s greatness. Questioning him may not be the right approach, feels Hanuman. Even a sincere man could, out of fear of questioning, turn into a deceitful person, said Navalpakkam Vasudevachariar in a discourse.

Rama says He will accept Vibhishana, for he who surrenders should not be turned away. However, those who surrender must leave behind what is not necessary . Before entering a temple, we leave our footwear outside. Each one symbolically represents an undesirable quality, the tendency to lay emphasis on ‘me’ and ‘mine.’ These are what must be left behind when we seek to surrender to God.

Undesirable traits

Vibhishana has left behind these undesirable traits. So the Lord accepts him. He who connects with God will never be abandoned by Him, say the Vedas. Rama says that even if Vibhishana has faults, He will still save him. God’s grace likes those who have many faults. Our faults constitute food for His grace.

Another instance of the Lord’s love for those who seek to serve Him is seen when He tells Guha that Lakshmana is his (Guha’s) brother too, and that Guha should think of Sita as his friend.

When Rama has rescued Sita, He tells Hanuman to carry the news to Guha. Thus even in His moment of victory, Rama remembers Guha, whom He considers His friend.

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