The friendship between Sugriva and Rama is celebrated as a landmark one for many reasons apart from the fact that the mutual bond proved beneficial to both sides. Before this friendship was forged, Lakshmana introduces Rama to Hanuman in a manner that stresses His present plight in contrast to His regal lineage.

Reading between the lines, one cannot miss His supremacy — not merely as Ayodhya’s ruler but as the ruler of the entire universe — even as He stood in His hermit’s garb soliciting Sugriva’s friendship, pointed out Sri V. Karunakarachariar in a lecture.

Lakshmana lists Rama’s greatness. A king takes care of the well being of his subjects; the Supreme Lord is concerned with the well being of all Jivatmas. His commitment is far superior. Rama enacts a drama assuming the role of a seeker and imposes the responsibility of protection on Sugriva, though in reality Rama does this to help Sugriva gain power over Vali. The invincible Vali could be eliminated only by Rama.

Rama Avatar manifests the Lord’s Saulabhya in many ways. The Lord was born as Rama to alleviate the sufferings of the celestials who were unable to bear the atrocities of Ravana. Led by Brahma, they had sought refuge in Him. Considering Himself to be a human being, Rama began to live His incarnation as Dasaratha’s son.

The promise of coronation and the withdrawal of it did not affect Rama in the least. In the forest, Rama accepted Guha’s hospitality and partook of his kindness. He acknowledged Sabhari’s devoted offering and gave her salvation. He mourned the death of Jatayu as he would the death of His father and performed the last rites. Hanuman realises the mutual benefits this association is bound to create and arranges for a formal bond of friendship with Agni as the witness.

If at all the Jivatma can launch a contact with the Supreme Brahman, it is because of His Saulabhya, a most endearing and attractive quality. This bridges the insurmountable gap between us and His Supreme status. Azhwars and acharyas have been overwhelmed by this trait and celebrate it in their hymns.

Keywords: hinduism

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