Vibhishana advises Ravana to return Sita to Lord Rama, but his advice being ignored, he decides to leave Lanka. He comes to Rama, and introduces himself as the brother of the wicked demon Ravana. Vibhishana addresses Rama as ‘sarva loka charanyan’ — the refuge for all.

In the context of the concept of total surrender (saranagati), Vibhishana’s words indicate that there is no one else to whom we can or should surrender. And there are no restrictions as to who can surrender.

One does not have to have been virtuous for one’s surrender to be acceptable to the Lord. Even Ravana would not have been turned away, had he surrendered at the Lord’s feet, elaborated Navalpakkam Vasudevachariar, in a discourse.

Vibhishana further addresses Rama as Raghavaya Mahatmane, indicating that He is the Supreme One and also indicating that He has the quality of saulabhya (accessibility). The one who accepts surrender must have saulabhya.

Rama belongs to the clan of the great King Raghu. That too is a reason for Him to be addressed as Raghavaya Mahatmane. Once a demon was about to eat a man, and the man came to King Raghu for help.

Raghu saved him from the demon, and refused to give up the man, even when the demon argued that he should not deprive it of its food. Rama belongs to such a great tradition.

The celestials, if they so desire, can come to this world. But they do not, because they see the world as an undesirable place. But Lord Narayana comes to this world, in order to save us. If a child falls into a pit of filth, will not a mother step into the pit unhesitatingly, to rescue her child?

The Lord too is like a mother in this respect. He comes into this world of vice in order to pull His children out of the repeated cycle of births and deaths. He has the quality of mercy, and this too justifies Vibhishana’s choice of the word ‘mahatmane.’

Rama’s greatness cannot be described or even understood. So enormous it is. Can one drain an ocean using one’s hands? As impossible a task as this is describing Rama’s greatness.