Faith

Vibhishana's advice

Ravana's ministers, called to advise him on how to deal with Rama and His monkey army, flatter their king by recalling all his victories and wonder what he has to fear from Rama, or from anyone else.

His brother Vibhishana, however, gives the right advice. But Ravana pays no heed, said R. Krishnamurthy Sastrigal.

Vibhishana says there are three ways to face a powerful opponent: seek peace with him or appease him with gifts or try to sow seeds of dissension among his forces. Rama is invincible. Also on His side is Hanuman, who has proved his greatness by crossing the ocean.

Vibhishana tells the other demons, who gave Ravana the wrong advice, not to underestimate the enemy's strength, and that they should not dismiss Rama's valour as of no significance.

He goes on to say that there can be no motive for Ravana to harm Rama. After all, it is Ravana who has carried away Rama's wife. Demon Khara, he points out, was killed by Rama.

Vibhishana sees Sita's continued presence in Lanka as a threat to the kingdom. He urges Ravana to let Sita go before the formidable vanara army attacks Lanka.

He is certain that nothing but destruction awaits Lanka, unless Sita is handed over to Rama. Ravana should shed his needless animosity towards Rama, so that future generations of demons might leave in peace.

Vibhishana describes the bad omens that were witnessed in Lanka after Sita's capture — the curdling of the milk of cows, vultures flying over the city and jackals howling. Vibhishana fears that the destruction of Lanka by Rama is imminent.

Ravana's son Indrajit derides Vibhishana. He wonders what there is to fear from Rama. After all he (Indrajit) has defeated even Indra. What could mere mortals do to him, he asks Vibhishana.

Saddened by Indrajit's immaturity, Vibhishana tells him that by not warning Ravana, he is doing his father a disservice.

Vibhishana warns none can withstand the force of Rama's arrows, asking Ravana to return Sita to Rama, and sue for peace.

Ravana, however, does not take his advice.


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Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 11:01:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/religion/vibhishanas-advice/article2430009.ece

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