Faith

Vibhishana's surrender

Vibhishana appearing in the sky with four of his companions seeking refuge in Rama, engenderes a natural suspicion in Rama's camp. Sugriva, Angada, Sarabha, Jambhavan and others voice this concern when Rama gives all of them an opportunity to speak out. Hanuman alone speaks for Vibhishana for he had seen him in Lanka and understood his basic good nature that stood on the side of Dharma. This act of Vibhishana's Saranagati is a model that illustrates many subtle features of the principle of surrender, said Akkarakani Srinidhi Swamy in a lecture.

Two sides are implied when one surrenders — one who seeks and one who grants. One who can grant is the Almighty and all others are seekers. A seeker qualifies to be one because of — utter humility, awareness of one's helplessness in the matter of protecting oneself, promise to abide by the wishes of the protector and refraining from doing anything otherwise and full faith in the protector.

Vibhishana fulfils all these requirements. He is frank and puts forth the negative factors on his side of being a demon and from the enemy camp. He announces that he tried to put some good sense in Ravana and asked him to return Sita; but his attempts turned futile. He realises the Supreme nature of Rama and wishes to align with Him.

Rama's response to Vibhishana's plea is applicable to all. The Lord announces His solemn pledge that if anyone (be it Ravana or Vibhishana) sought Him even once He would surely give His protection.

It did not matter even if one sought Him with ulterior motives such as feigning friendship or with plans to cause danger to Him, or sought Him on a stray occasion.

Sugriva feared harm for Rama from Vibhishana. Rama allays these fears and says that He can kill any being — demons, ogres or any evil spirit with just the tip of His finger.

Rama then narrates the story of the dove which offered its own flesh to the hunter who had earlier killed its mate to stress the need show compassion and not to ignore those who seek help, even if one surmises that it might be an enemy.

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Printable version | Apr 16, 2021 11:11:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/religion/vibhishanas-surrender/article3494084.ece

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