Act of benediction

CHENNAI: The purpose of the Supreme Being’s incarnations in the world, especially in human form as Rama and Krishna, was reinstatement of Dharma in the world for which He had to protect those who adhered to Dharma and punish those who posed a threat to it. In the process there were many who experienced His grace in full measure. Even His punishment turned out to be an act of benediction because the Lord is impartial and benevolent towards one and all. So His punishment was intended to reform the person.

In his discourse, Sengalipuram Sri B. Kesava Dikshitar said Rama killing Kabandha was an act of grace. Kabandha was a gigantic ogre whose prowess was in his arms, and his form was grotesque for his mouth was in his belly. His very sight invoked fear in all for he would catch anyone by extending his arms and devour them. When he caught Rama and Lakshmana when they reached where he lived on their way to Sage Matanga’s hermitage in search of Sita, they quickly cut off his arms thereby incapacitating him. His reaction to this was unusual for after learning their identity he declared he had been waiting for their arrival instead of becoming angry that he was about to die at their hands.

Kabandha then told Rama and Lakshmana that he had acquired such a monstrous appearance due to the curse of a sage whom he had terrorised. When he had apologised the sage had assured that he would be delivered from the curse when the Lord in His descent as Rama along with Lakshmana cut off his arms as punishment for his sins when he would be restored to his original charming self. From then on Kabandha waited for his deliverance and thus what seemed to be a punishment turned out to be a blessing.

Rama and Lakshmana then arranged for Kabandha’s cremation when he assumed an ethereal form. He then helped them as he was rid of the curse which had clouded his mind. He directed them to the monkey-chief Sugriva who was living with four of his trusted attendants in the Rishyamukha hill near the Pampa lake after his brother Vali had disowned him. He told them that they would be able to find Sita only with his help and hence must befriend him.

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