Ramayana of Valmiki

by Hari Prasad Shastri | 1952 | 527,382 words | ISBN-10: 9333119590 | ISBN-13: 9789333119597

This page is entitled “bibishana pleads for hanuman” and represents Chapter 52 of the Sundara-kanda of the Ramayana (English translation by Hari Prasad Shastri). The Ramayana narrates the legend of Rama and Sita and her abduction by Ravana, the king of Lanka. It contains 24,000 verses divided into seven sections [viz., Sundara-kanda].

Chapter 52 - Bibishana pleads for Hanuman

Hearing the words of that high-souled monkey, Ravana, in a transport of fury, ordered him to be put to death. This decree however, issued by the King of the Titans in his perversity on one who had proclaimed himself to be a messenger, did not meet with the approval of Bibishana.

Knowing that Lord of the Titans to be exceeding wrath and the affair about to be concluded, that prince, firm in justice, began to consider what should now be done and that subduer of his foes, having resolved how to act, addressed his elder brother in words which were essentially true and mild, saying:—

“O King of the Titans, control thine anger and with a tranquil mind hear me, extend your favour to me. Righteous monarchs, being conversant with the laws of cause and effect, do not take the life of a messenger. O Valiant Prince, it is contrary to justice, opposed to social usage, and unworthy of you to bring about the death of this monkey. You are versed in the moral code, dost recognise an obligation, canst distinguish between high and low, dost carry out your kingly duties and art aware of the ultimate purpose of life. If the wise, such as you, suffer themselves to be mastered by anger, then the study of the scriptures is only a weariness of the flesh. Be pacified therefore, O Slayer of thine Enemies, O Unconquerable Sovereign of the Titans and consider what is meet and just in dealing out punishment to a foe.”

Hearing Bibishana’s words, Ravana, the Lord of the Titans, in a violent rage, answered him saying:—

“O Scourge of Your Foes, to slay an evil-doer is no sin, therefore I shall make an end of this worker of iniquity.”

Hearing this infamous and unscrupulous speech, essentially perverse, Bibishana, who was the foremost of those endowed with wisdom, answered in words fraught with integrity, saying:—

“O Lord of Lanka, King of all the Titans, be gracious unto me and listen to that which embodies the significance of virtue and profit. Under no conditions is an envoy put to death, this is the unanimous verdict of the good. Undoubtedly this is a formidable adversary and he has inflicted immeasurable injury on us, yet men of honour do not sanction the slaying of a messenger though innumerable punishments have been ordained for them. Mutilation of the body, the whip, stripes, shaving of the head, branding, one or all of these may be inflicted on a messenger but of punishment by death, none has ever heard. How can a hero such as you are, whose mind is swayed by a sense of duty and who is discriminating and conversant with what is noble and ignoble, suffer himself to be overcome by anger? The virtuous do not give way to wrath! You have no equal among those who rule over a people and you are able to comprehend the import of the scriptures; you surpassed! the titans and the Gods. Invincible to the Gods and titans who are endowed with prowess, martial ardour and intelligence, you have oft-times in battie routed the King of the Celestials and other monarchs. Fools who, even in thought seek to injure you, who art a great and intrepid warrior, who hast fought with Daityas and Devas, heroic, intrepid and unconquerable, are already deprived of their lives. I see no justification for putting this monkey to death. It is on those who sent him, that the punishment should fall. Whether he be honest or not, the responsibility rests with them. Advocating another’s interests and dependent on them, an envoy does not merit death. Further if this one be killed, no other sky-ranger may present himself to us, therefore, O Conqueror of Hostile Citadels, do not seek to take his life; direct thine efforts against the Gods and their leader. O You who lovest warfare, if he be slain, I see none who can incite those two haughty princes to take arms against you. It is not fitting for you, whom the Gods and titans cannot conquer, to rob the Nairritas, whose delight you are, of the opportunity of witnessing that encounter! They are devoted to your welfare, courageous, disciplined warriors distinguished for their great qualities, intelligent, renowned for their burning ardour and fine bearing. Therefore let some of these, setting out under thine orders to-day, seize those two princes and establish your supremacy among your foes.”

On this, Ravana, that sagacious Lord of the Titans, the formidable foe of the celestial realm, recognised the wisdom of the inspired words uttered by his younger brother.

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