Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ravana and Vali

Ravana the Villain of the Ramyana was the son of a great sage Vishravas and the Daitya princess Kaikesi.

Do you know the story when Ravana, the King of Lanka first met the Vanara king Vali?

Kubera, the treasurer of the Gods was the King of Lanka. However Ravana, his step brother grabbed the Kingdom of Lanka from Kubera. But Ravana was an excellent king. He looked after the kingdom well and the kingdom prospered beyond anyone's imagination. It was said that even the poorest families in Lanka had vessels made of gold and there was absolutely no poverty or hunger in the entire kingdom.

Ravana had done a very powerful penance and got a boon from Lord Brahma. It was because of the boon that Ravana had amrita stored in his stomach. It was because of this Ravana became almost immortal.

Ravana, was also a great devotee of Lord Shiva. It is said that he worshiped Lord Shiva with such devotion that Lord Shiva being very pleased with him granted him of being more powerful than all the Devas, ganas and yakshas. In his arrogance, Ravana did not ask Lord Shiva to become more powerful than humans or [to his embarrassment] from vanaras....[It was for this reason that Lord Vishnu incarnated as Rama a human to destroy him...]

After getting this boon from Lord Shiva, Ravana eyed the heavens. He along with his son Meghanad defeated and routed the Devas. Meghanad tied Indra and dragged him on his chariot. Meghanad brought Indra to his kingdom in Lanka and there tied him up in the court. All of Ravana’s courtiers came there and made fun of Indra. Indra was desperate and prayed to all the Gods to come to his help.

Lord Vishnu heard the prayers and he asked Lord Brahma to go and help Indra.

Lord Brahma then set out to Lanka and spoke with Ravana, 'Ravana! I hear that you have captured Indra, the King of the Devas...'

Ravana nodded his head arrogantly as Lord Brahma continued, 'Ravana! I have come to ask you to please release Indra....' Ravana frowned as Brahma continued, 'You have defeated Indra, what more do you need? I do not think you need to humiliate him any further...Just let him go...' Ravana was in a dilemma as Lord Brahma spoke again, 'You know that you are more powerful than any Deva...You have nothing to fear from Indra...Please let him go...'

Ravana was thinking. Lord Brahma was one of the Gods who had almost made him invincible...The least I can do for him is to let Indra go...Besides I have nothing to lose by letting Indra go...It is not that Indra can go away and start a war against me...But still...Ravana finally nodded his head and looked at Lord Brahma and bowed to him. 'I will do as you say my Lord!'

Ravana went to the court and looking at Indra contemptuously as he cut off Indra's knots and shrugged at him. 'You are free to go, you pathetic Deva! You are lucky you have so many friends to talk for you...'

Indra wanted to punch Ravana, but he knew that he could not do that. Quietly flexing his arms, he just slunk away from there...

Sometime later, Sage Narada came to talk to Ravana. 'Lord Ravana!' He bowed to Ravana. Ravana's heart swelled with pride. The heavenly sage was bowing to me,,,Ravana nodded his head as Sage Narada continued, 'I heard how you captured Indra...The King of the Devas...As soon as I heard this I came to see you...I would have come sooner...'

Ravana frowned, 'What delayed you, Sage Narada?'

Sage Narada smiled quietly, 'I was delayed by a vanara...' He said rolling his eyes in amusement. Ravana was actually stunned..A vanara...a vanara...He looked at Sage Narada, 'What do you mean?'

'A Vanara stopped me...I met a Vanara called Vali...' Sage Narada opened his eyes wide spreading his man, 'Imagine VAli does not even know you...He just held me up and was telling me about his adventures...he did not even care about you or even know about you....'

That did it. Ravana picked up his sword angrily, 'Sage Narada will you take me with me there, now?'

Sage Narada nodded his head innocently. 'Please come with me...'

Ravana was about to call his general to get his army ready. Sage Narada asked, 'What are you doing?'

Ravana said angrily, 'I am going to take my army and crush that Vanara...He will never open his mouth again...'

Sage Narada looked slightly astonished, 'Army? You are going to attack a Vanara with an army? Please..' Narada said as he slapped his head against his forehead, 'Attacking a Vanara with an army...even if you are successful you would be the laughing stock of the world...Imagine what everyone will say, Ravana with his army crushed a monkey...'

Ravana realized that it would sound a silly. He nodded, 'I will get ready...take me with you please...'

Sage Narada and Ravana set off to find Vali. As they were traveling in the Pushpaka vimana [Ravana's flying chariot], they were coming near a big mountain, when Sage Narada shouted. 'Stop! Stop! Ravana, this is the place...'

Ravana immediately landed the vimana and got down. He looked around and saw nothing except the huge mountain. He turned to Sage Narada, 'Where is Vali? Is he near the mountain...'

Sage Narada tried to keep an innocent face as he said, 'No Ravana! The mountain is Vali!

Ravana blinked...All thought process had left him...Vali was not just big...He was huge... Ravana actually shivered. But he could not exactly show before Narada that he was afraid...The sage would then go and tell everybody that he was scared of a Vanara...Ravana shook his head. He had to think something useful...

Swallowing Ravana neared the tail of Vali. The tail itself was so huge that it looked like a big rock. Ravana had a sudden idea. He could probably try pulling the Vanara by dragging it with the tail...Ravana went near the tail and tried lifting it up. However the tail moved....Then Ravana using ten of his hands, tried holding the tail, but the tail just kept moving and soon the tail wound itself around Ravana. Ravana tried moving around and found that he was totally tied up...literally..

Ravana was struggling to get out of Vali's tail and in the process got more entangled. He turned around to ask for Sage Narada's help and to his surprise found that Sage Narada was nowhere to be found...Typical...All talk and nothing else...

Ravana was trying to reach his sword to cut himself out, when he felt himself being heaved above. Frightened he held on tightly to the tail. He turned and saw that huge figure which he had seen sitting down was now standing...

Ravana stared at awe at the huge figure. Vali easily was taller than the tallest mountain around the area. Yet Ravana saw Vali bow to the Sun God with great humility.

'Hey!' Ravana yelled at Vali with all his might. Ravana's voice was so pathetically tiny and the Vanara was so huge that the voice did not even carry to Vali's ears. Ravana yelled some more trying to get the attention of the Vanara. Other than straining his vocal chords, there was no useful purpose served by his yelling....

Ravana was wondering what to do, when he saw something....What he saw scared the life out of him. Vali was a huge Vanara who could take giant leaps across great distances.. Vali now looked ready to jump from the place. Giving up all attempts to free himself from Vali's tail, Ravana held on tightly to the tail trying his level best to get the attention of Vali....

Vali jumped...Ravana blinked he was having a birds eye view of the whole world clinging on to Vali's tail hanging on for dear life....'No! NO! NO!' He yelled as he saw Vali take a dive into the waters of the river nearby.

Vali jumped in and stood inside the water offering prayers to the Lord. After finishing his prayers Vali jumped again, obviously dragging his tail with him and unknowingly a wet and thoroughly disgruntled Ravana with him. Vali had decided to go to all the pilgrimage spots in the world and worship the Lord from there. He went to each pilgrimage dived into the water and offered prayers and jumped up again to another place....

After a few hours, Vali returned to his own palace at Kishkinda. He was feeling happy...He had finished his pilgrimage successfully. He had wanted to do this for so long...He walked inside his palace nodding to his guards. His guards looked at the king and saw him strangely but did not say anything. Vali in his happiness missed the weird expressions on his guards eyes. It was only when he saw his young son that he came to know what he had done.

'Father! When did you come?' His son asked running and skipping towards him. Vali was about to open his mouth when his son looked at him strangely, 'Father! What do you have in your tail?'

'My tail? What do I have in my tail?' Vali for the first time turned around and then he saw a wet angry looking tiny man tied to the tail.

His sons started giggling, 'Father! You pulled this man with you....you dragged him with you to all the pilgrimage places...the man looks so wet...The man was so pathetically tiny, you did not even know that he was attached to your tail...' The boy broke down laughing and turned and called out loudly. 'Hey! Everybody come here...Look what my father did on his pilgrimage.'

'Son! It was a mistake...I did not...' Vali tried telling his son as he pulled his tail near him pulling Ravana near him. However Vali's son had already run off telling everybody about what his father had done.

Vali was trying to undo the knots in his tail which bound Ravana. He was not much helped by the fact that Ravana was yelling at him and pushing him away. In the middle of this, Vali's son came back with everyone in the palace. 'Look! Look! Just see how tiny that man is! Father just dragged him along and never even knew....' Much to Ravana's embarrassment, the whole palace was laughing themselves silly looking at him, while Vali was trying to undo the bonds. Meanwhile finally after struggling a lot, Vali removed the last knot tying Ravana.

Everybody in the palace was laughing when Vali came up and turned to Ravana. 'I am sorry little man!' Ravana bristled. Little man...who does he think he is talking to...But then Ravana remembered the dips in the water and kept quiet. That was when he remembered about his boon to Lord Shiva. He had asked to become stronger than Devas, Yakshas and Ganas. He had never asked to be powerful than Vanaras...and here was a Vanara, who had just effortlessly dragged him all over the world, without even realizing it!

Ravana looked at Vali glad that he was free of knots. He tried to pull himself together trying to look proud and haughty. But it was not helped by the fact that the whole palace was laughing their head off...

Ravan raced away as far as possible from the Vanara and ran into his pushpaka vimana and jumped into it...a far wiser man than before....

-From the Ramayana

1 comment:

  1. nice story, good to know about ravanas experience with valli