Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Vibhishanan vs. Kumbakarnan Part I

In the Ramayana, the face-off between the two brothers Vibhishanan and Kumbakarnan, is the most poignant scene and speaks volumes for the great character shown by both these great men. 

Lord Rama sends Vibhishanan to bring Kumbakarnan over to his side. Knowing the integrity of Kumbakarnan, Lord Rama does not want him to pay a price for Ravana’s folly. Vibhishanan goes up to Kumbakarnan and tells him that everything that Lord Rama gives him, he is willing to surrender it under Kumbakarnan’s feet. He also promises Kumbakarnan that he will serve him until his last breath. I will follow in your footsteps if you choose to guide me, says Vibhishanan to his older brother.

Vibhishanan further argues that when a person has done a crime he needs to be punished in order to uphold justice. Showing a differential treatment because he is close to you is injustice, says Vibhishanan. He also adds that Kumbakarnan should at once join Lord Rama as these arguments are not unknown to him. “Why am I telling you something that you already know too well?  Can anyone blame you for siding with truth?” asks Vibhishanan.

The thought of losing his innocent brother in the war disturbs Vibhishanan to a great extent and he tries reasoning out with him. If there is a possibility of saving ‘your’ older brother, there is sense in fighting for him. Neither is that possible, nor can you change dharma to justify what your brother has done, says Vibhishanan to Kumbakarnan. “All that will happen is that you will die in the battle field and hell will be your next destination”, he warns.

But if Kumbakarnan fights for justice and joins Lord Rama in the war, he will get the blessings of the great saints. He can conquer all his enemies with ease. His glory will remain undying. At this stage in his life he should fight for justice. Taking up arms for an erring brother is like plucking the flowers when it starts becoming a fruit.

“The Lord of Vedas has beckoned you to his side. His love for you will be unconditional” says Vibhishanan. Vibhishanan bows in front of his brother and begs him to save himself and the future generations of Lanka by making the right choice.
In reply Kumbakarnan justifies his position to Vibhishanan. In his speech Kumbakarnan not only exhibits mental and physical tenacity, but he also shows his deep rooted loyalty and gratitude towards his older brother, Ravana.