I am taking part in the Write Tribe Festival of Words – 1st to 7th September 2013.
This post is the third of a series of trying to correlate the Seven Sins to characters and incidents referred to in the Ramayana.
Read Post 1 – Kumbhakarna’s sloth
Read Post 2 – Surpanakha’s lust for Rama
Please note that there are various versions of this great epic and therefore my post might contradict with what you have heard or read of this particular incident in the Ramayana. This is only an attempt to map the seven deadly sins to incidents or behavior of particular characters in the Ramayana in a given situation and I have taken liberties with my own interpretations of the same. No offense is meant to any version of this wonderful epic.
Vali, the vanara was a good and pious king to all his subjects in Kishkinta. Right from a very young age, he had proven himself through his various valorous exploits.
On one occasion a demon called Mayavi had attacked Kishkinta and Vali was engaged in a bloody combat with him. The fight took them inside a cave at the entrance of which his younger brother Sugriva was asked to wait. When Vali killed Mayavi, the asura’s blood came flowing out of the cave. Sugriva mistaking the same to be his brother, Vali’s blood blocked the entrance of the cave with a huge boulder to trap the asura inside.
By the time Vali found an alternate route out of the cave and returned to Kishkinta, he saw that Sugriva had crowned himself king and was ruling the Vanaras. An enraged Vali then confronted Sugriva, who tried to explain the situation to him. However, Vali would not listen to him and banished him from the kingdom and as to add further insult to Sugriva, he also claimed Sugriva’s wife Ruma as his own, which resulted in the brothers becoming bitter enemies.
Sugriva then went to Rishyamukha, the only place where Vali would be unable to attack him and cause him any harm, as Vali could not lay foot in this place due to an earlier transgression with a holy man. Sugriva however nursed extremely vengeful feelings against his older brother for having claimed his wife and was waiting for the opportune moment to extract revenge.
Fate presented itself in the form of Rama who was searching for Sita and was on the lookout for allies to form an army against the mighty Asuran army of Ravana. On narrating his story to Rama and the injustice meted out by Vali, Rama agrees to side with Sugriva and fight with Vali to kill him as a retribution for usurping Ruma.
In the battle that ensued between Sugriva and Vali, Rama slayed Vali by deceit and fulfilled his promise to Sugriva. The justification that Rama gave for his act was that Vali had wronged by claiming Sugriva’s wife Ruma as his own and death was the most appropriate punishment for this greedy act of his.
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