Posted Date : 06:00 (17/07/2018)   July 17, 2018  Sakthi Vikatan   Revised Nov 12, 2018

                                                              Author  Indira Soundarrajan.  Images: M.S


Vibhīṣaṇa (Vibhishana) was a brother of Ravana. Their personality and behavior patterns were antithetical, Vibhishana a friend of Rama and Ravana the enemy. Vibhishana’s past birth was that of the son of Brahma, Pulathiyar. Kaikesi asked her three boys, Ravana, Vibhishana and Kumbhakarna to perform Tapas.
Kumbakarṇa the younger brother of Ravana tried to attain Realization of Invincibility Boon (வரஸித்தி =Boon Success). The world of Devas was tremulous. They could not take Ravana. And now his brother. No way. They went to Brahma and appealed to him.



Brahma told them he conferred boons to those who performed severe austerities. Sarasvati coming to know of their predicament, addressed them, “Deities, don’t be perturbed. Courage is the essential quality of Devas.”
The Devas: “True. How could it be correct, when the Asuras becoming strong helped by Devas try to crush us?” Finally, Sarasvati told the Devas she would take care of the Kumbakarṇa business, all by herself. She did not show them the nitty-gritty of her proposed action. Brahma impressed by and rejoicing at the severe penance by Kumbakarṇa, appeared before him, Sarasvati, the controller of tongue and speech of all humans and gods was ready to exercise control over Kumbarkarṇa’s tongue (statement).
Kumbakarṇa wanted to ask for eternity (நித்யத்வம் = nittiyattuvam) enjoyed by his brother but Sarasvati made him say Nitraitvam (நித்ரைத்வம் -Nitraitvam = eternal sleep) by mispronunciation with his tongue. Brahma with joy conferred on him the boon, as requested and disappeared. That is how Kumbakarṇa became a ‘Sleep-Face.’
The Devas did not fear Vibhīṣaṇaṉ there was no need to seek help from the goddess of speech. Vibhīṣaṇaṉ, the other brother of Ravana, asked with a Dharmic poise for a mind and soul unforgetful of the Supreme God. Brahma conferred on him the boon he requested. That is the reason Vibhīṣaṇa stood alone in the court of Ravana. Hanuman was searching for Sita in Lanka. He entered the palace of Ravana in the dark of night and saw Vibhīṣaṇa sleeping on a decorated cot.

The poet says, living as a white man among the black demons is an unusual sight, seated on a cot under a wish-tree canopy on the marble platform in the coral hall. That was the description of Vibhishana, as a Dharma Deva concealing and canceling the blackness of the Rākṣasas.
When Hanuman was tortured in the court of Ravana, fearless and brave Vibhīṣaṇa told Ravana, “It is very wrong to persecute an emissary.” Because he continued to point out Ravana’s evil ways, Vibhīṣaṇa was chased out of the palace. He took refuge with Rama. No one except Rama and Lakshmana were prepared to trust him. Other compatriots of Rama looked at him as Ravana’s spy.
Hanuman pointedly spoke of the support he received in Ravana’s court from Vibhīṣaṇa and was responsible for Rama’s decision to offer Vibhīṣaṇa refuge.
In the war that happened later, Indrajit’s (Ravana’s son) Brahmāstra felled a multitude of fighting men and monkeys. Hanuman on the suggestion of Vibhīṣaṇa through Jāmbhavān brought Sañjīvī mountain whose herb restored the breath of Lakshmana and resurrected the whole contingent of dead monkeys. Indrajit performed Nikumpalai Yāgam. With his illusory power, he created an illusory Sita, stood her before Rama and the monkeys, and killed her by the sword, though he let Sita remain in Asokavaṉam. Vibhīṣaṇa told Rama and Lakshmana that it was a magical play and ploy, which they should not believe.
When the Ravana Vatham (death of Ravana) happened, Vibhīṣaṇa was installed king of Lanka by Srīrāma.
However, for the timely help by Vibhīṣaṇa and his divine qualities, what Rama wanted to give was not gold or wealth, but Praṇavākāra Perumal! Why?

That day, it was a celebration everywhere. In the sky, there was a cloud cover like a pandal with small clear spaces through which the sun’s rays were shining like shafts of light. All the people of Ayodhya wore new clothes. They clothed the backs of the horses and the cows with bells tied to the four corners of the drape. The shining bells at the four ends of the drape created sounds.
The festoons of spring vines and mango leaves decorated the front of the houses and danced in the wind. All are for a reason. That was the day of the coronation of Rama after completing forest exile.
Until that day, an impossible peace prevailed. Yes, there was no deficiency in the reign of Bharata. However, the absence of Rama and Sita was by itself a deficiency to the full extent. When that deficiency was lifted that day, it was a new splendor in Ayodhya. A new enthusiasm prevailed in the minds of the people.
To show off their enthusiasm, the uninhibited singers and dancers walked the streets giving their performance.
The street wrestlers walked showing off their talent. The people perched on the porches watched the parade of revelers go by. People felt that the heavens descended on Ayodhya.
House after house, it was like a wedding party. They did not eat. They fed their relatives, friends, and acquaintances, who in turn fed and entertained them.
Every now and then, people raised an enthusiastic chorus of ‘Jaysrīrām.’ The audience in return echoed ‘Jaysrīrām.’ Inside the palace, the enthusiastic festivities were many.
The monkey contingent accompanying Sugrīva and Srīrāma were strolling on the streets and inside the palace. The people of Ayodhya welcomed the Vāṉaras walking on their Ayodhya mud. Some hugged the Vāṉaras.
People of Ayodhya: We are indebted to you for the help you gave to our Lord. Sugriva, Aṅgathaṉ, Nīlaṉ and their ilk rode chariots around the city. Hanuman kept his eye on coronation details. He arranged the seats under the supervision of Lakshmana. Bharata and Śatrughna came to Hanuman and told him not to do any more service but to accept their hospitality. They further told Hanuman to take rest. He gave a retort shutting their mouths, “Service to Srīrāma is the most appropriate rest for me.”
Vibhīṣaṇa was in the sanctum of Praṇavākāra perumāḷ. With his eyes fixed on Perumāḷ, he took in the holy appearance of Emperuman’s Śayaṇa Kōlam (Yoga Nidra pose = Yogic sleep pose = Conscious Yogic Sleep pose).
Vibhīṣaṇa: What divinity! What affability! This Mūrtham (form, figure, shape or body) that came from heavens to the earth made Vibhīṣaṇa think of many thoughts.
Because of this Mūrtham, this country is prosperous. Perennial rivers, verdant groves, level roads, roadside mansions, congeniality, the healthy mental attitude of regarding the loyalty to king above that to parents. Everything is excellent about Ayodhya and its people.”
That moment, his thoughts wandered to Lankapuri. Lanka is heaven designed and built by Mayan. However, the owner is Kubera. Ravana cheated Kubera and seized it from him. He ruled a people who feared to lose their heads if they did not lower their heads in homage and respect.
Vibhīṣaṇa weighed, compared and contrasted Ayodhya and Lanka. Srīrāma’s completion of forest exile gave a new life to Ayodhya. Because of the war, Lanka is wholly destroyed. The people lost their relatives and sustained physical disabilities. Besides, the infamy from Sita’s abduction. Lanka has become the land of Sita’s curse. Vibhishana’s deep sigh of breath burned his chest.
Vibhīṣaṇa: ‘How are we to change its character? So much beauty! Asuric guṇa has pervaded the country. How could divinity and related qualities spread there? If this Perumal takes residence in Lanka, could it be possible the earth in Lanka could change into one of the holy places? These questions dawned and took roots in his mind. In the fast rise of these questions, they seemed to unravel.
When Vibhīṣaṇa was in a reverie with these questions and answers, his sight fixed on Praṇavākāra Perumal, the invitation to attend the coronation in Darbar Mandapam came, and he was getting ready to leave.
Will be Continued.