Vibhishana: A Supreme Example Of Divine Love

''How the love of the Divine manifests itself in a devotee is illustrated by the example of Vibhishana, the younger brother of Ravana. Vibhishana submitted himself to many indignities at the hands of Ravana out of the love he had for Rama. In the battle against the Rakshasas (evil forces) in Lanka, Rama and Lakshmana destroyed many of the great Rakshasa warriors on the first two days. On the third day, a formidable warrior stood before them. Vibhishanatold Rama: 'If you conquer this warrior, the whole Lanka will be yours. He is a greater warrior than even Ravana'. Rama fought with this mighty Rakshasa the whole day, but could not vanquish him. Rama was on the point of giving up the battle for the day. At this stage, Vibhishana, who was behind Rama, said. This is not the time to give up the fight. You must rally all your strength and destroy the enemy. You should not miss this chance. I am telling this out my love for you. Egged on by Vibhishana, Rama continued the fight and destroyed the opponent.

The formidable warrior fell on the battlefield. The moment he learned that the warrior was dead, Vibhishana also collapsed on the ground. Recovering himself after chanting the name of Rama, Vibhishana got up and confessed to Rama: 'Swami! This is a mark of weakness on my part. I should not have succumbed to such weakness. Having filled myself with your love, how could I succumb to such weakness?' Rama observed: 'That's all right. But why did you collapse?' Vibhishana replied: 'Swami! This happened because of bodily attachment. It was due to parental affection. That mighty warrior was my son.'

God Is Greater Than Son

He was Vibhishana's son! See what Vibhishana did. To ensure the victory of the Lord, Vibhishana did not hesitate to get even his son killed in battle.

Rama asked Vibhishana: 'Why did you not tell me at the beginning itself that he was your son.' Vibhishana replied: 'When you are facing an enemy, you should not worry about any kind of relationship on the battlefield. In this war, there is no room for consideration of relationship. When anyone takes up arms against you, you cease to be a relation. Whether it is mother, father, son or anybody else, he figures as an enemy. Especially against God, there can be no question of relationship. I have completely surrendered to you. I am your servant. I must be primarily concerned about your victory and not about any temporary kinship. The only truth for me is your will.

It is this abounding love of Vibhishana for Rama, which contributed to Rama's victory. Love for the Divine should be the inextricable bond. All other worldly attachments are impermanent. Tamasic bonds are like iron chains. Rajasic bonds are copper chains. Satvic bonds are like chains of gold. But, whether the chains are of iron, copper or gold, they are chains all the same. The nature of the metal may vary, but chains are shackles nevertheless. Vibhishana declared: '1 have no use for any of these bonds. I am content with the pure love of Rama.

It is to demonstrate to the world the supreme quality of total love for the Divine that Vibhishana acted in this manner.

Vibhishana is a Satvic friend (supremely sacred) of Rama. Despite his long intimacy with Rama, Lakshmana was not in the same category. He was a Satvic brother, not a Satvic friend. Sugriva was a Rajasic friend. Jambavana was a Tamasic friend. Vibhishana, though he belonged to the Rakshasa brood, stands out as a Satvic friend (pure and selfless). It is in this unalloyed purity that love shines. It is utterly invaluable." Sai Baba, SS, 8/96, pp. 216 & 217

Vibhishana And Bhishma

"In the Mahabharata, we have the heroic figure of Bhishma. He was a great sage, a man of supreme wisdom and a person of unshakable determination. He stood foremost in honouring his plighted word. Such a perso'n knew quite well that what he was allowing the Kauravas to do was manifestly wrong. He knew that the Kauravas were indulging in evil deeds. He was aware that they were following unrighteous and untruthful ways. Nevertheless he was too weak to correct them or prevent them from pursuing their evil courses. Nor was that all. He accepted the role of Commander-in-Chief of the Kaurava armies. This was a blemish in his character. He was unable to act up to the dictates of his conscience. Therein lay his weakness.

Compare Bhishma's failure with the conduct of Vibhishana. He was of demonic lineage and lived and moved among Rakshasas. He was aware that what his elder brother (Ravana) had done (by kidnapping Sita) was wrong. Knowing this, he warned Ravana in various ways. He repeatedly told Ravana: "This is wrong. You should not do this. It is not good for you.' Vibhishana felt that it was his duty to warn Ravana (against his evil ways). Ultimately, failing to convince Ravana, he chose to give up his brother and seek asylum with Rama.

When we compare the attitudes of the two, we find that Vibhishana is greater than Bhishma. Despite his knowing the wicked ways of the Kauravas, Bhishma was unable to intervene. Vibhishana, on the contrary, chided Ravana. He turned away from the wicked and found refuge in God. Thus, in practice of sacred actions, Vibhishana emerges as a greater figure than Bhishma. This is the lesson taught by the epics." Sai Baba. SS, 4/94, p. 88

Maricha And Rama

"Even some of the Rakshasas (demons) understood the Divine Reality of Rama. Maricha was one of those who realised the omniscience, the omnipotence and the divine greatness of Rama. Sage Vishwamitra took Rama (and Lakshmana) for the protection of his Yaga from the depredations ofTataki and her sons. Maricha was one of the sons. After Rama killed Tataki, Maricha appeared to disturb the Yaga. Rama aimed an arrow at him, which threw him off miles away. That experience made Maricha realise the divine puissance of Rama. He declared that he had not seen anyone who could be equal to Rama in power. Going to Ravana, he explained to him the unique powers of Rama even as a young lad. He told Ravana: 'Oh Ravana! There is no one in this world who is as powerful as Rama. There is no parallel to him anywhere. His unexpected beauty is beyond words. His form fascinates even men. I have beheld his divine beauteous form. Ravana kept in mind all that Maricha told him.

Later, Ravana's sister came to Ravana with bleeding ear and nose, wailing before him. Ravana asked her: ' How is it, sister, that anyone could cut your ear on one side and the nose at another place? With all your powers, what were you doing when the ear was cut first and the nose later? It is impossible for anyone to cut both of them at the same time.' Surpanakha replied. 'Oh brother! What shall I say? All the time I was looking only at the beautiful form of Rama. While I was gazing on his face, I was not aware of what was being done to me. All my senses were paralyzed while I was lost in seeing the charming form of Rama. After Rama left, I realised my plight. That is not all. Even more beautiful than Rama is Sita.' She told Ravana that after seeing the beauty ofSita she got the feeling that Ravana alone was worthy of Sita and that she did not deserve to stay in the forest.

As she spoke in this strain, Ravana's passion was stirred. He again summoned Maricha and told him that he needed Maricha's help in an important undertaking. He told Maricha: 'You are pre-eminently capable person. You can understand demons and deal equally with the Divine. You are capable of assuming any form. You must therefore go to the Dandakaranya forest and separate Rama from Sita.' At that stage, Maricha told Ravana: "This is a disastrous proposal. It is said that men who are destined for destruction develop disastrous ideas. No one can conquer Rama. You can never hope to acquire Sita in all your life. Rama is God incarnate.

Inflamed by passion, Ravana paid no heed to Maricha's warning. He told Maricha that if he did not act as Ravana wanted, he would be beheaded. Maricha thought within himself. 'Either way, my life is in danger. Rather than die at the hands of this wicked Ravana, it is better for me to meet with my death from the divine hands of Rama.' It was with the desire to be slain by Rama that Maricha agreed to obey Ravana's command. It was thus a Rakshasa who first recognised the divinity of Rama. It was later that Vishwamitra announced Rama's divinity." Sai Bab a, SS, 3/90, pp. 116 & 117