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VIBHEESHANA

"Brother, This is not Statecraft"

These fearless words of advice from Hanumanta made Ravana's blood boil. The very word Sri Rama pained his ears as if were pierced. The Rakshasa court unanimously passed a sentence of
death on Hanumanta.

Vibheeshana had much affection and respect for his brother Ravana. Yet he felt that it was unjust to put a messenger to death. So he resolved to protest against it. He stood up, saluted Ravana and  said, "Great monarch of Lanka, you are my elder brother, whom I should respect like a father. Please don't think I am disobedient to you. May I speak to you with the freedom of a younger brother? You are also a very great scholar, having lernt all the Shastras, our sacred religious, social
and political texts. You are a statesman well aware of all rules of statecraft. I cannot teach you these laws and conventions. But sentencing a messenger to death is not permitted by the principles of statecraft."

"Brother Vibheeshana, I do agree with what you say of statecraft," Ravana replied. "But this monkey standing before me has not conducted himself like a court messenger. He has indeed behaved like an enemy. The destruction of the Ashoka- vana and the killing of Akshayakumara and the Rakshasa army are certainly not ordinary offences.Is he a court messenger or clearly a foe? The death sentence is quite appropriate."

Vibheeshana understood Ravana’s mind. He spoke in a suitable way, saying "O King, Hanumanta is guilty, but still he is not an enemy and he has come here as Rama’s messenger. He should not be put
to death."

Ravana too grasped Vibheeshana's opinion. He said, "Brother, so you do grant that hanumanta is guilty. So he shall be imprisoned. Is that all right?"

Vibheeshana did not agree with that He said to his brother, "It is improper to either kill or even imprison a messenger, because that will upset the whole system court messengers. Then who can convey our ideas and opinions to the enemies?"

But Ravana queried, "Then is there no punishment for all the offences of Hanumanta?"

Ravana's doubt was cleared by his brother who said, "A guilty messenger can be beaten by a staff, or his limbs could be severed. His head can be shaven, face and forehead disfigured with ugly writing, and he can be taken in procession in that condition on the streets, and later driven out of the city."

Ravana nodded in approbation of Vibhee- shana's knowledge of the conventions of statecraft and pronounced his decision thus - "I do appreciate your knowledge of statecraft. Now it is said that the tail is an important feature of a monkey. So I order that Hanumanta's tail be set fire to, burnt, and then he be released".

All the Rakshasas there joined together and covered Hanumanta's tail with cloth tied all over it. The tail increased in size. They tied round it all the cloth they could lay their hands upon, poured several
tins of oil on it, and set fire to it. The tail began to bum like a forest fire. Hanumanta touched the moustaches and beards of Rakshasas with his burning tail. He dipped the tail onto several spots in the city and the whole of Lanka was on fire.

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Vibheeshana - Devotee of Sri Rama
About Vibheshana
Introduction
Ravana's Brother
Penance By Ravana, Kumbhakarna
Vibheeshana Too Gets A Boon
Ravana - King Of  Lanka
Hanumanta Goes To Lanka
You are Here! "Brother, This Is Not Statecraft"
Consultations
"But Think, My Brethren"
When The Brother Is Unjust
Vibheeshana's Advice Rejected
Kumbhakarna
Wisdom Is Curbed
The Bond Is Sundered
Supplication To Sri Rama
Vibheeshana's Honesty

Invaluable Help To Rama

Vibheeshana's Patriotism
Brother's Love
The Virtuous, The Best Of Devotees

 

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