Does Lord Rama show Partiality? | Vali and Sugriva Fight

Vali and Sugriva Fight

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Battle between the brothers

In the great battle that ensued between the Vanara brothers Vali and Sugreeva, Vali was struck by Lord Sri Rama’s arrow. The Lord released the arrow hiding behind the tall forest tress adjoining the land where the battle between the Vanara brothers took place. Although Lord Rama helped Sugreeva get rid of Vali, the world often blamed Sri Rama for not being righteous.

The Lord is never partial

The Leela of the Lord cannot be understood by the ordinary folks of the world. Hence to understand a scripture one has to take refuge under a siddha or a realized sage who has experiential knowledge of the Scriptures. Unless a scripture is completely realized by the practitioner of sadhana, there is a great possibility that one may misunderstand the context of the actions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. A realized sage is always aligned to Truth, towards perfection, which cannot deviate from what is appropriate. This has to be instilled in the hearts of seekers of Truth at the very beginning. Only when faith is complete, can one surrender to a realized being. Only then can one understand the words of a realized being. Only then shall there be a proper understanding of the Lord’s action. It is important that nobody tries to understand the Lord’s action taking the Lord to be ordinary thinking Him to be under the illusion of Maya like the rest of us. The Lord is the master of Maya and hence none of His actions denote confusion or aligned to anything other than righteousness and Truth. Only from this point can seeking truly begin. It is to be understood that the Lord is never partial, although he appears partial to his devotees. Every action of the Lord has multiple connotations at multiple levels of understanding. This view can only be understood from the Lotus mouth of a perfected being, a “siddha”.

The Nature of Sri Rama, the Supreme Personality

Sri Rama had equal care and concern for the slain Vali as much as he cared for his friend Sugreeva. Sri Rama represented the very definition of Dharma. According to the Vedic Dharma, only death can be punishment for a living entity who has abducted the other’s wife. Sri Rama was committed to Sugreeva since he had surrendered at the Lotus feet of the Supreme Lord. It becomes the duty of the Lord to protect the interests of the surrendered being. The Lord never fails the surrendered soul, his earnest devotee even if it meant bowing down to others for the sake of His devotee. Vali deserved to be slain for his misconduct. Not only did he abduct Sugreeva’s wife against her will and hold her captive, he also unlawfully banished Sugreeva from the kingdom.

Who can challenge the Supreme Lord?

Sri Rama is the Supreme Being. No blessing or curse can ever work on the Lord. Even if a living entity issued a curse, Lord Rama had the power to nullify it and the same could be said about boons. Lord Rama was beyond the purview of curses and boons. Vali had received a boon from a sage, a devotee of the Lord, that whoever entered into a direct combat with him would lose half of his energy to Vali. Thus Vali would additionally possess, half of the opponent’s strength while the rival would be reduced to half his original strength. If Sri Rama were to have directly shot Vali facing him, what could have Vali done anyway. The Lord is immune to all boons and curses and they would not affect His actions one bit. Yet the Lord chose to hide behind trees. He was happy to earn a bad name from the world for the sake of his bosom friend Sugreeva. Why did the Lord prefer to kill Vali stealthily?

Why did Sri Rama hide behind the trees and shoot?

Lord Rama is the very cause of the universe. He is the cause of all causes. He is aware of all His promises and also the promises made by His devotees. The Lord insures every word of His devotees and protects the promises made by them to others. The Lord is ever ready to suffer His laws for the sake of devotees although the Lord Himself is original lawmaker. If the Lord had killed Vali in a direct combat, the words of the sage, who also happens to be devotee of the Lord, would have been falsified. How could the Lord falsify the words of one devotee for the sake of saving His own good name? The Lord preferred to accept the abuses of the world in relation to this incident. Yet, He saved the grace of two of His devotees namely Sugreeva and the blessed sage.

How is  the Lord not partial?

As Vali fell down, struck by the Lord’s arrow, he saw the Lord emerging out from behind the trees. He was heart-broken to note, that the Lord had committed an apparently treacherous act of shooting him down from behind the trees. He said “Oh Lord you are the very same Supreme Brahman. I have heard that Brahman is never partial. Then why did you go against me? What harm have I done to you?” To this the Supreme Grace replied “I am your protector too. What makes you think that I am not partial to you? Whatever punishment I delivered to you, was an attack on your pride, your ego. I care for you and hence I saved you from the grip of pride. If pride has released you now, you shall also experience the joy of my equanimity and love; equanimity shall occupy your being. Why don’t you realize that the sun is equal to everyone and yet people do not experience sunlight to equal degree? If one holds a piece of coal and the other holds a clean mirror, where shall the sun cast its perfect reflection; in the piece of coal or on the mirror? The answer is clear as daylight, is it not?”.

Whom does the Lord side?

It is important that in order to experience the total grace and mercy of the Supreme Being, equanimity has to arise in the living entity’s heart, only then shall the living entity get qualified to receive that grace, that mercy. The common man, the ordinary living entity, never differentiates a superior being who is free of selfishness and self-centeredness from an inferior being who is selfish and greedy. An ordinary living entity shall always side an individual whom the entity finds useful, the one who is advantageous to be with. However nobody can fool the Lord into taking sides because the Lord is free from differences and has nothing to gain from anybody. The Lord only sides those individuals who are with Dharma. Nevertheless, the Lord does not belong to any caste, creed, sect, race or gender. He is freely attainable for the one who is with Dharma.  Anyone who is on the path of Truth, who is equanimous, who prefers to be righteous even at the cost of any earthly relationship, shall always find the Lord by his side. The Lord granted Vali, the highest position of a liberated being although Vali was consumed by pride and vanity during his lifetime. He had used his strength to usurp his brother’s rights and kidnapped his wife to satisfy his lust. However the Lord struck him down with His arrow and released Vali of all his sins. The Lord purified him and offered him liberation which no mortal can grant. This was the impartiality of the Lord.