In the previous episode we had witnessed the important geographical significance of the “Ram-Sethu” Bridge that we see at the present day Rameshwaram in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. We witnessed the description of an important place called “Velaavanam” that extends from the present day town of “Tiruchendur” till Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu. In due course we also witnessed Rama’s route from Kishkinta to Rameshwaram and the important places through which the Vanara army traverses.
When we talk about this “Velaavanam” in a deeper detail, if you look at today’s India map, we would never be able to find such a place! There are different books for this – In these books we can see the names of places from ancient India, the different rivers that were flowing through the country, locations of different forest areas, names of different kingdoms that were forming parts of India in those days – like “Paataliputhra” (Modern day state of Uttar Pradesh in north India), “Kalinga Desam” (Modern day state of Orissa in east-central India), etc. Thus with proper research into the context, we can find a rich history of the Indian subcontinent along with its geographical significance, locations of different rivers, how they have changed their course over a period of 1-2 million years, etc. One such notation in one of these books talks about this particular place called “Velaavanam”. If we look deeper into the text as to where is this “Velaavanam” located, we can trace this place between Tiruchendur and Rameshwaram in the modern day India map.
“Sarvaassenaa niveshyanthaam velaayaam haripungava!
Velaavanam upaagamya tathasthe hari pungavaaha!
Na me dukham priyaa dhoore na me duhkham hridethi cha!!”
Thus moving on, all the monkeys are sitting at Velaavanam now, but all of them are clueless as to how to proceed from here on! As time moves on, Lord Rama starts protecting the entire Vaanara camp with his divine power!
Now let us leave the Vaanara camp here at this point and look into what happened at Ravana’s courtroom in the meanwhile. After Hanuman burns Lanka and comes back, Ravana and his people are terrified! What was being conceived as an ordinary monkey, ended up burning the entire city into ashes within minutes! Now Ravana has shivers running down his spine and he calls for a meeting of all his ministers in his courtroom to strategise the counter-action from here on!
As all the ministers gather at Ravana’s court, each of the ministers start to voice out their concerns and opinions as to how to tackle this emergency situation. Some of the ministers who blindly support Ravana’s cause give their assurance thus, “Oh Ravana! Why should you worry? All of us are with you to tackle any catastrophic situation! What had happened is just nothing and please be brave and courageous!”
It is an irony even in the present day that only such sugar-coated words would be accepted by leaders who are in a problem! Ravana is no exception here – These words from his blindly following ministers motivated Ravana to stand by his wicked decision of having Sita in Lanka still.
However, if someone talks the truth and criticises the leader of his/her path, the leader immediately gets angry! We can see innumerable stories of “Leadership failure” because of this factor! Ravana again is a perfect example of this – As Vibhishana gets up and talks something that Ravana cannot stand, Ravana becomes furious. Now what was Vibhishana’s point? Vibhishana, being a scholarly and a spiritually learned person, advices Ravana one more time that having Sita in Lanka is the root cause of all the problems that had surfaced so far!
Vibhishana says thus, “Oh my dear brother Ravana! Please realize that Sita is the root cause for all the problems in Lanka of late. Therefore I request you to hand over Sita back to Rama safely! You don’t know what is the power of Rama! There is literally nobody in this world who can defeat Rama in a war. Please realize this and please do not destroy the entire Lanka just because of your small and a silly desire!”
As Vibhishana advises Ravana, what does Ravana do? How does he react?
“Dooshayathyaathmano deham tathaa naaryeshu souhrutham!
Ithyukthah parusham vaakyam raavano raavanaanujaha!!
Surivishtam idham vaakyam uddhavantham vibhishanam!!”
Whatever good and kind words Vibhishana used to advise Ravana did not enter into his head! Instead, these words only provoked his anger! As Vibhishana keeps talking further, it is now time for Ravana to fume! He has had enough! Ravana now replies Vibhishana in anger, “Oh Vibhishana! Till now I never knew that I had an enemy, not outside Lanka – But within Lanka itself – within my own courtroom! I was under the impression that you would support me in my mission to destroy Rama and his brother – But it seems that you are a supporter of Rama! I do not have place in my Lanka for those who support Rama! Hence, from this minute, you are unfit to be in Lanka and most importantly in my courtroom! Hence, get out immediately! You have betrayed me and the entire country of Lanka!”
Saying thus, Ravana is fuming in anger! Even then, Vibhishana has the patience to console his brother and calm him down. He comes near Ravana and seeks refuge at his feet, pledging complete support to his brother. However, Ravana is no longer in mood to listen to Vibhishana! With all his anger he kicks Vibhishana with his feet, in front of all the ministers in the courtroom! Ravana adds on: “From now, you are no more my brother! I’m ordering your exile from Lanka permanently and hence do not dare yourself to come in front of this Ravana again!”
With this kind of a treatment metted out to him, Vibhishana is in tears! He is completely shattered and frustrated! What does poor Vibhishana do next? Where does he go to? What happens next? The action continues in the next episode!