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Kishkindha Kanda, Chapter 17

Vali's questions Rama's Propriety

When Rama's arrow hit him then Vali, the scourger in war, suddenly fell down like a hewed down tree.

He who glittered with pure golden ornaments, that Vali fell down on earth while all of his limbs sank to dust, like the flag of Indra when released from its ropes.

On the fall of that lord of hosts of monkeys and bears onto earth, unilluminated is the earth like the welkin that has forsooth lost its moon.

Though that great souled Vali fell onto earth, neither his brilliance, nor lives, nor resplendence, nor his bravery are unfettering from his body.

That superb and gem-studded golden pendent given by Indra sustained that monkey chief's lives, resplendence and brilliance.

By still wearing that golden chest-pendant around his neck, that brave general of monkeys Vali appeared like a black-cloud smeared with the colour of golden sunset all around its edges.

Even though Vali has fallen on ground his splendour is as though refulgent devising itself into three aspects, namely by his body, chest-pendant, and the arrow of Rama, which arrow is given to strike the crucial body parts alone, and which is still stuck in Vali's chest.

That arrow which effectuates the pathway to heaven, now discharged from the bow of Rama has brought forth that redemption to brave Vali .

Then on seeing him who has fallen in war, the one with golden pendant, enormously chested, mightily armed, face golden, eye greenish, but who is like a fire extinct of its flame; who is like Indra in unassailability and like Upendra in indomitability; and who like Yayaati who has fallen from heaven, as well like the sun who falls onto earth from solar orbit when Time-ender flings him at the end of era; such as he is, on seeing that son of Indra, who forsooth has fallen, Rama neared him followed by Lakshmana.

On seeing the brave Vali fallen like that, who by now is like fire with extinguished tongues of flames, and who is seeing droopily, those two valiant brothers, Rama and Lakshmana, neared him with due honour.

On seeing Rama and the great mighty Lakshmana as well, he who fell to ground flatly hurt by arrow, and whose energy and lives are trifling and vigour trivialised thereby, that Vali spoke these sarcastic words in his proper pride to Rama, who is taking pride in this conflict as a victor, which words at the same time have meaning, politeness, and self-righteousness.

"You are a renowned prince with pleasing looks.. but, which kind of death I am getting now, that too when I was in the commotion of conflict with another, alas, that ignoble death is owing to you, and what merit is achieved by you in this undertaking of yours to kill someone who is facing away from you...

"Rama is high-born, they say, gifted with mightiness, resplendent, pursuer of vows, mindful of mercy, delighter in people's welfare, sympathetic, greatly enthusiastic and assertively committed in doing good deeds, knower of time-and-action, all these living-beings on earth are thus relating your renown, aren't they.

"To be able to control senses and will, forgiveness, conscientiousness, resoluteness, truthfulness, and adventurousness, oh, king, are the aptitudes of a king, and even punishing the wrongdoers, too.

"Concluding that those kingly characteristics will be obtainable in you, and even judging by the noble dynasty of yours, I have confronted Sugreeva though Tara dissuaded me.

"When you have not appeared before me when I confronted Sugreeva my concept was, 'it will be inapt of Rama to hurt me while I am combating with another combatant, besides, when I will be unvigilant in that fight...'

"Not known that your soul is put to death, not known that you are the unrighteous flag bearer of righteousness, to me not known that you are insidious like straw covered well.

"I have no knowledge that you are a sinner, one in the garb of a benign soul, and explicitly mantled under the garb of probity like ash covered fire.

"I am non-guilty as I have not committed any misdeed either in your country or in your city, nor I have taunted you; I am a vanara subsisting on fruits and tubers and always moving in forests alone; such as I am, what made you to torture me when I was not combating with you en face, furthermore, when I was involved with another?

"You are renowned to be a prince with charming looks, oh, king, and indications agreeable to rectitude are also appearing on your body.

"Will anybody born in Kshatriya's family, a learned one in Vedas, thereby who is rid of ambiguities with respect to right and wrong, and who is cloaked in an air of probity, execute such a ruthless deed like this?

"Though born in Raghava's dynasty and renowned as a moralist you are actually amoral, and for what purpose you run around with this moral aspect?

"Influencing, largesse, forbearance, probity, candour, and conquering are the attributes of the kings, oh, king, and even punishing the wrongdoers.

"We as animals live in forests while you are city dwellers, we live by eating fruits and tubers while you enjoy feasts and banquets, our nature is such to kill and get killed, thus you and me have no correlation. And you, even if you are a man and a prince for humans, you resorted to this animalistic way of killing me lying in the wait, thus your action is worse than that of an animal, if not subhuman or un-princely.

"Territory, gold, and silver will be the causes while counteracting somebody, in that case, by what you are decoyed into these forests of mine or in the fruits of mine.

"In the pairs of propriety and compliance, punishment and pardoning, no admixture is exercised in kingcraft, for the kings do not conduct themselves volitionally.

"But, to you your self-interests are primary, and you are a wrathful, capricious, contriver of kingcraft, and an impetuous shooting-happy archer.

"Oh, king, you have no devotion to probity, nor your mind is firm about material gains, but as a free-willed one you are distracted by senses.

"How you are answerable to gentlemen, Rama, when you have done this detestable deed of killing an unoffending one like me with your arrow?

"A regicide, a Brahman-cide, a cow-slayer, a thief, an inveterate killer, an atheist, and an younger brother who marries before his elder, all of them will go to hell.

"A slander-monger, skinflint, friend-killer and one who makes love with his teacher's wife, they all go to the worlds of evil-souls, no doubt about it.

"My skin is unwearable, holy people forbid my hair and bones, and uneatable is my meat for your kind of reputable people.

"Raghava, five kinds of five-nailed animals, viz., a kind of wild rodent, a kind of wild-boar, a kind of lizard, a hare and fifthly the turtle are edible for Brahmans and Kshatriya-s.

"Sensible people will not touch my skin and bones, oh, king, nor meats from my body are to be eaten, such as I am, a five-nailed animal, I am killed.

"Though Tara appraised me with truthful and favourable words, I just disregarded her advise owing to my own delusion, and gone into the control of Time.

"With you as her espouser the Earth is not with a correct spouse, as with any lady who is with full-fledged chastity, but with a husband who is without rectitude.

"How are you borne to that great-souled Dashratha when you are artful, felonious, knavish, disposed to a false modesty subconsciously, and an evildoer?

"I am killed by an elephant called Rama that snapped off its girdle-cord called tradition, that infringed the conventions of righteous people, and that discarded the goad called virtue.

"On accomplishing this sort of unpropitious, unjustified killing, which is condemned by the righteous people, what can you say when you meet the godly men?

"The valour that which is displayed on the unprejudiced few like us, oh, Rama, I do not see that sort of valour is shown by you in respect of your enemies.

"Had you been in combat with me en face oh, prince, you would have been killed by me and by now you would have seen the death-god Yama.

"An unassailable one, such as I am, I am killed by you while you remained invisible on the field of fight, as with a sinner bitten by a snake while he is asleep.

"For which purpose I am killed, intending to do good to Sugreeva is incidental to it, you should have assigned me for that purpose in the first instance itself, and I would have brought that evil-minded demon Ravana, the abductor of your wife in one day, that too without killing him in any fight, but by fastening him by neck, and I would have presented Maithili to you.

"I would have brought Maithili at your order even if she is lodged in oceanic waters or in nether worlds, as with the White Horse of Vedic lore.

"The fact of Sugreeva's getting the kingdom after my going to heaven is proper, but the fact of your killing me in war, unrighteously, is improper.

"Admittedly the world is this way, and if possible a relevant reply may gently be thought ofabout your propriety in killing me..." So said Vali to Rama.

That great-souled son of a vanara king Vali, whom the arrow impaled and agonised, on keenly seeing Rama whose resplendence equals the brightness of the sun, said that much and remained silent when his mouth has dried up.