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The death of Bali during the fight with Lord Rama
Today is Ramanavami. In this context I find it appropriate to analyse the much sensitive and controversial issue of Rama killing Bali in hiding. I expect the probable readers to know a bit about Valmiki?s Ramayana. The translations are from Arshia Sattar. Bali after getting shot by Rama argues with him in the following manner. This is just the summary of that.

Bali: What did you gain by shooting me in the back and killing me in this fashion? I was facing away from you and was absorbed in battle with another! ... I did not know then that you are, in fact, wicked and unethical, though you pretend to be honorable, like a deep well that is hidden by grass. ? I have never harmed your kingdom or your city. Nor have I ever insulted you. ? My skin cannot be used by men of virtue, my hair and bones are forbidden to them and my flesh cannot be eaten by those who practice dharma. The Brahmins and the Kshatriyas can eat only five five-toed animals, the rhino, the porcupine, the alligator, the rabbit and the turtle. You have killed me, a five-toed animal, whose skin and bones no virtuous man will touch, and whose flesh is forbidden. ? You killed me to make Sugriva happy. ? If only you had asked me, I would have recovered Sita from the depths of the ocean or from the bottom of the earth and brought her back to you.

Rama replies to him in rather arrogant way. Again what follows is a summary of what Rama tells to Bali.

Rama: Your criticisms of me are childish and immature for you have not truly understood the meaning of dharma, artha, kama or worldly thing. ? You have rejected the eternal dharma and slept with your brother?s wife. ? The man who sleeps with his sister, his daughter or his brother?s wife is punished by death, according to traditional texts. ? Traps and ropes and snares of all kinds are used to capture animals. Animals are caught and killed when they are running away, or when they are agitated, even when they have no idea of the danger they are in. Men kill animals for their flesh even when their faces are turned away. There is nothing wrong with that! Royal sages, learned in dharma, go hunting. I killed you with an arrow, monkey. Whether you were in a position to fight back or not is irrelevant, for you are nothing but an animal! ? Dharma is certainly hard to understand. Kings are the source of it, as they are the source of all good things. One should not harm kings, or attack them or criticize them or displease them, for they are gods on earth in the form of men. You are ignorant of these things and that is why you are condemning me for following a code that has come down from the time of my forefathers!

This oral spat ultimately results in happy ending after Bali?s wife Tara?s initial very emotive outbursts against Rama. But the arguments given by Bali are very penetrating and answers by Rama are equally authoritative. The fact is that even big Brahmins consider the killing of Vali by Rama somewhat unethical.

The party of outcastes in the Northern India, the BSP, criticizes Rama for that as according to its interpretation Vali has lower yoni and no varna. That is why the BSP considers that the high breed Rama killed a dalit by deceit. The BSP also believes that anyone believing in the Shaktipuja of Rama just cannot be supportive of outcastes and their cause.

The fact is that even many upper case Hindus have guilt discussing the issue and many among them do consider this as somewhat unjust act by otherwise righteous Rama, despite of they knowing the fact that Bali got boon from the Hindu creator Brahma that any one who would fight explicitly with him would loose half his strength.

But Hindu gods have the eternal practice of giving boons to negative people to promote justice, order and goodness all around the Universe, particularly in this world, in the longer terms by undoing those very same boons differently though incarnations or creation of new deities and forms.

Still a majority of Hindus do not take absolute view even about religion or else they could consider such acts done by their Ishvara and therefore, justified by default. But then according to some views Hindus have over 330 million representations of the ultimate reality though in practice there can be only twenties of the survived forms of single Ishvara. How can Hindus consider all their acts justified by default? To be truthful the unification of Hindu gods into one; Ex Uno Plurus, is just an afterthought.

If one looks at the whole dialogue that I have presented, it appears that Rama behaves like an arrogant, selfish, individualistic and even solipsistic, egoistic person. The same Rama is shown to be ordering exile to his beloved and beautiful wife, Sita, after an arbitrary and ordinary usual defamation charge put by a lowlife. The fact is that Rama?s above statements appear a bit like having general ?Republican? intent.

But then Rama just cannot be any Republican in American sense. The Americans are completely different people from us Indians. Rama is an investor even if Valmiki?s Ramayana is believed to be authentic historical description of Rama?s life. Rama exports Brahmanism and Vaishnaivism to the South, integrates India, lessens the gap between two peoples of the North and the South and invests into inter-sectarian harmony.

Now, one more attribute is added by people like me: that Rama created Brahmin caste and exported it to the South too. No practicing priest will agree with my argument, I know for sure. Anyway Rama by his deeds does appear an extraterrestrial Republicans and the biggest investor India has produced till to-date.

The fact is Hindu texts have always used the concept of thrash bins in their description of various characters and it is more evident in Ramayana than in any other ancient Hindu text. Bali is a monkey and Ravana half-devil Sri Lankan king. Rama in his arguments produced above appear as outspoken and frank as Brahmins are, as big warrior as Kshatriyas could ever produced and as clever as an ultimate Vish can be. In this sense he shows attributes of all twice-born.

He resembles in this with his next incarnation Krishna as the latter shows the same attributes in Mahabharata. The path that Rama followed was not unique as too many characters in Ramayana, including Rama and Lakshmana themselves, had the ability to trace back Sita and arrange her release from the captivity of Ravana on their own. But then Rama acts just to make an epic and also to please his future followers, particularly Brahmins, by allowing them to perform sacred rites.

The fact is that Rama shows various forms in Ramayana but his true form is in his reply to Vali?s charges. As Rama says very frankly, ?I shot you?because you are monkey?monkeys have no rights?kings have all. I killed you because I wanted that to happen in my self-interests. You violated dharma and I gave punishment.?

Interestingly Rama talks about predator and prey relationship in a very sophisticated manner. Humans can dominate over monkeys and if they can do that they can do it with any other animal. And by extrapolation dominant people can dominate over not-so. That is the basic Republicanism: excellence and performance through domination and always continuing. No body should think that I am criticizing Rama. He is right and righteous too. Absolutely and inevitably the best that India ever had. Indeed he is the Lord Rama.


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