Ramayana – did Sri. Rama kill Vali?

In Ramayana, it is generally said that Sri Rama killed Vali, the monkey King. That too, He did the same by hiding himself behind trees, so that Vali cannot see him and then He hit him by an arrow and killed him. To justify the killing of Vali, several reasons and explanations are given in various commentaries. Likewise, some explanations are also added for Him, to remain behind the trees, out of vision and hitting Vali by an arrow. Some have unfortunately landed and concluded that His act of this episode is a defect or blemish to Sri Rama and barring this incident, Sri Rama can be accepted to be the Iswara, without faults.

All these discussions, investigations are incomplete and wrong since all of them, have missed a vital point on which only the decision has to be drawn. When the offence of killing is charged on Sri Rama, the first and foremost factor to be proved is the “intention” (called as ‘Mens rea’ in Latin). This is a sine qua non factor to be proved in criminal law in criminal offences. Certainly ‘killing’ is the worst criminal offence that one can imagine. So the burden of proving ‘intention’ on the part of Sri Rama to kill Vali has to be established without any limitations. It should be clear and proper.

But an honest student of Vedantic philosophy, if he sees, the incidents happened at the death of Vali, such intention on the part of Sri Rama has to be totally and completely to be ruled out as absent. This humble author has given hereunder few reasons to show such absence of intention on His part.

(a) Sugriva was afraid of the strength of Vali and so he pleaded before Sri Rama, to throw off the huge body of rakshasa by name ‘Dundubhi’ who was killed earlier by his brother Vali.

  1. Lord Sri Rama, then seeing the fallen body and by merely moving the toe of His Foot only by way of a
    little play, effortlessely cast it one hundred yojanas away and, by making the same body pierce through the Earth, had all the rakshasas residing in the region of Rasathala killed thereby, effortlessly.Such was the strength of Sri Rama exhibited and patent strength is much more and is infinite.

    (b) Sugriva subjected Sri Rama for another test in order to get verified about Sri Rama’s strength and capacity to meet Vali.

    Having killed with that dead body of Dundubhi, all those rakshasas rendered immune from death by the
    boon of Siva, Sri Rama was told again by his friend
    Sugriva who was frightened by Vali’s strength, who pointed to the 7 palmyra trees stronger than Vajrayudha which were rakshasas actually. Further Vali was not only able to shake each one of those trees but also was not able to cut their leaves though Vali tried and had multiple fractures. So Sugriva told Sri Rama as, should you sever by one arrow all these palmyra trees standing slantingly, then you are capable of killing Vali.


    Hearing the words of Sugriva and knowing them the trees to be rakshasas who had attained by the favour of Brahma, bodies unassilables by all other persons and who had engaged themselves in un swearing penance to obtain the status of Brahman, Sri Rama by a single arrow cut them all in a moment.


    On Sri Rama, of infinite process, throwing quickly the sharp  arrow  after  stringing  the  excellent  bow  and drawing it, by His Right arm, all those trees were at once reduced to pieces with noise.
    That one arrow flung by the Lord Sri Rama later severing those trees pierced through the earth covered by mountains and entered the 7 lower regions and burnt thereafter all these rakshasas named Kumuda asura who had been immune from death on the strength of Brahma’s word.
    (c) Then Sri Rama, hit Vali with an arrow when he and his younger brother Sugriva were fighting with each other. This arrow of Sri Rama struck Vali and he fell unconscious and he did not die. So Sri Rama did not want to kill him. The intention with which the arrow shot at Vali, is not to kill him. This is so patent and clear. The power and strength of Sri Rama’s single arrow in the case of rakshasas standing as palmyra trees can be easily judged. If Sri Rama had hit Vali, with the intention to kill him, Vali would have been reduced to ashes within a fraction of a second and even a trace of his body cannot be found and such and more is the power and capacity of Sri Rama’s arrow.
    So the only and only reasonable, proper and probable conclusion that can be drawn under these facts, is
    Rama hit Vali by an arrow, just like a teacher beats a student in a class who does mischief. The intention of the teacher is not to kill the boy but only make alright and to make him a good boy. The intention plays a major and primary point in this regard.(d)  Further, subsequent conduct of the person also plays a major point in deciding the issue on hand.
    While Vali lay unconscious, Sri Rama went near to him, and told Vali gentle words, “If you desire to live longer, I shall revive you”, saying, “oh! Though Supreme Lord, who is there so depraved as not to wish death in your presence”, Vali did not want it.This is most pertinent and relevant. If Sri Rama wanted to kill Vali, how this subsequent conduct und gesture on the part of Sri Rama, can be justified  gentle words were spoken

    Vali would be seen that he recovered from the injury due to the arrow. So from the subsequent conduct also, it cannot at all be said, that Sri Rama killed Vali and is so patent that Vali himself opted to die and he is alone responsible for the death. All injured persons do not die
    and Vali wished to die out of the injury but did not want any cure for the injury and to die in the presence of Paramatma. Sri Rama, he felt as a credit and previlege and a great fortune.

    (e) To emphasise, the point of intention to kill a classical and interesting case, is submitted below which is called as “chalk piece case” that happened in England years back. There was a very mischievous young boy in a classroom always doing mischief when the classes were going on. One day the teacher out of disgust just threw a piece of chalk on him and asked him to be silent. But unfortunately after the small chalk piece hit him on the body within few minutes, blood came out of the mouth and he died in the class room. Then the teacher was arrested for murder. The teacher pleaded naturally complete innocence on his part and said he had no iota of intention on his part to kill the boy. On the contrary, he wished the boy to change his behaviour and become good in the class.
    The death had happened because the boy had a disease -called  ‘Internal  blood fall’ (which  means  blood was flowing out of the nerves in the body itself) and due to the small impact of this chalk, the nerve got opened, death had occured.
    Then the court went into the question, in detail, before the decision, as to whether the teacher has killed the boy or not.

    What was the intention of the teacher in this case ? Then the other questions namely the weapon chosen, and the part on which the attack was made and the
    manner and gravity of attack and so on to decide the issue.The teacher was accepted as innocent to start with itself, because there is total absence of intention on his part to kill the boy. Further by hitting by a small piece of chalk, nobody would die and so he was totally innocent and a proper verdict was given.

    (f) Like that here also, the situation has to be analysed and when done so, immediately one will come to a proper decision that Sri Rama had absolutely no intention to kill Vali, but wanted hit him gently by an arrow to correct him from the wrong path he had taken. This would be conclusive from the fact, the arrow made Vali only unconcious and injury, but did not kill him. The power and capacity of Sri Rama and the arrow had been described already while the rakshasas were killed by one stroke and many thousands were killed by that same hit and arrow.

    (g) The next point would be as to what was the mistake committed by Vali which Sri Rama wanted to remind him, by a gentle stroke of just like a Guru, in the interest and welfare of the student and for his benefit gives a small slap, when he does wrong. The grave mistake committed by Vali, was that he did not respect, Sri Hanuman who was Sri Vayu and is Jagatguru. The Truth that Sri Vayu is Jagatguru can be found in many many  upanishads   like and many many authorities. When Vali kicked on the chest of his brother Sugriva and banished him, and Sri Hanuman explained that it was improper, he was never cared. When Sri Hanuman accompanied Sugriva out of the country, then also Vali kept silent and did not feel for the wrong. No doubt, Vali had done few other mistakes also. But they were not very grave and they can be excused. But the mistake of disrespect to Jagatguru, would land him, in eternal hell and this is based on several vedic authorities.

    Without the grace of Guru, Paramatma will never consider the case at all. Now Vali out of haughtiness and ignorance had forgotten this fundamental principle. By nature, he is a very great soul and he is no less than Lord Devendra himself the King of Devatas. So His servants, devotees etc., who are basically by swabhava are good, but commit mistakes, Sri Rama has the responsibility to correct them. He corrected by just leaving the arrow at Vali. When that hit him and when he saw that it was Sri Rama’s arrow, Vali thoroughly was changed. He remembered the mistakes he had committed, especially his grave mistake of disrespect to Sri Hanuman. That is, he courted death out of volition before Sri Rama to wash off the sins. Nobody can tell that Sri Rama killed Vali under these facts and circumstances. Can Vali survive even fraction of a second, if Sri Rama had hit him to be killed? Will Sri Rama go near him and speak gentle and consoling words after the hit? Will Sri Rama offer to him to make him alive? [If much is talked about His promise to Sugriva and word has to be kept up. All the sabdas Vadh, etc. should be understood under these contexts and etc. means not mere killing alone, to make one out of wealth and so on]

    (h) Then the moot question to be analysed would be, if so why, Sri Rama stood behind the trees and hit Vali? He could have come in person and could have scolded him and corrected even by hitting fist, arrow or other weapon in person. When one calmly and patiently analyses these points, many many basic truths and also the most merciful nature of Sri Rama towards His devotees would flow. Sri Rama’s action each and every one is an explanation of several vedic texts. When Sri Rama took as the son of the King Dasaratha, it does not mean, that He is an ordinary human being.

    Before going into the answer, the explanations that are available for Sri Rama, remaining behind the trees and hitting Vali, can be seen.

    (i) Some say that Sri Rama, is Kshatriya and a Prince and hunting of animals is his right and previlege. While hunting the hunter can attack an animal, by hitting directly or from a hidden spot.
    This explanation is wholly incorrect and would add blemish to the blemishless Maha Prabhu Sri Rama. Vali is not a monkey to start with. He is a great devata who has taken the figure of monkey. (Since Sri Vayu has taken that rupa, all the devatas followed the suit). Vali did sandhya-vandana in the morning at the eastern ocean and gave arghya. Similarly in the evening he would go to Western ocean and give arghya. No monkey would do that. Such sort of explanation is mere childish.

    (ii) Some say that Vali had a boon that any one who comes before him to wage war, half of the strength would go to him. So Sri Rama when He goes before him. half of the strength of Sri Rama would be added to Vali. Then half of Rama plus Vali would be more powerful than mere half Sri Rama, and so Sri Rama did not go in front in person.
    This humble author really rejects this too much as to why such people give explanations and rather they could be silent. By such explanations, their ignorance is brought to light and also great sins are committed by them to Paramatma Tatwa. No boon can operate before Sri Rama, whether it is given by Chaturmukha Brahma, or Siva or any supreme Devata, because Sri Rama is independent and Devottama. There is none above him. Further the logic that half Sri Rama plus Vali so on are baseless, since such boons would not operate before Sri Rama. Even for argument sake, when the same is accepted, a small hair of Sri Rama in the body is Rama Himself. Sri Krsna avatar is only a black hair of Sri Visnu of the mula rupa. But all are complete and full in all respects. says Brhadaranyaka upanishad. Vali’s strength is only due’ to Sri Rama remaining inside as Antaryami.

    (iii) Some others say, that Vali is a devotee, and if Sri Rama goes in the front before him, then he would prostrate to Him. Once a person prostrates, he becomes ineligible to be killed, whatever may be the offences committed by him. Sri Rama has given word to Sugriva, that he would kill Vali and put him on the throne. Considering all these, Sri Rama hit Vali, from behind the trees.

    This humble author feels that there cannot be a better insult than this to Sri Rama. The explanation is just like adding insult to the injury. Even under martial law, where the rules of ordinary evidences, are inapplicable, still trial, examination and cross examination etc.. are conducted and finally only punishment is given, if proved guilty.

    Sri Rama, knowing, that Vali would prostrate before Him and so he should be hit and killed from a hidden place, make the Lord of the Universe, Sri Ramachandra Mahaprabhu as very cruel and a hard hearted person who even deprives the offender from an opportunity to indicate his position. This explanation is a horror and should be rejected with severe strictures.
    Where is the need to highlight the words given to Sugriva? When Sri Rama offered before Vali as Where the words given to Sugriva had gone? So all these explanations are wrong, inadequate and improper.

    The real reason and the truth is as under:

    (i) A good father or a good teacher is the one who sees all that the son or the student does not commit faults continuously.

    (ii) It is the responsibility to correct him with least minimum act. He should not act in a way which would lead to the defaulter to commit more mistakes or to continue the mistakes comitted. Then he is not a kind father or teacher.

    (iii) Sri Rama is the kindest father and kindest guru and He does not wish that his disciple Vali to commit more mistakes, and so He kept himself behind the trees and just hit him to bring him to the correct path. This shows that Sri Rama is the ocean of mercy to his devotees and He always sees that His devotees though ignorant commit minimum mistakes. This is because Vedas proclaim that even mistakes are done. Punishment is automatic and inevitable.

    Further sin that Vali would commit, if Sn Rama were to appear him, was that he would prostrate, still not realising about the Guru’s insult he had done. Leaving Guru and approaching God, is again, a further offence, for which Vali has to be punished seperately as a seperate offence.

    So, Sri Rama, the ocean of mercy, Karuna-samudra out of
    great love and affection towards Vali, did not come in person and hit him hidden behind the trees.
    But once Vali had realised his mistakes, Sri Rama Himself courted and appeared before him and spoke all gentle words and offfered the cure for the injury. What a great matter mercy emperor Sri Rama is. God will not allow His devotees to do recurring faults is the basic truth, that is hidden here, When Sri Rama was hidden behind the trees.

    He wanted to teach him a lesson and correct him and in the said process again. He should induce Vali to commit further mistakes. This is the real and only crux behind the issue.

    Srimad Acharya, the Great, has explained these splendidly as :

    and the single word takes all these points and other various truths. Srimad Acharya has put the entire episode by that one word

    So whoever takes up Vali’s death in Ramayana should also do enquiry with all proper authorities like Vedas, Upanishads, Brahmasutras, Ramayana, Bharata etc. if such or is made, the one and only conclusion that would be brought would be:-

    and his grace and Prasada to start with is mandatory.

    First  and foremost  is to  do  upasana  of Sri Vayu (Sri Bhimasena, Sri Mukhyaprana, Sri Madhva) and then Narahari Paramatma has to be worshipped. Otherwise Moksha is unattainable, not only that, deterirent hell is also inevitable.
    Sri Rama by this has saved VSli from the hell and protected
    that Bhakta,


    That devotee who is not taken in and accepted by Sri Madhvaraj (Sri Vayu) Narahari would not bother at all. This is explicit from the story of Vali in Ramayana.


    Whoever is admitted by Sri Madhva with happy heart, then that person will be taken and received by the husband (Master of Mahalakshml). There is no doubt about this truth at all.


    By reason of the well known vedic text, which says, “Who is it that when he goes out, I go out and when he stays in, I also stay, ” [Vayu is dear to Sri Hari].

    Even in physical bodies, where there is Vayu, there is Hari, and where there is Hari, there is Vayu.
    So Sri Vayu becomes dear to Hari, even when He incarnates as Rama, Krsna and so on, just as in His Moksha rupa.
    Therefore on account of Maruti, Rama protected the son of Surya, Sugriva.

    Hence by the episode of Vali, in Ramayana, Sri Rama exhibits that He acts as per the vedic mandates. Why so? This is because, that Vedas which are apourusheya are the best and only authority to establish dharmas and adharmas in the world and for harmonious and peaceful living on the earth.

    So Sri Rama can alone handle the situation of Vali so nicely and let us all hereafter forget and sink in the depth, on the blind saying That Rama killed Vali, but let us all say, the mercy Emperor Sri Rama protected Vali, in Ramayana, since he was a devotee of Sri Hari-Vayugalu by swabhava.

Book: Madhva Vijaya – Sarga 8
Diamond [Prameya Ratna] No. 1 Pages 155 through 169

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