Rama in the eyes of Mareecha

Being Ravana’s wife does not stop Mandodari from talking the truth about Rama. In the same vein, there is another person from the same camp talking about Rama, but this time to Ravana himself.

Shurpanakha comes back to Ravana after all her brothers are killed by Rama. Ravana inquires about Rama’s valour and weaponry for which Shuurpanakha narrates about Rama, Seetha, and Lakshmana and what has happened in Janasthaana. Thus, she prompts Ravana to achieve Seetha as his wife, for none surpasses Seetha in her beauty. Ravana is now brainwashed into submission by his sister. So he proceeds to meet Maareecha to seek his help in the abduction of Seetha. In his search for Mareecha, he arrives at a pleasing hermitage in the sacred and scenic interior of the forest.

In this hermitage he sees Maareecha, wearing jute-clothes and black deerskin and tufts of hairs. Maareecha welcomes the king Ravana, offers him meals and drinking water, and venerates him properly before enquiring about the purpose of his visit. Ravana explains his intent of abducting Seetha and asks for Mareecha’s help. He wants Maareecha to assume the shape of a golden-deer and lure Seetha. He is sure that Seetha will ask Rama and Lakshmana to fetch that golden-deer. If Rama and Lakshmana are distracted from the hermitage, Ravana can safely abduct Seetha. On hearing this, Mareecha is dumb-struck.

He explains to Ravana how he was on the rove around this earth, taking pride in his valor, bearing the strength of a thousand elephants, mountainous in his size and black-cloudlike in his sheen, wearing ear-knobs and a crown made out of refined gold, with a bludgeon as his weapon, and how he rambled Dandaka forest causing terror to the world, and eating the fleshes of sages. He shares with his king on how Rama as a boy of less-than-twelve years of age had demolished him. Mareecha continues to exclaim how unborn were the identities of adulthood like moustache on Rama’s face, and that providential one was magnificent in looks with a peacock-blue complexion, wearing a single cloth, locks of hair, and golden locket, and wielding a bow, and how he was irradiating the Dandaka forest with a radiating radiance of his own, and appeared like the just risen baby-moon.

Although to the un-initiated, these may sound like normal extrapolations of a boy entering his boy-hood, there are a couple of hidden meanings that Mareecha is implying when he speaks thus to Ravana. He also speaks more about Rama and how Rama has affected him and his life.

Rama in the eyes of Mandodari

The dialogue between Rama and Garuda clearly showed the state in which Rama was in. Time and again he unleashed the God within him and his human nature according to the situation. There are also multiple situations in Ramayana where others have spoken about him with great reverence since everybody around him identified and acknowledged that he was God.

Rama kills Ravana in a fierce battle which lasts for seven days. He cuts off Ravana’s heads one by one only to see them grow back in place once again. On the seventh day, Matali, Rama’s charioteer is surprised with the prince of Ayodhya. He does not understand why the prince is still fighting the demon. Unable to control his emotions he asks Rama “Why are you still carrying out the battle with Ravana as though you are unaware (of how to dispose of him)?” Then Matali advises him to use the arrow that he received from Brahma through sage Agastya. Rama acknowledges his charioteer, loosens that arrow and kills Ravana.

On Ravana’s death, all his consorts lament his death. They are surprised as to how he was killed by a mere mortal! His wife, Mandodari also laments his death by recollecting his strength and power. But she also knows one thing that others don’t seem to know, that Rama is no ordinary mortal but lord Vishnu himself. She wails that the moment Khara was killed by Rama in Janasthana, the true nature and personality of Rama became evident to her. She goes on to say that- hanuman could jump over the mighty ocean to easily enter Lanka which even the celestials found very difficult to enter and all the monkeys could build a bridge on the great ocean- just by the support that they received from Rama the God. How else could an animal like the monkey whose middle name is instability be disciplined enough to march across India or build a bridge between two countries with floating stones?

She goes on to talk about Rama saying that he is an ascetic person who does not have a beginning or end, is eternal and greater than the distinguished universal spirit like Brahma. She continues that Rama is the nourisher, wielding a conch, a disc and a mace, wearing the ‘Srivatsa’ mark on his chest, of lasting beauty, incapable of being conquered, a perpetual one, being the constant soul of the universe, truly mighty, the lord of all the worlds, the prosperous one having a great splendor and Vishnu, the lord of maintenance of the world with a wish to benefit the worlds, assuming a human form surrounded by all the gods in the form of monkeys. She then consoles herself by saying Ravana died when fighting this Rama and not the ordinary mortal.

The Godliness in Rama was evident even to his enemies and their families. Like Madodari, many others shared their own feelings for Rama as God. Who did that and when?