Did Rama make a mistake by killing Vali from behind the tree?

Sugriva challenged his brother into a fight to regain his lost kingdom and his wife. Rama, hiding behind a tree, watched the great fight between Vali and Sugriva. Rama released an arrow from his bow with great force, it has pierced Vali’s heart. Vali fell on the ground like a big tree and lost consciousness for a brief time. Seeing him fall, Rama and Lakshmana approached Vali to pay respects to him before his death. Regaining his consciousness, Vali saw Rama and realized that it was Rama’s arrow that has hurt him.

 

Vali, very sarcastically said, “Rama! I have been told that you come from a great dynasty, you have studied all scriptures, you are merciful, truthful, committed to doing good deeds and have great judgment of time and action. But what have you done? You are a king and you should fight me in a battle. Instead, you attacked me without even facing me. You are an amoral person who was born in such a great family. Your dharma is like straw covering a well. Deep inside, you are not an amoral person and you are focused on material gains“

 

Vali continued, “Why did you kill me? I have not done any sin like killing cows, theft, and killing friends. I have not done any misdeed in your country. I live in forests and I live by eating fruits and roots. Our nature is to kill and get killed. But you live in great cities; still, you killed me like an animal. You didn’t follow the high standards that need to follow by a king. Did you kill me to gain friendship of Sugriva so that you can fight Ravana? You could have just asked me and I would have brought the evil minded Ravana in front of you with out any fight. How can you justify killing me? You couldn’t adhere to the great traditions of your family.”

 

Rama patiently heard him and replied, “Vali! You are childishly rebuking me and you are not qualified to discuss dharma with me. You have always aspired for prosperity, material pleasures and never cared for Dharma and even social conventions. You have not spent time with wise men and elders of your race to learn judging right and wrong. This land belongs to Ikshvaku race and my brother Bharata is the king of this land. As a family member of the kind, I have a duty to enforce his rul and punish people who are not following the dharma”

 

Rama continued, “While your brother Sugriva is alive, you have misbehaved with his wife, Ruma. An elder brother is like father and siste in law is like daughter. I do not tolerate your wrongdoing; I have given you the same punishment that is mentioned in scriptures for people who behave lustfully with their daughters, sisters. When Sugriva met me and asked me for my friendship, I promised him that I would reinstate him back as king. By killing you, I have honored my word. I come from King’s dynasty and I have right to hunting and it is not a face-to-face game. Since, you are an animal, I have not sinned by killing you from the side of a tree. I do not have any anger or benefit to kill you. I eliminated you because it is my duty”

Vali realized and said,”Rama! What you said is proper. You have great knowledge and you know the real nature of dharma. I have digressed from my dharma and please give me absolution from my mistakes” and closed his eyes peacefully.

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