Vibheeshana seeks shelter with Rama
His brother Kumbhakarna, due to a curse, slept half the year and was of a tamasic nature. Vibheeshana was of a sattwic nature.
Ravana kidnapped Rama's wife, Sita. The Ravana called counsel to keep at bay Rama and His army, all ministers assured Ravana of his prowess to come out victorious in the war, his two brothers, Kumbhakarna and Vibheeshana spoke against him. Kumbhakarna spoke harshly, admonished him for abducting Sita by distracting Rama and Lakshmana. But affection for his brother won him over and Kumbhakarna due to his loyalty agreed to fight Rama in the war.
The counsel applauded loudly with each passing mention of Ravana's valor.
Vibheeshana alone did not applaud. on the other hand, thinking of only good for Ravana, tried all means to persuade Ravana to realize his folly, return Sita to Her husband seek His pardon from Rama. 'If we oppose Rama, defeat is inevitable. Our fortune is sinking. Let us restore Sita, seek Rama's pardon and thus save our kingdom, our lives, possessions and honor. Ravana, drunk in power and lust, with uncontrollable anger and rage, insulted Vibheeshana saying as a brother he wanted to usurp his kingdom and wealth. Unable to persuade his brother after trying long, and feeling insulted Vibheeshana said, 'I thought I could serve you in your need, but you will not lt me. You imagine that I envy you and your possessions. Good counsel is rejected by one whose end is near.' Having spoken thus, he relinquished his possessions, rose into the sky and went straight to the place where Rama was. Four of close Rakshasa friends went with him.
The vanaaras on the northern shore saw the Rakshasas and assumed that they had come to with hostile designs. Vibheeshana on seeing the vanaraas getting ready to fight them, introduced himself and said that he had come there to seek refuge with Rama, after trying to persuade his brother, Ravana, in vain, to set right his mistake. When the vanaraas communicated the same to Rama, he called counsel and asked each of them, Sugreeva, Angadaa, Jambhavaan, Mainda and Hanuman. The vanaraa chiefs differed in their views. Hanuman was the only vanaara who held the same opinion as Rama. 'I see no cause for suspicion in the face of this Rakshasa suppliant. His carefree looks disclose a guiltless heart. The wise say that the face is a perfect mirror of the heart. I think that Vibheeshanahas come here honestly to seek sanctuary at your feet', and elaborated his reasoning.
Rama, steadfast in His own dharma, found satisfaction in hanuman's utterance. 'If a man comes as a friend, how can I reject him? It is against the law of my life.' He further explained, 'When one comes to me for refuge, I cannot reject him. This is my dharma. It does not matter if as a result of this I suffer. Even at the cost of life I must do this duty of mine. Never can I deviate from it. Verily, I tell you, even if Ravana himself came to me for sanctuary, I would accept him without hesitation. How then can I reject his brother who has done me no wrong? '
This episode in which Vibheeshana is accepted by Rama is held to be as important as the Bhagavad Gita episode in Mahabharatha. It explains the term 'Sharanagathi'! It illustrates that the Lord accepts all who surrender to Him absolutely and seek shelter at His feet, regardless of their merits and defects. Their sins are burnt out by the mere act of surrender. This is a simple and clear message of hope to humanity at large.
Rama said, 'I cannot reject anyone who comes to me for protection. This is my dharma.' This divine assurance is the life and light that a world filled with sin and darkness, needs.
In Kali yuga, it is believed that namasankeerthanam is the way and means to attain moksha. While many sing bhajans, devotional songs, and chant hymns, an easy way to cleanse and keep our thoughts on the Divine is a simple repetition of His name, Ra-ma. No austerities need be performed, no lengthy protocols to follow, nothing to memorize. Chant the two-syllable word any time anywhere, any number of times, every day.
Chaitra masa, Navami is the birthday of Lord Rama. It is celebrated this year on Sat, April 13th.