Why & How Sri Ram killed Vali

Let’s clarify with references from Sri Valmiki Ramayana on how Sri Ram killed Vali (Bali) in the way it’s mistakenly considered controversial.

Vali battle with Sugriva, sculpture at Banteay Srei in Cambodia
Vali battle with Sugriva while Sri Ram Shoots arrow, sculpture (Banteay Srei, Cambodia)

(Vali battle with Sugriva. W.C, 2006)

Vital aspects of this scene:

  1. If we are thinking that we have raised a good controversial question, then please note this, it’s not we who asked this question, Vali asked the real question and gave an elaborate explanation about rules, combat, enmity, kingship, war, integrity, dharma, Paapa to Sri Ram. He explained the greatness of Sri Ram, and then he insulted Sri Ram for his actions, he accused Sri Ram of Adharma, he defended his actions. Rishi Valmiki composed 54 slokas explaining Vali’s questions to Sri Ram. So, if we read these 54 slokas and its explanation, our question is INSIGNIFICANT compared to the level and angles in which Vali questioned Sri Ram.
  2. Let’s understand who is Vali. Vali (sometimes called as Bali, different from King Bali grandson of Prahalada) is no ordinary being, Ravana was NOTHING compared to Vali in combat. Vali could travel alongside the Sun and Earth’s rotation and perform multiple Sandhay Vandanam in one evening. Meaning, he can finish one sandhya vandanam at a seashore, then fly against the direction of Earth’s rotation and reach another shore at sunset to perform Sandhya Vandanam. This means Vali can counter an arrow ever before it reaches him, based on the Vinti:rani (the sound of the String of a bow). Vali could have commanded Ravana to return Devi Sita and Ravana would have obeyed him with fear. Even after Vali being shot, his charm and valor didn’t diminish. An entire Sarge (Chapter) was narrated by Sugriva explaining the strength of Vali.
  3. Vali and Ravana are vile and foul beings, so foul that they both reached an agreement, which is, every wealth, object of pleasure or women that Ravana could steal, Vali and Ravana would both enjoy it. Countless such pleasures were shared among them. This also applies to who’s next, so we don’t have to elaborate.

Clarification 1: We don’t know who is spreading this misinformation, but Sri Ram didn’t shoot Vali from the Back, nor did he shoot hidden behind a Tree. They were all in a hilly forest area and Sri Ram had Lakshmana and Hanuma standing in front of him among various other spectators witnessing the battle.

Clarification 2: Vali knew that both Sri Ram and Lakshmana were in the forest, in the company of Sugriva. Tara (Vali’s wife) warned Vali about Sugriva’s sudden confidence in battle and the possibility of Sri Ram confronting Vali in battle. Vali was aware of the sons of Dasharada, their integrity, valor, and fame, so was confident that they will not enter into battle.

After shooting Vali Sri Ram said:

  1. The Earth belongs to Ishvaku Vamsha (dynasty), irrespective of who the king was, as per Manu, all animals, beings, and landscapes belong to Ishvaku.
  2. And the one who upholds the Dharma of Ishvaku is called Bharata and is the eligible ruler of Earth (Prutvi). Presently, it was Bharata (brother of Sri Ram) acting as the administrator of Ishvaku kingdom. All other kings are proxy to Bharata.
  3. Compiling our own self-created rules and calling it Virtue and Righteousness and not following the rule of Bharatha is to deviate that path of Ishvaku. You created your own doctrine and acted on your own behavior engrossed in your boons.
  4. A person in three positions can be titled as a father, One as a biological/adopted father, as an elder brother, and as a Guru. Vali being an elder brother and consequently, a father took Sugriva’s wife (Rumā) and enjoyed her as his own, while Sugriva was still alive. This act was devoid of fatherhood.
  5. As a Kshatriya (not as a king) from the dynasty of Ishvaku, I (Sri Ram) deem your (Vali) actions as wrongdoing.
  6. Sugriva is currently my Host and is deemed similar to Lakshmana in Dharma. And it was their dharma to support each other.
  7. Rather than having a discussion with Rishis, Ministers, and other learned beings who know Dharma, you choose to steel the kingdom and your daughter-in-law, hence, I (Sri Ram) am forced to act as per the Dharma defined by Manu and as a Kshtriya of Ishvaku.
  8. By doing so I released you from your adharma. If I had forgiven you, then you will have to pay for your Adharma. I (Sri Ram) have no hate nor ill-will towards you (Vali).
  9. Finally, animals are trapped using deception and you (Vali) being an ape (vanara) and with Adharma, I (Sri Ram) as a Kshatriya can hunt such a creature. He did not need one-on-one combat or a face-to-face encounter. (Any battle with you Vali would have been an unfair battle as a warrior due to Vali’s unfair boons).
  10. I will not make Sugriva the king of Kishkinda, he will temporarily be appointed as king but Vali’s Son Angadha was to be coroneted as future King upon reaching the right age.

For all this Vali agreed, apologized sincerely and appreciated Rama’s faultless intellect. He thanked Sri Ram for sending him to higher Lokas. He urged Sri Ram to look after his son Angadha and his wife Tara.

Tara was evenly taking by Sugriva as one of his wives. This act was not because of lust. In Sanatana Dharma a Vivaha is not simply calling as marriage. It has a deep and profound disciple with concepts compiled by Rishis. For a human being, various dharmaic and karmic activities towards upliftment were not possible without being a Gruhastu. So, it was a common practice to take in a widow so they can have an oppurtunity towards performing Dharmic activities in order to attain mukti. Lust was a very trivial aspect of entering Gruhast ashrama. As per Parashara Samhita under the command of Surya, Hanuma entered Gruhast Ashrama with Devi Suvarchala who was an Ayonija (not born out of a human womb, similar to Devi Sita). The profoundness of Vivaha, Dharma Patni and Pathi in Sanatana Dharma can be explored on this portal or by clicking this text.

(Even after Sugriva gaining the kingdom, initially ignored his promise to Sri Ram in finding Devi Sita, for this Sri Ram sent Lakshmana with a message that the doors through which Vali left (this world) are still open. Tara consoled Lakshmana and made Sugriva realized his mistake. Soon after Sugriva dispatched various regiments of Vanaras in all directions in search of Devi Sita. Hanuma, accompanied by Jambhavanta, Angadha and others headed South.)

(Sri Chaganti. S.C.A.V.S, 2017, Valmiki Ramayana. K.K. 2009.)

REFERENCE ENTRY (APA Style citation)

Sri Chaganti Koteshwar Rao (Orator). (Jan 23, 2017). Sri Chaganti about Vaali Sugriva Yudham. Retrieved from http://www.english.srichaganti.net/KanakaDharaStrotram.aspx

Valmiki Ramayana. (Nov 2009). Kishkinda Kanda Book 5 Sarga 17. Retrieved from https://www.valmikiramayan.net/utf8/kish/sarga17/kishkindha_17_frame.htm

Vali battle with Sugriva while Sri Ram Shoots arrow, sculpture (Banteay Srei, Cambodia). (Dec 30, 2006). Wikimedia Commons File: Stone bas relief at Banteay Srei in Combodia.jpg. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Stone_bas_relief_at_Banteay_Srei_in_Cambodia.jpg#filelinks