Burning Kumbhakarna…. Justified?


When Ravana accosts Seetha in captive She asks him whether he is not being advised about dharma. This is a famous line and it goes….

इह सन्तो न वा सन्ति सतो वा नानुवर्तसे || ५-२१-९
तथाहि विपरीता ते बुद्धिराचारवर्जिता |
“Here are there not good people? Or are you not following those who are good? It must be like that because your mind, devoid of traditions is perverse.”

We Saw that Vibhishana never questioned Ravana’s Adharma. So let us skim through Ramayana as to who and all question Ravana’s adharma. Seetha of course questions him. Post this incident Hanuman questions Ravana and warns him that his Adharma will eat away his good deeds and he will have to pay for it. Marreecha warns Ravana of Rama’s capabilities just like Vibhishana. But one person who corners him on his Adharma is Kumbhakarna and also Malyavan
Let us first take Malyavan (Ravana’s Maternal Grandfather) because he is the first to highlight Ravana’s Adharma. He praise first Ravana for knowledge in 14 sciences (Four Vedas, six Vedaangas, the Puranas, the Mimamsa, Nyaya and Dharma together constitute fourteen sciences) [ 6-35-07]. Quote Manusmriti [ 6-35-09]. Kaliyuga favours Unrighteousness [ 6-35-14]. Unrighteousness is slowly swallowing us [6-35-16]. You by unrighteous act has raised alarm [ 6-35-17]. Smoke of yagnas will remove the demons magical powers. [ 6-35-21]. The unfortunate Omens tell me that demons are going to be destroyed [ 6-35-25] enumerates bad omens like tears in the eyes of elephant black women chattering incoherently, etc. But for all this speech Malyavan is abused and forced to leave.

Then next Kumbhakarna speaks in 62nd sarga when war is well into middle stages and Ravana has had many reverses. Ravana now espouses his enemies are powerful and unconquered [ 6-62-17], and hence needs the help of Kumbhakarna[ 6-62-20. Kumbhakarna starts with lambasting Ravana to the point. He rues Ravana never listened to good advices [ 6-63-02]. Starts with fate of people doing Adharma and calls his act sinful [ 6-63-03]. Calls his consultations after commitment of sin itself is due to arrogance of power[ 6-63-05]. Then espouses Raja Dharma in 15 Slokas [ 6-63-6 to 21] and concludes by snubbing Ravana saying “Do whatever you wish to do.” Ravana as usual gets angry and exhorts him to fight, which he does. So if at all there is anybody who espouses Dharma to Ravana ( and to us) it is Kumbhakarna.
It is really a shame that we are burning his (Kumbhakarna’s) dummy every year as killing of evil (Refer).

List of Slokas

Sanskrit English
6-35-07
विद्यास्वभिविनीतो यो राजा राजन् नय अनुगः || ६-३५-७
स शास्ति चिरम् ऐश्वर्यम् अरींश्च कुरुते वशे |
“O, king! He who is well-versed in (fourteen)* sciences and follows the path of prudence, enjoys sovereignty for a long time and compels his enemies too into subjugation.” Back
6-35-09
हीयमानेन कर्तव्यो राज्ना संधिः समेन च || ६-३५-९
न शत्रुम् अवमन्येत ज्यायान् कुर्वीत विग्रहम् |
“A treaty of peace should be reached by a king who is weaker or equal to an enemy. The king should never underrate that enemy. If the king is more powerful, he should make war on the enemy.” Back
6-35-14
धर्मो वै ग्रसते अधर्मम् ततः कृतम् अभूद् युगम् || ६-३५-१४
अधर्मो ग्रसते धर्मम् ततस् तिष्यः प्रवर्तते |
“When righteousness swallows unrighteousness, it becomes kR^ita Yuga, a golden age. When unrighteousness swallows righteousness, it incites Kali Yuga the fourth age.” Back
6-35-17
विषयेषु प्रसक्तेन यत् किंचित् कारिणा त्वया || ६-३५-१७
ऱ्षीणाम् अग्नि कल्पानाम् उद्वेगो जनितो महान् |
“You, who are interested in sensual enjoyments, doing whatever you like, have created a great alarm in the sages, having the nature of fire.” Back
6-35-21
ऋषीणाम् अग्नि कल्पानाम् अग्नि होत्र समुत्थितः || ६-३५-२१
आदत्ते रक्षसाम् तेजो धूमो व्याप्य दिशो दश |
“The smoke coming forth from the sacred fire of the sage who resemble the fire (in brilliance), enveloping the ten directions, takes away the magical power of the demons.” Back
6-35-25
उत्पातान् विविधान् दृष्ट्वा घोरान् बहु विधांस् तथा |
विनाशम् अनुपश्यामि सर्वेषाम् रक्षसाम् अहम् || ६-३५-२५
“By seeing various kinds of unexpected events (portents) and many types of terrific things, I am perceiving a destruction of all the demons.” Back
6-62-17
ये राक्षसा मुख्यतमा हतास्ते वानरैर्युधि || ६-६२-१६
वानराणाम् क्षयम् युधे न पश्यामि कथंचन |
न चापि वानरा युद्धे जितपूर्वाः कदाचन || ६-६२-१७
“The monkeys killed very important demons in battle. I do not envisage, in any way, the destroyable of monkeys on the battle-field. It seems the monkeys were not even defeated at any time before, in a combat.” Back
6-62-20
भ्रातुरर्थे महाबाहो कुरु कर्म सुदुष्करम् |
मयैवम् नोक्तपुर्वो हि कश्चिद्भ्रातः परम्तप || ६-६२-२०
“O the great armed Kumbhakarna. For the sake of your brother, perform this act, which is very difficult to do. O brother, the annihilator of enemies! In this way, I did not request anyone ever before.” Back
6-63-02
दृष्टो दोषो हि योऽस्माभिः पुरा मन्त्रविनिर्णये |
हितेष्वनभियुक्तेन सोऽयमासादितस्त्वया || ६-६३-२
“The same bad consequence, which was imagined by us earlier while taking the final decision after our consultation, is faced by you now, due to your utter disregard of the words spoken by your well-wishers.” Back
6-63-03
श्रीघ्रम् खल्वभ्युपेतम् त्वाम् फलम् पापस्य कर्मणः |
निरयेष्वेव पतनम् यथा दुष्कृतकर्मणः || ६-६३-३
“How a doer of wicked deeds indeed falls into damnation, so also a punishment for your sinful act has indeed reached your fast.” Back
6-63-05
यः पश्चात्पूर्वकार्याणि कुर्यादैश्वर्यमास्थितः |
पूर्वं चोत्तरकार्याणि न स वेद नयानयौ || ६-६३-५
“He who, abiding in power, performs duties to be done earlier at a later stage and duties to be done later, at an early stage, does not know what is a right course and what is a wrong course.” Back
6-63-6to 21
देशकालविहीनानि कर्माणि विपरीतवत् |
क्रियमाणानि दुष्यन्ति हवीम्ष्यप्रयतेष्विव || ६-६३-६

त्रयाणाम् पञ्चधा योगम् कर्मणाम् यः प्रपद्यते |
सचिवैः समयम् कृत्वा स सम्यगभिवर्तते || ६-६३-७

यथागमम् च यो राजा समयम् च चिकीर्षति |
बुध्यते सचिवैर्बुद्ध्या सुहृदश्चानुपश्यति || ६-६३-८

धर्ममर्थम् च कामम् च सर्वान्वा रक्षसाम् पते |
भजते पुरुषः काले त्रिणि द्वन्द्वानि वा पुनः || ६-६३-९

त्रिषु चैतेषु यच्छ्रेष्ठम् श्रुत्वा तन्नावबुध्यते |
राजा वा राजमात्रो वा व्यर्थम् तस्य बहु श्रुतम् || ६-६३-१०

उपप्रदानम् सान्त्वम् च भेदम् काले च विक्रमम् |
योगम् च रक्षसाम् श्रेष्ठ तावुभौ च नयानयौ || ६-६३-११
काले धर्मार्थकामान्यः सम्मन्त्य्र सचिवैह् सह |
निषेवेतात्मवान् लोके न स व्यसनमाप्नुयात् || ६-६३-१२

हितानुबन्धमालोक्य कुर्यात्कार्यमिहात्मनः |
राजा सहार्थतत्त्वज्ञैः सचिवैर्बुद्धिजीविभिः || ६-६३-१३

अनभिज्ज़्नाय शास्त्रार्थान् पुरुषाः पशुबुद्धयः |
प्रागल्भ्याद्वक्त्मिच्छिन्ति मन्त्रेष्वभ्यन्तरीकृताः || ६-६३-१४

अशास्त्रविदुषाम् तेषाम् कार्यम् नाभिहितं वचः |
अर्थशास्त्रानभिज्ञानाम् विपुलाम् श्रियमिच्छताम् || ६-६३-१५

अहितम् च हिताकारम् धार्ष्ट्याज्जल्पन्ति ये नराः |
अवश्यम् मन्त्रबाह्यास्ते कर्तव्याः कृत्यदूषकाः || ६-६३-१६

विनाशयन्तो भर्तारम् सहिताः शत्रुभिर्बुधैः |
विपरीतानि कृत्यानि कारयन्तीह मन्त्रिणः || ६-६३-१७

तान् भर्ता मित्रसम्काशानमित्रान् मन्त्रनिर्णये |
व्यवहारेण जानीयात्सचिवानुपसम्हितान् || ६-६३-१८

चपलस्येह कृत्यानि सहसानुप्रधावतः |
चिद्रमन्ये प्रपद्यन्ते क्रौञ्चस्य खमिव द्विजाः || ६-६३-१९

यो हि शत्रुमवज्ञाय नात्मानमभिरक्षति |
अवाप्नोति हि सोऽनर्थान् स्थानाच्च व्यवरोप्यते || ६-६३-२०

यदुक्तमिह ते पूर्वम् क्रियतामनुजेन च |
तदेव नो हितम् वाक्यम् यदिच्छसि च तत्कुरु || ६-६३-२१

“Action done perversely, regardless of space and time, get spoiled like offering oblations without properly making the fire well-prepared.” [6-63-06]

“He, who acts according to an agreement done with his counsellors, considering three types of duties*, by harassing five types of means**, moves along a right course.”[6-63-07]

“A king who wishes to execute am agreement as per law, understands it through his own intellect as well as the counsellors and discovers it through his friends, is on a right course.”[6-63-08]

“O king of demons! A man resorts to virtue or worldly gain or pleasure or all the three together or a twin combination of virtue and worldly gain or virtue and pleasure or worldly gain and pleasure or worldly gain and pleasure, according to an appointed time*.”[6-63-09]

“That sovereign king or crown prince, who, having heard which one is the best out of these three but does not keep it in mind, his extensive learning would be in vain.”[6-63-10]

“O the foremost of demons! Whosoever deliberates with his counsellors and resorts to an act of with his counsellors and resorts to an act of bestowing gifts or conciliation or sowing dissension at appropriate occasion or exhibits valour or resorts to them all together or takes recourse to both right action and the reverse of it at the right time or pursues virtue or worldly gain or pleasure at the appropriate time, that intelligent person never confronts a misfortune in this world.”[6-63-11,12]

“A sovereign has to do an act here, looking into his welfare as a consequence along with his counsellors who make their subsistence by their intelligence and who understand the true state of the things.”[6-63-13]

“Men with brutal ideas, who are initiated in discussions, aspire to tell haughty things, without fully knowing the precepts of the scriptures.”[6-63-14]

“The words spoken by those who did not know the scriptures, who do not recollect the books dealing with practical life and who covet for abundant wealth are not to be implemented.”[6-63-15]

“Those men who talk with audacity, some inimical things in a friendly way, are to be kept out of deliberations, as they certainly spoil the work to be done.”[6-63-16]

“Some counsellors, colluding with some learned adversaries, spoil their king and make them do wrong deeds.”[6-63-17]

“The king should make-out those ministers who have been transformed by the enemy to their side (through bribery and other things) and are enemies though looking like friends, through their conduct when a final decision is being taken after deliberation.”[6-63-18]

“Outsiders find out the fickleness of a ruler, who is led away by false appearances and quickly performs the acts, as birds discover the hole (made by the arrow of Skanda, the commander-in-chief of gods) in the Kruancha mountain.”[6-63-19]

“A king who disregards an enemy and does not protect himself, indeed faces disappointing occurrences and would be removed from his position.”[6-63-20]

“That advice which was tendered to you earlier by vibhishana is beneficial to us. Do whatever you wish to do.”[6-63-21]

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All Sloka Translations are from the site Valmiki Ramayana

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