In the Ramayana, Vaali and Sugriva are twin brothers and Vaali is the King of Kishkindha (probably modern day Hampi). They both are powerful and great warriors. The brothers have a fallout and Vaali forcibly keeps Sugriva’s wife with himself, while banishing Sugriva from his kingdom.
Rama and Lakshmana meet up with Sugriva and his small team of dedicated ministers (Hanuman, Jambavan,Nal, Neel etc) during the course of their search for Sita. Rama offers his friendship to Sugriva and he readily accepts it. Rama also promises to kill Vaali and restore the kingdom to Sugriva because Vaali was being “adharmic” in his behaviour towards Sugriva.
As expected Vaali is felled by Rama in the duel. A fatally wounded Vaali argues with Rama about his actions and questions his motives for killing him. At the end of the argument, Vaali realises his mistakes and asks for Rama’s forgiveness. Rama immediately forgives him and tells Vaali that he doesn’t have to die as his wounds can be cured. In reply, Vaali says something really beautiful – “I will get life any number of times, but I won’t get this kind of death, at the hands of Sriman Narayana himself ever. So I wish to die.”
I was reminded of Osho’s immortal words – “Death is not the end, but the beginning of a new life. Yes, it is an end of something that is already dead. It is also a crescendo of what we call life, although very few know what life is. They live, but they live in such ignorance that they never encounter their own life. And it is impossible for these people to know their own death, because death is the ultimate experience of this life, and the beginning experience of another. Death is the door between two lives; one is left behind, one is waiting ahead.
I read the above words several times in the last three days … and listened to many other discourses that Osho has given about death. All because I made the mistake of watching the video of a 70 year old Sadhu being lynched to death in Palghar, Maharashtra. I didn’t watch the whole video, just the first hit on this Sadhu’s head and I was so disturbed that I couldn’t sleep. I do understand that people are violent and lynchings happen, but a 70 year old helpless man holding onto a policeman’s arm being pushed in the middle of a mob and beaten to death is unacceptable. I wonder what a 70 year old man can really do to anger a mob ? Even if he was a thief, he was with the police and would get some punishment for it. Rumours were spread apparently that he was a child kidnapper – even if that was true, he was with the police ! Give evidence to the police and ensure that he is punished. How can you beat an old man to death ? There were two other young Sadhus who also got beaten to death. Am not less upset about their deaths, but I am unable to get over this old man’s death. Momentarily I thought about an uncle of mine who was beaten, and nearly killed because of mistaken identity. I have never written about two things – lynchings and acid attacks. I find it very difficult to write about them.
The crescendo of this Sadhu’s life was the dull thud of a lathi against his head …. hope his sadhana helped him in his last journey and he remembered the following shloka from the Bhagavad Gita –
नैनं छिन्दन्ति शस्त्राणि नैनं दहति पावक: |
न चैनं क्लेदयन्त्यापो न शोषयति मारुत: || 2.23||
Krishna speaks about the soul and says “Weapons cannot cut It, nor can fire burn It; water cannot wet It, nor can wind dry It.”
3 thoughts on “Vaali Vadh and a Sadhu’s lynching”
How beautifully explained and see me sharing your pain … the unacceptable way someone has to leave this world … may the departed soul RIP till there is justice
The sadhu’s smile, on seeing a police man, will remain etched in the collective memory of our civilization, as a crude reminder of the impotence of state that failed a believing sadhu.