Reflections on the conversation between Shri Ram and Bali

Shri Ram shot Bali by standing far away near a tree, while Bali was engaged in a fight with Sugirv. After getting shot by Shri Ram’s arrow, Bali feels cheated. He sees Shri Ram and Lakshman approaching him, and realises that these princes are the same ones of whom Tara and Angad were fearing and advising Vali not to fight Sugriv.

 

Vali accuses Shri Ram that for a person, who is called as an embodiment of Dharma, was it fair on him to shoot him from behind a tree. Although Vali knew that Shri Ram and Lakshman had come to help Sugriv through Tara, but out of pride, he does not pay heed to her words, and thus succumbs to the arrow of Shri Ram. Shri Ram listens patiently to Bali’s accusations with a smile. Then, he says that there are many reasons for which he punished Bali.

The first and the foremost reason was that Bali had snatched away Sugriv’s wife Ruma, who was in relation of a daughter to him. This is the most heinous act one can commit and Shri Ram says that this deserves death penalty and would serve as an example of honouring the respect of womanhood.

Then Vali retorts back asking the right of Shri Ram in punishing him. Then Shri Ram answers that the earth with all its mountains, woods, and forests is under the authority of the Ikshvaku kings, and presently ruled by King Bharat. Shri Ram acting as the representative of Bharat had all the right to protect Dharma and punish all wrong doers and hence he eliminated Bali for his sins.
Shri Ram further states specifically the reason that Bali being the king and the elder brother, instead of being rightful, instead behaved in a wrong way with Sugriv. Hence, Shri Ram acted as Sugirv’s elder brother and did justice to him. He also says that as a friend of Sugriv too, it was his prime responsibility to fulfil the promise given to his friend.

Not wanting the losing his argument Bali again asks Shri Ram that he belonged to the animal race, then how far it was justified to kill an animal from behind. Shri Ram aptly explains that being an animal did not put Bali outside the realms of Dharma. As a Kshatriya king, an animal causing harm could be punished and hunted down by the king, and hence he did so.

It is at this point that Bali understands the true logic behind Shri Ram’s act and thus enlightened realises his mistake, With folded hands, he asks for forgiveness and prays to Shri Ram to free him from all the sins he has done. He praises Shri Ram’s intellect and fine sense of understanding the deeper and the sensitive aspects of Dharma.

Bali also asks Sugriv for forgiveness and happily gives him the kingdom of Kishkinda. He then requests Shri Ram to take his son Angad and his wife Tara into his protection. Then he gives counsel to Angad to always follow Sugriv who was now his representation and be devoted to Shri Ram. Thus, the enlightened Bali breathes his last in the hands of Shri Ram, taking it as a boon to be absolved from his sins.

This conversation of Shri Ram and Bali reflects upon the very finer aspects of Dharma expounded in the Vedas and Sastras explained in the most simple way by Shri Ram, and thus is one of the most important conversations of Ramayan.