After the abduction of Sita, Shri Ram immediately left Panchvati in search of Sita. As per the advice of Jataayu , and also that of Shabri, he was moving in the southerly direction, and was at Kishkindha Mt. He entered into a friendship
pact with Sugrive, wherein, it was decided that, Shri Ram would ensure Sugrive’s win over Bali, and subsequently, Sugrive would assist in every possible manner, Sita’s safe return. In the process Shri Ram would also help to
restore to Sugrive, his wife, who had been forcibly kept by Bali.
This pact was important. In the first instance this was first of its kind, in as much that it recognized Vaanars as new generation of mankind and that they were equal in status to people living in rest of the kingdoms. Until now after the accord between kingdoms and Parashuram, the kingdoms were not having any relation- good or bad with Vaanars (pl. read Hindu History ), and now for the first time, Prince of Ayodhya, Shri Ram, was not only accepting them as equal,
but was also entering into a pact accepting them as equal.
Soon thereafter, on the advice of Shri Ram, Sugrive challenged Bali for a fight. Bali had earlier received a boon from gods that he would gain half the strength of his opponent in any man to man fight. As such he was unbeatable. This fact was discussed by Sugrive and Shri Ram and they had agreed that Shri Ram would kill Bali, by an arrow, hiding behind a bush, when Sugrive and Bali fought each other.
Now the Maryada of that time was against any such interference, when two persons were engaged in a combat. Shri Ram knew that and was also prepared to go against it. He knew that if he won a comprehensive battle against Ravan, with the support of Sugrive and his Vaanars sena, it would become easier to bring them into the main stream of civilized life. It may also be argued that since the kingdoms of that time still regarded Vaanars as yet another animal breed, and never treated them as human beings, there was no problem in ambushing and killing them from behind a bush, as was normally done while hunting. Shri Ram had already accepted them as human being at par with those living in kingdoms, and to that extend that argument is inappropriate and inconsistent with the facts.
In the ensuing fight both Bali and Sugrive fought bravely but soon Bali started gaining upper hand. When the blows from Bali became too much to bear, Sugrive ran back to where Shri Ram was. Shri Ram assured Sugrive that the only reason
why he had not killed Bali was because during fight both looked alike. He gave Sugrive a tulsi maala which Shri Ram
himself wore around his neck and send him back for combat. This time, too, Bali started gaining an upper hand. From the bush, Shri Ram then drove one arrow straight into Bali’s chest.
Wounded seriously, Bali fell on the ground. He saw Ram standing right in front of him, with his bow and arrow, and Laxman standing a few steps away. Bali accused Ram of favoring Sugrive, and killing him like an animal, when he was engaged in a man to man combat with Sugrive. This was ADHARM, he protested. Shri Ram replied that he was staying in forest to establish DHARM among mankind living in forest, and Bali knew that. Taking the argument further, Shri Ram said that he (Bali) had been punished because he had forcibly kept his younger brothers wife. As per dharm there was no difference between the younger brother and a son, and as such Bali’s indecent act did not merit any lesser punishment.
Bali knew that Shri Ram was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. He also knew that he would have turned down any request from Shri Ram for help and support against Ravan, as Ravan was his (Bali’s) friend and he would not, under any circumstances, had involved his sena in any fight against Ravan. He also knew that he was fatally wounded. Realization of death brings spirituality in most men. Bali also felt the same. Bali knew why Ram had mortally wounded him. He would not have assisted Ram, but Sugrive would. His race i.e. Vaanars will benefit immensely with Ram’s support. He asked Ram that now that, HE, as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, was standing right in front of him, as he [Bali] lay dying, was he still a sinner?
Understanding that Bali had accepted his mistake, Shri Ram desired that Bali may be treated, so that he could be saved, but Bali flatly refused. He requested Shri Ram to take care of his son Angad and then he died.
Now the above conversation simply highlights how seriously wrong Bali was, when he forcibly kept his younger brother’s wife. Shri Ram knew that he had broken the Maryada of his time by interfering decisively in a man to man combat. But
he had promised to Bharat, when they met in Chitrakoot, that he would do everything to establish Bhaarat, a land where there would be no exploitation of mankind by mankind. He was on a nation building mission, and only that was his priority.
Sugrive and the entire Vaanars gained immensely, in terms of goodwill, by helping Shri Ram, in his fight against Ravan. Shri Ram was able to bring them in the mainstream... subsequently after his victory over Ravan.
We must remember that for God there is never any Maryada, but a person is bound by traditions, customs and rituals. Maryada is a component of history and once we start judging a person on the bases of Maryadas of that period, we are doing this after we have accepted him as a historical figure of that time. In the case of Shri Ram this confusion must be cleared once and for ever. Some people believe that he was a historical figure, some feel otherwise. This article has
been written with full belief and faith that he was a historical figure.
A person who follows the Maryadas of his time is called Maryada Purush. But a person, who goes beyond that, i.e. a person who not only follows Maryada, but is even willing to break them for the sake of larger cause such as humanity and nation is called MARYADAPURUSHOTTAM. Shri Ram is justly called MARYADAPURUSHOTTAM RAM.