“Then I, resembling a cloud and having molten-golden earrings, made my way into Vishvamitra’s ashrama, for I was very proud of my strength due to the boon given to me by Lord Brahma. As soon as I entered, Rama quickly noticed me and raised His weapon. Though He saw me, Rama strung His bow without any fear.” (Maricha speaking to Ravana, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 38.16-17)
बली दत्तवरोदर्पादाजगाम तदाश्रमम्।।
तेन दृष्टः प्रविष्टोऽहं सहसैवोद्यतायुधः।
मां तु दृष्ट्वा धनुस्सज्यमसम्भ्रान्तश्चकार सः।।
balī dattavarodarpādājagāma tadāśramam।।
tena dṛṣṭaḥ praviṣṭo’haṃ sahasaivodyatāyudhaḥ।
māṃ tu dṛṣṭvā dhanussajyamasambhrāntaścakāra saḥ।।
They devour. Pouncing at the opportune moment, as they see it, taking advantage of vulnerability, they seek to meet their strongest desires for pleasure. Maricha and his friends were used to this game. They knew what they were doing. Like taking candy from a baby, as their victims were mostly helpless. The unsuspecting targets did not foresee trouble in a remote area, where they were bothering no one.
The Rakshasas of Lanka knew this. The people at the time were enjoying conjugal pleasure, attending social gatherings, and going about their merry way. Maricha warned the leader, Ravana, that striking the ire of the Supreme Lord in the avatara of Shri Rama would jeopardize the situation. The stability that everyone grew accustomed to would be rocked by death and destruction as proper retribution.
Ravana wanted Maricha to help him. Though the Rakshasas were accustomed to succeeding in their missions in the forest of Dandaka, the most recent trip was a total disaster. Ravana had sent fourteen thousand of his men, and they were soundly defeated.
On the other side was one man. Superhuman, it seemed. Rama defended Himself without any extra assistance. Just the arrows released from His bow, which chased the enemy like heat-seeking missiles, showing the vision of five-headed serpents at the end. Wherever the Rakshasas turned, they saw Rama.
This was the person they previously refused to acknowledge. They thought there was no God. After all, how could there be if there was no consequence for the grossest violation of human rights? Maricha was a common participant. He knew what to do. Attack the sages in the forest right as the yajna was about to finish.
This would spoil everything. Something like intentionally demolishing a building just as the final nail is driven into the wood. Throwing away the pizza pie as soon as it comes out of the oven. Cutting off the electricity just as the sun finally sets.
As a species, the Rakshasas were man-eaters. This means they didn’t stop with destroying the official ceremonies in honor of the demigods. They weren’t content with ruining religious observances. They would continue with killing the worshipers and then eating their flesh.
This shows that following the path of dharma can be a dangerous business. The enemies of God, the asuras and the Rakshasas, look to satisfy their appetite for destruction by targeting the saintly people of the world. Leaving others alone is not enough; any mention of an Almighty and allegiance to Him needs to be fully eradicated.
There was a purpose to Maricha’s story. He had previously encountered Rama in the forest, when the son of Dasharatha was a mere youth. Yet there was still full potency. Rama guarded Vishvamitra’s sacrifice perfectly.
Maricha charged in the usual way. Normally not enough time to even be detected, Rama calmly put arrow to bow and dispatched the intruder. The force from the blow was so strong that Maricha ended up some eight hundred miles away.
He took with him a life lesson. Do not mess with Rama. Do not go anywhere near Him with hostile intent. It would be best for Ravana to dispense with the idea of getting revenge. Let the matter rest and be glad that everything was peaceful in Lanka.
Of course the mind was already made up. Maricha’s words live through to this day as wonderful glorification of the Almighty; coming from an adversary, no less. The atheist class will never relent, but Rama and His amazing strength are always there to protect, provided one has the good fortune to seek His shelter.
Rakshasas looking to devour,
Their victims to overpower.
Since attacking at night,
As yajna shining bright.
But with Rama a different story,
Maricha describing His glory.
That without fear to defend,
Force from arrows miles to extend.
Categories: maricha describing rama