Why Didn’t Vishvamitra Just Curse The Attackers

[Shri Rama]“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)

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ततोऽहं मेघसङ्काशस्तप्तकाञ्चनकुण्डलः।
बली दत्तवरोदर्पादाजगाम तदाश्रमम्।।
तेन दृष्टः प्रविष्टोऽहं सहसैवोद्यतायुधः।
मां तु दृष्ट्वा धनुस्सज्यमसम्भ्रान्तश्चकार सः।।

tato’haṃ meghasaṅkāśastaptakāñcanakuṇḍalaḥ।
balī dattavarodarpādājagāma tadāśramam।।
tena dṛṣṭaḥ praviṣṭo’haṃ sahasaivodyatāyudhaḥ।
māṃ tu dṛṣṭvā dhanussajyamasambhrāntaścakāra saḥ।।

“There is that wonderful description in the Ramayana of Shri Rama’s fighting ability, exhibited at a young age. Maricha tells the story, which is remarkable in and of itself. This is because Maricha is on the other side. He is an adversary. By no stretch of the imagination would anyone consider him to be a good person.

“Maybe in the past. Perhaps at the soul level, where every individual is pure. He was later cursed to become a Rakshasa, which is something like a man-eating ogre. In that capacity he became a trusted advisor to Ravana, the king of Rakshasas. The lowest among men lived in Lanka, and they often ventured out on seek and destroy missions.

“Maricha and his cohort named Subahu were accustomed to attacking Vishvamitra. The sage lived in the forest at the time and was engaged in a particular yajna. The problem is that it never came to fruition. Maricha made sure of it. He would attack, in tandem, by throwing blood and pus on the sacrificial fire, ruining everything.

“I’m wondering why Vishvamitra didn’t fight back. Why did he choose to remain nonviolent? Elevated brahmanas have certain tools at their disposal to handle such issues. Why not defend against Maricha and teach others a lesson in the process?”

As described to King Dasharatha, the particular yajna attempted involved a moratorium on curses. This is the way brahmanas can otherwise fight back. Through their spiritual endeavors they accumulate pious credits. That is essentially currency that can be used in exchange for attacks on opponents.

[yajna]The problem is that each curse depletes the bank account, so to speak. It would be like if I were saving up money to purchase a house. After the balance reached a certain amount, I decided to splurge on an expensive car instead. Now the original intent gets nullified. I no longer have the money I need to buy the house.

Brahmanas do not like to waste their pious credits. Moreover, it is not their duty to protect against injury. The kshatriyas provide that function for society. Vishvamitra was entirely within his rights to approach King Dasharatha directly, to ask for assistance.

The request was astonishing. Vishvamitra asked for Rama to act as bodyguard. Dasharatha would essentially have to sacrifice his most beloved son, to move under the care of a brahmana who was facing imminent and repeated danger.

Though a youth at the time, Rama was the perfect defense. As Maricha later described, during the subsequent attack there was no hesitation or fear. Rama fitted arrow to bow in a split second, thwarting the attack from the Rakshasas.

The lessons from the incident carry over to the modern day. The person engaged in devotion to God, in all sincerity, can expect to face strong opposition from the rest of the world. Words of derision, shutting down of houses of worship, and sometimes physical violence.

[Shri Rama]Rather than have to deal with each instance individually, they can rest assured continuing in their efforts, knowing that the same Rama is there to protect. He may not be visible to the less advanced. He may appear to be a figment of the imagination to those who have never uttered His name, but the devotees know exactly the potency in Him and the dexterity He can utilize against the intruders: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

In Closing:

By ignorance deluding,
That successful intruding.

Since before to get,
But this time Rama met.

Arrow releasing where,
Demons removed from there.

So curse by brahmana not needed,
Since force by God preceded.

Categories: maricha describing rama, questions

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