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Tale of Vali and Sugreeva

First Online: January 01, 2006
Page Last Updated: October 31, 2016

Background

Brothers Vali and Sugreeva are the royal apes of Kishkindha forest. However, Vali has denied the younger brother his fair share after a misunderstanding, and has banished the younger brother from the kingdom.

Meanwhile, brothers Rama and Laxmana are searching for Sita.

Friendship of Rama and Sugreeva

On their long search, Rama and Laxmana reached Rishyamukha mountains. Sugreeva spotted them, and impressed by their royal appearance sent his assistant  monkey Maruti (a.k.a. Hanuman), to befriend them. Rama was equally eager to meet Sugreeva. Maruti  then took them to Sugreeva's forest court. 

kamat.com/Kamat's Potpourri
Rama Meets Sugreeva
Rama Meets Sugreeva
Painting by Balasaheb Pant Pratinidhi, 1912

Apparently, Sugreeva had preserved the ornaments Sita threw at him, as a symbol of identity, when Rawana was carrying her away through air. Listening to Rama's story, Sugreeva showed the ornaments to Rama, which he instantly recognized as his wife's. Rama's grief was great at the sight of lost Sita's jewelry. Sugreeva promised him all help to find out Sita's whereabouts. Rama in return promised to kill the usurper Vali and get back Sugreeva's lost kingdom.

Killing of Vali

With Rama's assistance Sugreeva was able to challenge Vali in combat. Finally, the arrow shot from a distance by Rama killed the powerful warrior monkey, Vali.

kamat.com/Kamat's Potpourri
Killing of Vali Monkey
Killing of Vali Monkey
Painting by Balasaheb Pant Pratinidhi

It is said that Rama could not identify who was Vali and Sugreeva! The artist has shown a garland around Sugreeva's shoulder that Rama might have used to distinguish who is his friend and who was Vali.

  • Source of Picture: Chitra Ramayana by Ramachandra Madhwa Mahishi, Illustrated by Balasaheb Pandit Pant Pratinidhi, 1916
  • Commentary: Dr. Jyotsna Kamat

See Also:

 The Hindu Epic of Ramayana
Ramayana

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