Answering this controversy citing evidences from the Ramayana
Bali Maharaj With Lord Rama Laxmana
One day I was taking few guests on a tour of our temple when we came upon a picture of Rama lila. Naturally the conversation veered to the divine topics of Lord Rama. One of the guests then said, "I have a doubt about an action of Lord Rama. Can you clarify it?"
"Of course." I replied.
"I have heard that Lord Rama is maryada purusottama one who strictly follows Vedic rules and regulations. Then why did He hide and kill Vali, the brother of Sugriva? Isn't shooting an enemy without his knowledge, an unjust and inappropriate act?"
I had never thought deeply about this topic, so instead of speculating I decided to find the answer from Ramayana itself. Quickly seizing a copy of the great scripture I turned to the above mentioned section. Interestingly I found that the author, sage Valmiki, himself had elaborately described various reasons justifying the killing of Vali. I read them to my guests and they were completely satisfied by them.
Many readers of Back To Godhead may have similar questions in their minds. Therefore I am presenting an essence of that section from Valmiki Ramayana which describes the scene after Lord Rama had slayed Vali. (Vali's Complaint)
When Vali had been fatally injured by Lord Ramacandra's arrows, he complains to Lord Ramacandra in the following words
"Oh scion of the Raghu dynasty! I had not come here to fight with you. I was already engaged in fighting with someone else, when You attacked me. I don't know what fame or success You have achieved by doing so. Oh Prince! If You would have fought with me by coming before me, I would have surely sent You to the abode of Yamraja. Like a snake that comes unseen and bites a person asleep, causing his death, You have wounded a warrior like me hiding Yourself, and in doing so, have incurred terrible sin. So, even if I die today, I don't mind it. But, tell me, how can You justify your act of killing me in this way?"
Lord Ramacandra replied "Oh monkey! You do not know anything about the four goals of life – Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksa (religion, economic development, sense gratification, and liberation). Then, how can you speak such words to me, overcome by impudence, fit only for small children? Without realizing the intricacies of duty, do you wish to instruct me in a monkey like haste?" "This planet, covered by hills and mountains, forests and gardens belongs to the kings in the dynasty of King Iksvaku and so they possess the right to punish or pardon anyone – birds, animals or men. Following the orders of the king Bharat, we chastise those who break away from the path of religion by giving them suitable punishment. "
"In your life, you have always given prominence to lust and sense enjoyment. You have never been steady on any path suitable for kings. You have always posed obstacles to religion and you have always been chastised by saintly people for your impious activities. You are unchaste and always associate with likeminded monkeys of unsteady character. Like a person born blind asking other blind persons for directions, you consult these ignorant monkeys. So how will you be able to, to ascertain what real religion is? How will you understand its essence? You have asked why I have killed you in such a way. Please listen to the following reasons and try to understand:
STAYING WITH YOUNGER BROTHER'S WIFE
"You have rejected Sanatana Dharma by staying together with the wife of your younger brother, who is like your daughter-in-law. The person who advances towards his daughter, sister or his brother's wife out of lust, has to be killed since that is the most suitable punishment for him. "
"I am born in an elevated kstariya family and so I can never pardon your sin. Since, you have strayed from the principles of religion, how can I neglect you?"
"I have befriended Sugriva and have the same feelings for him as I have for Laksmanaa. He has agreed to help Me, provided I help him in getting back his wife and kingdom. I have already taken an oath, promising him this. Under such circumstances, how can a person like Me neglect his promise? For one who follows religion, helping a friend in need is in accordance with religion and so punishing you doesn't contradict religion. "
"Being yourself a king, if you would have followed religion, you would also have acted in the same way as I have done. Manu has said – "If a person, having sinned, accepts the punishment meted out to him by the king and willingly undergoes the same, he is purified and goes to the heavenly planets like some saintly person." When a king punishes a sinner, the sinner becomes free of that sin. However, if the king fails to do so, he himself has to suffer the reactions of those sinful activities. One sudra had performed similar sins in ancient times and he was punished very severely by my ancestor King Mandhata, in accordance with the directions of the scriptures."
"0 best of the monkeys! There is one more reason for your present condition; please hear the same!"
KSATRIYAS HAVE A RIGHT TO HUNT ANIMALS
"A king can hunt a herd of deer by laying huge nets, traps or by digging secret pits etc., irrespective of whether they are running helter skelter or are resting nearby comfortably without any anxiety. A ksatriya can hunt alert or non-alert animal or an animal facing in some other direction. However, such hunting by the ksatriyas does not cause them to incur any sin. Therefore it doesn't matter whether I killed you without fighting you face to face; there is no sin because you belong to species of monkeys."
DELIVERANCE OF VALl
Hearing these words spoken by Lord Ramacandra, Yali understood the principles of religion and immediately quit thinking over the apparent fault of Lord Ramacandra. Folding his hands the king of monkeys, Vali, spoke to Lord Ramacandra- "0 best of men! Whatever you say is perfect; there is no doubt of this. Kindly pardon the offensive talk that I had spoken to You, overcome by false pride. 0 scion of Raghu dynasty! You are the perfect knower of transcendence and its essence and You are always alert towards the well being of Your subjects and dependents. Your intelligence is not tainted with illusion and is pure, cognizant of the intricacies of cause and effect. 0 knower of religion, I am the foremost amongst the animals who have given up the path of religion, yet today, I have come to your shelter. Please protect me."
Vali then requested the Lord to protect his son Angada and handed over the kingdom wilfully to Sugriva. Vali then instructed Angada, "My dear son, now that I am departing, you should always remain obedient to Sugriva. Act after due consideraion and accept the dualities of pleasure and pain with an equipoised mind. Avoid excessive attachment and hatred, for both extremes lead to degradation."
Saying this, the great monkey warrior Vali then, quit his body.
(Compiled by Vrajavasi Dasa.)