13

In this chapter of the Yuddha Kanda of the Ramayana, after Ravana's death his brother Vibhishana is coronated as the king of Lanka:

Hearing the words of the great soled Rama, Lakshmana replied, 'so it be' and rejoicingly procured a golden pot. That mighty Lakshmana, then placing that pot in the hands of the monkey-chiefs, instructed them, who were as swift as thought, to bring sea-water. Thereupon, those excellent monkeys, with the swiftness of thought, moving very quickly from that place, returned, having obtained the water from the sea. Thereupon, Lakshmana together with his friends, taking one pot and making Vibhishana sit on the throne, sprinkled him with sea-water from that pot in accordance with the rule prescribed in Vedic scriptures, while the demons were witnessing the ceremony, to make him the king for Lanka, as directed by Rama. Then, all the demons, as well as the monkeys, consecrated Vibhishana.

And this chapter of the Uttara Kanda of the Ramayana describes how Rama blessed Vibhishana with immortality right before Rama departed the Earth:

He then said to Vibhishana the king of Rakshasas: As long as people shall breathe, O Vibhishana, O highly powerful lord of Rakshasas, thou shalt preserve thy body in Lanka.

But my question is, when and how did Vibhishana step down as king of Lanka? Vibhishana is obviously not ruling Sri Lanka today, so what caused him to stop ruling it?

This excerpt from the Nagara Kanda of the Skanda Puranas describes how when Rama's son Kusha was ruling Ayodhya, he sent a message to Vibhishana to keep the Rakshasas from coming into India and creating havoc. So Vibhishana was still ruling Lanka during Kusha's reign. And going to even more recent times, Vibhishana was still ruling Lanka during the time of Yudhishthira's Rajasuya Yagna, as described in this chapter of the Sabha Parva of the Mahabharata:

And, O king of kings, that slayer of all foes, the virtuous and intelligent son of Madri having arrived at the sea-shore, then despatched with great assurance messengers unto the illustrious Vibhishana, the grandson of Pulastya. And the monarch willingly accepted the sway of the son of Pandu, for that intelligent and exalted king regarded it all as the act of Time. And he sent unto the son of Pandu diverse kinds of jewels and gems, and sandal and also wood, and many celestial ornaments, and much costly apparel, and many valuable pearls. And the intelligent Sahadeva, accepting them all, returned to his own kingdom.

So even during the Mahabharata period, Vibhishana was still ruling Lanka. So what changed between then and now?Do any scriptures describe Vibhishana handing the throne to one of his sons?Do any ancient Indian writers living in the Kali Yuga (like Adi Shankaracharya, for instance) state that Vibhishana was still ruling Lanka in their time?

Now there is a small number of people, like the author of this question, who argue that Ravana's Lanka is not the same as the modern-day island of Sri Lanka. If that's the case then Vibhishana could still be ruling Ravana's Lanka to this day. But I find such theories rather far-fetched.

EDIT: The first chapter of an ancient Buddhist text called the Mahavamsa claims that Buddha went to Lanka and drove away all the Yakshas, which may be a metonymy for Rakshasas, and sent them to a place called Giridipa. And it seems that there was a legendary Buddhist prince named Vijaya who is said to have fought Yakshas in Lanka. But I want to know what Hinduism has to say.

  • 1
    @UdayKrishna Well, the Mahabharata is quite clear that it's talking about the "grandson of Pulastya". So that's an unambiguous reference to Ravana's brother Vibhishana who was the son of Pulastya's son Vishravas. – Keshav Srinivasan Dec 17 '16 at 8:05
  • 1
    @UdayKrishna Well, it's clear that Vibhishana ruled for an extremely long time. The question is what changed in the last 5000 years, between the Mahabharata and the present day. – Keshav Srinivasan Dec 17 '16 at 8:10
  • Interesting question. I don't think that Vibhishana was still ruling during Kali Yuga because then all the saints would have just gone to Sri Lanka to worship him and have long discussions with him - which obviously didn't happen. – Surya Dec 17 '16 at 8:29
  • 1
    @Surya Well, in the Skanda Purana excerpt I linked to, Kusha's messenger who goes to Rameshwaram is told that it's impossible for humans to go to Lanka: "Beyond this no human being can go at all because the Setu was broken in the middle by Rama of indefatigable actions." I'm not sure what the story is of Rama breaking Setu, though. Also, people may have been reluctant to go to Lanka due to the Rakshasas - anyone who tried to meet Vibhishana may have been eaten or killed in some other way by Rakshasas. – Keshav Srinivasan Dec 17 '16 at 9:29
  • 1
    @Surya I just found an ancient Buddhist text called the Mahavamsa which claims that Buddha went to Lanka and drove away all the Yakshas (which may be a metonymy for Rakshasas) and sent them to some place called Giridipa: lakdiva.org/mahavamsa/chap001.html And it seems there was a legendary Buddhist prince named Vijaya who is said to have had battles with Yakshas: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Vijaya – Keshav Srinivasan Dec 17 '16 at 9:51
-1

The OP had mentioned my question in the text of the question part - Now there is a small number of people, like the author of this question, who argue that Ravana's Lanka is not the same as the modern-day island of Sri Lanka.

Yes, even today I will stick to my stand that Ravana's Lanka is not the same as the modern-day island of Sri Lanka.

So I thought I should also put forward my perspective to this question.


The questions of the OP were based on the following presumptions.

  1. Sri Rama blessed Vibhishana, mentioned in Uttara Kanda, with immortality right before Rama departed the Earth.

  2. In the Nagara Kanda of the Skanda Purana, it was described as to how when Rama's son Kusha, who was ruling Ayodhya, sent a message to Vibhishana to keep the Rakshasas from coming into India and creating havoc.

  3. Vibhishana was still ruling Lanka during the time of Yudhishthira's Rajasuya Yagna, as described in this chapter of the Sabha Parva of the Mahabharata


A 6th Century version of Ramayana was found in a library of Kolkata. According to this version, there are just five kandas (sections) instead of the accepted seven. There is no Bala kanda or Uttara kanda.

As the episodes of banishment of Sita and her giving birth to Kusha and Lava find place in this interpolated Uttara Kanda, further queries like whether Sri Rama was justified in banishing Sita or Why did not Sita go back to Mithila or who ruled after Sri Rama etc, may not arise.

a) UTTARA KANDA is a PRAKSHIPTA/an interpolated story - an insertion made at a later date. Ramayana ends with the coronation of Sri Rama as the King of Ayodhya. As the blessing of Vibhishana Sri Rama does not find place in Valmiki Ramayana, it is an interpolated story.

b) As ruling of Ayodhya by Kusha is not part of Ramayana, his message to Vibhishana may be an interpolated story.


Coming to the aspect of Sahadeva sending message to Vibhishana, it is another interpolated story due to the following reasons.

a) In Kishkinda Kanda of Ramayana, Sampati describes the distance of Lanka from his end of the ocean as follows:

इतो द्वीपे समुद्रस्य संपूर्णे शत योजने | तस्मिन् लंका पुरी रम्या निर्मिता विश्वकर्मणा || ४-५८-२०

"There is a lavish city in the oceanic island afar a hundred yojana-s all in all from here, which Vishvakarma, the Divine-Architect, has built, and it is called Lanka. "

He also states that it is in Southern end - दक्षिणम् तीरम्!

So Lanka was situated in the Southern end, at a distance of 100 Yojanas or 1300 Kms from the that end .

Sri Lanka is only around 49 Kms only and it was situated in South-East direction.

b) When Bhima met Sri Hanuman, the latter states, when Bhima asks him to show his original form, as follows:

'That form of mine neither thou, not any one else can behold. At that age, the state of things was different, and doth not exist at present. In the Krita age, the state of things was one; and in the Treta, another; and in the Dwapara, still another.

Diminution is going on this age; and I have not that form now. The ground, rivers, plants, and rocks, and siddhas, gods, and celestial sages conform to Time, in harmony with the state of things in the different yugas.

Therefore, do not desire to see my former shape, O perpetuator of the Kuru race. I am conforming to the tendency of the age. Verily, Time is irresistible'

Sri Hanuman clearly said due to change of age, there was diminution is every thing that includes humans strength and intelligence.

c) When mighty vanaras were afraid to jump the ocean, it was Sri Hanuman alone crossed the ocean. We have to remember that in Ramayana Era, the strength and valour of beings was much more compared to the ones in Mahabharata.

Even Mighty Jambavanta said he could only jump 90 Yojanas.

So Sahadeva sending a message through a messenger, who should cross the ocean for a length of 1300 kms in a ship or something else, and deliver the message, appears to be not realistic. An interpolated story.


Ramayana ends with the coronation of Sri Rama as the king of Kosala Kingdom. And, there was no mention of Vibhishana's ruling thereafter.

Hence, we can infer that stories in Puranas about Vibhishana are not realistic.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .