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Often times, we end up in "to be or not to be" situations where the heart (manas) tells us one thing to do, but our mind (buddhi) says something else.

The speaker in this YouTube video (Telugu) therefore cites the following śloka from Agni Purāṇa as a remedy and says that chanting it during times of indecision will give you enough clarity to choose the right path.

rāvaṇādapi marttavyaṃ marttavyaṃ rāghavādapi // 14cd
avaśyaṃ yadi marttavyaṃ varaṃ rāmo na rāvaṇaḥ / 15ab

Either I have to die at the hands of Rāvaṇa or at the hands of Rāghava (Rāma). If I have to die, it's better (to die at the hands of) Rāma than Rāvaṇa.

The reason he says the śloka is particularly helpful is because the rākṣasa, Mārīca, had faced a similar situation in Rāmāyaṇa. He had two equally bad options in front of him;

  1. Face instant death at the hands of Rāvaṇa if he ignores Rāvaṇa's request (which later becomes a threat) that he turn into a golden deer to help kidnap Sītā.

  2. Or die becoming a target of Rāma's arrows should he execute Rāvaṇa's plan.

Now, in Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa, Mārīca went with Option 2, the lesser of both evils (at least in his opinion), because he probably felt dying at Rāma's hands would bring him salvation when he can't avoid a certain death.

But I think Mārīca had a 3rd option; better than the above two, which is to surrender to Rāma (i.e., śaraṇāgati) like Vibhīṣaṇa did after escaping from Rāvaṇa.

Why didn't Mārīca go for śaraṇāgati?

It appears that before turning into a golden deer, Mārīca did penance, transformed himself into a sage-like person, spoke highly of Rāma ('rāmo vigrahavān dharmaḥ') etc. So how did he miss this 3rd option?

Instead of becoming a deer he could have turned himself into a brāhmaṇa and sought refuge in Rāma.

Also, before he died, he could have avoided shouting 'hā Sītā, hā Lakṣmaṇa' but he still kept his word. For what reason did he follow through on his promise to an evil king like Rāvaṇa?

  • One of the greatest writers in Telugu, Late Sri Gunturu Seshendra Sarma in his literary work "Shodasi: Ramayana Rayasyalu" commented that it was Ravana but not Mareecha, who mislead Sri Rama in the form of deer. Mareecha taking the form of deer may be an interpolated story.@sv. – srimannarayana k v Jun 4 at 10:37
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    @srimannarayanakv If that is the case, who abducted Sita? Was he present at two places simultaneously? – Sarvabhouma Jun 15 at 11:31
  • @Sarvabhouma: He could have diverted the attention of Sri Rama, might have feigned the voice of the latter and after departure of Lakshmana might have abducted Sita. A person of Ravana's calibre, who knows how to deceive, could have done this with ease. After getting initial counselling from Maricha, Ravana might not have approached him again. – srimannarayana k v Jun 15 at 13:03
  • @Sarvabhouma: You can go through the 10th sloka of 31st Sarga of Sundara Kanda. There Valmiki says through Sri Hanuman - वञ्चयित्वा वने रामं मृगरूपेण मायया। - "deceived Rama in the guise of a deer and abducted Janaki ". Again in the Sundara Kanda Sarga 34 and in Sloka 32 Sri Hanuman says - अपकृष्याश्रमपदान्मृगरूपेण राघवम्। - Ravana who abducted you deceitfully in the form of deer. So it was Ravana alone who diverted the attention of Sri Rama and Lakshmana in the form of Deer and abducted Sita. Mareecha was not mentioned here. – srimannarayana k v Jun 15 at 13:43

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