Maricha – Saint OR Demon ?

Maricha is an important character in Ramayana, who turned the story by helping Ravana to kidnap Sita. When Ravan approached for help, Maricha was reluctant to support Ravana. Maricha told Ravana that he is leading an ascetic life like a saint by controlling his food habits. He counselled Ravana and he even did not believe Ravana when he said that Rama attacked Khara, Dushanas with no reason. Maricha felt that Rama would never do like that. Based on his conversation with Ravana, can we assume that Maricha was a changed person? Was he really a saint? Or a demon? Let us take a closer look.

Maricha discouraged Ravan when asked for help. Maricha praised the great qualities of Rama and asked Ravana to not to get into a fight with Rama. Ravana not pleased with his uncle Maricha and he wanted his plan to be executed. Maricha was Ravan’s maternal uncle as Thataki was the mother of both Maricha and Kaikasi.   Ravana told him that he would kill Maricha if he could not execute his plan. Ravana wanted Maricha to be a golden deer with attractive spots on the body and wander near the hermitage of Rama.  This Deer should be unique and beautiful, so Sita would want it. Rama and Lakshman would go for the deer giving way for Ravana to kidnap Sita.

Maricha had to take a decision; he had seen Rama twice earlier and narrowly escaped death on both the occasions. He knew that it would be impossible to escape this time. In fact, Maricha moved to Dandakaranya, which is on the banks of Godavari after his first encounter with Rama on the banks of Ganges and Sarayu at Siddhasrama. Maricha was roaming around in Dandakaranya in the form of a beast with two of his followers, killing saints and eating human flesh. When Maricha saw Rama in exile, he thought he could Kill Rama as Rama was not having any weapons in his hand. But Rama shot three arrows in no time, which killed both of his followers and Marich could narrowly escape because of his earlier experience with Rama. Out of fear, Maricha moved to further south and living in a secluded place near the sea.

Maricha decided to go with Ravana and support his plan. Maricha took this decision as he might want to die in the hands of Rama instead of Ravana. He was definitely not a changed man because he was living in a secluded place out of fear of Rama. He was not having any devotion towards Rama, it was only his fear of death made him to live a different kind of life. He moved away from Rama, though he could appreciate some of his great qualities. A sage cannot be afraid of Paramatma and move away from him, so he is definitely not a saint. If he was not killed, he could have gone back to his earlier way of living after Rama moved out of forest. Another fact, Rama killed him because he was a demon. Rama would not have killed him if he was a saint.


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