Tara felt a sudden silence. And this time the fear which gripped her heart was palpable. She knew what had happened as she struggled with herself.
“Mother!” The young Angada said as Tara stared at her son blankly, not able to control herself. “You are hurting me,” Angada said trying to pull himself away from his mother’s tight, numbing grasp.
Angada stopped talking as a single tear flowed from his mother’s eye as she saw her son. “I told him,” Tara whispered. “I told him not to pick this fight,” Tara whimpered.
“Mother!” Angada asked confused. “What is….?”
Angada turned as he saw some guards shouting and rushing inside the room, “My Lady!” the Vanara Guard shrieked, “Vali has fallen!” The guard shouted. “The great Vali has fallen!”
Tara was struggling to compose herself as her son was watching the guard numb, “NO!” The little Angada shouted as tears came to Tara’s eyes. “MY FATHER CANNOT DIE!” The young Angada wailed.
“Come with me, Angada!” Tara said leading her son, trying to control herself.
And that was when a Vanara guard stopped Tara. “My Lady, please listen to me!” the guard said. “The victor is Sugriva! If he comes….” The guard swallowed as he saw Angada, “Crown your son as the King first and then Sugriva would be able to do nothing!”
Beyond the numbing pain, Tara felt burning hatred fill her heart as she studied the guard murderously. “That is my husband who is dying there,” Tara said viciously. “I need to see him!” Tara said as she pushed the guard aside taking her son with her.
Tara never thought she would see this scene – Vali was lying on the ground a sharp arrow in his chest and Vali was gasping for breath.
Beside Vali stood Sugriva with a garland around his neck with a very strange expression on his face.
Tara studied the man beside Sugriva – a very tall, dark exceedingly handsome man with intense dark eyes – Lord Rama of Ayodhya and that was when Tara realized that Vali was speaking to Lord Rama. “You should have come to me, Lord Rama,” Vali told the man struggling to breathe as Angada ran towards his father trying to help him.
“If you had come to me,” Vali repeated. “I would have defeated whoever had taken your wife Sita, even if it was Ravana himself and brought them to you in a jiffy!” Vali told Lord Rama. “Your father – King Dasharatha helped my father Lord Indra in defeating monsters. I would have helped you in finding Sita!”
Tara was struggling with her tears as she bent down near her husband clutching his trembling fingers. For the first time, their eyes met as Tara could see regret in his eyes. The regret turned to anger as Vali turned to Lord Rama,
“THIS VANARA,” Vali shouted pointing at Sugriva, “It was because of this Vanara that my wife was made a widow and on top of that, Sugriva also took my kingdom,” Vali hissed angrily drawing an angry breath. “What was my crime when I wanted to kill him?” Vali demanded.
“He is your younger brother, Vali,” The voice of Lord Rama was calm. “Sugriva had promised to look up to you. He is like your son.” Lord Rama’s voice was strong now. “Even if he had made a mistake you should have forgiven him, Vali!”
Tara clutched Vali’s hands strongly as Vali refused to look at his wife. “I committed no crime against you, Lord Rama! Why did you kill me?” Vali demanded.
“Under the authority of King Bharatha, my brother, I can spread righteousness and destroy evil everywhere. And I cannot take your help as a king,” Lord Rama told Vali, “You lost your kingdom when you stepped down the throne to fight Mayavi! You are not a king after that and you cannot help me,” Lord Rama told Vali.
Vali sighed. That was when Vali managed to look at his wife.
“This is for Ruma,” Tara told Vali softly. Tara shook her head unable to stop her tears. “You should not have taken her!” Tara said as she hugged her dying husband tightly, sobs racking her entire body. She watched Sugriva sadly and turned to Vali. “You should not have exiled Sugriva!”
Hanuman, the minister of Sugriva, came towards Tara and shook his head sadly. “What is done is done, Tara! Think about your future! Think about the future of your son,” Hanuman said as Vali drew another hazy breath, barely looking alive. “Angada should be crowned as the king!” Hanuman said.
Tara shook her head sadly not willing to let her husband go. “No! With Sugriva alive, it is not advisable to crown my son as the king!” Tara said simply.
Vali and Tara exchanged glances and this time there was a faint smile from Vali.
“Support Sugriva, my love!” Vali told Tara nodding his head.
Tara said nothing as Vali turned to Angada. “You will help your uncle, Angada!” Sugriva said as Angada was mute, unable to say anything.
Vali turned to Sugriva. “I should not have exiled you Sugriva,” Vali said as Tara wept suddenly.
Vali stopped her and turned to Sugriva, “There is something I have never told anyone, Sugriva. But you should know. Tara is my strength! She knows everything and she understands everything. If she says something, then it is right.” Vali shook his head tiredly. “Do not question Tara. And whatever she wants should be done for if she says that something will happen, it will happen!”
Vali turned to Lord Rama, “Please make sure that Tara is well taken care of and that no one hurts her.”
With that Vali breathed his last.
[It is believed that Vali saw Lord Rama in the Vishwaroopa [The total universe inside Lord Rama showing him as the beginning and the end of the universe] before he died and hence attained salvation. Sugriva was crowned as the king of the Vanaras and Angada was made the heir apparent to the throne.]
However, the true diplomacy of Tara came after the death of Vali.
After Sugriva was crowned as the king of Kishkinda, Rama believed that Sugriva would keep his word and try to find the whereabouts of Sita. And it was the four months of the year where there was continuous rain. [In those days, no traveling was done during the intense four month rain period.]
Sugriva after becoming the king was indulging himself in his palace and had completely forgotten all about his promise to Lord Rama.
In the forests, Lord Rama was waiting, sick with worry about his wife and Lord Rama was waiting for some news from Sugriva. And finally when there was no word from Sugriva, Lord Rama sent Lakshmana to talk to Sugriva.
Just before Lakshmana could come inside Kishkinda, Hanuman learnt about Lakshmana’s arrival and had all the generals of the Vanara army come to the capital.
And when Lakshmana came inside Kishkinda, the next day, Lakshmana was furious. More than furious as he saw Sugriva living the comforts of the palace. And Lakshmana could see that Sugriva had forgotten everything that he had promised Lord Rama and Lakshmana was painfully reminded of his own elder brother who was in the forest, all alone and pining for his wife.
Lakshmana would have burnt down Kishkinda in his anger, if it had not been for Tara who intercepted Lakshmana before he could meet Sugriva.
“Prince Lakshmana,” Tara said bowing to Lakshmana.
“WHERE IS SUGRIVA?” Lakshmana thundered angrily.
Tara studied the angry prince and realized that Lakshmana was very angry and could not be satisfied with words alone. Tara nodded to Lakshmana, “Prince Lakshmana, you should realize that all the generals and the troops of the Vanara army are coming to Kishkinda as we speak. We will begin our search for Sita at the earliest, as soon as all the troops are here!”
Lakshmana was still furious as Tara continued, “Prince Lakshmana your brother Lord Rama is a great man! And he has approached Sugriva for help in fighting Ravana and his men.” Tara shook her head. “Please prince, do not give way to your anger! As soon as the troops are here, we would find Sita and we would start our campaign to get her back.”
And Tara continued speaking. She praised Rama and she also explained away Sugriva’s inability to act quickly and she also subtly reminded Lakshmana the fact that Rama needed the help of the Vanaras if he hoped to get Sita back.
And Tara explained it so well that as Lakshmana heard Tara, Lakshmana calmed down. [In some versions it is even mentioned that Lakshmana was reminded of his mother as he saw Tara and Lakshmana gave up his anger.]
It was only after Lakshmana left Kishkinda that Sugriva realized how close Lakshmana had come to destroying the entire city. Then Sugriva became serious and then he took over the command of his people and sent them to all the parts of the country to find Sita.
That day, a disaster was averted to Kishkinda, all because of Tara, the Queen of Kishkinda.