The Rāmāyaṇa describes how Lord Rāma built a bridge and crossed the ocean to Laṅkā. Before the battle with Rāvaṇa began, Rāvaṇa’s youngest brother Vibhīṣaṇa came to take shelter of Rāma. Rāma immediately gave him shelter. That is the duty of a king, a kṣatriya. If someone seeks shelter, you must give him protection. But the advisors of Lord Rāma said, ”No! Don’t give him shelter. He’s from the enemy’s camp. He has come here as a spy.”
Lord Rāma then told his advisors a story. Once, a man was passing through a dense jungle. In that forest were many tigers, lions, and ferocious animals. One tiger came to attack that man, so he climbed a tree and saved his life. But the tiger had developed greed to drink human blood. So the tiger sat down underneath the tree to wait. He then noticed a monkey in the tree. He told that monkey, ”You are my brother. This human is your enemy. When you jump from one tree to another to get fruit, the human beats you and throws stones at you. And when you come down to the ground he sends his dog to catch you. Also, human beings cut down trees. So they are your constant enemy. You should understand this. You are very intelligent; you are my brother and my friend. Don’t stay with such an enemy. It is very dangerous. Push that man down from the tree. I am hungry. If you do this then I’ll get food. I’ll satisfy my hunger and our friendship will remain forever. I’ll be very, very grateful to you.”
The monkey replied, ”O my brother tiger, I understand what you have said. But the
human being has dharma. Although I am an animal with no dharma, still my conscience says that it is wrong to put one in danger who is trying to save himself.”
Then the tiger thought of another plan. He gave assurance to the man, ”O my brother, you have dharma, you are a human being. Is it not your dharma that you should give food to one who is very hungry? I am very hungry now, you must give food to a hungry jīva. You should push down this monkey, then I’ll get food. The man thought, ”Yes, very good”, and he pushed down the monkey, who fell in front of the tiger. But the tiger didn’t eat him and the monkey climbed back up the tree. The tiger had developed greed to drink human blood, so he didn’t eat the monkey. No one eats the flesh of a monkey.
Then the tiger said, ”O my brother monkey, you see, we are friends! I didn’t harm you. I spared you because we are friends. But see what that irreligious man did. He pushed you down right in front of me. So now you should push him down so that I can satisfy my hunger, and thereby he will get a good lesson. The monkey said, ”This man may be adharmic. Although I am only an animal, I am not adharmic. I cannot do this.”
It is considered that the human birth is a rarely achieved, superior birth. But they have a history of irreligiousness which is not even found in the society of animals.
Bhagavān Rāmacandra told this story, and said, ”This is my mission. I have come to establish ideal behavior in human society.” Therefore he is known as Maryādā Puruṣottama, the topmost example of and enjoyer of Vedic propriety. He never transgressed veda-maryādā, Vedic regulation and etiquette. Lord Rāmacandra was the ideal king, father, son, friend, brother, and husband. He was ideal in every respect. Lord Rāmacandra said, ”If someone comes to take shelter of me, I never think of his past history. I immediately give him shelter. Vibhīṣaṇa has taken shelter of me. I have given him shelter and he is our friend. No one should have any doubt about him. He has been made the commander-in-chief.” This is the nature of Lord Rāmacandra.
— Śrīla Gaura Govinda Svāmi Mahārāja (Kṛṣṇa Kathāmṛta Bindu Issue 198)