In the epic of Ramayana, Ravana’s two brothers namely Kumbhakarna and Vibhishana appear like two opposite poles in terms of their decision during the war between Sri Rama and Ravana. It is a matter of severe debate as to whose action is the right one whether that of Kumbhakarna or Vibhishana. To understand the matter further, we need to analyze their roles in detail.
Ravana committed a serious crime in abducting Mother Sita, the consort of Rama by deceitful means in an attempt to lure her to marry him. Earlier, when Ravana tried to forcibly seduce a pious lady named Vedavalli, she cursed him stating that if he would seduce any unwilling lady in future, he will face his destruction at once. Only to save himself from this curse Ravana was trying to allure Sita by confining her to a park called Ashokavana in Lanka. But, the chaste Sita was far from being convinced into marrying Ravana and was wailing in agony due to her separation from Sri Rama.
Knowing the evil action of Ravana, Vibhishana rose into anger at once and tried to put some sense into his brother through several words and by several means, but in vain. When he tried out of his way to force Ravana to send away Mother Sita to Sri Rama, Ravan threatened him of being killed and drove Vibhishana away from the kingdom. Vibhishana sought refuge in Sri Rama who had camped near the tip of India waiting for the right time to wage a war against Ravana. None in Rama’s camp agreed for giving refuge to Vibhishana. They said that it could have been an evil plot of Ravana to send Vibhishana to Rama in an effort to conquer him. However, Hanumana attested the good qualities of Vibhishana from his personal observation of the latter when he had been to Lanka in search of Mother Sita. Hanumana added that he was aware of the efforts taken by Vibhishana to drive some good sense into Ravana. Finally, Sri Rama decided to accept Vibhishana and prepared for the war. Since then, Vibhishana was helping Sri Rama with several moves pertaining to the war.
When Kumbhakarna was woken up from slumber to fight against Sri Rama, first he rose in anger despising the evil act of Ravana. But, when Ravana persuaded him, Kumbhakarna said despite his non-agreement with the action of Ravana, he would stand by his side to fight the war against Sri Rama as a mark of gratitude to his brother since Ravana had fed him and taken good care of him. He too adds that rather than being killed by Ravana who would get angry if he refused, it would be better to be killed by Sri Rama who is a pious one.
Therefore, the underline is that Vibhishana and Kumbhakarna were of the same wavelength in expressing their non-agreement with Ravana’s evil action. However, they apparently differed in their decision during the war. At a point of time, we hear Vibhishana saying that since Ravana is sure to face his death in the war due to his evil intention, there would be none to cremate him and attend to his death ceremonies and therefore he was in fact doing some good to Ravana by taking refuge in Sri Rama. Thus, it is beyond doubt that both the brothers were only trying to do some good to Ravana in their own ways. In this sense, their actions were never in contrast though apparently they might seem so.