Hindu culture is based on the concept of dharma. It depicts how straying away from the path of dharma can wreck one’s life through the two Epics- Ramayana and Mahabharata.
Ramayana depicts Lord Rama (incarnation of Lord Vishnu) as the protagonist and the ten-headed Ravan as the antagonist.
Ravan was the demon King of Lanka changed the course of the epic. Ravan ruled with mighty power the gods, humans, and demons.
Though he was the Antagonist of the epic, the demon king was a genius scholar, a great musician, and an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva.
Ravana was born to the sage Vishrava and the Rakshasi Kekasi. He also has three siblings who are Surpanaka, Kumbakarna, and Vibheeshana.
The name Ravana means roaring and he lived a powerful life like his name.
Ravana was also known by various other names such as
- Dasis Ravana
- Dasis Sakvithi Maha Ravana,
- Eela Vendhar.
Iconography and Lanka
In the Epic, Valmiki portrays Ravan with ten heads. The ten heads of Ravana are a symbolic representation of his vast knowledge.
It symbolizes his knowledge of the 4 Vedas and six Shastras. He was wise and extremely powerful and his ultimate goal was to rule all three worlds.
He along with his siblings performed severe penance worshipping the creator, Brahma, and wished for immortality.
Though he was denied, Lord Brahma gave him the pot of nectar that resides in the belly of Ravana.
Ravana fought endless battles with the gods and took over the Indralok. He became the King of Lanka by tricking the former king of Lanka and his half-brother Kubera (the god of wealth).
Once he conquered Lanka, Ravana made it an idyllic city with the celestial architect Vishwakarma at his command.
Once Ravana became the King of Lanka, the country flourished and he proceeded with his journey to conquer humans, devas, and demons.
Under Ravan’s reign, science and medicine saw profound advancement. The Pushapaka vimana, an airplane is the greatest scientific achievement that was made with his idea.
Ravana also holds a great position as a renowned Physician. To this day, there are seven Ayurveda books in his name.
Ravan- the devotee of Lord Shiva
When devotees of Lord Shiva are named, there is always a place for Ravan in the list.
His bhakti to the god of destruction gave him the power to lift Mount Kailash.
Though he was a Bhakth, Ravan’s arrogance led Shiva to push down the mountain.
The demon king tore his hand and a musical instrument. The strings were made using sinews of Ravana.
He made songs praising Lord Shiva with his Ravanhattha (the veena). Mesmerized by songs, lord Shiva forgave him.
Ravana’s downhill begun when he abducted Lord Rama’s wife Devi Sita by treachery to seek revenge for his sister’s insult.
Though he abducted Sita to seek revenge, he eventually fell in love with her and wanted to marry her.
Even after advice from wise people in his court and brother to return Sita, Ravana was blinded by arrogance. Sita refused to marry him and he held her captive for 10 months.
On his way to Lanka after Sita’s abduction, Ravan killed the bird king Jatayu.
Rama searched for Sita and came to know about Ravana from the dying Jatayu. Lord Rama put together an army with the help of His friend Sugriva (the Vanara king).
He met Hanuman at Mount Kishkindha, who became his ardent devotee. Hanuman crossed the sea and reached Lanka with his divine powers taking the message of peace.
Ravan didn’t pay heed to hanuman’s message and set fire to his long tail. To teach a lesson to Ravana, Hanuman set fire to the entire Lanka except for Ashoka Vana, Sita Lived.
Consumed by arrogance, Ravana ignored all advice. He led the way to war. Rama with the help of his Vaanara Sena built a bridge across the Indian ocean and reached Lanka.
The war began and the rakshas killed a lot of people in the Vanara army. The fierce battle accompanied by illusions and magic was fought for seven days.
Ravana’s sons died, brothers Kumbakarna died and Ahi and Mahi Ravana died.
Vibhishana deserted his brother and joined the Vanara troop. He informed Rama about the pot of nectar in Ravana’s belly which Rama destroyed and end the war.
As Ravana lay catching his last breath, Rama advised Lakshman to pick his Brain as Ravan was a great scholar.
Ravana was an ardent ruler and governed his subjects on the right basis. Lanka became one of the richest countries under his reign.
FAQ’s On Ravan
Q: Who is Ravana in Hindu mythology?
A: Ravana is a character in Hindu mythology, who is most famously known as the antagonist in the epic Ramayana. He was the king of Lanka and a powerful demon, known for his ten heads and immense strength.
Q: What is Ravana’s role in the Ramayana?
A: Ravana’s role in the Ramayana is that of the primary antagonist. He kidnaps Sita, the wife of Lord Rama, which leads to the epic battle between Rama and Ravana. Ravana is ultimately defeated and killed by Lord Rama, who rescues Sita and restores peace to the kingdom.
Q: What are some notable aspects of Ravana’s character?
A: Ravana is known for his great strength and intelligence, as well as his arrogance and desire for power. He is also said to be a devotee of Lord Shiva, and is depicted as having ten heads, which symbolize his knowledge and wisdom.
Q: What are some lessons that can be learned from Ravana’s story in the Ramayana?
A: Ravana’s story in the Ramayana teaches us about the dangers of pride, arrogance, and lust for power. It also highlights the importance of loyalty and devotion, as Ravana’s downfall is ultimately caused by his betrayal of his own brother and his disregard for the consequences of his actions.
Q: What are some other notable events in Ravana’s life?
A: In addition to his role in the Ramayana, Ravana is also known for his conquests and his ability to perform great feats of strength and intelligence. He is said to have created many incredible structures, including the city of Lanka and a flying chariot known as the Pushpaka Vimana.
Q: How is Ravana viewed in Hinduism?
A: Ravana is generally viewed as a negative character in Hinduism, due to his actions in the Ramayana. However, he is also seen as a complex and multi-dimensional figure, who possessed many admirable qualities alongside his flaws.
Q: What is the significance of Ravana’s ten heads?
A: Ravana’s ten heads are often interpreted as a symbol of his vast knowledge and intelligence. They are also sometimes seen as a representation of the ten directions in Hindu mythology, which Ravana was said to have conquered.
Q: Are there any festivals or celebrations associated with Ravana?
A: There are some festivals and celebrations in India that are associated with Ravana, particularly in parts of South India. One example is the Dasara festival, which celebrates the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana and is observed with great pomp and ceremony in many parts of India.
Q: What are some of the lessons that can be learned from Ravana’s story?
A: Ravana’s story in the Ramayana highlights the importance of self-control and the dangers of pride and arrogance. It also underscores the importance of respecting others and following the path of dharma, or righteousness, as opposed to pursuing one’s own desires at the expense of others.