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20/06/11 11:00 AM
(, ) is the primary antagonist character of the Hindu legend, the Ramayana; who is the demon king of Lanka. In the classic text, he is mainly depicted negatively, kidnapping Rama's wife sita, to claim vengeance on Rama and his brother Lakshmana for having cut off the nose of his sister surpanakha. This depiction is, however, open to other interpretations. Ravana is described as a devout follower of shiva, a great scholar, a capable ruler and a maestro of the Veena. He has his apologists and staunch devotees within the Hindu traditions, some of whom believe that his description as a ten-headed person is a reference to him possessing a very thorough knowledge over the 4 Vedas and 6 Upanishads, which made him as powerful as 10 scholars. An alternative interpretation is that he is guided by and does not have control over the five senses and five bodily instruments of action. His counterpart, Rama, on the contrary, is always in full control of these ten. However, there is mention in Atharvaveda of Demonic Brahmans called Dasagva (ten-headed) and Navagva (nine-headed). These early beings may be the actual forerunners of the later character in the Ramayana. Ravana also authored Ravana Sanhita, a powerful book on the Hindu astrology. Ravana possessed a thorough knowledge of Ayurveda and political science. He is said to have possessed the nectar of immortality, which was stored under his navel, thanks to a celestial boon by Brahma. According to some theories, he was a historical emperor who reigned over sri Lanka from 2554 BC to 2517 BC. Table of Contents Etymology Birth Tapas to Brahma King of Lanka Devotee of Lord Shiva Emperor of the Three Worlds Women Depiction in other Scriptures, as Vishnu's cursed doorkeeper Jain version Ravana's family Ravana Temples Ravana-Dahan (Burning effigy of Ravana) Arguments in Favour of Ravana Influence on Indian Culture and Art Some Quotes by Ravana References
The name 'Ravana' obtains from the root 'ru' 'raavayati iti raavaNaH' 'one who makes enemies cry by his violent actions.'  The name Ravana obtains from the root, 'Ra' signifies the sun and 'vana' signifies generation according to a nationalist Sinhalan scholar, Arisen Ahubudhu.  Ravana had many other popular names such as Dasis Ravana, Ravan, Raavan, Ravula, Lankeshwar, Ravanaeshwaran all signifying the qualities. Variations of the name include the following. , (from Daśamukha or 'ten faced')
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Kaikesi's father. Brahma granted him these boons in addition to his 10 severed heads and great strength by way of knowledge of divine weapons and magic. the father of Kubera.tv/ Page 2 of 8 . in the more central Yadu region. but gave him the celestial nectar of immortality. sumali. He rejected the kings of the world. The nectar of immortality.co. he was related to the daityas Maricha and Subahu. Meenakshi ("girl with fish like eyes"). Ravana sought out his grandfather. sumali (or Sumalaya). After worshipping a Shiva Linga on the banks of the Narmada. who was conquered & killed by Shatrughna. as they were less powerful than him. parts of Maharashtra and Rajasthan up to Mathura south of Delhi. During his penance. His father Vishrava noted that while Ravana was aggressive and arrogant. pleased with his austerity. heavenly spirits. Ravana also asked for absolute invulnerability from and supremacy over gods. which included Gujarat. mukha = mouth/face). the holy books. Contemptuous of mortal men. worked hard in secret to ensure that Ravana retained the ethics of the Daityas. Tapas to Brahma Following his initial training. other rakshas. a great chanter of the Sama Veda. youngest brother of Rama. Ravana is believed to be related to Lavanasura. He then set his sights on capturing the island city of Lanka (present day Sri Lanka). Ravana performed an intense penance to Brahma (the Creator God). Sumali. Ravana mastered the Vedas. and also the arts and ways of Kshatriyas (warriors). Brahama. Ravana was captured and held under the control of King Kartavirya Arjuna. His brothers were Vibhishana. The Ramayana tells that Ravana had close connections with region of the Yadus. At last. stored under his navel. also regarded as a Rakshasa. wished her to marry the most powerful being in the mortal world. Kumbhakarna and Ahiravana. the daitya princess Kaikesi.Ravana 20/06/11 11:00 AM maranao: Lawana . and wild beasts. as his grandfather. Rama praised Ravan as Mahabrahmin. the sage pulastya. Kaikesi searched among the sages and finally chose Vishrava. Ravana was also an excellent veena player and the sign of his flag had a picture of veena on it. http://ravana. he did not ask for protection from these. he was also an exemplary scholar. which Brahma refused to give. so as to produce an exceptional heir. thus enabling him to continue his penance. Ravana was thus partly Brahmin and partly Daitya. Thus ravana known as 'Dasamukha' (Dasa = ten. was one of the ten Prajapatis or mind-born sons of Brahma and one of the saptarishi (Seven Great Sages Rishi) in the first manvantara. Under Vishrava's tutelage. his mother's father. of Madhupura (Mathura) in the region of the Surasenas. Through his mother. one of the greatest Yadu kings. Ravana chopped off his head 10 times as a sacrifice to appease brahma. It is very clear from the references in the Ramayana that Ravana was no commoner among the Humans or Asuras. serpents. Each time he sliced his head off a new head arose. and his wife. lasting several years. Rama had to do Ashwamedha yagna as penance for killing a Brahmin (Brahmahatyadosha). Even though he was partly Brahmin and partly Rakshas. King of Lanka After winning these boons. Kaikesi also gave birth to a daughter. dictated that he could not be vanquished for as long as it lasted. appeared after his 10th decapitation and offered him a boon. although later she was dubbed the infamous shoorpanakha "winnow-like nails". and assumed leadership over his army. Thosakan (from Dashakanta or 'ten necked') Yuan: Rahbanasun Birth Ravana was born to a great sageVishrava (or Vesamuni). He was born in the Devagana gotra. Ravana asked for immortality. king of the Daityas.
Ravana is shown as dominating all human and divine races . After Ravana had been given the Celestial juice of Immortality by Brahma. their father. However. the treasurer of the gods. He cut his head & put it as sacrifice for pleasing Shiva. His ganas informed Ravana of whom he had crossed. conquering humans.co. on which Shiva was happy & pleased with Ravana's resilience & devotion. Emperor of the Three Worlds His abilities now truly awe-inspiring. threatening to take it by force. greatly angering him. Conquering the netherworld completely. he went on to please Shiva. Women Ravana was known for his virility and his aggressive conquests of women. Nandi in turn got annoyed and cursed Ravana that LANKA would be destroyed by a monkey. Ravana proceeded on a series of campaigns. advised Kubera to give it up to him.so much so that he can command the Sun's rising and setting. created by the celestial architect Vishwakarma for Kubera. Ravana fought and defeated the devas. Devotee of Lord Shiva Following his conquest of Lanka. he was nevertheless regarded as a benevolent and effective ruler. but Shiva replaced his head with a new one. Lanka flourished under his rule. He became supreme overlord of all asuras in the three worlds. and is said to have done so for years until Shiva released him from his bondage.daughter of Mayasura and an apsara named Hema. it would return to the three eyed one and Ravana's days would be numbered.Ravana 20/06/11 11:00 AM Lanka was an idyllic city.Nandi the vehicle of Shiva. Vishrava. Ravana attempted to uproot and move the mountain on a whim. Ravana uses the sword to kill Jatayu when kidnapping Sita and it disappears when he uses it to kill Jatayu. celestials and other demons. Proceeding to the heavens. At the time of the Ramayana. By force he gained command over the gods.tv/ Page 3 of 8 . and the serpent races. refused to let Ravana in. He composed and sang songs praising Shiva. given to him by Shiva . he left his brother Ahiravana as king. Lord Shiva had given his sword Chandrahasa with a caveat that if it was used for unjust causes. Ravana at first went to meet Shiva. as Ravana was now undefeatable. Shiva. Shiva gave to him the divine sword Chandrahas (Chandra-Moon. Has-laugh. celestials. Ravana had several wives. two clans he was unable to subdue. This was repeated Nine times. Pleased with his resilience and devotion. annoyed by Ravana's arrogance. foremost of whom was mandodari . Thus he also got name Dasa-sheesha. to the extent that it is said the poorest of houses had vessels of gold to eat and drink off. making an alliance with the Nivatakavachas and Kalakeyas. who were Kubera's half-brothers and half-sister through his stepmother Kaikesi. pressed his littlest Toe on Kailash. and hunger was unknown in the kingdom. pinning him firmly and painfully under it. Mandodari was renowned for her wisdom and grace as well as beauty and http://ravana. singling out his brother for particular humiliation. set several hundred years later. Ravana demanded Lanka wholly from him.the earth is said to have quaked at Ravana's cry of pain when the mountain was pinned on him. Kubera had generously shared all that he owned with Ravana and the latter's siblings. To show NANDI his love for Shiva. Conquering several kingdoms of the human world. Ravana encountered shiva at his abode in Kailash. literally 'the laughter of the moon' but referring to the shape formed by a crescent moon which resembles a smile). It was during this incident that he acquired the name 'Ravana'. He got annoyed and started teasing Nandi. Although Ravana usurped Lanka. upon which Ravana became penitent. meaning "(He) Of the terrifying roar". Ravana in turn became a lifelong devotee of Lord Shiva and is said to have composed the hymn known as shiva Tandava stotra. Kubera at one point chastised Ravana for his cruelty and greed. he performed the suitable sacrifices and was crowned Emperor.
Ravana is one of the Trisastisalaka Purusa (63 illustrious persons) who appear in every time cycle. Angered at this. Lakshmana and Ravana go to hell. and said she would enter into the fire before his eyes. Ravana met her at her hermitage. Ravana belongs to the nonaryan clan of Vidyadhara—a highly cultured and knowledgeable people who were followers of Jainism and practised Ahimsa (non-violence). and Partivasudeva. he once went to Mt. Vedavati had been performing penance with the intention of winning Lord Vishnu as her husband. “Your death will be at the hands of a future Vasudeva because of a sin connected with another man’s wife. This curse is said to have protected Sita's chastity while she was Ravana's captive for nearly a year. it is Lakshmana who ultimately kills Ravana and not Rama as told in the Hindu version. Ravana and his brother. but as enemies of Vishnu. Ravana will be the future Tirthankara (omniscient teacher) of Jainism. as Vishnu's cursed doorkeeper In the Bhagavata purana. They were opposed to the Vedic sacrifice of animals and often tried to stop such practices. God Vishnu agreed that they should be punished. Kumbhakarna were said to be reincarnations of Jaya and Vijaya." So she entered the blazing fire. Ravana asked the sage. Ravana mocks her austerities and her devotion to Vishnu. finding himself firmly rejected at every turn. that they could be born about 10 times as normal mortal people and followers of Vishnu. for which they chose the latter one. He proposes to her and is rejected. Svarnatunga to pay homage to the sage Anantavirya who had attained Kevala Jnana (Omniscience). In Trisastisalakaspurusa Caritra. These gatekeepers refused entry to the Sanatha Kumara monks. Jain version In Jain version of Ramayana. She is often compared to sita. the most beautiful woman described in Indian spiritualism. adding. her beauty enhanced by the austerities she had performed. Lakshmana and Ravana are the eighth Baladeva. which also contains story of Ravana. which narrates the story of Rama. It was she who was born again as Sita. Ravana himself appears with his soldiers and instructs one king Marutha on Ahimsa and threatens the Vedic priests with dire consequences. They were given two choices. After he had paid homage and listening to his sermon. vasudeva (narayana) and partivasudeva (anti vasudeva or anti hero). Rambha was betrothed to Kubera's son. causing Ravana's death and winning Vishnu (as Rama) as her husband. The first was the encounter with the sage-woman Vedavati. they were demonized by the Vedic priests and called Rakshashas. Hence. and was the moving cause of Ravana's death. though Rama was the agent. Kubera's son cursed Ravana. every time cycle has nine sets of Baladeva (balabhadra). upon whom he forced himself.  In the end. Rama.Ravana did not have any special in women. becomes a Jain monk and attains moksha. According to Jain cosmology. because of their powers and austerity appeared as young children. gatekeepers at Vaikuntha. Rama who lead an upright life renounces his kingdom. he tries to molest Vedavati. Ravana was one of their second birth as enemies of Vishnu. the monks cursed them to be expelled from Vaikuntha and to be born on Earth. Depiction in other Scriptures. The second was his encounter with the apsara Rambha.Ravana 20/06/11 11:00 AM chastity. stating that his ten heads would fall off if he forced himself upon any woman thereafter. On his instructions all the animals for sacrifice are released and the yagnas are stopped. but her plea that she was like a daughter to him did not deter Ravana. In the Jain epic of Ramayana. who. pulling her hair.co. Vedavati is said to have been reborn as sita. Padmapurana. I shall be born again for thy destruction. and celestial flowers fell all around. and she forthwith cut off her hair. "Since I have been insulted in the forest by thee who art wickedhearted. Vasudeva.” He then took a vow before the same muni that he will not enjoy another man’s wife against her http://ravana. For their insolence. the abode of Vishnu and were cursed to be born in Earth for their insolence.  In one chapter. According to Jain texts. or three times as powerful and strong people. “How shall I die?” and Anantavirya replied. This greatly incensed her.  According to another Jain text.tv/ Page 4 of 8 . On the other hand. However it is predicted that ultimately they both will be reborn as upright persons and attain liberation in their future births.
3. Since they are hardly mentioned outside the Ramayana. persuaded Brahma to amend the boon. 6. King of Mathura. and a third wife.the King of North direction and the Guardian of Heavenly Wealth. but also banished him from his kingdom.tv/ Page 5 of 8 .co.Viceroy of Janasthan. 2. maricha. However. She was the ultimate root of the kidnapping of sita Devi. He is known as a great devotee of Rama. 6. But he too failed to mend the ways of Ravana. seek mercy of Rama. Kubera . son of Brahma. which is viewed by some as being only the point of view of Rama devotees. He was an older half-brother of Ravana: they were born to the same father by different mothers. Ravana Temples There are several temples where Ravana is worshipped.One of the most jovial demons in Hindu history. Vibhishana . Kumbhakarna . He was well-known for his superior skills in warfare. Khara .Ravana 20/06/11 11:00 AM will. the kingdom of Rama. They are presented here as they are in the Ramayana. 4.King of the Underworld ruled by the rakshasas by Ravana and Demon King Maya. he fought on the side of Ravana and was killed in the battlefield. not much can be said about them.the evil sister of Ravana. he is awake for one day out of the year). he spoke the Truth without fear and advised Ravana to return Kidnapped sita and uphold Dharma. she was the mother of Lavanasura. he was tricked into asking for unending sleep! A horrified Ravana. She was the one who instigated her brothers to wage a war against Rama. 7. who was against the war with Rama. Ravana not only rejected this sane advice. He had seven sons from his three wives: 1. Ravana was married to mandodari. She was renowned for her beauty and later retired to the sea for penance. Ahiravan . Kumbhini . Ravana had six brothers and two sisters: 1. Ravana's family This section deals with many members of Ravana's family. Brahma mitigated the power of the boon by making Kumbhakarna sleep for six months and being awake for rest six months of a year (in some versions. 5. During the war with Rama. When offered a boon by Brahma. Dhanyamalini. 2. out of brotherly love. 5. Dushana . As a minister and brother of Ravana. http://ravana. Indrajit prahasta Atikaya Akshayakumara Devantaka Narantaka Trishira Ravana's paternal grandfather was pulastya. 7.A great follower of Rama and one of the most important characters in the Ramayana. Ravana also had a maternal uncle. Ravana's maternal grandfather was malyavan. but is the most complete account of the story that is known. 4. surpanakha . which was granted without hesitation.King of Janasthan.  Ravana is considered most revered devotee of Lord shiva.  He protected the northern kingdom of Lanka in the mainland and his kingdom bordered with the Kosala Kingdom. and his maternal grandmother was Tataki. 8. He tried to persuade Ravana to follow Dharmic path and return Sita.sister of Ravana and the wife of the demon Madhu. Kumbhakarna was awakened from his sleep. 3. Vibhishana sought protection from Rama. the daughter of the celestial architect Maya. The images of Ravana are seen associated with lord Shiva at some places. Before dying he met Vibhishana and blessed him for following path of righteousness.
 Ravana is said to have married Princess mandodari at a place about 32 kilometers away from Jodhpur. Andhra pradesh. It is said that it is symbolization of triumph over evil (i.tv/ Page 6 of 8 . claim to be the descendants of Ravana.the oldest civilization in India. Centuries ago King shiv shankar built a Ravana temple at Kanpur. Uttar pradesh. In the nearby stepwell. And hence the Ravan Parsvanath temple at Alvar. Thousands of Kanyakubja Brahmins of the village Ravangram of Netaran. Both Shivalinga and Ravana are worshiped by the fishermen community there. He was fully aware of the contents of the six Shastras. and which the local people call Ravan Ki Chanwari. There is a mandap (altar or pavilion) where Ravana is said to have married Mandodari. They offer pind daan and take a bath after that ritual. a stone bears a script that resembles the Harappan script. who was a king from that region. At the altar can also be found the images of Saptamatri (Seven Mothers) flanked by Ganesha and Veerabhadra.e. He even knew that Ram was Narayana (Lord Vishnu) himself. Arguments in Favour of Ravana While often thought of mainly as the infamous 10-headed demon. His knowledge of the six Shastras as well as his knowledge of the four Vedas. is said to have made an image of Parsvanath immediately. this might be called a type of devotion that is stupid and infamous. They recently erected a Ravan temple in Jodhpur. despite the liguistic improbability of 'va' becoming 'ha' in Prakrit. ten Holy Scriptures in all. hence the name Ruhuna came to existence. he had to cultivate wanton wickedness. Ravana-Dahan (Burning effigy of Ravana) Effigy of Ravana is burnt on Vijayadashami. A Jain temple in Alvar. Ravana's wife. which is now called Mandor. The legend says that Ravana used to worship parsvanath daily. Influence on Indian Culture and Art A Ramleela actor wears the traditional attire of Ravana One of the most http://ravana. Rajasthan is called the Ravan Parsvanath Temple. Of course. Jodhpur/mandor who were originally from Gujarat. The say that since time immemorial they are performing the shraddh (death anniversary) of Ravana on Dashehra Day every year. supposedly installed by Ravana himself. since there was no other way for him to reach to Narayana. where daily puja is performed. While Ravana was on tour to Alvar he realized that he forgot to bring the image of Parsvanath. in the Vidisha District of madhya pradesh. This is probably an attempt to tie Ravana with the history of that other national hero: Duttagamini. with a statue of Ravana near by. mandodari.Ravana 20/06/11 11:00 AM There is a huge shivalinga in Kakinada. A not widely known metaphorical interpretation of Ravana's having ten heads is that the heads are a symbolic way to show the world about his knowledge. "Ruhuna" is claimed to be derived from the word's Ravana Pura or Rohana Pura. in India at many places. However. The Dave Brahmins of mudgal Gotra. There is a theory proposed by Sinhalese nationalists that points to the southern part of Sri Lanka as the capital of Ravana. perform daily puja (worship) in the Ravan temple and offer naivedyam / bhog (a ritual of sacrifice to the Gods. The Saptamatri images are said to precede the time of the pratihara Dynasty (founded in the 6th Century AD) and are in fact reminiscent of the images of seven female deities of Harappa . violence and hatred. on Dashehra Day. But his inner aim was to cross the ocean of birth and death. who had come in human form. Ravana) by Rama. and invite Ram to kill him. is by this interpretation considered the inner meaning of the belief that Ravana had ten heads. to perform puja for the welfare of Ravana. The Ravana temple is opened once in a year. through that act of self abnegation and surrender to Narayana.co. Ravana was also a notable scholar of the Vedas.
Some Quotes by Ravana "The power of OM in this world is real and still exists. the Ramayana has had a profound impact on art and culture in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. even hell itself would be to me a heaven of bliss. Ramacharitamanas. which tells the story supporting Sita through song. It has also inspired much secondary literature in various languages. written by Tulsidasa.co. most prominently the North American Sita Sings the Blues. temple architecture." “Winning or losing. But you or us will ever be able to find it or not.. as well as the 16th century Awadhi version. wandering with thee. dramatic enactments of the story of Ramayana. Today." References http://ravana.Ravana 20/06/11 11:00 AM A Ramleela actor wears the traditional attire of Ravana One of the most important literary works of ancient India. the Telugu-language Molla Ramayana. The Ramayana has inspired works of film as well. and 15th century Bengali poet Krittibas Ojha's Krittivasi Ramayan. If you did find it..... 14th century Kannada poet Narahari's Torave Ramayan.tv/ Page 7 of 8 .. take place all across India and in many places across the globe within the Indian diaspora.. dance and theatre.. notably the Kambaramayanam by the Tamil poet Kambar of the 13th century. what are you going to do.” "O Lord. It depends on who's the fastest. known as Ramleela. The story ushered in the tradition of the next thousand years of massive-scale works in the rich diction of regal courts and Brahminical temples. The Ramayana became popular in Southeast Asia during the 8th century and was represented in literature.
tv/ Page 8 of 8 .co.Ravana 20/06/11 11:00 AM Different languages English Germany French Netherlands Italian * Source : Wikipedia.org http://ravana.
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