Ravana - The Demon King
Ravana needs no introduction to Hindus. He is the most popular villain in Hindu culture. His popularity is such that even after 1000 years being passed, every year his effigy is burnt on a special day known as Vijay Dashami. This is a popular festival in India and is also known as Dussehra. The festival symbolizes the victory of righteousness over evil. Ravana is the main antagonist in Hindu epic Ramayana which was written by sage Valmiki. The main plot of the story is how a demon king named Ravana kidnaps Goddess Sita who is the wife of Lord Rama. Ravana kidnaps her to take revenge against Lord Rama and Lakshmana who had insulted Ravana’s sister. Post abduction the battle of Ramayana is fought where Lord Rama kills Ravana and frees Sita from his captivity.
In today’s post, we aim to highlight certain unknown hidden facts about this popular villain
Ravana was staunch Shiva devotee – Ravana is considered to be one of the greatest devotees of Lord Shiva. He meditated on Lord Shiva for thousands of years in the hills of Gokarna. He even chopped his heads to please Shiva. The famous Shiva Tandava Srotram was also composed and sung by Ravana to please the Lord. There are temples in India built by Ravana where the Shiva Lingam and Ravana himself are worshipped by the devotees.
Ravana was Brahma’s great-grandson – Ravana was half Brahmin and half-demon by blood. He was born to sage Vishrava and demon princess Kaikesi. Vishrava was the son of Pulastya who was born from Brahma’s mind and one the great Saptarishis. His worship towards Lord Brahma granted him the nectar of immortality which he kept stored under his navel
Vaidyanatha Jyotirlinga is Ravana’s gift to mankind – Once Ravana did a strict penance to please Lord Shiva. He sat meditating on the slopes of Himalayas. He dug a pit and installed a Shiva Linga there. After 1000 years of hard penance Lord Shiva appeared before him and asked what boon he wanted. Ravana asked for unmatchable strength and Shiva’s protection. To protect his demon clan he wanted to take the Shiva Lingam to Lanka. Shiva granted the wish but told him that the Lingam will settle down permanently wherever Ravana places it for the 1st time. While on his way back to Lanka Ravana felt an irresistible call of nature. He wanted to relieve himself immediately. He met a cowherd there. Ravan asked the cowherd to hold the Linga until he relieves himself. The cowherd took the Lingam and placed it on Earth immediately as it was very heavy The Jyotirlinga is known as Vaidyanatha Jyotilinga which stayed there forever
Lord Kubera and Ravana were half-brothers – Lord Kubera also known as the God of Wealth and Ravana are both sons of Vishrava muni, however, their mothers are different. Lord Kubera was the king of Lanka before Ravana conquered it by force. After conquering Lanka Ravan ruled Lanka for several years. The kingdom of Lanka prospered under his leadership
Ravana was an exceptionally intelligent individual – Ravana possessed some exceptional skills. He was a learned man who possessed the knowledge of all the four Vedas and six Shastras. The ten heads are depicted to demonstrate that his one head could store the knowledge of ten heads. He was an excellent veena player. He was skilled in political science and astrology. He was so powerful that he could even control planetary positions. When his son Indrajit was about to be born he instructed all the planets to be in the 11th House. All the planets agreed to it except Lord Shani who stood in the 12th house instead. This enraged Ravana and he attacked Lord Shani and kept him as a captive in Lanka for many years. He also knew medicine and has written many valuable books on medicine and physical wellness
Ravana's weakness towards Women - Ravana was weak towards women including Nalakubera’s (son of Kuber) wife. After this incident he was cursed that he could not touch any women without their consent. That’s why he didn’t even dare to touch Sita
Ravana and Kumbhakarna were avatars of Lord Vishnu’s gatekeepers – Lord Vishnu descends on Earth to teach mankind on several lessons. Just as Lord Vishnu decided to play the character of Lord Rama, his gatekeepers Jay and Vijaya decided to play the part of Ravana and Kumbhakrana
Ravana Sanhita – The 1st book on Hindu astrology was authored by Ravana himself
Ravana’s favorite queen was Mandodari – Even though Ravana had several wives his favorite was Mandodari and he used to love her dearly. When Rama’s army was slowly defeating the army of Ravana and only Ravana was left, Ravana decided to conduct a Yagya to defeat Rama. However the deal was that he had to sit at the same place till the Yagya gets over. Under no circumstances he was allowed to move. Rama sent Angad (son of Bali) to move him from his place. To move him Angad dragged Mandodari out of his palace. When Ravana still did not move Mandodari screamed on him that how he could be so ruthless. On one side there was Ram who struck a war to save his wife and on the other hand there was Ravana who was not even moving from his place to save her. This is when Ravana got up from his Yagya and the puja got disrupted
Ravana was the 1st air pilot known to mankind – We all have heard of the famous Pushpak Vimana with the help of which Ravana had kidnapped Sita. However what is unknown is that Ravana possessed many airplanes and also had dedicated airports where he would land his plane. There are places in Sri Lanka which are still referred to as airports Ravana used
Ravana is indeed one of the most powerful person to live on earth. Even though he has been shown as a negative character in the epic. People from certain sects worship him as God. There are few temples dedicated to him as well.
Art Credit: DeviantArt