Ravana is better known and remembered as the demon king who kidnapped Sita whom Rama defeated and killed, in a battle fought at Lanka.
Ravana played his role as a villain, but it was that of a much-needed villain, that brought balance to the equation. No wonder there are many people in the world, who still worship him.
Here are few interesting facts about Ravana that show the other side of the demon-king of Lanka.
1. The villain is also a God!:
Contrary to the belief, Ravana was not a cruel ruler. Although he took Sri Lanka by force from his step brother Kuber, he proved be the most influential Sri Lankan king ever. His reign over Sri Lanka is recorded as the most prosperous era of Lanka.
There are several places in India and Sri Lanka where Ravana is worshiped. In Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh there is a huge Shivalinga supposedly installed by Ravana himself. Both Shivalinga and Ravana are worshiped by the fishermen community there. There is one Ravana temple in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh while there is a Jain temple at Alvar in Rajasthan.Thousands of Kanyakubja Brahmins of the village Ravangram of Netaran, in the Vidisha District of Madhya Pradesh, perform daily puja(worship) in the Ravana temple and offer naivedyam / bhog(a ritual of sacrifice) to the Gods.
2. Ravana was Brahma’s great-grandson.
Ravan’s father was the famous rishi, Visravas, who himself was a son of Prajapati Pulastya, one of Brahma’s ten ‘mind-born’ sons.
Ravana was born to great sage Vishrava and daitya princess Kaikesi which made him partly Brahmin and partly daitya.Inspite of he being a mix, Rama had praised Ravana as a Mahabrahmin and hence had to perform Ashwamedha Yagna to kill Ravana.
3. Ravana performed a yagya for Ram.
Ravana performed the commencement puja for the Setu build by Rama and his army of monkeys and also blessed him, as he was only nearby most learned Pandit available.
As per Srilankan texts Ravana suggested auspicious time to Rama to begin the battle and blessed him Vijayi Bhava.
4. Ever wondered why Ravana had 10 heads?
Some versions of the Ramayan say that Ravana did not in fact have ten heads, but it appeared so because his mother gave him a necklace of nine pearls that caused an optical illusion for any observer.
In another version, it is said that to please Shiva, Ravana hacked his own head into pieces, but his devotion made each piece spawn into another head.
5. BALI DEFEATED RAVANA
RAVANA was defeated by Bali, and was assaulted and imprisoned in his armpit for 6 months.
The story goes like this: One day, Bali was worshiping God Sun as usual. Ravan, boastful of his powers, after getting a ‘vardana’ by Lord Shiva challenges Bali. Bali, initially pays no heed, but after getting irritated grabs Ravan, tucks Ravan’s head under his armpit and flies like that. He releases Ravana only after 6 months, having taught him a lesson.
6. As he lay dying, Ravana imparted valuable knowledge to Lakshman.
As he lay dying, Ravana imparted valuable knowledge to Lakshman.
Since Ravana was one of the most learned scholars to have ever lived, Ram asked his brother Lakshman to sit beside the dying demon-king and learn from him important lessons in statecraft and diplomacy.
On his deathbed Ravana taught Politics lessons to Laxamana and shared experiences from his own life.He guided him to have always good relations with charioteer, cook, gatekeeper and his brothers, because those are the persons who can harm you most.He advised Lakshmana never to underestimate strength of his enemy, a mistake which he made.He asked Lakshmana to always believe in astrology and movement of stars which can never be wrong.He told him to trust a minister who criticizes,a mistake he made in case of his brother Vibhishan.
7. Ravana was an extraordinary veena player.
In many depictions of Ravan, he can be seen carrying a veena. It is believed that he had a keen interest in music and was a highly accomplished veena player.
Ravana was a great musician, who designed his own string instrument called Ravana Veena.He also invented the bow of the violin. He also narrated very first Ragas. He composed Shiv Tandav, most valuable work on praise of Lord Shiva.
8. RavanA COntrolLED SUNRISE
With years of penance and dedication, Ravana was said to have become so mighty that he could actually control the sunrise and sunset.
During the birth of his son Meghnad, Ravana ‘instructed’ the planets to stay in the 11th house of the child, which would grant him immortality. Saturn, or Shani, refused to do so and stood in the 12th house instead. It irked Ravana so much, it is said that he attacked Shani Dev with his mace and even imprisoned him.
9. Ravana was well-aware of his impending doom.
Most powerful Asuras (demons) knew that they were sent to earth to perform a particular role. Ravana knew that it was his fate to die by the hands of an avatar of Vishnu, something that would help him attain moksha and give up his demon form.
10. Devout follower of Shiva:
Ravana is considered as the most revered devotee of Lord. He is said to have pleased Shiva with penance to an extent where Shiva handedover an Atma Linga (Soul of Shiva) as a boon to Ravana. Atma Linga would help Ravana attain immortality and invincibility.Atma Linga would have remained in Ravana’s possession had he not been cheated by Devas.
11. He got the name Ravana later in life, and that too from Shiva.
Ravana wanted Shiva to relocate from Kailash to Lanka, and to make this possible, he tried to lift the mountrain. But Shiva, being who he is, put down his foot onto the mountain, thus crushing Ravan’s finger with his one toe. Ravana let out a huge roar of pain, but at the same time, he was so enamored by Shiva’s power, he performed the Shiva tandav stotram. It is believed that Ravana plucked out nerves from his own hand to provide accompanying music. Shiva, thus impressed, named him Ravana (the one who roars loud).
12. Ravana was shamed by his own wife, which eventually led to his downfall.
When Ram’s army was slowly defeating Ravan’s, and he was the only one left alive, Ravana decided to perform a powerful yagya to turn the tide. But it required him to stay put and not leave his spot. Seeing this, Ram sent Angad, Bali’s son and his vaanar sena to disrupt the yagya. After they failed to do so, Angad dragged Ravan’s wife Mandodari. Ravana still didn’t move. Then she screamed at him and shamed him by telling how Ram was fighting a war to get his wife back while Ravana wasn’t moving from his spot to save his wife. Ravana finally moved, leaving his yagya incomplete.
13. Descendants of Ravana
The Dave Brahmins of Mudgal Gotra Jodhpur/ Mandor who wereoriginally from Gujarat claim to be the descendants of Ravana. Everyyear on Dussehra they perform shraddh (death anniversary ritual)for Ravana. They offer pind daan and take a bath after the ritual.
14. Brothers of Ravana
Ravana was half brahmin & half demon, son of Rishi Visharwa and demon princess Keikashi had six brothers namely Kuber,Vibhishan,Kumbhkarna,Khara,Dushna and Mahi ravana, and two sisters namely Surpanakha and kumbhini.
15. RAVANA AS DOCTOR
Ravana was a great Aryuvedic physician and Vaidya Shiromani.His wrote valuable book Nadi Pariksha(detailing of pulse-examination).,Arka Shastra(compiling usage and dosage and cures of every herb for complex diseases) Arka Pariksha(work tinctures and extracts.),Kumara Tantraya(Gynecology and Peadetric Medicine), Uddisa Chiktsaya, Oddiya Chikitsa, and Vatina Prakaranaya. Ravana was the founder of SINDHURAM medicine. This medicine cured wounds instantly.
16. Half Brahmin and half demon
We all know that Ravana used to be an evil Demon of Lanka, but what most of us don’t know is that Raavana was actually not a demon. Instead he was actually half Brahmin and half demon. Even though his father was a learned rishi however, his mother Kaikasi was a demon.
17. A Bright Scholar
He was a great warrior as well as a learned scholar. Raavana was regarded as the most brilliant demon who had thorough knowledge of 4 Vedas and 6 Upanishads. Once he was known as Dahanana (ten headed demon), but he was crowned with the name “Raavana” as he tried to destroy Mount Kailash where Lord Shiva was meditating. However, Lord Shiva on the other hand forced the whole mountain with his toe and crushed Raavanas forearm. Feeling the pain, he screamed in agony and came to be known as Raavana (the one who screams). Since then he became a devotee of Lord Shiva and wrote the Shiva Stotram.
The Scholar Ravana was a master of many sciences. He was well versed with Ayurveda. He has authored Ravana Samhita which talks about the science of ayurveda. Ravana was also the greatest astrologer of hist time, and was aware of esoteric practices similar to black magic. Once he captured all the nine planets and vehemently made all of them to be in lagna bhava to make Meghanatha, his son, the greatest of all. Ravana knew 64 different kinds of arts and had a deep understanding of the vedas.
Ravana was a master of tantra vidya and created an optical illusion of thoughts while fighting his enemies. His wrote “ravana samhita” a famous Book which is an excellent compilation of his scholarly works
18. Majesty of Immortality
Raavana meditated for thousand years and received a blessing of immortality from Lord Brahma, but he could be only killed if he was attacked at his naabhi (naval). Vibhishan knew this and informed Lord Ram of his weakness on the tenth day of the battle.
19. Ravana Airways
His Pushpak Vimana, which Lord Rama used to fly back Sita post her rescue, is very popular. But what is not widely known is that Ravana had a number of such airplanes and even had airports to land. Weragantota in Mahiyangana, Thotupola Kanda at Horton Plains, Wariyapola in Kurunegala and Gurulupotha in Mahiyangana are some of the places in Sri Lanka that are still referred as airports Ravana used.
Legend has it that Raavana had a flying chariot (Pushpak) in which he flew Sita to Lanka. So we can pretty much conclude that Raavana was quite rich and had his own private Jet.
20. Husband of Many Wives
Yes Raavana had more than one wife, but I have no idea how many. Don’t ask me. I just know that Mandodari was his favorite one. Apart from that he even tried to forcefully own others wife from his neighboring nations. Sources confirm that Raavana was the first person to start the racket of kidnapping and abducting young girls and women in ancient times.
21. Raavana & Sons
Since Raavana had multiple wives it’s quite obvious that he would have a lot of sons as well. He had seven sons namely Indrajeet, Meganath, Prahasta, Atikaya, Akshyakumra, Devantaka, Nrantaka and Trishira.
22. Master of Astrology
Raavana was an expert in astrology. He ordered all the planets in the entire solar system to stay in auspicious positions during the birth time of his second son Meghanaada. He said “ Yo planets, me son is going to take birth, stay in your perfect positions or else I’ll show you my ten ugly heads ”. But Shani(Saturn) said ” Saturn listens to no Raavana and does not take no orders from a stupid ten headed demon” and changed his position. After noticing this Ravana beat up Saturn with his mace. Boom! Boom! Pow! And maimed poor Saturn for life and said “That’s what you get when you mess with Raavana Mwahahahahahahhaha(evil laughter)”.
23. Vast Empire
Ravan’s empire was huge, I mean huge. It spread across Bali, Malaysia and several other places.
Ravana received a blessing that he could not be killed by any demon, serpents or wild animals, which made him really egoistic and regarded everyone else as powerless. However, his ego was the reason of his destruction as he shouldn’t have kidnapped Sita because she was the wife of Lord Rama( Vishnu’s incarnation on earth). Raavan messed with the wrong woman this time. Nobody kidnaps Lord Ram’s wife and gets away with it, he simply failed to realize that ‘Sab Ka Baaap hota hain’.
25. Raavana was weak towards women
Last but not the least, 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. But still she had to go through an ‘Agni Pariksha’.
26. Ravana and his brother Kumbhkaran were actually avatars of Vishnu’s gatekeepers.
Ravana and his brother Kumbhkaran were actually Jaya and Vijaya, the gatekeepers of Vishnu, which made them a little arrogant. So much so that once when the four Kumaras, mind-born sons of Brahma showed up at the gates of Vaikunth (Vishnu’s abode), Jaya-Vijaya mistook them for naked children (a result of their tapasya). This enraged the sages so much, they cursed Jaya-Vijaya saying that they would be parted from their lord. When they asked for forgiveness, the sages said that they could either spent seven lifetimes on earth as Vishnu’s avatars’ allies or three lifetimes as their enemies. They naturally chose the latter. In one of those three lifetimes, Jaya-Vijaya were born as Ravana and Kumbhkaran.
27. RAVANA TEN HEADS
His ten heads is the symbol of his god-like proficiency in the four Vedas and the six Shastras. He also possessed the highest degree of knowledge in astronomy and is even said to control the planetary movements. Fostering this is an instance – when Indrajit (his son) was about to take birth, he instructed all the 9 planets to align in a row in order for Indrajit to be a special child. But somehow Saturn fell out of the way and Ravana exacted revenge from him.
28. Unmatchable Power
His strength was unmatchable. It is evident in the scriptures that he could move the seas and split the tops of mountains. He even fought the thunderbolt of Indra, the tusks of Indra’s elephant Airavata, and the discus of Vishnu. The only mortals who could overpower him physically were Kartavirya Arjuna and Vanara Vali.
Ravana was one of the distinguished fighter in Angampora the traditional martial arts of Sinhale.
29. Emperor of the Three Worlds
He was the Emperor of the Three Worlds. With his might and intelligence combined, Ravana had not only conquered humans but also celestials and other demons making him the almighty of asuras (demons) in three different worlds.
30. Ravana Sanhita
Ravana Sanhita, a book that is considered the holy grail of Hindu Astrology, was originally authored by Ravana.
31. Uproot of Mount Kailash
His devotion to Lord Shiva is well documented. But what’s lesser known is that he once tried to uproot Mount Kailash, Shiva’s abode. To which Shiva pinned him under his small toe and made him suffer for his mistake for 9 years. It was after this that he became a loyal devotee of Shiva. Also, it was during this time that Shiva gave him the name Ravana.