Dussehra is about to arrive, and we all will soon get geared up to burn the prime antagonising character of the epic Hindu mythology 'Ramayana', Ravana, who is also known as the Demon King.
Sadly, films and daily soaps have ruined the essence of reality for all of us, and we either know Rama's or Sita's side of the story but have you ever wondered what Ravana's Ramayana would be? We cannot tag him as good or bad because unlike every creature in this world he had his shades of grey. He was known to be the greatest villain but don't you think that balance is necessary to complete the equation? No wonder there are so many people who still worship him the way we worship Lord Rama. There are still a lot of things that most of us don't know.
Here are a few facts that show a completely different side of this Demon King.
Contrary to the usual belief, Ravana was not at all a cruel ruler. His reign was the most prosperous era of Lanka. Although, he took Sri Lanka by force as he was the most influential king ever.
Ravana's father Visravas was a famous Rishi, who was also 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.
Do you remember the setu that Rama and his sena built? Ravana was invited to perform its commencement puja because he was the most learned Pandit ever. Technically the puja was done to worship Lord Shiva and Ravana could not refuse something that involved respecting Lord Shiva.
In many depictions of Ravana, 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.
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 line up in a certain manner which would grant the child immortality.
In some versions of Ramayana, it is said that to please Shiva, Ravana hacked his own head into pieces, but his devotion made each piece spawn into another head. It is also said that his ten heads are a representation of his knowledge in six Shastras and four Vedas.
He knew that he was sent to the earth with a motive.
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.
When Rama's army was slowly defeating Ravana's army, and he was the only one left alive, Ravana decided to perform a powerful yagya to turn the tide. But it required him not to leave his spot. Seeing this, Rama sent Angad, Bali's son who dragged Ravana's wife, Mandodari. Who, in defence, screamed at him and shamed him by telling how Rama 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.
Many say that the vanar sena mistreated Mandodari but Ravana accepted his wife without any second thoughts and even supported her.
TV shows and films have always shown us the horrific version of Ravana. On the contrary, he was very handsome and without that cliched moustache.
His devotion to Lord Shiva is unmatchable. But what's lesser-known is that he once tried to uproot Mount Kailasha, Shiva's abode. To which Shiva pinned him under his small toe and made him suffer for his mistake for nine 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.
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 (chakra) of Vishnu.
That's all, people.
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