We all have heard of Ravana. Most of the view about Ravana is that he was an evil character. We will try to look deeper into the character of Ravan. As we go deeper into the character of Ravana it really makes us wonder if “Ravana – Rogue or Sage: A different perspective”.
Early Life of Ravana
Let us first understand the early life of Ravana. He was born to a sage and a Rakshasi. His mother was Kaikesi who was a Rakshas princess. His father was a very popular saint called Vishrava. His grandfather was Pulastya who was son of Brahma. This proves that Ravana was born with traits that were both sage like and that of a demon.
Sumali was the father of Kaikesi and he wanted that his daughter should be married off to the most powerful being on earth. This would ensure that they will have a heir who will be all powerful. He thought that Vishrava would be the best match for his daughter. Vishrava was also the father of Kubera. By birth Ravana was a Rakshasa who belong to the caste of Brahmins. This was indeed a very unique combination and that made Ravana special.
Siblings of Ravana
Ravana had three brothers and a sister too but none of them could match the ability of Ravana. Ravana was the favourite of his grandfather Sumali. Ravana was a very talented Veena player and his music was enchanting. Sumali always wanted to ensure that Ravana retains the qualities of the Rakshasas and don’t get inclined towards the qualities of the Brahmins.
It was noted from the childhood of Ravana that he was both a short tempered person as well as a scholar at the same time. He was physically very powerful and at the same time was equally intelligent. His father Vishrava taught him the vedas and Ravana learnt them by heart. He also learnt how to fight wars.
The Great Scholar
Ravana grew up to be a great scholar and he also developed immense physical strength. He was a great devotee of Lord Shiva and wanted to please him at any cost. Ravana spent many years in doing tapasya of Lord Shiva. He stood in one leg and prayed to the lord. During these years he would cut his head and offer it to lord Shiva.
He offered his head ten times to lord Shiva. Each time he offered his head it would come back. After the tenth sacrifice Lord Shiva appeared and agreed to full fill the wish of Ravana. This is why Ravana is also known as Dashaanan.
Ravana asked Shiva for immortality. Lord Shiva said that he could not make him immortal instead he gave him a boon. Ravana was given celestial nectar of immortality. Lord Shiva told him that he will survive as long as the nectar lasted. Apart from this Ravana also asked Lord Shiva to ensure that he is not killed by any god, heavenly spirits, animals and even demons. He asked protection from all beings except humans. This is why Lord Vishnu had to take the form of Lord Rama to kill Ravana.
The Golden Lanka
Lord Shiva was very pleased with the devotion and dedication of Ravana. He told Ravana that he would always be considered as the best follower of Lord Shiva. Ravana worshipped lord Shiva every day. He was very serious about this worship and would not stop it at any cost. Ravana wanted lord Shiva to live in a nice palace so he built a golden palace for Lord Shiva.
Lord Shiva refused to stay in this palace as he lived the life of a hermit. Ravana even tried to lift the Kailash Mountain and get it to Lanka so that he could keep Lord Shiva with him. However, Lord Shiva ensured that this wish of Ravana was not fulfilled.
After Lord Shiva refused to come with Ravana he was very dejected. His grandfather Sumali thought that it was a good opportunity to influence Ravana. He told Ravana to start serving the Rakshasas. Slowly Ravana was influenced by his grandfather and wanted to serve the Rakshasas. He conquered Lanka. Lanka at that time was a very well built city and equally rich. It belongs to the brother of Ravana named Kubera. The father of Ravana Vishrava told Kubera to off Lanka to Ravana as he was all powerful now and no one could actually defeat him.
Although Ravana forcibly acquired Lanka he took very good care of this city. He ensured that the people in his country were happy and prospered. He was loved by the people of the country and they supported him wholeheartedly. His administration qualities made him very popular. It is said that under his rule there was no one poor in Lanka.
He worked very hard to ensure that each and every aspect of the kingdom is taken care of. Slowly the success and power that Ravana enjoyed made him blind and he became very arrogant. He was not sacred of anyone and started to do things the way he wanted. The gods went to Lord Vishnu and requested him to find a solution to this as Ravana was becoming so powerful.
The Time To Go
Lord Vishnu then decided that it was time for him to incarnate as Lord Rama and kill Ravana. Lord Rama went to Lanka and with the help of Hanuman he finally managed to defeat Ravana after a lot of struggle and rescue his wife goddess Sita. The Puranas also have another story. It is said that Ravana always knew that he would be killed by Lord Rama.
All this was destined to happen. Ravana was killed by Lord Rama so that he could attain Moksha. In his previous birth Ravana and his brother Kumbhakarna were Jaya and Vijaya. They were the gatekeepers of the Vaikuntha where Lord Vishnu lives. They both were lazy and failed to do their duty so Vishnu cursed them to be born on earth and to get Moksha they would be killed by the Lord himself.
We hope that this article on “Ravana – Rogue or Sage: A different perspective” will help you to understand the character of Ravana better. He was indeed a very big scholar and some say that he had so much knowledge that one head was not enough for him. This is exactly why he was given ten heads. Ravana is one of the most interesting characters that you will ever find in Hindu mythology.