All About Ravan: Facts about Ravana

Ravana was the legendary demon-king with multiple heads from Lanka from Hindu mythology. with ten heads, and 20 arms Ravana was able to transform into whatever form he desired. 

In essence, he represented the element of the evil spirit, Ravana famously engaged in and lost in an epic series of fights with the heroic Rama seventh form from Vishnu.

Family

Ravana was a feared demon ( raksasa) who was the demon king of the island fortress in Lanka (modern-day Sri Lanka). He was the son of Visravas (son of Pulastya and one of the creators of Prajapati) and his mother was Nikasa who was also a demon, and the mother of the cannibal demons the Pisitasanas. Ravana gained his throne via unsavory means when he evicted his half-brother Kubera god of wealth off the islands. Ravana had numerous sons, including Aksa who had three heads representing the three stages of fever (heat cold, hot and sweating) as well as Indrajit (aka Meghanada), who was able to make himself invisible.

Ravana had a stunning appearance with his 10 heads (and that’s why he’s named Dasakantha or Panktigriva) and 20 arms. His body was covered with wounds, and he was a victim of endless battles against the gods. Three of them, particularly they were caused by the discus of Vishnu and the thunderbolts of Indra as well as the tusk of Airavata an elephant from Indra. In his penance and devotion to the god Brahma, Ravana was made immortal and was able to take on any form he wanted from mountains to men and even even death itself. It was said, the power of his presence could trigger the occurrence of earthquakes and even storms. But it was also predicted that Ravana’s demise would be due to the woman he was with, and it did.

RAVANA was a dazzling figure with his 10 heads and 20 ARMS. He also carried an A RANGE of LETHAL WAPONS.

Ravana & Nandisa

It is believed that the Ramayana is one of the most ancient Sanskrit epic that was composed around the fifth century BCE along with later modifications. The name Ravana is explained in a colorful myth in which the demon-king battles Nandisa (actually the god of the great the god Shiva and is also named Nandisvara) and is portrayed as with a worse outcome. According to the legend that one day Ravana encountered the dark dwarf with an emaciated face as traversing the hills of Saravana. The dwarf refused to let Ravana go because its master Shiva was hunting in the mountains and did not want to be perturbed. Ravana was unsure who this Shiva was, and then began shaking the mountain with rage. This frightened Shiva along with his spouse Parvati who shook in fear while they sat on the mountain’s trembling peak, however Shiva did not panic and placed his foot on the ground, and the entire mountain fell onto Ravana’s numerous arms. The demon let out in a scream of suffering that Shiva gave the demon the name Ravana for the sound of his voice ( rava). Ravana was liberated from his situation after 1000 years of pleading to the god of heaven.

Rama & Surpanakha

It is believed that the Ramayana The Ramayana actually about the myth of the semi-divine God Rama who is believed by many Hindus to be an historical figure. Rama is perhaps the most morally upright figure in all Hindu mythology. His exploits demonstrate the value and benefits of doing one’s obligation or the dharma and he was created with a particular goal in mind to fulfill the request of the gods to kill the terrifying multi-headed demon Ravana and bring terror to the earth.

Rama’s troubles started after he was banished from his father’s kingdom as a victim of a plot that was hatched from his mom’s jealous man, Manthara. In addition the brother of his Bharata was chosen as the an heir in the place of Rama. In the span of 14 years Rama must travel through the world, meet holy sages, and wait for the day when he would fulfill his destiny.

Rama along with his wife Sita and the great friend Laksmana all ended up in Pancavati in the river Godavari in a region that was ravaged by demons. One of them, Surpanakha, the sister of Ravana loved with Rama and when her advances were rejected and she was slayed by Sita to retaliate. Laksmana became the first one to respond by cutting off the nose and ears of Surpanakha. Unhappy with the punishment, the angry Demon gathered her army of demons and attacked the trio. In a bloody fight, Rama defeated them in all, but Surpanakha was not done with her battle and convinced Ravana to believe that Sita was the kind of girl that was worthy of fighting for. In the end the demon king sought for Rama’s house and, as Rama was distracted by the search for an animal (who turned out to be Ravana’s magician Maricha disguised as Maricha) was abducted Sita and brought her back into Lanka in his air-borne vehicle to be held captive in the gorgeous Ashoka gardens of the castle.

Ravana Battles Rama

Rama was pursuing him in a furious pursuit. The first thing he had to do was fight the beast Kabandha and then help the Sugriva the monkey king however, as an incentive for Sugriva was the assistance by Sugriva’s commander Hanuman along with his entire army. Hanuman was also known as the one who was the son of the wind and capable of leaping huge distances and take any form the way he desired. He was the one who took Rama and his troops to Lanka by crossing the rock bridge constructed by Nala, the experienced general Nala and later known the Rama’s bridge.

A series of epic combats between the forces of Rama and demons ensued Sometimes Ravana was able to win and sometimes Rama. In one battle, Rama managed to cut off the head of Ravana using an arrow, however another grew quickly to take its place. Then, one of Rama’s arrows hit directly hit to Ravana’s chest. The arrow pierced the demon’s body, crossed the seas and finally back into the quiver of Rama. Ravana was dead, and the world was cleansed of an evil lawless force. Being the child of the aforementioned brahmana (priest), Ravana was given a proper funeral, and his body burned according to the proper procedure. Lanka was also lost to the army of Rama, and the hero sailed back to his home in order to take back the reign and inaugurate a glorious era of the administration.

Ravana in Hindu Art

Ravana is typically depicted as multi-headed, multi-armed and with all sorts of lethal weapons. He is depicted in the elaborate sculptures in Hindu temples, usually in combat scenes with Rama or riding on his winged horse. In a renowned relief from the 8th century CE Kailasanatha Temple in Ellora, Ravana is shown shaking the sacred Kailasa mountain (as in the Nandisa story) wherein are Shiva as well as Parvati. In a rare way, Ravana is entirely carved on the round. Images from the Ramayanainvolving Ravana are also extremely popular during to the sixteenth century CE in Indian watercolours. Particularly admired are those of Udaipur as well as in the Pahari paintings.

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