Rakshasas

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Authorship and Copyright Notice: All Rights Reserved: Satya Sarada Kandula

Son of Bhima and Hidimbaa: from Mayabazaar (Telugu, 1957)
The Rakshasas are one of the tribes of Sri Lanka., today. They look exactly like you or me. So do the Yakkas (Yakshas) and the Veddhas. So if you were looking for strange teeth and many heads and magical powers, they do not exist now-a-days. Valmiki described Ravana as Dasanana or Dasagreeva, which literally means one with 10 heads or 10 throats. This has been interpreted by some as meaning that he knew the 4 vedas and 6 sastras, and by others as meaning that he had 10 crowns, one for each place that he ruled.

Rakshasa Lineage as per Uttarakanda:

The word Raksha means to protect. In the Uttarakanda of the Valmiki Ramayana, it is said that the tribes who agreed to protect the waters, at Brahma’s request were the Rakshasas and the those who wanted to eat  (yaksha) became the Yakshas. The story of the Rakshasas that follows, is what Agastya and other rishis told Rama after his coronation.

Heti and Praheti were two Rakshasas who were as strong as Madhu and Kaitabha. Praheti was into Tapas and Dharma. Heti wanted a good wife. Yama was a king of the South. He had a sister called Bhaya (which means fear). Heti married Bhaya and they had a son called Vidyutkesa (lightning  hair)! Heti got Vidyutkesa married to Salakatankata, the daughter of Sandhya (twilight, Surya’s wife).

They had a son called Sukesa (good-haired), whom they happily neglected, while they had a good time. Siva and Parvati saw the neglected child and blessed him with quick growth, long life, wealth and a city that could fly though the air. A gandharva called Gramani, gave his daughter Devavati in marriage to Sukesa.

Ravana as portrayed by N.T. Rama Rao in Bhukailas (Telugu 1958)Sukesa had three strong and powerful sons called Mali, Sumali and Malyavan. Vidyutkesa himself was half Rakshasa and half Deva. (Remember that Bhaya was Yama Deva’s sister). Sukesa was therefore one fourth rakshasa and 3/4ths Deva. (His mother was Sandhya’s daughter). So Mali, Sumali and Malyavan were 1/8 rakshasa, 3/8 deva and half gandharva. Look at the racket that people today make of jathis – when the sources were so mixed up!
The three brothers were learned, handsome, powerful, united and devout. They did Tapas to please Brahma. Then they went about attacking and defeating the devas and the asuras. They asked Viswakarma to build a city for them. He asked them to occupy the city of Lanka, that he had already built out of gold, at the command of Indra. It was situated on the central peak of the Trikuta hill. It was 30 yojanas wide and 100 yojanas long. 3000 sq yojanas could be 192000 sq miles or 18750 sq miles, depending on whether a yojana means 8 miles or 2.5 miles. Modern Sri Lanka is 25000 sq. miles in area.

A gandharva lady called Narmada had three beautiful daughters and she gave them in marriage to the three brothers. So now, they had many children and they were 1/16 rakshasa, 3/16 deva, 12/16 gandharva. The lady we are interested in is Kaikasi the daughter of Sumali and his wife Ketumati (because she is Ravana’s mother).

Many houses have a idol or picture of a rakshasa in front of them. It is beleived to ward of the evil eye. These rakshasas look pretty fierce.They continued to trouble the Devas, Nagas, Yakshas and the Rishis. The Devas and Rishis begged Siva to help them, but he had a soft spot for Sukesa and his children. So they turned to Vishnu. Vishnu is also called Upendra or the younger brother of Indra. Vishnu was always on the side of the Devas and the Brahmanas and helped them without any hesitation.

The Manavas (ordinary humans without any magical powers), always looked to the Devas (who represent light) and Brahmans (who represent knowledge) to bless and protect them. So manavas too, were always on the side of the Devas and the Brahmanas.

Rakshasa fight with Vishnu.

Malyavan, told his brothers, that the Devas now had Vishnu, the slayer of Hiranyakasipu, on their side and he was prepared to fight for them. But his brothers would not be dissuaded. They decided to carry the war into the enemy camp and along with Jambha, Vrtra and other powerful Rakshasas, they attacked Amaravathi the capital of the Devas.

Garuda : Photograph by Satya Sarada Kandula : All Rights ReservedVishnu mounted Garuda, his vahana, and there was a terrible battle. Garuda also fought bravely in the battle. The dark Vishnu wielded his bow, which was called the Saranga and killed the Rakshasas in thousands. Then he blew his mighty conch, the Panchajanya. (Yes, it is the same one, that Sri Krishna blew in the Mahabharata war.) He killed Mali with his discus. (Yes, again, it was the same Sudarshana Chakra). Sumali and Malyavan retreated to Lanka, with such forces as they had left with them. Then, out of fear of Vishnu, Sumali and the other Rakshasas abondoned Lanka and went to Rasatala. (Is Rasatala a magical world or is it someplace in Africa (Somalia) or Thailand or Assam or Malaysia., we do not know at this time. We know for certain that the had boats, and we know by Valmiki’s Ramayanam., that they had planes (vimanas) as well. So we will just take rasatala as rasatala and we will suspend our judgements about its location for now).

Sri Lanka from Kubera to Ravana:

Lanka was now given to Vaisravana, Kubera to live in and rule and he lived there with the Yakshas. Kubera himself is often described as a Yaksha, but his father Visrava was a brahman and his maternal grandfather Bharadwaja was a Brahman Rishi. Kubera had not a drop of Yaksha blood, he was merely the ruler of the Yakshas. Visrava was the son of Rishi Pulastya who was the son of Brahma. In Sri Lanka there is a place called Polonnaruwa where there is a statue of Rishi Pulastya. There is also a cave of Visravas’s great-grandson with a Brahmi Inscription.

Sumali wondered what he could do to improve the future of his race. At that time he saw Vaisravana, the son of Visrava, whom we now know as Kubera, the lord of North and the lord of wealth. Kubera was flying in the Pushpaka Vimana and had come to visit his father. Sumali thought that if his beautiful daughter married Visrava, then he would also have such wonderful grandsons. So he asked his daughter Kaikasi to approach Visrava. It is said that Kaikasi was as beautiful as Lakshmi and devoted to her father.

Visrava blessed Kaikasi with 3 sons, Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Vibhishana and 1 daughter, Soorpanakha. Visrava was a brahman and the son of Pulastya and the grandson of Brahma. So Ravana and the other were half brahman, 1/32 rakshasa, 3/32 deva, 3/8 gandharva. So they were more brahmana than they were rakshasa genetically, anyway. It is said that Ravana was made ambitious by his mother, that Kumbhakarna was cannibalistic and that Vibhishana was pious. But all of them did learn the Vedic rituals and did perform yajnas and other such practices when they ruled Lanka later.

Ravana and his brothers did tapas to please Brahma, their great grand father, at Gokarna, which is on the west coast (near modern Mangalore). Brahma ruled other than manavas and vanaras no one would kill Ravana.

With that boon, Ravana asked Kubera to leave Lanka and took his Pushpaka Vimana. (Kubera resettled in Alakapuri, modern Nepal). Ravana defeated the Devas, including Yama, who was held back by Brahma’s word. At a later time, his son Meghanatha defeated Indra and became Indrajit.

Compare the head gear worn by this person of an Indian Tribe with horns on the rakshasa image in the previous photographRavana’s father as a brahmana did yajnas and offered havis to the Devas. Ravana fought with the Devas and won. His father married women who had been given to him by their fathers. Ravana was disrespectful of the wishes of women and attempted to force his attentions on them, even when they did not like him. Ravana specifically earned the dislike of Valmiki and of thousands of generations of Indians because he carried our gentle mother Sita Devi away by force and made her life miserable. Even though Sri Rama forgave him at the time of Ravana’s death, the rest of India still does not and his effigy is still burnt every year. In India, it is still common to call someone Rakshasa or Rakshasi if they do something bad.  At one time, though, they could fly planes, sail boats and create music and beautiful literature.

Sri Lankans, then and now respect him as a good ruler and king, who made one mistake and even name children after him. There are some Sri Lankan groups who believe that Ravana was a student of Kapila, an incarnation of Buddha, and that he never carried Sita away. They maintain that Sita’s proven chastity also proves that Ravana was innocent. They hold a low opinion of Vibhishana and see him as a traitor who invited invaders. The ten heads are considered 10 crowns of Ravana. Children in Lanka (Sinhala) are named after Ravana, but not after Vibhishana. Some Sri Lankans hold Ravana lived 5000 years ago. Other sources say that there were 3 Ravanas in Lanka, all at different times.

Apocalypto – a clue to rakshasas?

Notes:

  1. rakSasa raakSasa rakSaka on Existence
  2. Sri Lankans say that Rakshasas and Yakshas came there from Nepal along the east coast. But Uttarakanda of Ramayana indicates that Yakshas went to Nepal from Sri Lanka and that Rakshasas went to Rasatala when defeated by Vishnu. This supports the “Out of India” theory of human migration.
  3. “In India, the origin of Violin is traced into the Ravanastrom.This instrument is said to have belonged to a sovereign of India 5000 BC. Again, it also replicates the ancient instrument called Ravan Hatta which is found even today in Rajasthan. Mythology credits this creation to the Rakshasa king Ravana from Ramayana. The Ravan Hatta was played on one string which was 22 inches long encompassing the 3 Octaves. Whereas the Violin encompasses the 3 octaves on 4 strings with a finger board which is 5 1/4th inches long. This 5 1/4th when multiplied by 4 is 22 inches which was the size of the Ravan Hatta. Both are played with a bow.” (Source)
  4. Apocalypto – a clue to rakshasas?
  5. Kaikasi is a place in Latvia, not far from Scandinavia.
  6. Cannibals in Germany 7000 years ago!
Many houses have a idol or picture of a rakshasa in front of them. It is beleived to ward of the evil eye. These rakshasas look pretty fierce.Many houses have a idol or picture of a rakshasa in front of them. It is beleived to ward of the evil eye. These rakshasas look pretty fierce.

Compare the head gear worn by this person of an Indian Tribe with horns on the rakshasa image in the previous photograph

Compare the head gear worn by this person of an Indian Tribe with horns on the rakshasa image in the previous photograph

Authorship and Copyright Notice: All Rights Reserved: Satya Sarada Kandula

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