Ravana रावण

If the word ravaNa means crying, the word rAvaNa means the one who causes crying. The word ravam itself means sound as in ghanTAravam is the sound of a bell. In the context of sItA dEvI, rAvaNa was one who made her cry. In the context of manDodari, he was one who made her sing. rAvaNa was a powerful king who affected others one way or the other.

rAvaNa had a small percentage of rAkSasa blood. And those rAkSasAs were enemies of viSNu. Ravana’s Ancestry – His Rakshasa grandfather and his brothers lost to Vishnu. Ravana was Hanuman’s cousin, his paternal great-grandfather was Hanuman’s maternal  great-grandfather. Ravana was an uncle to Veda Vyasa : Ravana was 4th in line from Brahma. (Brahma – Pulastya – Visravas – Ravana). Vyasa was 5th in line from Brahma. (Brahma – Vasishtha – Sakthi – Parasara – Vyasa). Ravana’s wife Mandodari was the daughter of Maya Danava, a great astronomer, builder and creator of illusions.

Ravana was a great devotee of Siva who achieved the Atmalingam with his tapas..

rAvaNA was a great musician like hanumAn.

”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)

Ravanahatta. Ravanta. Ramanta: These musicians in puSkar make their own instruments. The story about this instrument is that Ravana designed it and Hanuman brought it to India from Lanka. The name may be derived from ramantaar or delightful strings. Or from ravantaar sound making strings. Both these musicians gave me my own personal lake side concerts. The young man had a two lovely girls their moms and a dad in his troop. The music was awesome. At 50 rs for the turbanned guy and 70 rs for the troupe – I felt a little strained. A spanish ‘angreji’ has made cds for them which they price at rs 400. In a place of white tourists you can’t expect desi prices..!!

Sri Lanka from Kubera to Ravana:

Ravana’s Ancestry : ..”Lanka was now given to vaisrAvaNa, kubEra to live in and rule and he lived there with the yakSAs. Kubera himself is often described as a Yaksha, but his father Visrava was a brahman and his maternal grandfather bharadwAa was a Brahman Rishi. Kubera had not a drop of Yaksha blood, he was merely the ruler of the Yakshas.

The Rakshasa Sumali, was smarting from the defeat at Vishnu’s hands and  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.

Ravana had very little Rakshasa Genes: 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. (See Ancestry) 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.

Ravana was not a brahman by behaviour : Ravana’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.

Ravana is a respected hero in Sri Lanka: 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.”

Ravana as described in Balakanda, Valmiki Ramayanam 15th Sarga (Reference)

RishyaSringa guided Dasaratha on the performance of the Putrakameshti Yagnyam. At that time all the devas, gandharvas etc who assembled their on invitation, discussed Ravana with Brahma.

O bhagavan! A rakshasa named Ravana,  with your blessings, by his valour, is troubling all of us.  We are not able to control him. Out of regard for the boons that you have given him we forgive all his actions. The sun cannot heat him, the winds cannot move him and the ocean does not ‘tremble’ any waves. He wishes to show up (pradarshayitum) Sakra (Indra) of the thirty kings (tridasa rajanaam). That bad minded one is the hater of the three worlds (triin lokaan ucChitraan).

(The Andhras had 30 walled cities prior to Megasthanes’ visit to India and he mentioned them).

Ravana’s 1 year wait for Sita : Why?

Ravana is worshipped in some places in Madhya Pradesh. Ravana’s mother was kaikasi and her mother was kEtumati. Ketumati’s mother was a gandharva lady called Narmada.  “A small temple to Ravana in Vidisha district’s Ravangram village will echoes with the prayer, “Ravana Baba Namah” at Dusera. The temple has an ancient idol of Ravana in a reclining position believed to have been constructed between the ninth and 14th century. The villagers believe it would be a bad omen to have the 10-foot idol stand erect and say that whenever this was done, some unexpected incident had occurred in the district. He has been worshipped as a symbol of prosperity for over 600 years by Kanyakubja Brahmins, a Brahmin sub-sect to which Ravana was believed to have belonged….Ravana is also worshiped in Ravana Rundi in Mandsaur district and Shajapur district’s Bhadkhedi. In Mandsaur town, members belonging to the Namdeo Vaishnav Samaj, a Hindu sect, who worship the demon king on Dussehra, believe Ravana’s wife Mandodari belonged to the town and they regard him as a son-in-law.  A 35-foot high 10-headed Ravana statue was installed in 2005 at Ravana Rundi in the Khanpur area of Mandsaur….A 25-foot high lime and brick ancient idol of Ravana existed there till 1982. It developed cracks due to lightning and was ultimately destroyed…. The idol is worshipped every year and women in the area remain behind the veil on Dussehra since they regard Ravana as their son-in-law, while men make offerings at his statue if their wishes came true…Ravana and his son Meghnad are similarly worshipped at Bhadkhedi village in Shajapur district of western Madhya Pradesh… In Rajasthan’s Hadauti village, while Gond tribals of Chhattisgarh also have a tradition of worshipping ‘Lankapati (King of Lanka)…” (Source)

Source : Himachal Pradesh Town: “Explaining the rationale for not celebrating Dussehra in Baijnath, Prem Parshad Pandit, member secretary of the high-powered committee of Himachal temples, told IANS that the residents of Baijnath believe that participating in the celebrations means inviting the wrath of Lord Shiva. ..”People believe that Baijnath is the place where Ravana meditated for years to appease Lord Shiva. As a result, Lord Shiva does not want his devotees to burn Ravana’s effigy.”

“Ravan Samhita is an astrological text or scripture narrated by lord Shiva and written by Ravana. Ravan Sanhita is the testimony to his great astrological knowledge and is considered as the standard book of reference by astrologers even today.” Link to Ravana Samhita on Scribd.

Wikipedia: Ravana is said to have married Princess Mandodari at a place about 32 kilometers away from Jodhpur, which is now called Mandor. There is a mandap (altar or pavilion) where Ravana is said to have married Mandodari, and which the local people call Ravan Jee Ki Chanwari.. The Dave Brahmins of Mudgal GotraJodhpur/Mandor who were originally from Gujarat, claim to be the descendants of Ravana. The say that since time immemorial they are performing the shraddh (death anniversary) of Ravana on Dashehra Day every year. They offer pind daan and take a bath after that ritual. They recently erected a Ravan temple in Jodhpur, where daily puja is performed.”

Ravana’s in-laws : Mandsaur District Madhya Pradesh.

The villain of Valmiki‘s  Ramayanam is the awful Ravana रावण, and on the 10th day of Dasara, people from Uttar Pradesh set fire to his effigy.

(Of course, the Uttar Pradeshis think this is is how all Indians and all Hindus celebrate Dussera but that is not true. In South India and Nepal, Vijaya Dasimi marks Devi’s victory over Mahishasura, and in Karnataka, Mahanavami marks Arjuna’s victory over Kauravas at Matsya Desa).

In Mandsaur district of Madhya Pradesh, the locals hold that Ravana’s wife Mandodari is their daughter and that Ravana is their son-in-law and think it is a sin to view the effigy burning.

Mandsaur Mandodari Ravana

The lovely Mandodari was the daughter of the Apsarasa Hema and was found by Maya Danava (Maya Asura) raised and given in marriage to Ravana, because he wanted a powerful ally. (Vali, the Vanara, had killed Maya’s sons Mayavi and Dundhubhi.) It is also interesting that Maya Asura, the author of the Surya Siddhantam, lived so close to Ujjain, the original home (or close to it) of the Iron Pillar as well as an ancient astronomical centre.

Ravana’s maternal great grandmother was a gandharva lady called Narmada.

Even as we recall the connection between Human Evolution and the Narmada valley (The 600,000 years old skull of a 30-year old woman was found in the western Narmada region of Madhya Pradesh).,

Even as we consider the role of the Gonds in the very Ancient Indian History, we find that Gond tribals of Chhattisgarh also have a tradition of worshipping ‘Lankapati (King of Lanka) .

There is a Pasupatinath temple in Mandsaur that is worth seeing.

As per India TV‘s OM program, Ravana had some caves dug in Mandsaur which he used for performing penance on Siva.

In a videoclip from the movie pataala bhairavi, Sakthi gives directions to the Nepala Mantrikudu (played by the master actor S.V. Ranga Rao), about the location of Patala Bhairavi. “Ujjainiki uttaraana (to the north of Ujjain), yojanagiri simalona, mantraala marri chettu kinda.. bhU garbhamlo yaksha nikshiptamayinadi).

If Ravana had some caves dug in Maya’s kingdom that creator of the Maya Sabha for the Pandavas could have easily created the sort of tricky place where Patala Bhairavi is hidden in the story. It makes one’s respect for the writer Pingali Nagendra Rao go up by leaps and bounds.

Ravana’s Tapas on Siva (Bhukailas: Gokarna)

The movie Bhukailas has a beautiful devotional song called Neelakandhara.

Ravana as a handsome, scholarly and devoted brahmana.

  • This video starts with Parvathi Devi, seeking Vishnu’s help, to prevent Ravana from acquiring the Atma-Lingam or the Soul-Symbol of Siva himself.
  • In it, you see Ravana in his Brahmana form worshipping SadaShiva with a view to acquiring the Atma-Lingam. (Ravana’s father was Visravas, the son of Pulastya Prajapathi. So Ravana was Brahma’s grandson and 50% brahmana).

Method of worship from Puja, to Japam to Tapas.

  • The worship starts with Ravana singing a beautiful hymn (in Telugu – subtitled in English – Some of the sub-titles are obviously not very apt).
  • Ravana gradually moves from ‘Puja’  to ‘Japam’ (worship with thought, or by repetition a single word or Mantra) and then to ‘Tapas’ (intense concentration). During his ‘Tapas’ he cannot be distracted at all by his environment (anthills, bad weather) and attempts at “Tapobhangam” by Indra are not successful.

Impression of Indra from a Heroic Protector to a Position Preserver.

  • Indra was the Hero that Valmiki used as a standard for comparing Sri Rama to, and whom Sita Devireferred to as a protector like her father-in-law. Indra was the greatest of heroes of the Kruta Yuga(Vedic Age). (Valmiki Ramayana and the Vedas) Even in the Dvapara Yuga Pandu, asks Kunthi to meditate and purify herself  for a year before invoking Indra for a son (Arjuna) with a mantra. That was to be their best son (Nara). (Mahabharata)
  • The negative impression of Indra, in this videoclip as a position preserver and not as a heroic protector is a Kaliyuga impression, since this is after all made in the 20th century CE.

The wonderful meaning of the Hymn – the primary purpose of this video clip. The Hymn itself  is very beautiful.

(I know that I have done a better job of translation than the subtitler, but if you know of any corrections I should make., please do share your expertise. Also anyone with further knowledge on raga-tala composer-author please do let me know).

Jaya jaya mahaadEvaa SaMbhO sadaaSivaa

Victory to the Greatest Gods! Sambho! (means Sankara the creator of Sam – peace)! SadaSiva (The Always good)!

aaSrita mandaara SRutiSikhara sanchaaraa

The protector of those who seek his refuge! The won who wanders on the peaks of the Srutis (Vedas… etc)!

neelakandharaa dEvaa deena baandhavaa raaraa nanugaavaraa

One of the blue throat or (black Shoulders?), The relative of the weak, Please come and protect me!

Satya Sundara Swami , Nitya Nirmala Pahi!

The true, beautiful Master, The Always Pure, Save Me!

anyadaivamu goluvaa aa, needupaadamu viDuvaa

I do not worship any other God, I shall never leave your feet!

darSanammu neeraa mangaLaanga gangaadharaa (2)

Give me your Darsan (a view of Siva), Auspicious Limbed One, Gangadhara (bearer of Ganga)

dEhi ana varamulosagu daanaguNaseema

The one who gives anything if asked, the height (limit) of the virtue of charity,

paahiyannanu mrokki ninnu parandhaamaa

The final refuge (Param Dhama), I say Pahi (save me) and bow to you!

neemamuna nee divya naama samsmaraNa

As per the niyama (rules), I remember your divine name

Emaraka chEyudunu bhavataapa haraNa

(Emaraka=?) What must I do O destroyer of all suffering due to existence?

nee dayaamaya dRushTi duritammulaara

Show your mercy and (….. *I need help translating some words here)

varasudhahaavRushti naa vaanCha neevEraa

The downpour of the nectar of boons, you alone are my desire!

karuNinchu paramESa dharahaasa bhaasaa

Be compassionate, o great Lord, Dhara Hasa Bhaga (The distributor of fortune, who wears a smile)

harahara mahaadEva kailaasavaasaa kailaasavaasaa

Hara Hara Mahadeva, The resident of Kailasa!

phaalalOchana naadu moravini jaalini boonavayaa

Phala locana! (one with an eye in his forehead), Hear my prayer and be merciful.

naagabhooshaNa nannukaavaga jaagunu sEyakayaa

Nagabhushana! (one with a snake as an ornament)! Don’t delay in protecting me!

kannulavindugaa bhaktavatsala kaanaga raavayyaa

Like a feast for the eyes, oh one who treats devotees like children, come and appear before me!

prEmameera needu bhaktuni maaTanu nilpavayaa

Oh loving one! Please keep up this word given by your devotee!

Sankara SivaSankaraa abhayankaraa vijayamkaraa

Sankara (the one who causes Sam – peace) Siva Sankara, Abhayankara (who causes lack of fear), Vijyamkara (one who causes Victory)!”

Many thanks to Arun Pydimarri for the lyrics in Telugu-Roman Script and for the suggested corrections.

Ravana’s 1 year wait for Sita

In the olden days, it was no big deal if you carried away an unmarried woman and married her.

Ravana carried away a Married Woman. That was the charge against him.

After that he did not marry her directly.

The Kautilya Arthasastra (a later book than the Ramayana), gives the amount of time a woman must wait before she can re-marry based on caste, maintenance… and many other factors.

I would think that Ravana in observing the 1 year period was following some kind of contemporary custom. To get Sita back, Rama would have to claim her back in that 1 year period and not steal her back (say by Hanuman bringing her back).

I think the durations must have changed by the time of Kautilya Or 1 year could have been the Sinhalese custom?
Look in:  Encyclopaedia of Hinduism  By Nagendra Kumar Singh, available on Google Books. http://books.google.com/books?id=it6SMXEuW9MC&printsec=frontcover

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