Ravana

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RAVANA, Indian Demon King of Lanka (Sri Lanka)

In Hindu mythology, Ravana is one of the principal, if villianous, characters of the Hindu epic, the Ramayana. He was an arch-villian but of noble birth; he was a brahmin, the son of the sage Visrawasa by his wife Kaikasi, a Rakshasa princess of Lanka. While it is impossible to collate the names of places mentioned in the ancient legends of India with modern-day towns and villages, the ebtirely obscure village of 'Bisrakh' in northern India claims to be the birth-place of Ravana. Ravana was married to Mandodari, the daughter of the celestial architect Maya. Ravana Meghanada, also known as Indrajeet, was their son.


Ravana is depicted in art with up to ten heads, signifying that he had knowledge spanning all the ten directions. He was an accomplished scholar and a Veena player. Ravana gained enormous powers when he prayed to Brahma, who granted him a boon. Ravana wished that his life be protected from Devas (divinities), Asuras (enemies of the Devas), Rakshasas (demons), Gandharvas (celestial musicians), Yakshas (demigods), or other celestials or magical beings. In his arrogance, Ravana forgot to ask for protection from man.


After gaining such immense powers Ravana turned evil and selfish; it was soon deemed necessary to rid the world of his tyranny. As the boon granted by Brahma precluded his being slayed by anyone but a human being, it became necessary for the God Vishnu to assume human form; heincarnated himself as Rama, a prince of Ayodhya. The story of the life and exploits of Rama (and indeed of Ravana) forms the operative part of the great Hindu epic, the Ramayana, a detailing of which is beyond the scope of this page. Suffice it to say that Ravana was slain by Rama, an event celebrated as the triumph of good over evil, and commemorated in north India by the Dussehra festival.


Ravana was a great devotee of Shiva and is supposed to have composed the Shiva tandava stotra. But his actions and behavior show that "piety without virtue is useless". He serves as an example of the dangers of lust and ego.


Here is the lineage of Lord of Lanka, Ravana:


Sage Pulatsya -- Sage Vishrava -- Ravan.


Ravan had seven sons:

  1. Meghnad (Indrajit)
  2. Prahast
  3. Atikay
  4. Aksaykumar
  5. Devantak
  6. Narantak
  7. Trishira

Ravana also had six brothers and two sisters. Ravana's maternal grandfather was Malyavan, who was always against the war with Lord Rama and his maternal grandmother was Tadka, their son Mareech was Ravana's maternal uncle.

Following are Ravana's brothers and sisters:

  1. Kumbhkaran - one of the largest demons in the history of Hinduism. He was given a boon by Lord Brahma that he would sleep for ever, thus the King of Sleep, but due to Ravana's plea, Kumbhkaran was granted one day to wake up.
  2. Vibhishan - the most pious of all the siblings of Sage Vishrava. He was thrown out of the Kingdom of Lanka by Ravan due to his differences with the Lord of Lanka and because he did not wish to support the evil ways of his brother. He helped Lord Rama in the war immensly. Without giving secrets, it might have been impossible for Lord Rama to win. He was later given the throne of Lanka and was thus proclaimed the Lord of Lanka after Ravana's death.
  3. Khar - King of Janasthan. He protected the southern kingdom of Lanka in the mainland and his kingdom bordered with the Kosala Kingdom, the Kingdom of Shri Rama. He was well-known for his superior skills in warfare.
  4. Dushan - Co-King of Janasthan.
  5. Ahiravan - King of the Netherworld ruled by the Demons on the order of the Lord of Lanka, Ravana and Demon King Maya.
  6. Kuber - the King of Uttardisha and the Guardian of Heaven Wealth. He is older than the King of Lanka, Ravana.
  7. Kumbhini - the sister of Ravana and the wife of Demon Madhu, King of Mathura and mother of Lavnasur. She was known for her beauty and later retired to the sea for penance.
  8. Surphanka - the evil sister of Ravana and the most wicked. She was the ultimate root for the kidnapping of Sita. She was the one who instigated her brothers to wage a war against Shri Rama.


Hinduism | Hindu mythology
Deities: Brahma | Vishnu | Shiva | Rama | Krishna | Ganesha | Indra | Gayatri | Lakshmi | Sarasvati
Texts: Ramayana | Mahabharata
fr:RÔvana
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