A Ravana we know not

Some of us love him and most of us hate him but not many of us know him well. Here goes some Ravana facts, that will leave you wondering

Author Aniruddha Joshi “Shatayu”
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was a scholar with some distinction, a great strategist, an intriguing illusionist and the devotee of Shiva. In Jain scriptures, he is called “Prati-Narayana” and listed among the 64 Shalaka Purush. Some of the Jain pilgrimages even have Ravana idols. There are many places where Ravana is actually worshipped like any other god, contrary to common belief. Who was he then? What do we make of him? Or rather, how much we do know about him in the first place? Let’s check out few Ravana facts that will help us know him better.



The Ravana clan

Rishi Vishrawa had married the daughter of Rishi Bhardwaja. Their offspring was Kubera. Vishrawa had an another wife called Maikasee and their famous children included Ravana, Kumbhkarna, Vibhishana and Surpankha. Thus was a step brother of Ravana. was established by Lord himself but It was Kubera who had helped Lanka’s expansion into a great power. Ravana had simply snatched Lanka away from him and became its tyrant ruler. Ravana was married to Mandodiri, who was daughter of Maydanava. Ravana and Mandodiri had one son in Meghnaad. Though some other sons of Ravana are also mentioned.

The Ravana texts
 
Ravana himself had composed the awe-inspiring "Shiva Tandava Stotra". Two other texts that are connected with Ravana are "Arun Samhita" and "Ravana Samhita". "Arun Samhita" is also known as "Laal Kitaab" and is a popular astrological text. There is also a prominent Buddhist text featuring Ravana called "Lankawatara Sutra". Besides "Valmiki Ramayana" and "Ramacharitmanasa", modern writings also refer to Ravana, like that of "Vayam Rakshamah" by Acharya Chatursen and Pt. Madan Mohan Sharma Shahi's voluminous "Lamkeshwara." Latter two books tell us what not many people know that Ravana had also established a sect of his own. It was called Yaksa sect and many believe that these Yaksa only were called Raksas later.

Ravana as a devotee

That Ravana was a great devotee of Shiva is well known fact. What is not well known are the precise details of it. Like how his devotion actually began. There goes one story. Once Ravana was travelling by his Pushpak vimana. He came across a dense forest where Shiva was meditating sitting atop a hill. Shiva’s Nandi stopped Ravana to pass through the forest as it could disturb Shiva. This was enough to enfuriate Ravana and he tried to lift the whole of hill itself. Shiva saw it and pressed the hill with his thumb causing Ravana’s hand to get stuck underneath it. Eventually Ravana had to plead Shiva to set him free. Shiva obliged. This showdown turned him into a devout devotee of Shiva and he even went on to compose among other texts for him.

The empire of Ravana

Lanka was not Ravana’s capital or even a part of his empire to begin with. He had his reign on Sumba and Bali Dweepa. Later he expanded it by conquering Anga Dweepa, Malay Dweepa, Varaha Dweepa, Shankha Dweepa, Kusha Dweepa, Yava Dweepa and Andhralaya. Finally he approached Lanka who was under the reign of Kubera, his own step brother. Due to Ravana’s strength and guile, Kubera had to flee to Trivishtapa Kshetra near Kailasha mountain and Ravana became Lankesh or the King of Lanka.

Ravana’s Pushpak

When Ravana invaded Lanka, its emperor Kubera had something unique with him : a Pushpak vimana, the legendary flying machine. When Ravana captured Lanka, he also claimed his ownership on this Pushpak vimana. is said to have the speed of human mind. Eventually Rama defeated Ravana and got hold of Pushpak. He had travelled all the way to Ayodhya with Sita, Laxman and Hanumana boarding this Pushpak vimana only.
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