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Statue of Ravana from 18th century CE
|Other names||Ravanasura Dashamukha Dashanana(Ten-headed)|
Ravana (IAST: Rāvaṇa; //; Sanskrit: रावण, Tamil: இராவணன்), Sinhala: මහා රාවණා), is the primary antagonist in the ancient Hindu epic Ramayana where he is depicted as a Rakshasa, the Great king of Lanka.[a] Ravana is the son of Visravas Muni and Kaikesi and grandson of Pulastya Muni.
Ravana, a devotee of Shiva, is depicted and described as a great scholar, a Brahmin, a capable ruler and a maestro of the veena (plucked stringed instrument). He is also described as extremely powerful king and has ten heads. His paramount ambition was to overpower and dominate the devas. His ten heads represent his knowledge of the six shastras and the four Vedas. In the Ramayana, Ravana abducted Rama's wife Sita to exact vengeance on Rama and his brother Lakshmana for having cut off the ears and nose of his sister Shurpanakha.
Ravana is worshipped by Hindus in some parts of India, Sri Lanka and Bali (in Indonesia.) He is considered to be the most revered devotee of Shiva. Images of Ravana are seen associated with Shiva at some places.
The word Rāvaṇa means roaring opposite of Vaiśravaṇa meaning "hear distinctly" (passive). Both Ravana and Vaiśravaṇa, who is popularly known as Kubera, are considered to be patronymics derived as sons of Vishrava.
Ravana was capable of ten separate skills. This is portrayed by depicting him as a ten-headed king in his statue and friezes. But Ravana is also depicted as having nine heads, as he has sacrificed a head to convince Shiva. However, in some stories in Java told every year, Ravana cuts one of his heads every year and presents it to Shiva as representative of his devotion. Each head reflected his desire. By cutting it and presenting it, he was sacrificing one of his many desires to appease Shiva. He kept doing it every year until the last one. It turned out that the last head was considered as the true head of Ravana and Shiva considered his devoutness is a worthy one and his sacrifices were accepted. He is described as a devout follower of Shiva, a great scholar, a capable ruler and a maestro of the Veena. Ravana is also depicted as the author of the Ravana Samhita, a book on Hindu astrology, and of the Arka Prakasham, a book on Siddha medicine and treatment. Ravana possessed a thorough knowledge of Siddha and political science. He is said to have possessed the nectar of immortality, which was stored inside his belly, thanks to a celestial boon by Brahma.[page needed]
Depiction in the Ramayana
Ravana was born to a great sage, Vishrava (or Vesamuni) and his wife, the daitya princess Kaikesi. People of Bisrakh village in Uttar Pradesh claim that their village was named after Vishrava and that Ravana was born there.
According to Uttara Kaanda section of Ramayana, the Rakshasa (also known as Raksha) clan were the inhabitants of Lanka. The Raksha vanish from history after their mention in the Ramayana, except in Sri Lankan folk stories. European scholars[which?] consider the story of Ravana and the Raksha to have been made in historic times, due to knowledge of Sri Lankan locations mentioned in the stories and therefore the story is considered not to be based on fact.
Koneswaram temple, Dhen-Dakshina Kailasam is a classical-medieval Hindu temple complex in Trincomalee, a Hindu religious pilgrimage centre in Eastern Province, Sri Lanka. These temples are associated with Ravana and his mother. They had worshiped Shiva at the shrine.
Kanniya Hot water spring in Sri Lanka has the history from King Ravana era. It says that King Ravana stuck the earth with his sword in several spots for his mother's funeral event and several fountains were started on those places. The water was hot and it is now a tourist attraction in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan Version
Lankapura Alias Malendura was the capital city of the country during the period that King Ravana ruled this country. It was believed that this place was covered by three mountains. According to the inscriptions, the extent of this Kingdom was larger than the present Sri Lanka’s land area. However, in terms of some legends, it was stated that part of present Sri Lanka was ruled by this kingdom.
In the Thai text Ramakien, an epic influenced by the Ramayana, Ravana is a yaksa or a rakshasa.[need quotation to verify]. In the same text sometimes Ravana is also considered an asura. The Thai names for Ravana, among others, are Rapanasur ("the Asura Ravana", Sanskrit: Ravanasura), Totsapak ("one with ten faces", Sanskrit: Dashamukha) or, more popularly, Totsakan ("one with ten necks", Sanskrit: Dashakantha).
Yawana or Datha-giri, in the Burmese unofficial national epic Yama Zatdaw.
Jain accounts vary from the traditional Hindu accounts of Ramayana. The incidents are placed at the time of the 20th Tirthankara, Munisuvrata. According to the Jain version, both Rama and Ravana were devout Jains. Ravana was a Vidyadhara King having magical powers. Also, as per the Jain accounts, Ravana was killed by Lakshmana and not Rama.
Notes and references
- Identified by many with modern-day Sri Lanka
- "Ravana". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary.
- Mani, Vettam (1975). Puranic Encyclopaedia: A Comprehensive Dictionary With Special Reference to the Epic and Puranic Literature. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. p. 354. ISBN 0-8426-0822-2.
- Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of World Religions. Merriam-Webster. 1999. p. 909. ISBN 978-0-87779-044-0.
- Rao, Desiraju Hanumanta. "Valmiki Ramayana – Aranya Kanda – Sarga 18, Verse: 3-18-22". www.valmikiramayan.net. Retrieved 2016-10-27.
- "Only the elderly come to mourn Ravana in 'birthplace' Bisrakh". The Indian Express. 2014-10-04. Retrieved 2016-06-14.
- "Ravana in Noida: A book on Greater Noida". hindustantimes.com. 2014-03-15. Retrieved 2016-06-14.
- "Bisrakh seeks funds for Ravan temple – Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2016-06-14.
- Aiyangar Narayan (1909) "Essays On Indo-Aryan Mythology-Vol.", p.413
- MW Sanskrit Digital Dictionary p. 1026
- Roy, Janmajit (2002-01-01). Theory of Avatāra and Divinity of Chaitanya. Atlantic Publishers & Dist. ISBN 9788126901692.
- "Early Tamils of Ilangai". Scribd. Retrieved 2016-09-05.
- Ramayana By Valmiki; Ramcharitmas by Tulsidasa (Lanka Kanda Vibhishana & Rama Samvaad)
- "?". IBN Live. Archived from the original on 12 September 2014.
- Māni Mādhava Chākyār (1996). Nātyakalpadrumam. Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi.p.6
- H. Parker (1909). Ancient Ceylon. New Dehli: Asian Educational Services. 7.
- Ravana has his temples, too. The Sunday Tribune – Spectrum. 21 October 2007.
- Vachaspati.S, Ravana Brahma [in English], 2005, Rudrakavi Sahitya Peetham, Gandhi Nagar, Tenali, India.
- Kamalesh Kumar Dave, Dashanan [in Hindi], 2008, Akshaya Jyotish Anusandan Kendra, Quila Road, Jodhpur, India.
- People of India: A – G., Volume 4. Oxford Univ. Press. p. 3061.
- Indian Culture: Journal of the Indian Research Institute, Volume 15 By I.B. Corporation
- Vyas, Lallan Prasad. Prachi Darshan. p. 98.
- Sharma, S.R. (1940), Jainism and Karnataka Culture, Dharwar: Karnatak Historical Research Society, p. 76
- Dalal, Roshen (2010), Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide, India: Penguin Books, p. 338, ISBN 978-0-14-341421-6
- Ramanujan, A.K. (1991). "Three hundred Rāmāyaṇas: Five examples and Three thoughts on Translation". In Paula Richman. Many Rāmāyaṇas: The Diversity of a Narrative Tradition in South Asia. University of California Press. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-520-07589-4.
- Jacob P. Dalton (2016). The Gathering of Intentions: A History of a Tibetan Tantra. Columbia University Press. pp. 20–21. ISBN 978-0-231-54117-6.
- Doniger, Wendy (1993), Purana Perennis: Reciprocity and Transformation in Hindu and Jaina Texts, SUNY Press, ISBN 978-0-7914-1381-4
- Udayakumar, S.P. (2005). "Presenting the Past: Anxious History and Ancient Future in Hindutva India". Greenwood Publishing Group
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