|Affiliation||The King of Lanka, Rakshasa|
|Predecessor||Kubera (King of Lanka)|
|Successor||Vibhishana (King of Lanka)|
|Texts||Ramayana and its versions|
|Siblings||Kumbhakarna, Vibhishana, Khara, Ahiravana, Dushana, Shurpanakha|
|Children||Indrajit, Atikaya, Akshayakumara, Narantaka, Devantaka, Trishira|
|Part of a series on|
Ravana (//; Sanskrit: रावण, IAST: Rāvaṇa, pronounced [ˈraːʋɐɳɐ]) is a rakshasa Sinhalese king of the island of Lanka, and the chief antagonist of the Hindu epic Ramayana and its adaptations. In the Ramayana, Ravana is described to be the eldest son of sage Vishrava and rakshasi Kaikesi. He abducted Prince Rama's wife Sita and took her to his kingdom of Lanka, where he held her in the Ashoka Vatika. Later, Rama, with the support of vanara King Sugriva and his army of vanaras, launched an invasion against Ravana in Lanka. Ravana was subsequently slain and Rama rescued his beloved wife Sita.
Ravana is widely portrayed to be an evil character, though he also has many qualities that make him a learned scholar. He was well-versed in the six shastras and the four Vedas. Ravana is also considered to be the most revered devotee of Shiva. Images of Ravana are seen associated with Shiva at some temples. He also appears in the Buddhist Mahayana text Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra, in Buddhist Ramayanas and Jatakas, as well as in Jain Ramayanas. In some scriptures, he is depicted as one of Vishnu's cursed doorkeepers.
The word Rāvaṇa (Sanskrit: रावण) means "roaring" (active), the 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".
Rāvana was a title taken on later by Dashānana, and it means "the one with ten(dasha) faces(anana)". Further, roravana is Sanskrit for "loud roaring." In Abhinava Gupta's Krama Shaiva scripture, yāsām rāvanam is used as an expression to mean people who are truly aware in terms of the materialism of their environment.
Ravana has many other popular names, such as Dasis Ravana, Dasis Sakvithi Maha Ravana, Dashaanan, Ravula, Lankapati, Lankeshwar, Lankeshwaran, Ravanasura, Ravanaeshwaran, and Eela Vendhar.
Ravana is depicted and described as having ten heads, although sometimes he is shown with only nine heads, as he cut one off to convince Shiva. He is described as a devout follower of Shiva, a great scholar, a capable ruler and a maestro of the Veena (pronounced veh-nah; a chordophone instrument). Ravana is also depicted as the author of the Ravana Samhita, a book on Hindu astrology, and 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]
Ravana was born to the great sage Vishrava, and his wife, the Rakshasa princess Kaikesi in the Treta Yuga. People of Bisrakh village in Uttar Pradesh claim that Bisrakh was named after Vishrava, and that Ravana was born there. But according to Hela historical sources and folklore, Ravana was born in Lanka, where he later became king.
Ravana's grandfather on his father's side, the sage Pulastya, was one of the ten Prajapatis or mind-born sons of Brahma and one of the Saptarishi (Seven Great Sages Rishi) in the first Manvantara (age of Manu). His maternal grandfather was Sumali (or Sumalaya); the king of the Rakshasas and the son of Sukesha. Sumali had ten sons and four daughters. Sumali wished Kaikeshi to marry the most powerful being in the mortal world, so as to produce an exceptional heir. He rejected the kings of the world, as they were less powerful than he. Kaikesi searched among the sages and finally chose Vishrava, the father of Kubera. Ravana and his siblings were born to the couple. They completed their education from their father, with Ravana being a great scholar of the Vedas.
Ravana and his two brothers Kumbhakarna and Vibhishana performed penances on Mt Gokarna for 11,000 years and won boons from Brahma. Ravana was blessed with a boon that would make him invincible to all the creations of Brahma, except for humans. He also received weapons, a chariot as well as the ability to shapeshift from Brahma. Ravana later usurped Lanka from his half-brother Kubera and became the King of Lanka. He appointed Shukracharya as his priest and learned the Arthashastra (Science of Politics) from him.
See also: Ravananugraha
One of the most popular images of Shiva is called "Ravananugraha", which was popular in the Gupta era and depicts Ravana beneath Mount Kailash playing the veena made out of his head and hand with strings made out of his tendons while Shiva and Parvati sit on top of the mountain.[full citation needed] According to scriptures, Ravana once tried to lift Mount Kailash, but Shiva pushed the mountain into place and trapped Ravana beneath it. For a thousand years, the imprisoned Ravana sang hymns (Shiva Tandava Stotra) in praise of Shiva, who finally blessed him and granted him an invincible sword and a powerful linga (Shiva's iconic symbol, Atmalinga) to worship.
Ravana's family are hardly mentioned outside the Ramayana, which is viewed by some as being only the point of view of Rama devotees. According to that:
Ravana is said in some version to have had Shukracharya, the priest of the Asuras, as his minister, and in some versions Brihaspati, the priest of the Devas.
One of the most original, which is not found in earlier manuscripts, tells how Ravana orders his court priest Brhaspati (all the gods being his slaves) to read the Chandi stava (mantras of Chandi), that is, the Devi Mahatmya, in order to stave off defeat if he can recite it. According to the Krttivasa text, Ravana arranged for a peaceful yajna (sacrifice) and to start the recitation of Chandi, Brihaspati was invited. Accordingly, Brihaspati recited the same correctly.[full citation needed]
In the Bhagavata Purana, Ravana and his brother, Kumbhakarna, were said to be reincarnations of Jaya and Vijaya, gatekeepers at Vaikuntha (the abode of Vishnu) and were cursed to be born on Earth for their insolence.
These gatekeepers refused entry to the Sanatha Kumara monks — who, because of their powers and austerity, appeared as young children. For their insolence, the monks cursed them to be expelled from Vaikuntha and to be born on Earth.
Vishnu agreed that they should be punished. They were given two choices, that they could be born seven times as normal mortals and devotees of Vishnu, or three times as powerful and strong people, but as enemies of Vishnu. Eager to be back with the Lord, they choose the latter one. Ravana and his brother Kumbhakarna were born to fulfill the curse on the second birth as enemies of Vishnu in the Treta Yuga. The curse of first birth was fulfilled by Hiranyakashipu and his brother Hiranyaksha in Satya Yuga when they were both vanquished by earlier avatars of Vishnu (Hiranyaksha by Varaha and Hiranyakashipu by Narasimha) and the curse of third birth was fulfilled by Dantavakra and Shishupala in the Dvapara Yuga when they both were slain by Krishna, the eighth avatar.
Ravana had gotten into a conflict with some other major Asuras.
As he is considered one of the most revered devotees of Shiva, Ravana is worshiped in several places. There are some Shiva temples where Ravana is worshiped.
The Kanyakubja Brahmins of the Vidisha district worship Ravana; they personify him as a symbol of prosperity and regard him as a saviour, claiming that Ravana was also a Kanyakubja Brahmin. Thousands of Kanyakubja Brahmins of the village Ravangram of Netaran, in the Vidisha District of Madhya Pradesh, perform daily puja (worship) in the Ravana temple and offer naivedyam / bhog (a ritual of sacrifice to the Gods). Centuries ago King Shiv Shankar built a Ravana temple at Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. The Ravana temple is opened once a year, on Dashehra Day, to perform puja for the welfare of Ravana.
Ravana is also worshiped by Hindus of Bisrakh, who claim their town to be his birthplace.
The Sachora Brahmins of Gujarat also claim to be descendants of Ravana, and sometimes have "Ravan" as their surnames.
Some Saraswat Brahmins from Mathura claim Ravana as a saraswat Brahmin as per his lineage.
There is also reference to "Ravani", the lineage of Upadhyaya Yasastrata II, who was of the Gautama gotra and was a son of Acharya Vasudatta, and described as "born of Ravani".[full citation needed]
The Gondi people of central India claim to be descendants of Ravana, and they have temples set up for him, his wife Mandodari, and their son Meghnad. They also state that Ravana was an ancient Gond king, the tenth dharmaguru of their tribe, and the eighteenth lingo (divine teacher). Every year on Dussehra, the Gondis of the village of Paraswadi carry an image of Ravana riding on an elephant in a procession
There are a number of temples in India for Ravana as a shaiva bhakth,
A Ramleela actor wears the traditional attire of Ravana. One of the most important literary works of ancient India, the Ramayana has had a profound impact on art and culture in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia.
Effigies of Ravana are burned on Vijayadashami in many places throughout India. It is said that this symbolizes Rama's triumph over evil (i.e., Ravana).
The ravanahatha, an ancient bowed-string instrument, continues to be used as a Rajasthani folk instrument. Mythology credits this instrument as a creation of Ravana.
In Rin-spuns-pa Tibetan Ramayana, it is prophesied that "Ravana" will return as the Buddha incarnation of Vishnu in the Kali Yuga.
The Tai Khamti Ramayana (Phra Chow Lamang) of Arunachal Pradesh as well describes Rama as a Bodhisattva incarnated to get tortured by Ravana.
In the Laotian Buddhist text Phra Lak Phra Lam, Rama is a Bodhisattva and the embodiment of virtues, while Ravana is a Brahmin ("mahabrahma") son of Virulaha who is highly materialistic.
In the Cambodian Buddhist text Preah Ream, Buddha is an incarnation of Rama and Ravana. He is a rakshasa.
In the Thai Buddhist text Ramakien, Rāvana is a rakshasa. There, he is instead known as "Thotsakan" (ทศกัณฐ์, from Sanskrit दशकण्ठ, Daśakaṇṭha, "ten necks"), and he is depicted with green skin.
In the Lankavatara Sutra, Gautama Buddha pays a visit to Lanka, and in the scripture he is addressed as a Rakshasa. He is normally identified as a demon.
In the Karandavyuha Sutra, the god Yama asks if the visitor in hell (Avalokitesvara) whom he hasn't seen yet is a god or a demon, and asks whether he is Vishnu, Mahesvara, or the rakshasa ("demon") Ravana.
Further information: Salakapurusa
Jain accounts vary from the traditional Hindu accounts of Ramayana. The incidents are placed at the time of the 20th Tirthankara, Munisuvrata. According to Jain version, both Rama as well as Ravana were devout Jains. Ravana was a Vidyadhara King who had magical powers. Also, as per the Jain accounts, Ravana was killed by Lakshmana and not Rama in the end.
Pulavar Kuzhanthai's Ravana Kaaviyam, is a panegyric on Ravana. The book is made of 3100 poetic stanzas in which Ravana is the hero. The book was released in 1946. The book was banned by the then Congress state government. The ban was lifted only in 1971.
|Sampoorna Ramayanam||T. K. Bhagavathi|
|Sampoorna Ramayana||B. M. Vyas|
|Sita Rama Kalyanam||N. T. Rama Rao|
|Indrajeet (Sati Sulochana)||S. V. Ranga Rao|
|Sita Kalyanam||Kaikala Satyanarayana|
|Sri Rama Pattabhishekam||N. T. Rama Rao|
|Ramayana: The Legend of Prince Rama||Amrish Puri (voice)|
|Raavanan||Vikram (Based on Ravana's character)|
|Ramayana: The Epic||Ashutosh Rana (voice)|
|Adipurush||Saif Ali Khan|
|Ramayan||Arvind Trivedi||DD National||India|
|Bharat Ek Khoj||Om Puri||DD National|
|Jai Hanuman||Anil Yadav||DD Metro|
|Vishnu Puran||Nimai Bali||Zee TV|
|Ramayan||Surendra Pal||Zee TV|
|Raavan||Narendra Jha||Zee TV|
|Ramayan||Akhilendra Mishra||NDTV Imagine|
|Jai Jai Jai Bajrang Bali||Nimai Bali||Sahara One|
|Devon Ke Dev...Mahadev||Tarun Khanna||Life OK|
|Ramayan||Sachin Tyagi||Zee TV|
|Ramleela – Ajay Devgn Ke Saath||Aman Verma||Life OK|
|Siya Ke Ram||Karthik Jayaram||Star Plus|
|Sankat Mochan Mahabali Hanumaan||Aarya Babbar / Saurav Gurjar||Sony Entertainment Television|
|Vighnaharta Ganesha||Paras Chhabra||Sony Entertainment Television|
|Ram Siya Ke Luv Kush||Shalin Bhanot||Colors TV|
|Ravana||Januka Rajapaksha||TV Derana||Sri Lanka|
Summary by Stephen Knapp