High Spirited Sree's blog

Stories around Ravana

Posted on: September 8, 2010

Location: Religion/ Story time / Stories around Ravana

I had planned to post this soemtime around karkadaka masam, but then was really busy.

Many of us know the main story of Ramayana revolving around Lord Rama, Sita and Ravana. Lord Rama being banished from his kingdom.  His wife Sita, and brother Lakshman, accompanying him. The Devil Ravana abducts Sita. Lord Rama, Laksman and Hanuman defeat Ravana and wins back Sita.

Well I would like to share some interesting stories revolving around Ravana that not all of us know. a few stories were shared by my friends and some I have read.

Stories of Ravana

Introduction

In a previous birth Ravana and his brother Kumbhkarna were  Lord Vishnu‘s doorkeepers, Jay and Vijay. They had to come to Earth because of a curse.

The great sages, Four  Kumaras, who were born from Lord Brahma’s mind, wandered the universe in the forms of small children, despite being very senior in age.

One day they went to Vaikunth(abode of Lord Vishnu), to meet Lord Vishnu. They were stopped by Jay and Vijay. Jay and Vijay thought the Kumar brothers to be children and made fun of them.

Kumar brothers  got angry and cursed Jay and Vijay, that they two would be born on planet Earth.

Lord Vishnu was in consent to the curse. When Jay and Vijay pleaded that they could not live being separated from their Lord, then Lord Vishnu gave them two choices, that they could be born about 10 times as normal mortal people and followers of Vishnu, or three times as powerful and strong people, but as enemies of Vishnu, and the Lord himself would kill them. They didn’t want to be parted from their Lord for long so they chose the latter one. Also if Lord Vishnu personally kills somebody then that person is considered very fortunate.

The second birth of Jay and Vijay was as Ravana and Kumbhkarna. Lord Vishnu took human incarnation as Ram and killed Ravana and Kumbhkarna.

Birth Of Ravana

The three demon brothers Malyavan, Mali and Sumali made a tapsya to Lord Brahma . They became very powerful and started terrorizing the Gods. With these powers they asked Vishvakarma to make a city for them. Thus they got Lanka were they lived in luxury.   But they fled Lanka after losing a war with the Gods.  Also Mali was killed by Lord Vishnu.

Sumali was looking for a suitable groom for his daughter Kaikasi. One day he saw Kuber (lord of wealth ) flying in his Pushpak Viman(aircraft). Kuber was sage Vishrava‘s son and was ruling over Lanka now.  Sumali realised an offspring of Vishrava would be very powerful so he asked Kaikasi to go to Vishrava and marry him.

Kaikasi went to Vishrava and they got married. In due course of time, Vishrava and Kaikasi gave birth to three sons and one daughter. The sons were Ravana, Kumbhkarna and Vibhishan and the daughter was Surpnakha.

Under Vishrava’s tutelage, Ravana mastered the Vedas, and also the arts and ways of Kshatriyas (warriors).

Ravana’s early days

Ravana  along with his brothers performed an intense penance to Lord Brahma, lasting several years. During his penance, Ravana chopped off his head 10 times as a sacrifice to appease Brahma. At last, Brahma pleased with his austerity, appeared and offered him a boon.

Ravana  asked for absolute invulnerability and supremacy over gods, heavenly spirits, other rakshas, serpents, and wild beasts. Ravana did not ask for protection from humans. Brahma granted him these boons in addition to his 10 severed heads and great strength by way of knowledge of divine weapons and magic.

Brahma asked Vibhishan to seek a boon. Vibhishan said, “Even in great danger, may I never swerve from the path of righteousness. May I be illumined with the light of divine knowledge.”
Brahma granted Vibhishan this boon and said, “Your mind is never inclined towards doing any bad deeds. Therefore, I grant you immortality.”

Next it was Kumbhkarn’s turn to ask for a boon. Lord Indra knew that he would ask for his throne and sought  Goddess Saraswati’s help.  So instead of asking for Indraasan (throne of Indra) Kumbhakarn uttered Nindraasan (bed for sleep) as Saraswati tied his tongue firmly. Brahma granted his request. Ravana realized that the boon was a curse in reality and so he asked Brahma to undo his boon. In another version of the story Kumbhakarna did another austerity to ask Brahma to take his boon back and make him alert always. Thus Brahma decided that Kumbhakarna would sleep for six months at a stretch and remain awake for another six consecutive months.

After winning these boons, Ravana sought out his grandfather, Sumali, and assumed leadership over his army. He then set his sights on capturing the island city of Lanka. Vishrava, their father, advised Kubera to give it up to him, as Ravana was now undefeatable.

Following his conquest of Lanka, Ravana encountered Lord Shiva at his abode in Kailash. Ravana realised his mistake and composed and sang songs praising Shiva(Shiva Tandava Stotra), and is said to have done so for years until Shiva released Ravana from his bondage.

Pleased with his devotion, Shiva gave to him the divine sword Chandrahas (“Moon-blade”).  Lord Shiva had given his sword Chandrahasa with a condition that if it was used for unjust causes, it would return to the Lord himself and Ravana’s days would be numbered. Ravana uses the sword to kill Jatayu when kidnapping Sita.

Ravana became supreme overlord of all asuras in the three world,  he also gained command over the gods, celestials, and the serpent races. Ravana was dominating all human and divine races – so much so that he can command the Sun’s rising and setting.

Ravana was married to Mandodari.

Twist in the story

Ravana and Mandodari’s first born was a girl that was Sita, but due to the astrological prediction that the first born would be the reason for his destruction he abandoned the baby. It was found later by king Janak who brought her up as his daughter.

Ravana had not actually taken the real Sita but Vedavati who looked like Sita.

Story of Vedavati

Vedavati was the daughter of learned and piuos sage Kushadwaja. She was an ardent devotee of  LordVishnu, and resolves early in life to wed no one other than Vishnu. After her parents passed away,  Vedavati continued to reside at the hermitage of her parents, meditating upon Vishnu. Ravana, the ruler of Lanka, once found Vedavati seated in meditation and was captivated by her beauty. He propositioned her and was rejected. Ravana mocked her austerities and her devotion to Vishnu; he finally molested Vedavati.

She vowed to return in another age and be the cause of Ravana’s destruction. She then immolated herself on a pyre.

She was duly reborn as Sita and became the cause of Ravana’s destruction. In the process, Vedavati also received the boon she so single-mindedly sought Vishnu, in his avatara as Rama, became her husband.

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