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This was Ravan too

Ramayana 65 Comments

First published in Asian Age and Deccan Chroncile, on 27 Sept 2009 as ‘The Wisdom of Ravan’

Ravan abducted Ram’s wife, a crime for which he was killed by Ram himself. So says the Ramayan. The epic makes Ravan the archetypical villain. And since Ram is God for most Hindus, Ravan’s actions make him the Devil incarnate. This justifies the annual burning of his effigy on the Gangetic plains during the festival of Dassera.

But on the hills of Rishikesh or in the temple of Rameshwaram, one hears the tale of how Ram atoned for the sin of killing Ravan. Why should God atone for killing a villain? One realizes that, like most things Hindu, the Ramayan is not as simplistic and pedestrian an epic as some are eager to believe.

Ravan was a Brahmin, the son of Rishi Vaishrava, grandson of Pulatsya. Ram, though God incarnate, was born in a family of Kshatriyas. In the caste hierarchy, Ram was of lower rank. As a Brahmin, Ravan was custodian of Brahma-gyan (the knowledge of God). Killing him meant Brahma-hatya-paap, the sin of Brahminicide, that Ram had to wash away through penance and prayer. Another reason why this atonement was important was because Ravan was Ram’s guru.

The story goes that after firing the fatal arrow on the battlefield of Lanka, Ram told his brother, Lakshman, “Go to Ravan quickly before he dies and request him to share whatever knowledge he can. A brute he may be, but he is also a great scholar.”  The obedient Lakshman rushed across the battlefield to Ravan’s side and whispered in his ears, “Demon-king, do not let your knowledge die with you. Share it with us and wash away your sins.”  Ravan responded by simply turning away. An angry Lakshman went back to Ram, “He is as arrogant as he always was, too proud to share anything.” Ram comforted his brother and asked him softly, “Where did you stand while asking Ravan for knowledge?” “Next to his head so that I hear what he had to say clearly.” Ram smiled, placed his bow on the ground and walked to where Ravan lay. Lakshman watched in astonishment as his divine brother knelt at Ravan’s feet. With palms joined, with extreme humility, Ram said, “Lord of Lanka, you abducted my wife, a terrible crime for which I have been forced to punish you. Now, you are no more my enemy. I bow to you and request you to share your wisdom with me. Please do that for if you die without doing so, all your wisdom will be lost forever to the world.” To Lakshman’s surprise, Ravan opened his eyes and raised his arms to salute Ram, “If only I had more time as your teacher than as your enemy. Standing at my feet as a student should, unlike your rude younger brother, you are a worthy recipient of my knowledge. I have very little time so I cannot share much but let me tell you one important lesson I have learnt in my life. Things that are bad for you seduce you easily; you run towards them impatiently. But things that are actually good for you, fail to attract you; you shun them creatively, finding powerful excuses to justify your procrastination. That is why I was impatient to abduct Sita but avoided meeting you. This is the wisdom of my life, Ram. My last words. I give it to you.” With these words, Ravan died.

With ten heads, twenty arms, a flying chariot and a city of gold, the mighty Ravan is without doubt a flamboyant villain. His sexual prowess was legendary.  When Hanuman entered Lanka, in search of Sita, he found the demon-lord lying in bed surrounded by a bevy of beauties, women who had willingly abandoned their husbands. Ram, by comparison, seems boring – a rule-upholder who never does anything spontaneous or dramatic. He is the obedient son, always doing the right thing, never displaying a roving eye or a winsome smile. It is not difficult therefore to be a fan of Ravan, to be seduced by his power, to be enchanted by his glamour, and to find arguments that justify his actions.

One can’t help but wonder: why does the poet, Valmiki, go out of his way to make his villain so admirable, so seductive, so enchanting?

Valmiki describes Ravan as the greatest devotee of Shiva. In many folk versions of the epic such as Ram-kathas and Ram-kiritis, we are informed that Ravan composed the Rudra Stotra in praise of Shiva, the ascetic-god. He designed the lute known as Rudra-Vina using one of his ten heads as the lute’s gourd, one of his arms as the beam and his nerves as the strings. The image of Ravan carrying Mount Kailas, with Shiva’s family on top, is an integral part of Shiva temple art.

Perhaps, say some scholars, that this expresses the legendary battle between Shiva-worshippers and Vishnu-worshippers. Ram, who is Vishnu on earth, kills Ravan who is Shiva’s devotee. But this argument falls flat when one is also told that Ram’s trusted ally, Hanuman, is a form of Shiva himself. Valmiki is clearly conveying a more profound idea by calling Ravan a devotee of Shiva . And to understand the thought we have to dig a bit deeper.

Shiva is God embodying the principle of vairagya, absolute detachment. He demonstrates his disdain for all things material by smearing his body with ash and living in crematoriums. The material world does not matter to him. Ravan may be his great devotee; he may sing Shiva’s praise, and worship Shiva every day, but he does not follow the path of Shiva.

In reality, Ravan stands for everything that Shiva rejects. Ravan is fully attached to worldly things. He always wants what others have. He never built the city of gold – he drove out his brother, Kuber, and took over the kingdom of Lanka. Why did he abduct Sita? Avenging his sister’s mutilation was but an excuse; it was the desire to conquer the heart of a faithful wife. And during the war, he let his sons die and his brothers die before entering the battlefield himself.

Ravan has ten pairs of eyes, which means he can see more. Ravan has ten sets of arms, which means he can do more. Ravan has ten heads, which means he can think more. And yet, this man with a superior body and superior mind submits to the basest of passions. Despite knowing the Vedas and worshipping Shiva, he remains a slave of his senses and a victim of his own ego. He arrogantly shows off his knowledge of detachment but is not wise enough to practice detachment. Deluded, he gives only lip-service to Shiva. This pretender is therefore killed by Ram, who like Shiva, is another form of God.

  • Vijay

    Too good ..Mind blowing.. Amazing!!!

  • Krishna

    Sir,

    Wish to comment on this line “Rama never displayed a winsome smile”.
    If nothing, Rama is supposed to have had a beatific smile always.

  • Ganesh.V

    Dear Devdutt G.,

    A nice narration of an unknown event in Ramayana to eveyone.I want to share few things which i learnt.

    1. Ravana has another name called “Sangeetha Ravanan” since he created a raga named `Kambothi’.

    2. The drove out of kuber from lanka has another backround. It is narrated in one of the temples of Nava-Thrupathis in Tamil nadu(It is the narration on which the temple is built).
    The narration states that Kuber, the wealth god, once went to kailash to visit Shiva, but he was seeing Parvathi with bad intention so Shiva cursed him to loose his wealth. After being cursed he felt guilty apologized for his act. But curse once let cann’t be taken back so shiva adviced Kuber to go to ask help from vishnu., so kuber went to vishnu. Vishu told kuber that he will measure the wealth of kuber during measuring what ever spils from the measuring equipment he may have it.
    The temple has a vast big statue of Vishnu on sesnag with a measuring equipment below his head(maraka).
    Due to the curse that Kuber has to lose Lanka to his very own brother

  • Ganesh.V

    dear Devdutt G.,

    I have a small objection to one of your point regarding Ravana “he gives only lip-service to Shiva”.
    Ravana was a great devotee of Shiva. The mistake he does is that he did not respected Lord Hanuman the 11th incarnation of Shiva.

    During one of his visit to Kalish he devotes so much that shiva ask him to get what ever he wants. for that he asks for Parvathi. Shiva replies “so be it as you wish” (shiva is called bolenath from this incident) buy that time parvathi had gone to take bath.

    When the shiva gana’s take the message to her.
    Paravathi took a frog from the pond and made it to a women resembling her and left the palace. that woman is no other than Mandodari(chaste wife & queen of Ravan). Ravana marries her.

    Ravana gets a Jyothitha Linga from Shiva himself for his worship in Lanka. That Linga disaappers into earth when Ram enters Lanka.

    In one of the narration Ramayana it is narrated that while Hanuman entering Lanka he at first he saw Mandodari the chaste of Mandodari towards her husband is so strong that he gets of dilemma whether she is sita.

    finally 2 point i want to tell.

    1. After the death of Ravana Mandodari cries on his body saying that at Youth age, you performed many rituals taking no time to worldly pleasure. that why the worldly pleasure overcame you after you got boons.

    2. Even though he abducted Sita. He over powered her He tried to win her. I am not prasing Ravana. what he did was wrong. But my point is that in Ashoka vanam he never mistreated her like dushashan or Kichaka treated Panchali in Mahabharata.

    When you go through “Ravana Kaviam” by Poet Kuzathai pulavar. you will know many good dees about Ravana

    • aarthi raghavan

      ravan couldn’t misbehave with sita as he had a curse that if he tries to misbehave with any woman without her wish then his sead will into pieces.

      • Sid

        As a phsyco analysis of Ravana will show you that possessing sita by force will never satisfy him. He wants to prove that the Chasity of the lady is nothing in front of his charm, this leads to his downfall.

        • Aarthi Raghavan

          Wow! That is also a nice interpretation! Never thought about it in that way!

    • he raped punjikasthala (mother of hanuman in her mortal birth as anjana), nal-kuber’s wife (hence got the curse). he even tried to rape vedvati but failed to do so as she self immolated herself.

  • What an in detail explaination, in very thoughtful way, of glimpse of the two core personalities in Indian history.

    Great work, and please keep it up !

  • santosh

    what is the connection of shiva and hanuman?… and why did Ravana not practice what he learnt/

    • Hanuman is considered a form of Shiva in many parts of India. …….Practicing and learning are two different things altogether as we all know.

  • Subhasis Pujapanda

    Amazing explanation!! One should really redefine & understand the character of RAVANA. He has shown persistence in acting wrong with SITA as he knows its’ a sin. In this way he has shown the extremist of tolerance. In another way he has shown the ill impact of procrastination. Once he thought of creating a ladder to the heaven so that he can send his lineal ascendant & descendant to heaven and rule over there despite the fact they deserve or not, at last he couldn’t able to do that till dying.
    There is a lot to learn from his character.

  • Neil

    amazing article … i think more abt RAVANA instead of RAMA … he was more powerful bt ego & other things took over … & GODS have always fooled ASURAS …

  • Dear Sir,

    The above is not found in Valmiki Ramayana and it is probably from other versions of Ramayana. As Tulsidas, the author of Ramcharitamanas said, `Ramakatha kai miti jaga nahi` – It is impossible to keep count of Ramakathas (Ramayana versions) in this world. Ramayana is also now also being used for management and leadership development.

    Similar to the above, T. Gokulan in his book “Management by Commonsense” narrated a story of King Ravana at the last stage of his life.

    In this story, Sri Rama asked King Ravana, “O Great King, you have been ruling all the three worlds with full powers. Tell me; what is the art and craft of efficient and effective state administration? I am a prince inexperienced. I am eager to learn from you.” King Ravana was gasping for breath – he was dying. He explained: “O Sri Rama, you know everything about everything. Yet you ask me with humility, as a person who does not know! I had all the powers and wealth and also the blessings of Lord but still; I did not try to transcend my ego (ahamkara). On the other hand, I did everything that boosted my ego”.

    “I had many plans to develop my self, and also my people to attain liberation (moksha), but I postponed that excellent plans and desired to have your wife, what a wretched thought it was. I made it my first priority and acted on it with full speed. O Sri Rama, you know what sufferings I went through and I am now paying for my mistake with everything I have, including my life.” “I learnt the lessons from you; it was too late though, I would answer your question about efficient and effective state administration”.

    “Act TODAY on your good thoughts, plans and projects. DO NOT DELAY for a moment. Postpone your evil thoughts for tomorrow. Both good and evil thoughts come everyday – such is the mind.” This is why the leadership and management of mind is essential and the mind needs to be controlled by the use of our intelligence in an effective manner.

    Bala

  • Shanmugam

    I don’t think in ancient times they considered Kshatriyas to be inferior to brahmins. They were just different but not inferior. How can a king be considered inferior to an ordinary brahmin?

    • ramya

      The four Varnas in the ancient caste system Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, and Shudra, were made not to divide the society and alienate one from other. it was more on simpler lines of thought. just like how one would allocate work at home.. father acts like the kshatria ruler,looks out for the house and protects it. mother, the devoted Bhramin, prays for the family’s safety, and feeds the others. the son earns for the family by doing trade, like a vaishya and the humble daughter keeps her house and surrounding clean and hygienic… there is nothing wrong if these roles are reversed, after all the home(society) and family needs to be and work like a single strong unit.

  • Sanket Sunand Dash

    Valmiki Ramayan never describes Hanuman as a form of Shiva. Rama was also a Shiva Bhakt as indicated by the Rameshwaram temple.

    • Valmiki Ramayan has no reference to Laxman Rekha either……there are many Ramayanas….and many faiths based on Ramayana…

  • pragyesh shrivastava

    sir,
    this is a great explanation about the nature of the the protagonist of ‘ramayana’. its true that what ravana did was wrong but according to some stories sita was the daughter of ravana and about the golden lanka their is another story prevalent too.

    its said that once parvati ji said to lord shiva of getting some fixed house rather than keep wandering inspite of being the god. lord shiva as he is rightly called ‘bholenath’ agreed. since the lanka was being made for her wife it had to be special and thats how golden lanka came into being designed by vishwakarma.

    at the time time of grihapravesh a yagna had to be organized for which none other than ravana himself was called for, as he was the greatest and most learned brahman of that time. after the yagna was completed and he was asked for his dakshina he demanded the lanka.

    their was another yagna organized by lord shiva again when he again called for ravana as the priest. when it was completed then he was offered a fruit by lord shiva which had the power to make mandodari his wife pregnant and give him a child. while they were on their way back he felt hungry and ate that fruit unknowingly and went to sleep. when woke up he found himself impregnated and his neck getting choked. he tried to cough because of that choke and as a result his daughter (later called ‘sita’) threw away to some far off land.

    it was then she was found by janaka, the future father-in-law of lord rama, while tilling the field for a child when she found sita.

    who knows whether ravana knew of this truth and abducted sita as her child contrary to what is known though it hasn’t been written anywhere.

    also in some forms of ramayana they consider ravana as the protagonist.whatever maybe the truth it is still true that he was the most learned scholar of his time and one the greatest devotees of lord shiva.

  • Sir,

    Ravana was no doubt a learned Brahmin – devotee of Lord Shiva. During one of his visit to Mt.Kailash, he was asked to wait as Lord Shiva was in deep meditation. While waiting, Ravana met Nandi. Nandi has a face of monkey. During conversation, Ravana made fun of Nandi and haughtingly chided Nandi that why he asked for a monkey face as a boon from Shiva while he could have asked anything. Added that when Shiva had asked him (Ravana) he had asked for ten heads (double of Shiva who has five), twenty hands (double of Shiva who has ten). This infuriated Nandi who chided Ravana of his intelligence and cursed him that monkey-faced persons would be responsible for his down-fall and death.

    Besides, it is also said that Lord Shiva humbly gives anything to his devotees. But after taking his boon, if they become proud and haughty (abhimani); he takes away everything.

    Raj

  • Nitin Mathur

    Dear Devdutt,
    I bumped into your site only after reading your article in TOI new sunday initiative of The Speaking Tree. Pls accept my heartiest congratulations on the good research work which you have conducted and is reflected in the articles posted on the site. IF it is not inconvenient can you please share with me the source from which Ramayan you have taken the Ram-Ravan teaching episode. I could not find this in Valmiki Ramayan , Ved Vyas’s Adhyatma Ramayan or Tulsidas ShreeRamcharitmanas.

    Thanks and Regards,
    Nitin

  • Nice. Good to know people are talking not just a bad vs good story in these epics. I had heard another story in Ramayana. To start the war against Ravan, Ram needed to perform Pooja to ensure his victory. Being a Kshatriy he could not do it, neither could any one from his troops as they were not Brahmins. Who else fitted the role better than Ravan, a great Brahmin and a learned man. So the legend goes that Ram asked Ravan to perform the pooja and good Brahmin Ravan was he performed it, as was his duty even if it meant his own defeat.

  • This is the first time I have heard that Hanuman is a form of Shiva. I thought he was the son of the God of wind. (No pun intended) and the fact that Sita provoked Lakshman to follow the voice of demon Marich, which mimic-ed Ram’s voice and said “brother Lakshman save me” so that Sita would be alone as Marich was posing as the golden deer, shows Sita’s faith in her own husband’s prowess as a warrior. Lakshman had entreated with Sita not to allow her to be alone as Ram’s express intructions were not to leave her alone. Sita rebuked Lakshman and said “you want me for yourself, don’t you?”

  • pravin

    Why do so many Ramayana’s Exist ?

    What’s there important ?

    Which one we should believe and follow ?

    • Devdutt

      Should there be only ONE way? Whose way?

      • Deepak

        Fantastic reply, Mr. Devdutt!

  • Karthik

    @ Mr. Patnaik

    I’m trying to understand , how a man , as knowledgeable and learned , as you are, treats the division that caste system brings about… Although I do subscribe to your version of the standard average Indian belief system centred around fuzzy logic, curvaceousness and contextual thinking, I do not comprehend how one of the great civilisations of the world placed one set of people over another? Or was it really that all these myths grew about so people could just take advantage of their superior status in the society and bring about what seemed to be the fuzzy logic concept? However the case, I would like to tell you that the way you have treated this article especially with respect to rama worshipping ravana, inspite of ravana having been sinful, just because rama himself might have been placed on a lower rung of the society, does sound like you subscribe to the view of a standardised version of an upheld caste system with rigid boundaries.. which again denies the fuzzy logic concept.. I wud be curious as to how you answer this quetion ..

    • sudhee

      Dear Karthik, some where down the line, we mixed up the culture, religion and spirituality! we blindly follow so many rituals with out understanding whether it has a cultural, religious or a spiritual background. Cheers!

    • sachin

      Cast system is a Research oriented Set-up where one can go fast towards the basic skill set and put his highest contibution in creation and research. Another virtue of it is that if any body takes birth with a significantly lower IQ,Skill or etc. Still he can servive this world with the traditional knoledge and skill the family owns with reserve balance. Another is the lineage continuty was maintained with well developed system which is based on keeping the jenetics characteristics (sources of Y), The one who are having the cross over IQ AND SKILLS are always shifted to the new occupation like khatriya or brahmin with respect with the clearly maintaining the genetical (Y) characteristics. Maintaining jentics is for Maintaining the Genetics which is a part of a unbreakable long linage chains. The art of preserving And purifying the gentics was being developed and maintained in india. (thats why the errors like homo, lesbin very rare to find in india and banned to practice)

  • Moorkh Adhiraaj

    The article by Shri Devdutt Jee was very familiar to me – probably, having been reared in a religious family explains that.

    What took my breath away was the comments of the readers – it seems some of them have come across this interpretation for the first time.

    And, I used to think that all Indians are deeply religious!

    Methinks that if all kids are exposed to the varied interpretations of Raamaayan and Mahaabhaarat, the moral code that would emerge would shake the world.

  • Karaya

    Devdutt,

    Excellent write-up.

    Just a small query: Is Hanuman an avatar of Shiv according to Tulsidas’ Ramcharitramaanas?

    Thanks.

    • Devdutt

      Yes

  • Deepshikha

    Amazing research by Dr and the fellow commentors. I have some questions:

    What about the poetry teen din tak pant mangte raghupathi Sindhu Kinare
    Baithe parte rahe chand anunay ke pyare pyare
    Uttar me jab ek naad bhi utha nahin sagar se
    uthi adhir dhadhak paurush ki, Ag raam k sar se
    If Sri Ram was sitting by Sindhu to cross it? Is it the same story of Akal bodhan of Durga where Ram for want of Lotuses actually tried to give away one of his eyes when Durga emerged from the River and stoppped him. I hv also seen in Chtra kathas Ravana sat to worship by the riven when Devi Durga emerged. I believe it is this Sharat kalin Durga avirbhab which calls for the Durgostav in Bengal and ends in Navaratra.
    What could be the connection?

  • Ankit

    Devdutt ji,

    I recently came across your website and read a few articles. I wholeheartedly appreciate your efforts. When we read the articles along with posted comments, it broadens our spectrum, of our understanding of the Hindu mythology. So please keep up your noteworthy efforts.

    Do you have any article explaining why every saturday people need to donate in the name of Shani Dev? I mean how this custom developed and where does the origin lie.

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  • P.R. Ganguly

    Wonderful article Devdutt. I came across another story. It will be great if some learned person puts further light to it. The story runs as follows. Lord Vishu was taking rest with his wife Luxmi. There were two most trusted guards who were guarding the Lord and they were ordered to stop any one who wanted to enter Lord’s chamber. But Narada Muni the greatest bhakta of Lord Vishnu came to meet him at that time. As he was trying to enter the chamber, those two guards stopped him. Narada became very angry and said if he was not allowed to enter the chamber he would curse them and they would suffer eternally. In the fear of curse, they allowed Narada to enter Lord’s chamber, thinking Lord Vishnu would not take offence as the greatest bhakta of the Lord was trying to meet him. When Narada went off, Lord Vishnu called the guards and said that they committed a great mistake by ignoring what had been told to them. So, they lost their right to stay at Swarga Lok and should have to go and stay at Martya Lok. Understanding their faults of disobeying Lord’s order, they immedietly felt on Lord’s feet and cried for mercy. But as Lord had already given them the punishment, the order could not be taken back. So they pleaded and asked for the way so that they could come back to Swarg Lok. Lord then said that he will take an incarnation and will relieve them of their curse. These two guards were Ravana and Bibhisana and the Lord’s incarnation was Rama. Ravana was killed by Rama and was freed from the curse. Bibhisana became supporter and aide of Rama and thus got Moksha.

    • Twinkle

      Hello Mr. P.R. Ganguly,

      Nice story but here is an another story which I would like to share.

      As we know Ravan is “Paramghyani” & he had the “Vardan” by Shiva that he will die when he wants means “Iccha Mrityu”. Ravan get bored of his life & the worldly & materialistic things. He wants to die but as well as he wants “Moksh”. He never did any good work except Shiva Bhakti but without following the Shiva’s path which has no worth as Devdutt sir also says. He get “Moksh” only when he would be killed by any person who never did anything wrong in his whole life or say “Auspicious Soul” & then he came to know about Ram. According to some sources Ravan knew that Ram is incarnation of Vishnu so he wants to die with the hands of Vishnu. So that he will get moksh. At the same time he knew that Ram is very kind & he never kill him till that time he won’t commit any unforgivable crime. So he does the Sita abducted. Even before the final war Ram has warned him to do the surrender but he didn’t because finally he wants to die.

      Thanks & Regards,

      Sneha A. Gupta

  • Nishant Visen

    Awesome article… A very different perspective… Loved reading it…

  • Brahmanan

    The reason for so many version of Ramayana is its Myth, and the story has also been evolving along with time the human race has been evolving!! Great fiction in those days!!

    • Devdutt

      those days! ? such condescension. every story, your story, my story, even history, is ultimately fiction written with complete prejudice full of heroes, victims and villains. There is no factual story in the world. Version of freedom struggle in India, UK and Pak is very different and we all claim our version is true and fight forever over it.

    • ash

      ramayana is not a fiction. This realy happened in india. Scientific evidence supports many incidences which occurred in the ramayana.

  • Shubham Gupta

    Awesome article… A very different perspective… Loved reading it…

  • ravan bura nhi tha sita forest me ram ke sath bhatke usse accha ravan ne ashok vatika me rakha kya bura hi ravan is besttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt

    • raman

      what happens if some richer than you guy abducts your wife or mother in this concrete jungle….

  • ravan daitya hote huwe bhi aaram ki zindagi or shan ki maut mara jabki ram ke pass sub hote bhi vanwas huaaaaaaaa

  • ravan param tejaswi or bramha gyani tha isliye ram ne ravan ke pass siksha prapti ke liye laxman ko bheja

  • ash

    caste system or should i rather say varna system is highly misinterpreted in this article. The different sections of society were meant to co exist in harmony and each other is complementary. Note that in the scriptures it so mentioned that the society cannot function properly if any one of these sections were to depend on its own.

  • sankruti mehta

    Its a good read!! However not very well researched. I rather found the article pro-Rama and against Ravana like any other religious fanatic.
    My View: Rama apparently fought the yudh to get his wife back whom he anyways lost via AgneePariksha. What was the point of all the bloodshed.
    I did read that Sita was a daughter of Ravana from Vedavathi (not as a Rape but an extra-marital affair). Which is believable as he was passionate person.
    Also Sita was given away as there was a curse, that she would bring destruction to the Asura civilization. It was not known to Ravana that she was given away; rather he had been informed that she died of disease along with Vedavathi. When he did know about it, he wanted to get her back just because he knew of the Deva customs and ill treatment towards women that we all read about in traditional India.
    I would suggest you do a better research and just give the facts for people to have varied views. Ravana was a Shiva bhakt but he also believed that the material fancies in the world are made to enjoy. What a life would it be if you are living in a jungle for all your youth. Why did we evolve then for the cave men to Homo sapiens.
    Also the varna system had evolved in the presence and rule of the Devas and not Asuras. They were designed so that each person would have an orderly place just by the accident of birth. While the Asuras had the option to do what they wanted and they placed men and women equal.
    I have also read a lot about the Asura Civilization which actually resembles today’s society except that rape is a crime. A shame that Ramayana took soo many years back from the human civilization.
    I am not justifying Ravana’s abduction of Sita. But even after defeat, he was right that people like Rama mistreated women by eventually asking them to walk to fire to prove their chastity.
    And btw Angada and his monkey-men had raped Mandodari for what you know, even after which Ravana lovingly accepted her without crap like AgneePariksha.

    • raman

      Actually the Varna system in India was initially not by birth but it was by work. If we read many other scriptures and old stories, then it has been clearly shown that any one from any varna could change their varna by doing that kind of works. For example great sage, brahman Valmiki who was earlier a highway robber named Ratnakar who used rob people after killing them. Lot many examples are there, as Lord Parshurama, who was brahman by birth later become kshatriya to kill thakura’s.

    • Pravin

      I think you are stupid.Agnipariksha was never happened in ramayana.It is not mentioned in original valmiki ramayana.It is later added by outsiders to blame hindu dharma.Also banishment of sita was not mentioned in valmiki ramayana.There is research made by some sanskrit scholars who says the sanskrit in whole ramayana and sanskrit in uttar ramayana(agni pariksha and banishment of sita) is different which clearly describes that it was later added part of ramayana.Also there were not a varna system based on birth but on work.Example of this is valmiki who was robber(fidherman by caste) but then he became a brahmin by his work.Also ravana was half rakshasha and half brahmana by birth but became kshatriya by his work.Vishvamitra waskshatriy by birth but became brahmin by his work.There are many examles…..Where do came across the story about angada and monkey raped mandodari.I think you read the story other than valmiki ramayna.Ravana was powerfull to protect mandodari from angada and monkeys.Do not act like you are battling against man for woman empowerment.Women also have rights in ramayana as like men.I will give you an example.Once kaikeyi helped dashratha with war against ravana, this clears that womwn had rights to fight as a warrior.Also, after coming back to ayodhya, rajyabhishek is made to both rama and sita not only rama.Both became king and queen and both have equal rights to make any decision about kingdom and they did that………Your sir name is mehta which means you are gujarati.Tell me you must be praying krishna.Don’t you remenber what krishna did to radha.He left her for the reason that he wanted to do important tasks, but what he first did??he married to rukmini.He married 16108 women.Ok, forget about 16000, because they were abducted by narkasura.But what about 108 wieves.Is it acceptable today.He di raas-leela.Is it acceptable today???You simply blame god rama for what hi didn’t do but forget to blame krishna……..shame on you………….First read from authentic sources then say something………………jai shriram

      • sachin

        ShriKrishna shown the ways with which one can restore Dharama with the Worst conditions possible.

    • sachin

      what would happened if sita after crossing the line of defence might have killed ravana with some Weapeon. She unless untill spared by rawana, she would not have been sita. Her charactor with grace of a crimial, how much is justified for a perfect person like rama. Her pavitrata and pativrata is well respected. but the mis-obediance where one can lost his/her existance. and inability to defeat the Criminal with weapeon. She has been respected as avatar of maya. People worship her with Rama. Parvati, lakshmi, kali, amba, saraswati, kanyakumari……these godesses worshipped alone as well as in pair. weapoen is symbolic tool to establish Dharma with the Devine hand.

      • gdshukla

        What’s ur point?
        Are you saying because sita became tainted after being touched by Ravan and thus not worthy of Ram?
        Or u r saying that because she was disobedient to Laxman and that is why she rightly had to go through Agni pariksha?

        Or u r saying that despite both of these things we still respect her as avtar of Maya?

        I’m totally at a loss trying to understand you.

  • Kashyap Vaghela

    Dear sir,
    One version of ramayan that ravan and mandorai’s first born was a girl tht was sita, but due to the astrological prediction tht the first born wud be the reason for his destruction he threw away the kid in a basket….unluckily for him the baby was celestial n didnt die instead was safe in the earth. and was found later by king janak who brought her up as his daughter….even ravan didnt know about it when he had kidnapped sita that she was his child , so he lusted after her…but tht added only more crime to his already big crimes as father lusting after daughter is disgusting n biggest sin….infact lord ram gave him a chance to back off in the battle field inspite of everything perhaps since he knew abt sita’s origin( ht ravan was her dad), but ravan was too blind in his ego to see the truth and thus die the gr8 intelligent learned lanka king.

    now wats weird is ravan had not actually taken the real sita but vedavati who looked like sita, ravan’s lust for sita was actually not for sita but vedavati who looked like sita…so he did commit a crime for lusting after his daughter’s looks …but he had not actually kidnapped her infect he kidnapped her look alike….interesting na.

    sita was ravan’s daughter …ram before hand knew that sita wud be in trouble so they switched sita with vedavati …so when ravan came to kidnap sita he landed up kidnapping vedavati. watever be the case sita became the reason for his death…his first child became the reason for his death….astrology prediction does come true.

    Vedavati was born as Ravana’s daughter. Soon after she was born, a voice from the sky warned that the baby will be responsible for her father’s death. To save his life, Ravana threw the little girl child into the sea. The child fell on the lap of sea-goddess Varuni. Goddess Varuni took the girl child to the shores and gave her to earth-goddess Pirthvi.
    Goddess Prithvi then gave her to King Janaka. As per Ramayana, Sita was found by King Janaka while ploughing a field.

    • Chinmay Sarupria

      Sita being a daughter of Ravan comes from Jain Ramayana, it should not be trusted.

  • Raghavendra c v

    Hello Sir,
    Can you please write a book on Ravana mentioning about his good & bad qualities. As a devotee of shiva and his inventions are very appreciative. We have been always hearing about his evil side hence would like to hear about his good side as well.

  • shantam awasthi

    I would like to put some light on a few things that are neglected sometimes-

    1.Ravan and KumbhKaran were the incarnation of Jay and Vijay, who were given the curse of living on earth in the form of great Vishnu opponents for three times…
    2. When Ravan sings the Tandav strotam for Shiva while his fingers are trapped under The Mount Kailash, he ends his Strot with the phrase, “Kada Sukhi Bhavamyaham…”. this is generally looked as asking Lord Shiva to free his hands, but any thing a wise man speaks has more than one meaning. He actually asked for Moksha… LOrd Shiva gives him the knowledge of his pre-births and tell him to ask Lord Vishnu for his help…
    Ravan never went to Vishnu as now he knew that he will have to love and become a Vishnu hater… so he acted as one and waited till Vishnu took birth as Ram.
    3. Ravan had not taken revenge of the death of his son, AkshayKumar, who was killed by Hanuman, because he knew that this monkey was sent by the Lord Shiva himself to BURN his Lanka, (He was cursed by Nandi and he remembered it)… If he wanted he could have had killed Hanuman because Hanuman was not acting as a messenger at all, he was acting as modern day terrorists.
    According to me no one ever is born bad or born good. the world make stories around those who win or loose in wars. Ravan was a neutral person and so was Ram… because in real lives everyone makes mistakes…

    As for example, in Mahabharat, there was no right of the Pandavas to ask for a share in the property from the Kaurav family as they were not real children of Pandu… was Duryodhan wrong when he tried to do whatever possible to stop this injustice towards him, including CheerHaran (And look at the Pandavas they came back even after this much humiliation, to ask for a least some villages, to rule.)… Lord Krishna had wanted to make the condition possible to wage a world war to teach the world what is death, what is life, and in order to do that he had to take the side of Pandavas, and we call it that as the Lord was on that side, Dharm was there… This concept of pre-conceived notions are just bull-shit and this make people think in bad way….

    • Prashant Sharma

      very rare to find these good comments. Please write blogs over this since its our dharma to spread truth.

    • svhyd

      “According to me no one ever is born bad or born good” — true but they become good or bad. We need to accept the men they have transformed into, it is immaterial if they had no traits of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ when they were in the womb. Pandavas not children of Pandu? Have you even read Mahabharata?

  • Charitendra verma

    Dear Sir, If Ravana was a Brahmin, than why Rama fought him??? While Rama
    refused to fight with Parshurama because Parshurama was a Brahmin..?

  • Panna

    One misconception I would like to clear that LORD RAMA NEVER ASKED SITA FOR AGNIPARIKSHA. He asked sita mata to walk on fire because he wanted to get sita back from Agnidev because ravana actually abducted sita’s image and not actual sita. This was known only by lord Ram and Devi sita themselves. They did for naralila for some specific purpose. Even sita wanvas was by the request of sita herself to lord ram since she wanted that lord ram being true king should democratically listen to people of ayodhya for what he had taken oath during his crown. So neither angnipariksha nor wanvas was by lord ram. Because he always had true faith on sita mata. He also mentioned that had ravana abducted true sita he would have got burned there itself since sita devi was belived to be a form of goddess Lakshmi. Also I would like to mention that caste system at that time was by occupation and not birth. It became worst later during the age of Mahabharata. And women were having high status too.

  • Sandeep Koul

    one doubt. If ram was really maryada purushottam, then why kill bali deceitfully, even though they were not even enemies ?

  • First of all we need to understand which is the most ancient text explaining Ramayana. I think everyone will agree that it was Valmiki Ramayana. Now when it was composed and came to us, I think here also people will agree that the Valmiki Ramayana which we have with us now was composed a great time after the events described in the text. If this is accepted, then we can say that Valmiki Ramayana is the most ancient text describing events of those times.
    Now, if there is an event which is very much vogue in tradition but not mentioned in Ramayana, how should we interpret that event? Should that event be taken as an insertion by someone who wanted to modify the original Ramayana? Should that event be taken as a modification by the person writing tika (commentary) on Ramayana and thus trying to explain things which he thought are best to explain the nature or course of the event? We have many instances when a person doing tika on ancient text inserted events which were solely based upon their thoughts and fancies.
    For example, Rama sending Lakshmana to Ravana on the latter’s deathbed is not mentioned in Valmiki Ramayana to the best of my knowledge. Another event which also does not find any mention in Valmiki version is of a squirrel which helped in setu bandhan. Also Shabari episode is not described the way we today know.
    We all know that no one exactly knows how and what events happened in those times, if we agree that Ramayana has some historical meaning. In that case why to believe on things which were not mentioned in the most ancient texts but were inserted by later writers to manage the local politics or the changing times of their era.
    As a last point, though Ravana was born in Brahman race, however we also know from our ancient texts that even if someone is born in Brahman race, he is judged by his acts, and by this hypothesis Ravana was no more a Brahman as his acts do not comply to the accepted acts of a Brahman.

  • Prashant Sharma

    Brother one can one attain Moksha by lord Vishnu. How such “a superior man – a slave of his senses” being killed by no one but Vishnu himself. He is still present in every hindu’s mind and practice to teach them path of god. To give them knowledge of good and bad-“Dharma”. He is not some superior man. He is god’s creation , a gift to us to attain Moksha.
    If he would have respected Lord hanuman, there was no story.
    If he would have respected Lord Ram, there was no story.
    If he would have respected Lord Vishnu, there was no story.
    If he would have respected Mother Sita, there was no story.
    and hence no learning and no guide to help us to lead successful life.

    He did many Adharmic acts but it lead to people following dharma after him.
    We should learn and help people and society learn “Dharma” through his great tail rather portraying him as a villain.

    Note: THERE IS NO LOWER OR HIGHER RANK, SINCE THERE IS NO WORK LOWER OR HIGHER. WORK IS EQUAL. I AM BRAHMAN MEANING ITS MY DHARMA TO FOLLOW ASSOCIATED ACT BUT IT DOESN’T MEANS THAT MY CASTE RANK IS HIGHER. ITS MY KARMA WHICH MAKES MY PERSONALITY RANK. I AM HIGHER THAN THOSE DOING ADHARMA AND LOWER THAN THOSE DOING MORE THAN ME. I RESPECT EVERY SOUL EVEN PEOPLE FROM WEST SINCE THEY ARE ALSO MY LORDS CREATION BUT UNKNOWABLE IN THIS YUG OF THEIR IDENTITY. BUT IF THEY DO MORE DHARMIC ACTS SUCH AS “HUMANITY” W.R.T US THEN THEY ARE BETTER THAN US.

    I OBJECT “RANK OF CASTE” BECAUSE THIS HAS ALREADY CREATED PROBLEM IN INDIA. OTHER CASTE PEOPLE HATE ME OF MY RELIGION WITHOUT KNOWING NOT OF MY OWN PERSONALITY.

    PLEASE STOPP USING HARSH WORDS SUCH AS THIS FROM FOLLOWING POST-A BORN BRAHMIN.

  • sunil Kumar

    Dear Devdutt GI

    When lord Ram was kshatriya whose dharm is to save the needed one and to kill adharmi being in order to maintain balance so in order of this Lord Ram killed Ravan so how lord Ram could ever be blamed for brahmhatya.
    Please clear me.
    Thank you