Who was he?
|PENANCE TO BRAHMA|
Having obtained the celestial boons, Raavana defeated his older half brother in battle and took Lanka built by the celestial architect Visvakarman. Having obtained a massive kingdom, he became an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva. He performed many austerities to please him. However, he did not get the attention he sought. Having failed at pleasing Shiva, Ravana decided to end his life, and cut of his only head. When Lord Shiva graced him with his divine presence and bestowed upon him 10 heads and 20 arms for the one he lost. Thus making Raavana practically invincible.
|CUTTING HIS HEAD OFF|
The mighty Shiva Bhakta
Every morning Ravana would worship Shiva with ardent devotion. It is said that when made a Shiva Lingam out of sand it would stay put for the entire worship. Ravana's bhakti to Shiva grew greater and greater to point where Raavana was maddened by his bhakti to the Lord. This ultimately made him near invincible, as Shiva was the God of War and Death, Raavana became the unquestionable emperor of the three worlds. Unfortunately, often with great power comes great pride. As expected, the demon king grew tremendously proud but his pride was often checked by even more devout and sincere beings such as Valli the Monkey king of Kishkinda or Kartaveerya Arjuna.
|PENANCE TO PLEASE LORD SHIVA|
Shaking of Kailasam and Loss of Golingam
As Ravana's Bhakti to Lord Shiva was growing exponentially, Raavana wanted to have the biggest lingam in the world in his back yard, so he could worship it when he feels like it. And thus a brilliant (yet arrogant) idea occurred to him. He decided Kailasam was the largest lingam and it better fitted in Lanka. Thus he set forth with his Puspaka Vimana (Flying Chariot) to lift it and bring it back to Lanka. At that time, Mahadeva (Lord Siva) was having a huge argument with Parvathi (his wife) and Parvathi left him. At this time a huge earth quake shook the mountain, it was actually Raavana lifting the mountain. Parvathi ran back to the arms of her lord and Shiva pressed his upper toe against the ground and the entire mountain fell on the King of the Demons. Howling in pain, the demon king roared aloud. Just then ganapathi and his ganas came down to tell Ravana who was residing on the mount and immediately raavana grew penitent. He plucked his own nerves to make a veena and sang the Shiva Tandava Stotram. He praised lord Shiva for years under the mount and Shiva, pleased with his humility lifted his big toe. Raavana ran to the feet of Mahadeva and Shiva gave him a lingam called Golinga. He said that this lingam is as powerful as the Mountain itself and he can carry it to Lanka. Roaring with joy, Raavana takes the lingam. Shiva warned him, however, that if he drops the lingam, then the lingam cannot be lifted. It will stay there permanently. Raavana agreed and flew to Lanka. On the way, he realised the sun was setting. During the sun rise and sun set period, the Aryans of the Vedic culture must do a ritualistic worship of the sun, called the Sandhya vandanam. Ganesha, who did not want the lingam to leave India, came in the guise of a brahmin (priest) who agreed to look after the lingam until Raavana completed the rituals, under one condition, which was to complete the entire ritual in under ten minutes. Raavana agreed as he knew the mantras (incantations) like the the back of his hand. However, while doing the Puja, Ganesha entered his mind and deluded the poor demon king. Making him forget and redo the ritual several times, ensuring the agreed upon ten minutes were passed. In doing so he conveniently dropped the Lingam on the spot and Raavana roared a painful loss.
Raavana's thirst for knowledge, his desire to please Shiva and his austerities earned him the various yogic abilities. As he was an ardent devotee of the Lord his wisdom grew. He is worshipped as a god amongst many cults and is considered the master of astrology, ayurveda and saama veda. However, with unquestionable power comes absolute corruption. It was Raavanas lust and pride that destroyed him and his beautiful city. He gave into such a menial desire on the becoming of his sister and ultimately dug his own grave.