Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Ravana: The great Shiva bhaktha

Most people think when the hear the word Ravana, the terrible Asura who slaughtered thousands of innocent beings and usurped his righteous brother Kubera's throne. While it is true that he was an Asura who did commit various acts of injustice, he is still seen as an Aryan by Hanuman when he visits Lanka in the Sundarakhanda of Valmiki Ramayana. An Arya is a being of great nobility, it was a title reserved for great kings and mighty sages. Then does he, Ravaana deserve this title?

Who was he?
Son of Vaishrava, the grandson of Pulastaya Rishi and princess Kaikesi. Pulastaya was the son of Brahma, and thus he (Raavana) is considered Brahmin. The central antagonist in the Hindu epic Ramayana, he was the great demon king of Sri Lanka. He was called a dashagriva. A dashagriva is one who has 10 heads. He is described to have 10 heads and 20 arms, and when running into the battle he would terrify even ghosts and demons, as such he became known as the demon king of Lanka. Despite his horrific appearance, Ravana had a peaceful form, which was that of a scholar who had learned and mastered the four Vedas and devout follower of Lord Shiva. Legend has it, that because he was such a devout Shaivite (follower of Lord Shiva), the lord gave him divine weapons. He was thus indestructible to the Devas. He was considered a maestro of the Veena, an ancient India musical instrument who contested the great Rishi Agastya on the Veena.  


Tapas to Brahma 

PENANCE TO BRAHMA
Inspired by his demonic maternal uncles and mother (who was a daitya, a clan of demons) he began to perform ascetic penances to please his grandfather who was known as the creator of man. Through rigorous Tapas, Brahma, the creator god was much pleased and asked what he desired. Ravana instantly requested immortality, to which Brahma refused, as all beings have an ultimate end, including him. However, Brahma pleased with his great grandsons penances made him near invincible to almost any weapon and gave him Amritham (the nectar of immortality) to wear around his waist. Which can only be defeated by a weapon forged by brahma himself the legendary brahmaastra. 


Lankeshwaran
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. 
DASHAGRIVA RAAVANA

Legacy.
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.

17 comments:

  1. हर हर महादेव । हर हर महादेव ।

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  2. Well, Ravana was one of the follower and great devotee of lord Shiva.

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  3. thanks man for the knowledge, i am great fan of shiv too and a yogi. i appreciate you spirituality very much.

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  4. !!! Om Joom Saha Mam Palaye Palaye Saha Joom Om !!!
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  5. Om Namah Shivay......
    Har Har Mahadev ......

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  6. You can visit http://ravana.info/ for more details.

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  7. Thanks for Interesting facts about power and glory of Lord Shiva. Know How To Please Lord Shiva With various Liquids, Dravya, Fluids. देखें यह VIDEO या हमारे Youtube Channel को Subscribe करें - https://www.youtube.com/vaibhava1

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