New Delhi, Oct 18: Dussehra also known as Vijayadashami is being celebrated across the country today. The festival which falls on the 10th day of Navratri is celebrated to commemorate Lord Rama’s victory over demon Ravana.
Effigies of the latter are burnt as a symbol of the victory of good over evil across the country.
So as you gear up for Vijaya Dashmi, we bring you some intriguing facts about Dashanan, who indeed was one of the most interesting characters of Ramayana. Read on!
1. Ravan was Brahma’s great grandson
Ravan was son of famous rishi Visravas, who himself was son of Brahma’s ten ‘mind-born’ sons Prajapati Pulastya.
2. Most prosperous Lanka king ever
No, Ravan was not a cruel king as is usually believed. Yes, he took over Sri Lanka by force from his step brother Kuber, but went on to become Lanka’s most influential king ever.
3. Worshipped at several places in India and Sri Lanka
While we burn the effigy of Ravan on Dussehra, he is also worshipped at several places not just in Lanka, but India as well. In Andhra Pradesh’s Kakinada, a huge shivalanga supposedly installed by Ravana is worshipped along with the demon-king. There are many other temples in the country as well where people worship him.
4. Ravan did not have 10 heads
Yes, this is true! Some versions of the Ramayan say that Ravan did not in fact have ten heads, but it appeared so because his mother gave him a necklace of nine pearls that caused an optical illusion for any observer.
In another version, it is said that to please Shiva, Ravan axed his head off. But, somehow, the head would always grow back. This went on for a total of 10 times, which eventually pleased Shiva. Shiva granted Ravan the 10 heads that he sacrificed. These 10 heads indicated the 4 Shastras and 6 Vedas that Ravan had mastered.
5. An excellent Veena player
Lankesha is said to have a keen interest in music and was an extra-ordinary Veena player.
6. As he lay dying, Ravan imparted valuable knowledge to Lakshman
Since Ravan was one of the most learned scholars to have ever lived, Ram asked his brother Lakshman to sit beside the dying demon-king and learn from him important lessons in statecraft and diplomacy.
7. Ravan performed a yagya for Ram
Yes you heard it right! In one of the many versions of the Ramayana, it is said that once Ram’s army had created the bridge to Lanka, they needed to get Shiva’s blessing for which they set up a yagya. But a revered devotee and the biggest bhakt of Lord Shiva in the entire region was Ravan, and since he was half-brahman, he was also the best qualified to perform the yagya. Displaying honour, Ravan actually showed up, performed the yagya and gave Ram his blessing.
8. Ravan was shamed by his own wife, which eventually led to his downfall
When Ram’s army was slowly defeating Ravan’s, and he was the only one left alive, Ravan decided to perform a powerful yagya to turn the tide. But it required him to stay put and not leave his spot. Seeing this, Ram sent Angad, Bali’s son and his vaanar sena to disrupt the yagya. After they failed to do so, Angad dragged Ravan’s wife Mandodari. Ravan still didn’t move. Then she screamed at him and shamed him by telling how Ram was fighting a war to get his wife back while Ravan wasn’t moving from his spot to save his wife. Ravan finally moved, leaving his yagya incomplete.
9. Ravan was so powerful, he controlled sunrise
During the birth of his son Meghnad, Ravan ‘instructed’ the planets to stay in the 11th house of the child, which would grant him immortality. Saturn, or Shani, refused to do so and stood in the 12th house instead. It irked Ravan so much, it is said that he attacked Shani Dev with his mace and even imprisoned him.
10. Ravan was well-aware of his impending doom
Most powerful Asuras (demons) knew that they were sent to earth to perform a particular role. Ravan knew that it was his fate to die by the hands of an avatar of Vishnu, something that would help him attain moksha and give up his demon form.
Ravan played his role as a villain, but he was more than just a villain, that brought balance to the equation. No wonder there are many people in the world, who still worship him as they don`t regard Ravan as a negative figure.
Here’s wishing you all a very ”Happy Dussehra” !!