Thursday, 12 January 2012
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Rāvaṇa (Sanskrit: रावण, Tamil:ராவணன் IPA: [ˈrɑːʋəɳə]) is the primary antagonist character of the Hindu legend,
who is the great king of Lanka. In the classic text, he is mainly depicted negatively, kidnapping Rama's wife Sita,
to claim vengeance on Rama and his brother Lakshmana for having cut off the nose of his sisterSurpanakha.
This depiction is, however, open to other interpretations. Ravana is described as a devout follower of Shiva,
a great scholar, a capable ruler and a maestro of the Veena. He has his apologists and staunch devotees
within the Hindu traditions, some of whom believe that his description as a ten-headed person (Daśagrīva)
is a reference to him possessing a very thorough knowledge over the 4 Vedas and 6 Upanishads,
which made him as powerful as 10 scholars. However, there is mention in Atharvaveda of demonic Brahmans
called Dasagva (ten-headed) and Navagva (nine-headed) and the metaphor of a supernatural number of bodyparts
to symbolize powers is an ancient one in Indian mythic depictions.
Ravana also authored Ravana Sanhita, a powerful book on the Hindu astrology. Ravana possessed a thorough knowledge of Ayurveda and political science. He is said to have possessed the nectar of immortality, which was stored under his navel, thanks to a celestial boon by Brahma. According to some theories, he was a historical emperor who reigned over Sri Lanka from 2554 BC to 2517 BC.