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Being the main antagonist of the epic of Ramayana, Ravana is widely considered a symbol of evil. But He has also been portrayed as a great ruler, an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva, a maestro of Veena and a learned scholar who was well versed in Vedas and numerous other scriptures. Given his qualities, is there something else we could learn from the life of the Lankan king, besides not adhering to the evil he symbolized?

Here is one instance which showcases Ravana’s spiritual acumen:

Upon defeating the forces of Ravana in the grand battle, Lord Rama was in tears as He witnessed the latter breathing his last. Seeing the elder brother mourning, Laxman asked Lord Rama, “Dear brother, dwhy are you in tears?” Lord Rama replied, “We had to fight the war to re-establish true Dharma and righteousness for which killing Ravana was inevitable. But with the demise of Ravana, the treasure of his knowledge and devotion is bound to fade away soon. Dear Laxman, I want you to go visit Ravana at once and ask from him the valuable lessons he can impart in his final moments.” Thus, Laxman straightaway went to Ravana and told him the purpose of his visit. However, Ravana did not respond and remained silent. Unable to understand, Laxmana rushed back to Lord Rama and conveyed him of Ravana’s silence. Lord Rama said, “Brother, you must regard Ravana as a wise scholar who possesses an immense treasure trove of knowledge. Therefore, you must have a sense of humility and respect in your words and disposition.” Realising his fault, Laxman went back to Ravana and stood near his feet with folded hands and a bowed head, expressing the respect the scholar king deserved. He prayerfully requested Ravana for three most important and useful lessons that one must learn in life. At this occasion, Ravana stated the following lessons to Laxman:

  • Ravana said, the most important lesson of life is that you must defer the bad action as much as you can and you must do good action without any delay and as much early as you can. If you follow this rule, you can save not only yourself but many other people from being damaged.

Ravana also told Lakshman about politics and statesmanship:

  • Do not be the enemy of your charioteer, your gatekeeper, your cook and your brother, they can harm you anytime.

  • Do not think you are always a winner, even if you are winning all the time.

  • Always trust the minister, who criticises you.

  • Never think your enemy is small or powerless, like I thought about Hanuman

  • Never think you can outsmart the stars, they will bring you what you are destined to

  • Either love or hate God, but both should be immense and strong.

  • A king who is eager to win glory must suppress greed as soon as it lifts its head.

  • A king must welcome the smallest chance to do good to others, without the slightest procrastination.

His ten heads were Kama (lust), Krodha (anger), Moha (delusion), Lobha (greed), Mada (pride), Maatsyasya (envy), Manas (mind), Buddhi (intellect), Chitta (will) and Ahamkara (the ego) -all these ten constitute the ten heads.


Composed by Roshni Gour

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