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Raavan is known to everybody. Because of him, Vishnu had to incarnate as Raam. He killed him on the 10th day of bright fortnight of Aashwin month - Dashaharaa. Everybody knows Raavan was a wicked man and that is why he was called Raakshas, otherwise he was a son of Braahman father and a Daitya mother. Raavan was not his real name, his father named him Dashagreev since he had 10 heads. He is also known by names - Dashakanth, Dashaanan, and Dashamukh.

He was very intelligent, very learned and a great devotee of Shiv. Several stories are famous about his Tap. It is said about him that he chanted Ved by his all 10 mouths together. He has written "Shiv Taandav Stotra" also which is very famous. He knew that Raam was Vishnu's Avataar, he also knew that he should be killed by Him only, but there was no other way to invite Him to Lankaa except to abduct His wife and then not sending Her back to Him. If he did not do so he could not have crossed his second life to be born as Shishupaal.

He was the grandson of Brahmaa's son Pulastya Muni, and the son of Vishravaa Muni and a Raakshas woman Kaikasee (or Keshinee). He had two brothers - Kumbhakarn and Vibheeshan and one sister Shoorpanakhaa. He had one step-brother also named Kuber. Meghnaad and Akshaya Kumaar are his well-known sons.

Who was Raavan?

This reference comes in Tulasee's Maanas. There were two brothers - Jaya and Vijaya, who were the guards of Vishnu's palace. Once Sanakaadi Muni came to visit Vishnu, but they did not recognize Muni, so Muni gave them Shaap - "You be born in Raakshas Yoni on Earth for three lives." They prayed Vishnu that when they are born on Prithvi they should be killed by Him only. Vishnu said, "So be it." Because of that Shaap they were first born as Hiranyakashyap and Hiranyaaksh who were killed by Narasinh and Varaah Avataar respectively in Sat Yug; then they were born as Raavan and Kumbhakarn who were killed by Raam Avataar in Tretaa Yug; and third time they were born as Shishupaal and Dantavakra who were killed by Krishn Avataar in Dwaapar Yug.

Story of Raavan

There was a Rishi named Pulastya who had a son named Vishravaa. Vishravaa had two wives - one of them was a princess - daughter of king Trinbindu, and the other was the girl from an Asur family named Kaikasee - Sumaalee's daughter. Vishravaa and Kaikasee had 4 children - 3 sons - Raavan, Kumbhkarn and Vibheeshan; and 1 daughter Shoorpanakhaa. Kuber was Raavan's step brother. Raavan was married to Mandodaree, the daughter of Maya Daanav and an Apsaraa Hemaa. The following names are well-known to people in reference to Raavan :

Vibheeshan - Brother of Raavan, defected to Raam
Kumbhkarn - Another brother of Raavan, killed by Raam
Meghnaad - Raavan's son
Prahast - Raavan's maternal uncle, Kaikasee's brother, killed by Raam
Atikaaya - Son of Raavan and Dhanyamaalinee, younger brother of Meghnaad, killed by Lakshman by Brahmaastra
Akshaya Kumaar - Raavan's youngest son, killed by Hanumaan at the age of 16
Naraantak and Devaantak - Raavan's sons, Naraantak was the leader of 720 million (72 Crore), he was killed by Hanumaan; Devaantak was killed by Angad
Trishiraa - A 3-headed demon, Raavan's son, killed by Raam
Khar and Dooshan - Raavan's brothers killed by Raam in Janasthaan

He got several boons and so became very powerful.

How He Got the Name Raavan?

After getting Boons Raavan became very proud. Once he was coming after winning some war that he saw a mountain in front of him. In his pride, he did not know that it was Kailaash Mountain and Shiv and Paarvatee Jee lived on that mountain. He thought it as the obstacle in his way so he tried to throw it by lifting it by his both hands. As he lifted it, Shiv and Paarvatee Jee found the mountain shaking under them. Paarvatee asked Shiv Jee - "Naath, What happened, why is this Parvat shaking like this?" Shiv Jee said "Nothing" and slightly pressed it with his front part of the little toe.

As the mountain settled on the ground, Raavan's both hands were sandwiched between the mountain and the ground, and the mountain became heavier than ever. His hands were hurting, so he started weeping and crying. He cried and prayed Shiv for thousands of years, then Shiv Jee released his hands and said - "Since you wept (Royaa) for so long, you will be known as Raavan." and since then he became famous as Raavan and he became a great devotee of Shiv. Shiv increased his age and gave him a Divine sword named Chandrahaas. Raavan has composed a poem also in praise of Shiv - "Shiv Taandav Stotra".

Raavan and Raam

One day Shoorpanakhaa came to him crying and abusing him that he was a useless king who could not protect his sister. Then she told him the story how Raam insulted her and when his brothers Khar and Dooshan went to take revenge from Raam, how He alone killed them along with Trishiraa and 14,000 army of Raakshas in Janasthaan. Raavan filled with rage and wondered as who was this Raam who could kill his so mighty brothers Khar, Dooshan and Trishiraa. Shoorpanakhaa told him that Raam was the son of Dasharath and had come in the forest by his father's order with His brother Lakshman and wife Seetaa. She also told him that Seetaa was very beautiful and if he did not have Her as his queen, his palace was empty.

He knew that the man had come for whom he was waiting for so long. So he went to his maternal uncle (Maamaa) Maareech and asked him to assume the form of a golden deer and wander in front of Seetaa so that She is attracted to him. Then She would send Raam to bring such beautiful deer. He would take Raam far from their Aashram, and called the name of Lakshman, so She would send Lakshman to check on Raam. As Lakshman would leave the Aashram, he would abduct Seetaa.

Maareech had known Raam since he was disturbing Vishwaamitra's Tap, so he tried his best to explain him that Raam was Bhagavaan in person, and he should not play such games with Him; but Raavan threatened him that if he would not obey him, he would kill him. Maareech thought, it was better to die by Raam than this wicked Raakshas. So he went there assuming the form of a beautiful golden deer. Seetaa sent Raam to bring him for Her. Raam went to kill him. Maareech took Him far and then Raam shot an arrow at him. While dying he showed his real form and cried "Haa Lakshman, Haa Seetaa".

This troubled Seetaa, so She sent Lakshman to check on Raam in spite of Lakshman's denial to leave the Aashram. As Lakshman went to look for Raam, Raavan abducted Seetaa. On the way, Jataayu fought him but Raavan wounded him badly and took away Seetaa to Lankaa. There he put Her in Ashok Vaatikaa and asked Her to be his wife.

Raam met dying Jataayu who told Him that Raavan had taken Her towards South. Then Raam met Hanumaan and extended friendship with Sugreev who helped Him to search Seetaa. Hanumaan found Seetaa in Raavan's Lankaa. He burned the whole Lankaa and informed Raam about Her. Raam took a huge army of Vaanar (monkeys) and bears and invaded Lankaa. Up to the last moment, Raavan did not surrender Seetaa to Raam in spite of many people's advice. In the end Raam killed Raavan and Kumbhakarn, coronated Vibheeshan as the King of Lankaa and brought Seetaa back. He came to Ayodhyaa and became the King of Ayodhyaa.



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Created by Sushma Gupta on January 15, 2002
Modified on 05/04/13