Sunday, December 09, 2007

Revered Ravana

Ravana is known to most of us as a demon king, and is portrayed as a person with moral turpitude etc, because he abducted Seetha and slayed many without mercy. But the fact is that Ravana is a great and a scholarly person admired by many. He mastered all the 64 forms of art and is a great devotee of Lord Shiva. He was a great singer and his eloquence and the knowledge can be realised through the song that he composed, which is being sung as the Shiva Thandava Sthothram even today. The song is so majestic and is in praise of
Lord Shiva.

The legend about this song goes like this. Ravana ruled Sri Lanka and wanted to worship Lord Shiva at Kailash, but when he went to Kailash and prayed Lord Shiva to appear before him, Lord Shiva did not. So Ravana got frustrated and wanted to show his strength, so he lifted Himalayas with all his twenty hands. The entire place shook like anything and Goddess Parvathi feared, when the place shook like earthquake striking. Lord Shiva then pressed the mountain with his feet and Ravana got crushed under the weight of the Himalayas and could not bear the weight of it and prayed to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva bestowed him, and then Ravana sang this song which was called the Shiva Thandava Sthothram. Hear to this and we can see the eloquence and the majestic composition, though in Sanskrit, it has the good rhythm, alliteration and resounding beauty. The pdf version can be found here.

Please wait until the song loads...

Download Shiva Thandava Sthothram

He is a man who patronised art and respected people with artistic skills. There is also a legend where he called Agathiar for a music competition, it was a very tough competition. The task was to make a mountain made of gold to melt just by singing. Agathiar won the competitionas the mountain melted for Agathiar's music and song. Ravana accepted his defeat and gave a word to Agathiar that he will not disturb him and the people living near Agathiar's place. Thus he respected a learned person like Agathiar.

He was a brave warrior and also is enduring is doing great penance that he was gifted with various powers. He is said that have had the scars of an elephant's tusk, Vishnu's Chakram and many others after fighting with them. He also had all the nine planet's, Indran and all the devars under his feet. His braveness, his enduring penance and nobility have earned him a crowned name that only one person has this crown. He has the name Eashwaran adorned to his name and called as Elangeshwaran. The other person is the planet Saturn (Saneeshwaran). No other person, who is not a manifestation of Lord Shiva bears the name Eashwaran to his name. Such a fame could not be achieved easily, Saneeshwaran got his name, because he put everybody to test for a period of 7.5 years without mercy or bias. He does not even leave out even if they are Gods. Likewise, Ravana also has the endurance in achieving a power by severe penance.

There is another legend that says Ravana was a Dhvarapalaga (Gate keeper) of Lord Vishnu's heaven, the Thirupar Kadal (The Ocean of Milk). Once upon a time, he and his friend another Dhvarapalaga were guarding the gates. Then one Rishi came to worship Lord Vishnu, but they both denied the entry, because it was the resting time for Lord Vishnu. But the angry Rishi, cursed them that they both be born in earth and suffer. They both worried and asked for mercy, the Rishi told that Lord Vishnu will tell the way for their salvation. When both the Dhvarapalagas fell at the feet of Lord Vishnu, Lord Vishnu gave them an option. Either they can choose to life seven lives as a good devotee and then attain salvation or live 3 lives as an opposer and enemy of Lord Vishnu and attain salvation. Ravana chose to oppose and attain salvation and reach Lord Vishnu in 3 lives, because he felt that he could not be away from Lord Vishnu for seven lives. So he became a demon and he was born as Eranyan, Mahabali and then Ravanan, later attained the Dhvarapalaga status again.

Ravana also followed, even in his deathbed, the discipline that a student has to give to his teacher. When Ravana was defeated by Lord Rama, he was in his deathbed and breath the last few moments of his life. Then Lord Rama, the incarnate of Lord Vishnu, knew about his knowledge and wisdom and told his brother Lakshmana, not to think bad or low about Ravana, because he is not only a demon king, but also a great scholar and a discipline man, and to see it for Lakshman to see it for himself asked him to go to Ravana and know about the procedure to wage a war. Lakshmana still not convinced that Ravana was a great scholar and a disciplined man, went and stood near Ravana's head and told that he came to Ravana just because his brother Lord Rama, told him ask Ravana about the procedure to wage a war. Ravana, with a smile asked Lakshmana whether he learnt any discipline in his gurukulam. Lakshmana was shocked to hear that. Ravana continued saying that Lakshmana is asking him the procedure to wage a war and that he is in the position of a student and Ravana himself is in the position of a teacher. So, it is not a disciplined behaviour to stand near the teacher's head and ask questions and ordered Lakshmana to come near his feet and ask his question. Lakshmana felt ashamed, went near his feet and heard to the last minute lectures of Ravana and realised what Lord Rama told him. And then Ravana got a deep reverence in the hearts of Lakshmana.

The sculpture of Ravana lifting Mount Kailash and Lord Shiva as Kailasanathar on top pressing the mountain with his feet is found in the 1,500 year temple Keezhapazhayaarai near Kumbakonam. It is believed that on worshipping this Kailasanathar, people get their debts cleared and acquire wealth and prosperous life. It is also said that famous Emperor King Rajaraja Cholan worshipped this Kailasanathar daily when Keezhapazhayarai was the capital city during the Chola reign. Photos of Keezhapazhayarai can be found in a previous post - Great temples in desolate ruins

Ravana, though he is portrayed as villain, is respected and honoured for his scholarly knowledge. Those qualities of wisdom would heralded for ages to come and his name and fame will exist for all time till Lord Rama's name exists. Let us respect him for his knowledge, wisdom and discipline which even the God's speak of respectfully.

More to come, until then...


Ravi said...

Dear Prabhu, enga poneenga? Though I have read the great qualities of Ravana, this is the first time I had a chance to know so many facts - as ever - really superb! So eppo meet pannalaam? I am in Chennai. Will mail you soon.

R.Prabhu said...

Hello Ravi,
Long time no see!!! Eppadi irukeenga? I had been very busy these days so no frequent posts. Yeah Ravana is a more respectable and knowledgeable person the world has ever known. Thanks for the visit as usual.

I am awaiting to meet you at any time you come to Coimbatore. Expecting your mail too.

Btw, I dont see any blogging activity from you, what happened?

Anonymous said...

Dear Prabhu,
I came across your blog accidentally, it is very interesting. I must thank you for feeding me with the wealth of knowledge in tamil literature and keep up the good work.

R.Prabhu said...

Hi Venkat,

Welcome to my blog! Good to hear that you liked the blog. Thanks once again!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Prabhu for the very nice rendering of Shiva Thandava Stotram you have uploaded. Great.
will you pl. upload selected tiruppavai songs on your essay on Andal? Songs like 'Ongi ulagalanda', 'vaiyatthu vaazhveergaal' etc. would be fine. Or, you may give links to hear the entire range. Smt M.L.Vasantakumari, Bombay sisters, etc. have rendered the songs.


R.Prabhu said...

Thanks Subbu. Let me what I can do about the songs you have mentioned. Thanks once again!

srini said...

Nice Prabhu. It was interesting going thro' your blog. But I have two suggestions. 1) Dont put Your photograph at all. We should be self effacing. The Lord alone is Great and he alone deserves all worship. His Photos should alone adorn all blogs. 2) Next time you visit a temple go in a traditional dress like Dhoti and Shalya. This pant and shirt we walk into toilets with this dress and enter the Lord's abode with stink, spilled and splashed ur... intact. sorry if i have hurt you. ks

R.Prabhu said...

Thanks for coming by Srini. Your suggestions are absolutely acceptable and will try to make sure that I am not violating your suggestions... Thanks once again and don't feel sorry, you haven't mentioned anything wrong!

Prabakaran said...

Dear Prabhu,
I have visited ur blog,webpage,ensips..etc,i don't know some other activities you do?(amazing)how you find time for these all?(kangal irendum viriya paarkkiraen)infact im reading ur blogs for quite sometime....Excellent,awesome. i was so hungry prabhu so ate ur translitration(main course), reserach(side dishes) and flow(sweet) with two hands and still im eating........
When you gonna translate Aathichudi into english if so then i can show all of my international friends that self devolpment books and self improvement lecture is not their assest.(nyaam pada oorai)......and so on..
rgds, prabakaran

R.Prabhu said...

Hi Prabakaran,

Thank you very much. I am happy that you found my blog interesting. I have planned to write a lot about avaiyar, so that will include aathichoodi by default. Hope to write that soon

Thank you very much, once again!!!