What Ravana really was – Pop Mythology and Reality

Today, a lot of people go about preaching that there is no good and no evil, but only grey areas. When in doubt, the one source that has all the answers is the one we call Vishnu. And the same Vishnu shows us the real face of evil whilst letting us decide what good could be.

Today, Ravana has become a hero. Writing about his exploits (a pastime for Amish Tripathi and his readers) can get you rich. Calling Rama an evil man on the other hand gets you secularism. And while the faithful believers take grave offense to the very thought that some of their otherwise brethren-by-blood would even believe this, let us observe what is really at work.

Claim 1: Ravana was a scholar, and therefore was good

Most people who claim this always quote Ravana as a Vedic scholar and an author of Shiva stotras and various Vedic treatises still in use today, and that in itself makes him good. Let me ask you this –

Adolf Hitler is the reason Volkswagen and BMW are on the streets today. People are able to use cellphones because Hitler’s scientists showed NASA how to send rockets into space (which in turn enabled the orbital deployment of communication satellites). Will the world now call the man a hero? Perhaps the Hindu liberal who worships Ravana needs to be asked this.

Secondly – let me reveal something about myself – I recently wrote a few stotras to Shiva myself and a poetic work to Lord Narasimha in the purest Sanskrit one can imagine. If I made this public, will you start worshipping me?

Thirdly – assume that I made this public and you do start worshipping me. After a few days, I start doing the following – I piously write verses to a deity in the morning, burn a few villages by afternoon and rape a few women by night. The next day I come and tell you that since I was a learned man the previous morning, you should unflinchingly continue your hero-worship of me. Would you still continue?

Fourthly – we know the kind of company a scholar keeps. And yet let us observe very interesting company that Ravana kept (one of his most favourite friends and relatives) – Maricha. Maricha was known to go and pour human & animal blood and flesh into the sacred yagnyas of sages. He was known to go hunting in forests for poor lonely sanyasis and cruelly tormenting them before butchering them.

Ravana often joined him on these hunting parties. Now if we observe an analogous scholar from present day – ‘Kalaignar’ M. Karunanidhi of the DMK party in Tamil Nadu. He is very knowledgeable in Tamil literature no doubt and his cadre much like Maricha, are known to defile the wells of temples such as the Great Vishnu temple of Srirangam by pouring animal flesh into them. Much like Ravana loved to insult Vishnu by hook or crook, this scholarly DMK cadre does the same. Why is anyone not worshipping Karunanidhi? Oh wait! My bad – they already are!

Fifthly – people state that had it not been for Ravana, some of the texts Hindus use today wouldn’t exist. Says who? Did said liberal Hindu ever think that the era which was followed by the likes of Parashara and Vyasa would have produced anything lesser? The fallacy the liberal makes is that he thinks that Ravana was the be all and end all of scripture forgetting the countless sages before and after him.

Claim 2: Ravana was so manly that he kept his women very happy

On the one hand, imagine you have a Tasmanian devil (a kind of wolf-like creature that is almost extinct today, endemic to New Zealand). This creature loves to prey on smaller animals by cruelly goring them to death. It will then burrow through the flesh of their corpses and eat the rotting meat for days. It often attacks even bigger animals which are about to die and burrows through their carcasses, sometimes even living within them for days in the rotting flesh, waking up every morning and eating the same flesh. When it comes to mating however, the Tasmanian devil is rather ‘manly’ by liberal Hindu standards. It chases, assaults and carries away the female to a burrow where it forces itself sexually upon her and makes her pregnant. The female will stick around for a while after this.

Now on the other hand – you have an eagle. It will hunt only during the day – giving its prey a fair chance to escape and defend itself. It will always give out shrill cries during an attack and will never eat a rotting carcass. While mating, it will call out to its mate who will fly by and the two of them will do an aerial dance to see the other’s skill in flight and strength. The dance also tells the female about the male’s compatibility by seeing the way he holds her claw. After this dance, the female may or may not follow the male to the nest. But if she does, there is a 95% probability that they have mated for life. 9 out of 10 times, the breakup of an eagle couple occurs due to the death of the mate. If the reason is not death, it is usually infertility. If the female won’t follow the male back to his nest, the male will just fly away.

Now if the choice is given to the Hindu liberal, would he/she rather have a Tasmanian devil on his/her coat of arms or an eagle?

A woman who accepts a brutish barbarian as a standard of manliness has a very bad standard of manliness. She is either used to getting abused and gains some kind of masochistic pleasure in being with a barbarian; or she is a slave to the man (like the Tasmanian devil example) and reconciles to living with such a man; or she has such a poor moral compass herself that the worst in men appear to be the best.

Sadly, today in the age of feminism, no one ever questions the possibility of a woman having very bad standards in gauging a man. Likewise, the likes of Mandodari liked a barbarian who hunted sages and others’ wives. Never for once did the Hindu liberal question what would have Ravana done if his harem magically disappeared overnight? The answer is simple – he would replenish it with other women/others’ women, for that is how the harem was formed in the first place.

But then again, what did Rama do when his wife disappeared? He fought for her and took her back home. How did Rama treat the very man who tried to rape his wife? He defeated him once in battle and actually told him ‘Go today, rest and come back tomorrow to fight. I won’t kill you now.’ Ravana in turn cowered in his fortress and sent henchman after henchman from Meghnath to Kumbhakarna to Ahiravana to kill Rama without even once coming out alongside them to fight (So much for his ‘manliness.’). All his henchmen were massacred by Rama, Lakshmana and Hanuman one after the other.

When Ravana did come to fight a second time, he was so terrified to face Rama on foot (which got him almost killed a first time) that he used his pushpaka vimana. The noble Hanuman had to carry Rama on his back during the final battle and sustained many arrow wounds to his sacred person in the process (as the ‘manly’ Ravana chose to shoot Hanuman in the hope that he’d lose balance and drop Rama to the earth. The result was that the great Hanuman became ever more fervent in gripping on to Rama and ensuring that each of the 10 heads of the barbarian was decapitated).

If a woman ever found such a wimp of a morally fallen creep to be anything even close to ‘manly,’ such a woman is a fallen woman unworthy of respect. If any man dare defend such a foul creature as manly, he deserves a dungeon or a firing squad.

Claim 3: Ravana was a great Shiva Bhakta. Therefore he was good

I am also a Sanskrit writing Shiva Bhakta. Worship me – would you? Forget even that – let us see what Ravana did with his boons – he enslaved kingdoms, used looted wealth to build his kingdom, terrorized ashramas of sages and indiscriminately hunted animals and men alike. So when Brahma gathers all the Gods to help Vishnu restore the balance of the Tretayuga, pray who was there at the head of that gathering calling for Ravana’s death? You guessed it – Shiva and his ganas. Shiva in fact blessed Anjana that a part of Him will be born to her and thereby, Shiva’s Marudgana was born to Anjana and Kesari as the Great Hanuman.

When Shiva himself turned up to kill his so called ‘devotee,’ why is the liberal Hindu blind? Fact is that a true devotee of Shiva will firstly be true to one woman. He’d do what Shiva tries to do at all times – meditate and try to become the Yogi capable of truly controlling one’s senses. Shiva is therefore one of the best followers of Vishnu and in that spirit he turns up to help in the slaying of Ravana. The liberal Hindu is blinder than a Rakshasa today. However, today, the Kalahasthi temple – a temple of Shiva, sadly has a red wooden statue of Ravana. One wonders if the temple’s custodians even know what a grave insult this is to Shiva. In times like this, one prays to Vishnu to keep clean Shiva’s sanctuaries.

Claim 4: Ravana did not lay a finger on Sita. Therefore he is honourable

Ever heard of ‘Pativrata’? Extreme devotion to an oath sworn adds on to one’s tapasya in defending oneself from dishonour. If Ravana’s intent was not to touch Sita, what stopped him from leaving her alone in her hut? If Ravana had so much as tried anything more, he’d have been burned to a cinder by Sita’s pativrata. Pativrata takes form as an oath of honour sworn to a marriage.

When an invader tries to defile that marriage, mass suicides were common. Throughout history, Hindu women committed mass suicide to escape the clutches of invaders and yet Alauddin Khilji like Ravana gets deity status. Therefore, by that same logic – shouldn’t the feminist liberal Hindus today be willing to be sex slaves? Somehow that is offensive to them.

Claim 5: Ravana was great because of his musical talents. He played the Rudraveena with his intestines

Mahmud of Ghazni enjoyed Ferdowsi’s poetry (some of the best poetry of our era). Babur loved music and could sing. Chenghis Khan was a poet. Worship them all, oh liberal Hindu. You already worship Alauddin Khilji. Worship the artistic Timur now who built grand mosques using the loot from the Hindus of Delhi.

If you wish to prove your devotion to Shiva, try learning from his pursuit of yoga and his devotion to his own path. Your intestines are not really required in this transaction. In fact, Ravana’s behaviour is one of petty extremes. He either tries to please a God in a masochistic way, or he tries to rape others’ wives and butcher sages because he has excess time on his hands and doesn’t know what to do.

Claim 6: Ravana was a great warrior and ruler

Sure he was. So were Aurangzeb, Timur and Akbar. Worship them also. They kept their dhimmi slaves momentarily happy just the way Ravana looted multiple kingdoms to satisfy his own kingdom’s economic needs. Likewise, Karma paid him back when a single man killed him. Great warriors don’t go seeking loot, plunder and rape. They conserve their strength at all times, pursue wisdom and use their strength only to defend their realm and that which is rightfully theirs. Brave warriors don’t butcher sages and enslave women. If such a warrior can ever be called brave, the person making the claim is immoral as he is dangerous.

I end where I began – the reason people preach grey areas is because of the normalizing of evil. Evil thought, word and deed appear so normal that those who commit them are becoming the standards of heroism – a twisted form of worship – what scripture would rightly define as ‘demon worship.’

(This article originally appeared as a post on Facebook)

Featured image source: pinterest.com


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About the Author

Aashrai Arun Shrivaths
I am a Hindu