Since childhood, we are taught that Dusshera is the festival to celebrates the eternal win of good over evil. The good here being Lord Ram and the evil being Ravana. The good here being Lord Ram’s effort to rescue Sita and the evil being Ravana abducting her.
But interestingly, there s more to this story.
If you ever happen to visit Sri Lanka (which you must), you would bump into a section of Sri Lankan Hindus who are all praises for Ravana and will tell you stories about his valour and sheer intelligence.
Ravana, as per the legends, was born in a sage family. His father, Vishrava, was a sage and grandson of Brahma and one of the 14 Saptarishis during the age of Manu.
Throughout his life, Ravana got used to listening to praises about himself from people who made his vicinity. The right education, both in terms of academics and martial arts, along with his 10 heads, made people believe he was very knowledgeable (which is true).
A good example to prove this is the fact that he built (some books mentions he fraudly got it from someone else) the Pushpaka Vimana all by himself. As Amish Tripath’s fictional book Raavan: Enemy of Aryavarta mentions, the vimana was so ahead of its time that even Lord Rama was amazed to see it when Ravan landed in Mithila for the first time.
In medicine, he wrote a book called ‘Kumara Tantraya,’ a book on ayurvedic remedies for infants, at the request of his wife. In total, he owns the authorship of the seven books in Ayurveda. He is also credited for composing the Shiva Tandava Stotram.
Talking about Shiva, it is fair to mention how big a devotee of Lord Shiva; Ravana was. After he failed to bring mountain Kailash to Sri Lanka and eventually angered Lord Shiva, who trapped his fingers under the mountain, he invented ravanhattha and sang praises of Shiva and eventually impressed him with his devotion.
Also, India and Sri Lankan’s version of Ramayana is also very different. Sri Lankans believe that it all started after Lakshmana cut off Surpanakha’s nose after she proposed love to Lord Rama. For them, Ravana act was a normal retaliation out of anger that anyone would experience if someone hurts their sister.
In a nutshell, Sri Lankans don’t worship Ravana or build temples for him but they see him as a great king. To compare, it’s like the picture the world has for Genghis Khan compared with what Mongolians have
For the world, Genghis Khan is a nomadic massacrer who burned and killed millions of people during his Asian Conquest. But for the people of Mongolia, he is the uniter and a great King.
Feature Image Credits.