Disputed Hero: Ravan

Most of the time Ravan is blamed for the war but thousands of Ramayan story illustrates Ram as hero unfortunately some of the writings have portrayed Ravan as hero. Every person has both good and bad characteristics about them. So is the case with some of the greatest characters in our Hindu mythology. Some of the characters who were depicted as villains in the Ramayana stories had many heroic traits, for example Ravana. He had many qualities but only a single tragic flaw in his character brought about his downfall. And that is pride. Let us explore the heroic side of this great mythological character.
Birth- Ravana was born to a Brahmin sage Vishrava and a demon princess Kaikesi. He thus was blessed by all the scholarly qualities of a Brahmin and the immense power and strength of a demon. He was the grandson of Sumali, the Demon King. Kubera (the treasurer of all Gods) was his brother. And he also had a sister named Shoorpanakha.
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Scholar- In Hindu mythology Ravana is depicted as ten headed man. This is often referred to as symbolism of the immense knowledge of the Vedas and other Hindu scriptures that he had. He had also mastered all Kshatriya skills. His twenty hands depict his never ending desire for more in his life. This great scholar had also composed the ‘Shiva Tandava Stotra’. He could entrance everyone with his amazing of skills playing the veena (musical instrument).
Devotee- Ravana was one of the most ardent devotees of Lord Shiva. He received many boons from him. Lord Shiva was very impressed by his musical skills of playing the Veena. He was also blessed with a moon blade by Lord Shiva. Once this demon king worshipped Brahma and received the boon of being the supreme and the most powerful among the three worlds.
Faithful Husband- According to the Ramayana stories, Mandodari, the wife of Ravana was a very beautiful woman and also counselled him in many political matters. He loved his wife and was faithful to her. He was a very good husband.He never doubted his wife, no matter what the circumstances.
A Good King- Ravana was a very efficient and good ruler as per the Ramayana stories. He assumed leadership over the army of demon king Sumali and established a golden rule over Lanka. According to Hindu mythology, Lanka was built by Vishwakarma, the best of all architects. He got all his money from Kuber who was his step brother.
In spite of having all such good traits his character he brought about his own downfall. He got enraged when Laxman insulted his sister by cutting her nose and hence, kidnapped Sita. This led to the war in Ramayana where Ravana was finally killed by Ram.

-Prasannapugazh

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