Thursday, August 4, 2016

856. Ravana: Great or Good???

Last week in one of our regional T.V channel there was a discussion on the goodness of Ravana. Though I felt the topic was irrelevant since Ravana could be great but he was never good. There is a subtle difference between “Greatness” and “Goodness.” The anchor started with analysing how we have different perspectives how one sees, what one sees and in which way he understands and applies what he sees. He wanted to bring out the different perceptions reflected on the character called Ravana. There were three panellists to discuss, one was a professor who viewed Ravana to be equally good as Shri Rama. The other was a Vaishanava scholar who opposed him and the last panellist was from theatre who knew about how the character of Ravana was depicted in drama and at modern stage shows.  

In the discussion the anchor said that he once received a message from a young college girl who felt, “it is better to have Ravana as a brother as he stood by his humiliated sister Surpanakha.” At that moment I wondered if that young college girl had read and understood Ramayana. As I understand, Ravana did not protect Surpanakha instead he was trying to protect her brutality. Not many know that it was Ravana who killed Surpanakha's husband. Surpanakha had married Vidyuth Jihva (Electric Tongue) it is believe that whenever he protruded his tongue he could produce lightening that could kill many. He belonged to Danava race of Kalakeya clan. Kalakeyas were powerful, ferocious and cruel barbarians, if not ferocious as shown in the blockbuster movie “BAHUBALI”. The writer of the movie Sri. K.V. Vijendra Prasad has very well used the clan to project the nastiness. We do find such clans in our puranas and Ramayana has the mention of Kalakeyas.

Now, Ravana had no great love for his sister Surpanakha and she too wanted to take revenge on her brother Ravana for killing her husband. She wished for Rama-Ravana war. While explaining Ravana about her nose injury she drops bait for which Ravana fell. She started to glorify the beauty of Sitadevi. She insists that a woman of such beauty should be his wife. Foolish Ravana loses all his sense and goes behind what he should have resisted. We all know what happened to him at the end.

Interestingly Ravana’s wife Mandodari says thus while sobbing over his dead body, “It is not Rama’s arrows that has brought you death, rather it was the tears of Sitadevi and many other women that killed you.” Now, why will a wife say so???  On the other hand Shri Rama loved Sitadevi so much that he suffered in separation more than any one could imagine, the description of which is given by Sage Valmiki. Also sending Sitadevi to the forest was not done by choice, rather it was done to uphold Raja Dharma (Statute of Governance). Shri Rama with great pain tells Laxmana to take Sitadevi,who was pregnant and leave her near Sage Valmiki’s hermitage. By sending Sitadevi to forest, Shri Rama made the inhabitants of Ayodhya repent for their outburst towards her. It was not just the question of a single washer-man who had voiced it aloud but many had doubted Sitadevi’s chastity in their mind. Sure enough the inhabitants of Ayodhya repented but it was too very late. Shri Rama never remarried and remained loyal to Sitadevi in spirit and form. Millions and millions of sensitive people love and adore this very Shri Rama even today irrespective of what the rationalist feel.

No doubt Ravana was a Brahmajnani, a Shiva bhaktha, a great ruler of Lanka, but it is for us to make the choice, whether we accept the ideologies of want Shri Rama or Ravana?

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