Ravana was the emperor of ancient Lanka(Suvarna Lanka)now known as SriLanka. It was named as Suvarna Lanka, as the entire empire was built in gold. Ravana has 10 heads and each head represents each character. Ravana was a great scholar and a legend warrior. Ravana was one of the greatest and best devotees of Lord Shiva. Ravana is said to have composed Shiva Thandava Sthothra. Ravana was one among the great scholars and even SriRama praised and asked his brother Lakshmana, to get blessings from the great scholar emperor, after he defeated Ravana in the war that caused Ravana’s destruction. Once Ravana lifted kailasa Mountains , to praise his lord Shiva. The name Ravana itself is given to him by Lord Shiva. The word means “he of the terrifying roar” Ravana was killed by Lord Vishnu himself in Thretha yuga as Vishnu himself incarned as SriRama. SriRama praised Ravan as Mahabrahman(the greatest of whole brahmins).
Ravana was born as the ealdest son to a great sage(Rishi)Vishrava and his wife Kaikesi a demon(Daithya) princess. Ravan’s is considered to be a demon-priest (Daithyasuran). Ravana’s grandfather, the sage Pulastya was on of the 10 Prajapatis(mind-born sons of Brahma) as well as a Saptarishi(7 great Rishi sages). Kubera(Treasurer of God) is a brother to Ravana through his father Vishrava.
Ravana’s siblings were: Vibhishana, Kumbakarna, Ahiravana(also known as Pathalaravana).And Ravana’s sisters name was Shoorpanaka(women with Sharp nails).
Although Ravana was born as a son of Brahmin father and Daithya mother, Ravan’s granfather(mother’s father), Sumali the king of demons kept on working secretly to build up Ravana as a Demon Emperor. But Ravana got great knowledge from his father Vaisrava and he also learned Vedas and othe arts of wepons from his father itself. So became strong and courage as well as a good hearted warrior.
As the whole Daithyas(Demons) Ravana also didnt have childhood and that is the reason why they are known as Asuras(non-humans). Ravana mastered all sorts of arts. Ravana became a great Veena player (an instrument used for background music looks similar to Guitar)
In the adulthood, Ravana performed an intense penance(tapasya) to Brahma. Ravana cut off his own head and each time new head arouse and at last he cut off his 10th head and then Brahma got pleased with Ravana’s dedication. Ravana asked for immortality when he saw Brahma being pleased with him. But Brahma refused his request. And finally offferd the celestial nectar of immortality(Amruth). Ravana stored it under his navel,and made sure that he could not be killed as long as the nectar lasts. Ravana also asked for the complete mastery over gods, Serpents, beasts, other demons. Ravana didnt ask for protection or mastery over mortal humans. In addition to these Brahma granted Ravana his 10 served heads. Thus known as Desamukha(man with 10 faces).
Suvarna Lanka is recently known as SriLanka. Suvarna lanka was entirely built by gold by the celestrial architect Vishwakarma(The architect of the entire universe) for Kubera(the treasurer of god).Kubera is brother to Ravana through his stepmother Kaikesi.Kubera shared whole of his wealth with his siblings, half brother and half sisters.
Ravana was really in love with Suvarna Lanka because of the beauty of the place and he always want to make it his own.
Ravana became too strong among the whole world due to the boons from Brahma himself. And also Ravana was the greatest devotee to lord Shiva. Ravana replaced his grandfather Sumali,as his grand father handed over the army to Ravana and took over the charge of the demon(Daithya) army from him.
Ravana set his target, Suvarna Lanka(SriLanka at present). Ravana demanded Kubera to handover Suvarna Lanka
Ravana is font of decorative and beautiful features of the nature. That is Ravana’s character. He need to get all the beautiful features of the universe, want to make his own and want to see them always. This is the reason that lead to Ravana’s destruction. (we will read that detail in the bottom paragraphs)
But Kubera refused and finally Ravana the strongest, conquered Suvarna Lanka, and set the Lanka as his empire’s capital.
Ravana’s rule in Lanka:
Although Ravana, a Dhaithya Emperor took over the Lanka, he was never a rude or a cruel emperor. The place was enriched with wealth, hunger was vanished from the empire. There were a lot of gold even with the poorest of the Lanka. The people loved his rule even he was a Rakshasa. He never compelled his people to praise him. He was a great king and a great warrior. Ravana conquered the entire universe and there were no one to compete him. His reign continued for centuries.
Ravana valued his family the most. Ravana loved his wife Mandothari and respected her. She had a great influence in Ravana’s life.
Ravana was a grat emperor and a got a great, courageous mind. He loved his siblings and co-beings and respected them.
Ravana married Mandodhari, the daughter of Mayasura and an apsara(a beauty queen of heaven) named Hema. Mandodhari had a boon that she will be Dheergasumangali(her husband will live as long as she is alive). Thats the reason why even after Rama destroyed Ravana, Ravana didnt get Moksha(he still lived in the earth with out his body).
One day Ravana was visiting the entire empire in Pushpakavimana(the vehicle that flew as todays helicopter), which he get from his brother Kubera. As said before, Ravana is so font about beautiful things of the universe that makes him wonder and he always want to own them and need them with him. Ravana saw a beautiful woman. Her name was Vedavathy. She was doing her penance(thapasya) to get Lord Mahavishnu as her husband. Seeing her Ravana thought of making her a decoration to his loved Lanka. Thus Ravana approached the woman and asked her to come to Lanka. And Ravana caught her hands and tried to pull her in to his Pushpakavimana. But the woman stared at Ravana and cursed him, that she will born again and will be the reason for his death. And she commited Athmathyaga(Suicide) After going through the crucial situation, Ravana got despaired and returned to Lanka. Ravana didnt thought to spoil the life of that beautiful woman. Ravana need her to be a decoration for his beautiful Lanka, so that Lanka will be more beautiful.
The Prince of Ayodhya SriRama(incarnation of Lord Vishnu) and young brother Lakshmana reached forest to keep the word of their father King Dhasaradha’s word, along with Rama’s wife SitaDevi. One day Lakshmana went to gather woods from the inner forest, for cooking and other requirements. On his way he started to think of his weapon gifted from the great Sage Vishvamithra, their teacher. He saw a den on his way and tried cutting the den into two. And he became happy seeing that in two pieces. Suddenly he saw blood flowing from inside the den. He got despaired and went to look the source. He saw a sage dead in side the den. Lakshmana went to SriRama and explained every thing. SriRama told him the details of the sage. SriRama told Lakshmana that, the one who died was not a sage. He was the cruel son of the wicked Shoorpanaka(Ravana’s sister). And his name was Shambu. He was doing a penence to Lord Shiva to get super powers to make his demon powers more terrible. And Lakshman did a great job killing that cruel demon. Lakshmana became convinced.
This time Shoorpanaka was in search for her son Shambu. Finally she found him dead and was killed cutting his body into two. Shoorpanaka seeked for his son’s murderer. She found SriRama and when she saw SriRama, she became attracted towards SriRama and approached him to marry her. SriRama told he is already married and introduced Sitadevi. SriRama pointed Lakshmana , the angry warrior and asked Shoorpanaka to approach him to marry her, if he agree. Shoorpanaka saw Lakshmana and she found the Lakshmana is awesome and good looking. When she approached Lakshmana, he beacame angry and cut her breast and nose. She became terrified and ran to Ravana.
Shoorpanaka decided to take revenge over Lakshmana and SriRama. Hearing the sorrowful story of his lovable sister Ravana became angry and asked the reason why they did this to his sister. She hide many reasons and explained it in he manner which made Ravana understand the situations differently. She told Ravana about Sitadevi and described very attractively to Ravana. Ravana thought, a beautiful woman like that, should be a decoration for his Lanka. Ravana went to see SitaDevi and he became stunned seeing that much beauty. he decided to keep her in his Suvarna Lanka.
Ravana did a master plan for kidnapping Sitadevi. Ravana met his friend Marija and asked him to disguise as a golden deer and make Sitadevi attractive and to make SriRama and Lakshmana away from SitaDevi. At first SriRama went to catch the deer. As SriRama became too late Sitadevi asked Lakshmana to go and search fo SriRama. But Lakshmana was too font to his brother’s command and had a geat trust in SriRama’s powers, who said not to leave Sitadevi alone. But when Sitadevi commanded him to obey, Lakshmana stood up and drew a line(Lakshmanarekha) around the Ashrama(home stay for sages). And asked his beloved sister not to cross the line at any circumstances. And Lakshmana went to search for his brother.
Marija did every thing as planned. Then Ravana reached their home(Ashrama). Ravana was disguised as a sage. Ravana asked for food and water and also asked Sitadevi to put it in to his bag. But Sitadevi refused to come out. And Ravana was not possible to cross the line, drawn by Lakshmana. And asked Sitadevi wheather it is the manners for a woman like you in treating a sage like him. Sitadevi crossed the line without mind.
The real Sitadevi disappeared and there appears reincarnation of Vedavathy(MayaSita). Thus Vedavathy’s curse and penance became real in becoming a reason to Ravana’s death and thus Lord MahaVishnu gave Vedavathy a chance to become his wife) and with out knowing this Ravana took Vedavathy to Lanka.There started the declining of Suvarna Lanka(the empire of Ravana).
And Marija was blown away by Rama’s arrow to other part of the earth. When SriRama and Lakshmana returned, they found that Sitadevi has been kidnapped.
After a long time Rama find out the person and reason behind the kidnap. And Rama declared war aginst Ravana.
Rama with the help of the Hanuman and Sugriva(the king of Kishkinda) and his Army(The army of Human monkeys). SriRama killed whole the demon army of Ravana.
Rama and Ravana fought for a long time. Rama cut the heads one by one. Vibhishana (Ravan’s younger brother), who joined rama’s army told Rama to blow arrow to his stomach below navel, where he stored the celestial nectar(Amruth). Thus Ravana was defeated by Rama in the war. Ravana recognized that Rama is the incarnation of Lord Vishnu himself. Rama praised Ravana, and Rama respected Ravana.Rama prised Ravana as MahaBrahman(the great brahman). Rama knew every thing about Ravana that he was really attracted to the beautiful thing in the universe and he is a great man from heart.
Rama asked Lakshmana to get blessings from Ravana. When Lakshmana stood near to Ravana, Ravana asked Lakshmana, is that the way to stand in front of a teacher? And asked him to take lessons from SriRama. Lakshmana also recognized the scholar in Ravana from his great words that changed Lakshmana’s character of acting before thinking.
Afterwards Vibheeshana became the king of Suvarna Lanka. Still their is temples where Ravana is being workshipped.
The story has bee extracted from the Indian epicRamayana(the path of Rama)