Ravana is depicted as the king of Rakshasas. He is said to have ten heads. But not many people know that he was not born with ten heads. Let’s unravel the mystery…
Ravana performed an intense penance – tapasya – to Brahma, lasting several years. During his penance, Ravana chopped off his head 10 times as a sacrifice to appease Brahma. Each time he sliced his head off, a new head arose, thus enabling him to continue his penance. At last, Brahma, pleased with his austerity, appeared after Ravana’s 10th decapitation and offered him a boon. Ravana asked for immortality, which Brahma refused of course, but gave him the celestial nectar of immortality, which we all know was stored under his navel.
Ravana’s 10 heads symbolise the six Shastras and four Vedas, making him a great scholar and the most intelligent person of his time.
- Sankhyashastra (Mathematics)
- Yog Shastra (Yoga as a way of life, meditation)
- Nyayashastra (Law and administration)
- Vaisheshik Shastra (Physics, astronomy, mechanics)
- Purvamimansa (Philosophy, Justification)
- Uttar Mimansa Shastra
Ravana was a master in astrology, it is said that he broke one of Saturn’s arms, when Sani deva refused to be in a perfect position which would have made Meghnad immortal.
While Ravana was dying, Lakhsmana ran towards him so that he can learn the knowledge of diplomacy, since nobody in this planet had better knowledge and experience of administrative diplomacy over Ravana. His 10 heads represented a mammoth pool of knowledge and experience as a ruler, king and as a Brahman.
From another perspective, the 10 heads signify the 10 negative forms of love.
- Ahamkara – Ego
- Moha – Attachment
- Krodha – Anger
- Ghrina – Hatred
- Paschataap – regret
- Irshya – jealousy
- Lobha – Greed
- Kama – Lust
- Jaddata – Insensitivity
- Bhaya – Fear