Ravana is not a Demon King to Sri Lankans

 He’s the Greatest Emperor in World History and No, He’s not Evil

Illustrated by the Great Sachi Ediriweera on Behance

As the Indian Hindus celebrate Dussehra, they recount Ramayana and the lessons that come with it. For them, the Ramayana isn’t just a story of Lord Rama winning over Ravana and rescuing Sita.

It is about good winning over evil despite the many obstacles. It is the story that gives Indians hope and motivation to keep fighting for what they know is right.

But we all know that every story has two sides. So let’s hear it.

Who is Ravana?

Ravana was an emperor who lived about 5000 years ago in Sri Lanka (Heladiva — Lankapura) dates human habitation to 125,000 years and beyond.

He was a descendant of ‘Surya Wansha’ of ‘Hela Yakka’ tribe (ancient Sinhala tribe). According to Rāmāyana, the emperor Ravana was assassinated by Rāmā. But referring ola manuscripts, rock inscriptions and folklore of Sri Lanka, Ravana has not died at war. He was not to killed by any other common person as Dasis Ravana represented the soul of a Bodhisathva.

The emperor had many names as he ruled many countries. Rāvanā, Dasis Rāvanā, Ravula, Rāvanan, Rāvan are some of them. He is called Dasis Ravana which means the king with 10 great talents. As a well experienced Ayurvedic physician the king wrote several books on medicine. As an artist, he composed Ravana rāgas.

King Ravana’s technological and military prowess was so renowned that he is depicted in Indian literature as having ten heads and numerous hands holding a multitude of weapons. When eventually King Ravana succumbed, to the wrath of Rāmā, (his Indian nemesis) the people of India rejoiced in victory and celebrated in a festival atmosphere. To this day, the festival of ‘Deepavali’ celebrated each year by one billion Indians including the Tamil community, is a celebration of the defeat of this famed Hela King Ravana.

Illustrated by Vijendra Singh on Behance

He was an Emperor who controlled 10 states & he was the founder of civilizations like Māyā Atex in South America, Egypt in Middle East. Archaeologists believe that, this “Hela / Asura” civilization is the Atlantis civilization which was destroyed by a nuclear war.

Also, Some may believe that the Ramses II of Egypt is referring to this great Emperor Ravana. If you’re interested in that story read this awesome quora answer here. 


What does Sri Lankans think of Ravana?

Here’s the most interesting part of the article.

Legend has it that King Ravana was a very learned and pious man, a wise, just and peaceful Ruler, a loving husband, a fond father & brother. A famous flutist & composer well versed in Vedas, Angas and Sastras.

As I already mentioned above He is called Dasis Ravana which means the king with 10 great talents. He was a descendant of Surya Wansha and Hela Raskshasa tribe. (Ancient Sinhalese tribe) He was one of the best fighters in Angampora, the traditional martial arts of the people in Lanka.

Truth Behind Rama Ravana War

Lord Ravana wallpaper by Caverman

For Sri Lankans, even the start of the war between Ravana and Lord Rama is very different. Indians believe that none of it had happened had Ravana not abducted Sita. However, the Sri Lankans believe that it all started with Lakshmana cutting off Surpanakha’s nose after she proposed Lord Rama. For them, what Ravana did was anything that a big brother would have done to avenge the injury caused to his younger sister.
“What Ravana did was anything that a big brother would have done to avenge the injury caused to his younger sister.”

Sri Lankans don’t worship Ravana as a god but they regard him as a great king for all that he is famed to do. For them,

  • He was the king who resisted invaders.
  • He is the tragic hero who was betrayed by his own brothers when he tried to avenge his sister’s honor.
  • He was the king who was blessed with the knowledge that his ten heads contained.
  • He was the king whose devotion to Lord Shiva won him powerful weapons.

Ravana devoting himself to Shiva and getting the Key to all the knowledge and power : Illustrated by Pallab Baruah
He was a great devotee of Lord Shiva. Ravana would meditate for days at an end to please him. No matter how he was as a human, one couldn’t deny that he was a very passionate devotee. Lord Shiva was so impressed by him that he bestowed on him the power to use divine weapons, an honor that only a hardworking devotee could earn.


Ravana in modern Sri Lanka

In modern Sri Lanka, there has been a movement to revive Ravana as a cult figure, who represents Sinhala or Sri Lankan nationalism because he was among the first in the island’s history to have resisted an alien/Indian invader.

In the light of emerging evidence, it is also salutary that a vast of people in Lanka have started to appreciate an ancient ruler who lived in Sri Lanka by the name of Ravana. This name became familiar to people from the story of Rama and Seetha in Valmiki‘s Ramayana, which is the oldest edition of Ramayana and is the source of all Ramayana that is relevant in various cultures. King Kumaradasa who lived in the Sixth Century AD authored Janakiharana which reflects the Rama-Seetha story that was popular among the masses.

Some of the books written in Sinhalese language about Ravana ,රාවණා (In Sinhalese Language),The greatest Hela king of Lankapura (Sri Lanka) are shown here.

Ravana Books written in Sinhalese Language (Sri Lankan)

Bottom line For us Sri Lankans, Ravana will be the greatest Emperor in the world’s history. Also, This is not something I wrote to assault certain religions nor nations. This is the true belief about King Ravana among Sri Lankans and I just wanted to leave this piece here in Medium somewhere.

Thank you!

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