Is the mighty really saintly?
O. LAKSHMI PRATHYUSHA, INN/Chennai, @Infodeaofficial
Characters in the epics evoke interest in us and prompt us to probe deeper on many accounts. Ravana, the main bad character in popular legend Ramayana is not an exception to this.
For few of us he is a man of virtue but couple of others call him a man of immorality. His devotion towards Lord Shiva, his hold on knowledge are that make him a good man. The demon king’s command over six sashtras and four vedas was praiseworthy.
Great Tamil scholar Thirugnana Sambandar is said to have given due credit to the merits of the demon king. Knowledge and devotion are said to be the merits of the demon king that put him in a good limelight. Every eighth poem in Devaram, written by Thirugnana Sambandar is said to be in praise of demon king’s devotion.
But that is not all…there is more to it than meets the eye. The motive behind the strong devotion appears only to be selfish, that is to attain the supremacy over all living beings on the earth and to become immortal. When the pride of one’s strength gets into the head wrong doing is imminent.
For, shall he not know what is right and wrong. This was visible when the demon king who was taken over by the strength of his pride attacked the kingdom of his brother Kubera. The mighty king of Lanka was even known for his lust for women. When lust takes over one’s mind, ability to distinguish between the right and wrong is said to take a back seat.
Had he a bit of intellect, the asura king would have contemplated on the genuineness behind all that his sister Surpanakha said about Lord Rama and Sita. He would not have hurried to take Goddess Sita by force. There is no shortage of tales that tell how many other women underwent suffering due to the might demon king.
The character of the asura king might have been impressive due to his positive traits, but presence of negative aspects will lead to destruction. This seems to be true with regards to Ravana. His devotion, knowledge were impressive, but the lust and greed in him took him to his destruction.