Eight amazing facts about Ravana

We all have grown up celebrating Dusshera by burning effigies of Ravana –  symbolising victory of good over evil. But do you know that Ravana was a very learned person, so much so that even Lord Rama respected him for his knowledge?

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Here are eight such reasons why this ‘demon with ten-heads’ (Dashanana) commanded respect even from his enemies:

  1. He was extremely knowledgeable in fields like aeronautics, architecture, alchemy, astronomy, astrology, ayurveda, music, cooking and varma (later evolved into acupressure). Not only was he an expert of Vedas, he was a great practitioner of statecraft. It is this vast knowledge which is considered to be the reason why he is described as a ten-headed person, Daśamukha or Dashanana or Daśagrīva.
  2. He was a scholar in Ayurvedic medicine and is credited with writing seven books on Ayurveda.
  3. He had developed an innovative way to extract juice from herbs. The collected juice (droplets) is called ‘arka.’ At the request of his wife, Mandodari, he is believed to have authored this arka technique in his book , Arka Shastra. The book contains information about various herbs existent during those times, their usage, and cures of many complex diseases.
  4. His other book, Arka Prakasha, deals with tinctures which can cure wounds instantly.
  5. Ravana was also a pediatrician. His book, Kumara Tantraya reveals the treatment for infant diseases besides covering in-depth details about care to be provided to expectant mothers.
  6. He has also written Ravana Sanhita, an anthology of Hindu astrology.
  7. He is said to have narrated very first ragasShiva Tandava Stotram, one of the great hymns devoted to Lord Shiva which describes Shiva’s power and beauty, is attributed to Ravana.
  8. He had a keen interest in music and was an excellent veena (instrument) player.

The article was originally published on Sept 29, 2017

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