Teachings of Ravana

Words of Wisdom Ravan Gave Lakshman from His Death Bed

The great epic writer Valmiki describes Ravan as the greatest King who was not only highly learned, but also the ultimate devotee of Lord Shiva. Folklore compiled in Ram-kathas and Ram-kiritis recount that the learned Brahmin Ravan composed the Rudra Stotra in praise of Lord Shiva, the yogi of all yogis who resides in the Himalayas. Ravan also designed a musical instrument called Rudra-Veena (a lute) using one of his ten heads as the lute’s gourd, one of his arms as the beam and his nerves as the strings.

Despite being educated and a highly qualified Brahmin, Ravan was punished by Lord Rama for of his unethical, anti-social and non-Vedic unforgivable deeds of torturing the innocent, killing thousands of lives and kidnapping Lord Rama’s wife, Sita.

It’s a Puranic fact that Lord Rama was very impressed with Ravan’s Vedic wisdom and his spiritual as well as material knowledge. After defeating him in the battle of Lanka, Lord Rama praised him and sent his brother Lakshman to the dying Ravan to learn wisdom about the world.

Lakshman went and stood near the dying Ravan’s head. But Ravan did not take any notice of him, nor say a word. Lakshman then returned to Rama empty handed. Then Lord Rama told his brother that whenever one wants to learn something from someone, one must never stand near their head, but show humility by staying near their feet.

This time, Lakshman went to Ravan and stood near his feet. Seeing Lakshman’s humble posture, Ravan started revealing to him the secrets of ethics, politics and Niti shastra. What is remarkable is that most of Ravan’s wisdom is valid even in today’s world.

Here are the main nuggets of the learned Ravan’s wisdom delivered from his death bed:

  • Never become enemies with your charioteer, your gatekeeper, your cook or your brother.
  • Never think that just because you are winning always, you will be a winner forever.
  • Always trust the minister who criticizes you
  • Never think your enemy is weak or powerless.
  • Never think you can outsmart the stars because they will bring you what you are destined for.
  • Whether you love or despise the Divine, both emotions should be immense and strong.

After these words, Ravan was breathing his last when he saw Lord Shiva in Hanuman who was none other than the direct incarnation of Shiva. ‘Oh Shiva,’ Ravan said looking at Hanuman, ‘How come I didn’t recognize you in your mighty form of Hanuman! Please forgive me for my acts!’ With this, Ravan left his body.

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