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  • Nitya Handa

The Indian Concept of Misunderstandings : Ravana and his Lanka

India, the land of knowledge, prosperity, mindfulness, diversity, cultural and traditional, our mother land. It holds one of the most intriguing mythologies faced by the world, the impeccable historical sources of the “Mahabharata” and the “Ramayana”. Many people hold their own point of view and opinions regarding these mythologies. More than half of the population believes India works on the principle of Ram and some have come up with speculations such as Ravana was not the bad guy.

Ravana, one of the most powerful beings to ever roam the universe. He was the grandson of the great sage Pulastya, one of the ten Prajapatis or mind-born sons of Brahma and one of the Saptarishi or the Seven Great Sages. Maharishi Valmiki’s version of Ravana is said to be a tyrant of mighty power who held the gods at ransom as he continues to be treated like a blackguard by Indians.

Lanka, present day Sri Lanka, was a heavenly city, created by the celestial architect Vishwakarma himself. Even though Ravana had usurped Lanka from Kuwera, the Treasurer of Gods, he was an effective ruler and the city flourished in his rule. Ravana proceeded to follow a list of campaigns to conquer humans, celestials and demons.

Some even go as far as to urge Ravana was a Buddhist king and they believe him to be the creator of the wonderous monasteries found in Sri Lanka. The Ram Sethu or also according to Christianity known as The Adam’s Bridge is a chain of limestone shoals, it doesn't only connect the north-western coast of Sri Lanka to the south-eastern coast of Tamil Nadu located in India but also is connected to the legend of Ravana. Investigations conducted by Indian National Remote Sensing Agency suggested that the land connection could be a manmade structure. Yet the Sri Lankans put forward a word of negotiation and believe that Ravana was its original builder. According to them, later on, Ram and his army used the bridge to cross the sea to overthrow the world's greatest ruler and one of the most advanced civilisations in history.

From the total of nine copies of the “Ramayana”, four of those claim Goddess Sita, was the daughter of Ravana. In Sanghadasa's Jaina version of Ramayana, Sita is born as Ravana’s daughter. According to this version, astrologers predicted that Ravana’s wife, Vidyadhara's first child would destroy his lineage. Hence, Ravana abandons the child and orders the infant to be buried in a far-off land where she's found and adopted by Janaka. All the people of Lanka believed it was Ravan’s way of claiming revenge on Ram and his brother Lakshman, for having cut off the nose of his sister Surpanakha. When all the while it was his concern for Sita, he couldn't bear the thought of Sita suffering in the forest for fourteen years, hence he decided to get Sita back to Lanka and put an end to her misery.

India has had its fair share of misunderstood people, whose names are written in bold letters on the blacklist of people's hearts. Ravana was one of the victims and there are so many more about whom we have never even heard of.

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