Ravana, aka: Rāvaṇa, Ravaṇa; 19 Definition(s)

Introduction

Ravana means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, Buddhism, Pali, the history of ancient India, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

[Ravana in Natyashastra glossaries]

One of the Hands of Famous Emperors.—Rāvaṇa: the same hands with widely separated fingers, feathered.

(Source): archive.org: The mirror of gesture (abhinaya-darpana)
Natyashastra book cover
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Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (śāstra) of performing arts, (nāṭya, e.g., theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing dramatic plays (nataka) and poetic works (kavya).

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Itihasa (narrative history)

[Ravana in Itihasa glossaries]

He (an old man) told me of a mantap where Ravana had been held prisoner, and made to dance for the amusement of the Mahishmati people, as a great glittering ten-headed monster. The captive had at first refused to perform, but Arjuna had struck him so, that he started up in rage and pain striking ten dents, with his ten heads, into the stone ceiling of the prison. The dents–the old man said–could be seen to this day.

(Source): Triveni: Masumatti (A Story)

Rāvaṇa (रावण) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. VIII.4.52) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Rāvaṇa) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.

(Source): JatLand: List of Mahabharata people and places
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Itihasa (इतिहास, itihāsa) refers to ‘epic history’ and represents a branch of Sanskrit literature which popularly includes 1) the eighteen major Puranas, 2) the Mahabharata and 3) the Ramayana. It is a branch of Vedic Hinduism categorised as smriti literature (‘that which is remembered’) as opposed to shruti literature (‘that which is transmitted verbally’).

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Purana

[Ravana in Purana glossaries]

Rāvaṇa (रावण).—The Rākṣasa King of Laṅkā who had ten heads. Genealogy. Descended from Viṣṇu thus:—Brahmā—Pulastya—Viśravas—Rāvaṇa. (See full article at Story of Rāvaṇa from the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani)

(Source): archive.org: Puranic Encyclopaedia

1) Ravana (रवन).—Son of Dharma (Vasu).*

  • * Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 15. 113.

2) Rāvaṇa (रावण).—A son of Viśravas and Keśinī;1 pleased Śiva by his praises;2 afraid of Māndhāta;3 heard of Śītā's beauty and set up Mārīca to display himself as a golden deer and entice Rāma away;4 resented Arjuna-Haihaya's action in ruining his camp by blocking a river and was overpowered by him in the presence of women and imprisoned in his capital Māhiṣmatī;5 pursued by the king of kites, compared to Indra being pursued by Vīra;6 killed by Rāma;7 lost his kingdom through pride of power; desire for more territory.8 Vanquished by Vāli at Puṣkara, agreed to be his ally.9 A description of:10 Killed Anaraṇya;11 also Daśagrīva; defeated by Kārtavīrya and released at the request of Pulastya.12

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa VII. 1. 43; IV. 1. 37; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 8. 47; Vāyu-purāṇa 70. 41-8.
  • 2) Bhāgavata-purāṇa X. 88. 16.
  • 3) Ib. IX. 6. 33.
  • 4) Ib. IX. 10. 10
  • 5) Ib. IX. 15. 21-2; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 32. 50; 69. 35-7.
  • 6) Bhāgavata-purāṇa IV. 19. 16-17.
  • 7) Ib. VII. 1. 44; 10. 36; X. 40. 20; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 8. 54; Matsya-purāṇa 12. 50; 47. 245; Vāyu-purāṇa 88. 197; 94. 35; 98. 92.
  • 8) Bhāgavata-purāṇa X. 73. 20; XII. 3. 11.
  • 9) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 7. 248-67.
  • 10) Ib. III. 8. 48-50.
  • 11) Ib. III. 63. 74; Vāyu-purāṇa 88. 75; Viṣṇu-purāṇa IV. 3. 17; 15. 1.
  • 12) Matsya-purāṇa 43. 37-9.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Shilpashastra (iconography)

[Ravana in Shilpashastra glossaries]

Rāvaṇa (रावण), son of Ṛṣi Pulastya, was born with the energy of ten persons, according to some sources. But in later literature he has been given ten heads and twenty hands. Rāvaṇa, an important character in Rāmāyaṇa is thus pictured as a demon, the puissant king of Laṅkā.

Also it is said that in the beginning, Rāvaṇa had eleven heads and twenty-two hands. He used one of his heads and two of his hands to make a vīṇā. He played on it and sang to propitiate the Lord. Pleased with his devotion and music, Śiva showered blessings. Sometimes this story is interpreted in pictures.

(Source): Archaeological Survey of India: Śaiva monuments at Paṭṭadakal (śilpa)
Shilpashastra book cover
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Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

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Katha (narrative stories)

[Ravana in Katha glossaries]

Rāvaṇa (रावण) was slain by Rāma after he kidnapped his wife Sītā, the king of Ayodhyā, according to in the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 51. Accordingly, “... as fate would have it, his father [Daśaratha] handed over the kingdom to Bharata, and sent Rāma to the forest with Sītā and Lakṣmaṇa. There Rāvaṇa carried off his beloved Sītā by magic, and took her to the city of Laṅkā, having slain Jaṭāyus on the way”.

The story of Rāvaṇa was narrated by the Vidyādharī Kāñcanaprabhā to Naravāhanadatta while in a Svayambhū temple of Śiva, in order to demonstrate that “people who possess firmness endure for a long time mutual separation to which no termination is assigned”, in other words, that “heroic souls endure separation for so long a time”.

The Kathāsaritsāgara (‘ocean of streams of story’), mentioning Rāvaṇa, is a famous Sanskrit epic story revolving around prince Naravāhanadatta and his quest to become the emperor of the vidyādharas (celestial beings). The work is said to have been an adaptation of Guṇāḍhya’s Bṛhatkathā consisting of 100,000 verses, which in turn is part of a larger work containing 700,000 verses.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Kathāsaritsāgara
Katha book cover
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Katha (कथा, kathā) refers to narrative Sanskrit literature often inspired from epic legendry (itihasa) and poetry (mahākāvya). Some Kathas reflect socio-political instructions for the King while others remind the reader of important historical event and exploits of the Gods, Heroes and Sages.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

[Ravana in Hinduism glossaries]

Rāvaṇa (रावण, screamer, roarer”):—In Vedic hinduism, he is one of the half-brothers of Kubera. Rāvaṇa drove Kubera away from his capital in Laṅka and took over. Kubera was the Vedic God of wealth presiding over all earthly treasures.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Hinduism

Ravana was a demon king, who had unleashed a reign of terror from his kingdom at Lanka. He abducted Sita, the wife of Rama. Rama invaded Lanka with an army of monkeys and killed Ravana and rescued his wife.

(Source): Apam Napat: Indian Mythology

1) Rāvaṇa is the primary antagonist character of the Hindu epic Ramayana; who was the Rakshasa king of Lanka. In the classic text, he is mainly depicted negatively, kidnapping Rama's wife Sita, to claim vengeance on Rama and his brother Lakshmana for having cut off the nose of his sister Surpanakha. Ravana is described as a devout follower of the god Shiva in addition to his tribe's religious beliefs, a great scholar, a capable ruler and a maestro of the Veena.

2) Rāvaṇa (रावण): King of Lanka who abducted Sita, the beautiful wife of Ramachandra. Ravana is depicted in art with up to ten heads, signifying that he had knowledge spanning all the ten directions.

Etymology: The name 'Ravana' obtains from the root 'ru' 'raavayati iti raavanah' 'one who makes god love by his compassion actions.' The name Ravana obtains from the root, 'Ra' signifies the sun and 'vana' signifies generation according to a nationalist Sinhala scholar, Arisen. Ravana had many other popular names such as Dasis Ravana, Ravan, Raavan, Ravula, Lankeshwar, Ravanaeshwaran all signifying the qualities of his life. Ravana was a cross of Brahmin and Daitya thus attaining a status of BrahmaRakshasa.

(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism

Ravana: Ten-headed demoniac ruler during the time of Lord Rama. (BV-33). Rakshasa Emperor at Lanka (RRV2-2)

(Source): Experience Festival: Hinduism

Rāvaṇa (रावण).—A powerful ten-headed demon king of Laṅkā who wanted to build a staircase to heaven but was killed by Kṛṣṇa in His incarnation as Lord Rāmacandra. The pastime is described in the epic poem Rāmāyaṇa, by the sage Vālmīki.

(Source): ISKCON Press: Glossary

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

[Ravana in Jainism glossaries]

Rāvaṇa (रावण) is the name of the eighth Prativāsudeva according to both Śvetāmbara and Digambara sources. He is also known by the name Laṅkeśa or Daśamukha (‘ten-faced’). Jain legends describe nine such Prativāsudevas (anti-heroes) usually appearing as powerful but evil antagonists instigating Vāsudeva by subjugating large portions of Bharata-land. As such, they are closely related with the twin brothers known as the Vāsudevas (“violent heroes”) and the Baladevas (“gentle heroes”).

According to the Triṣaṣṭiśalākāpuruṣacarita 7.1, the mother of Rāvaṇa (or Daśamukha, Laṅkeśa) is named Ratnaśravas and his mother Kaikasī. Accordingly, “Ratnaśravas gave him the name Daśamukha because his face was united with the nine rubies”. Rāvaṇa has two elder brothers named Bhānukarṇa (or Kumbhakarṇa) and Bibhīṣaṇa, and a sister named Candraṇakhā (or Śūrpaṇakhā).

The Prativāsudevas (such as Rāvaṇa) fight against the twin-heroes with their cakra-weapon but at the final moment are killed by the Vāsudevas. Their stories are narrated in the Triṣaṣṭiśalākāpuruṣacarita (“the lives of the sixty-three illustrious persons”), a twelfth-century Śvetāmbara work by Hemacandra.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Jainism
General definition book cover
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Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

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India history and geogprahy

[Ravana in India history glossaries]

King Ravana of Ramayana era (5677-5577 BCE).—Rajavaliya, a Simhalese chronicle mentions that Simhala king Ravana reined over Sri Lanka around 3609 BCE 1844 years before the 1765 BCE. Historians calculated this date around 2300 BCE considering the date of Buddha nirvana around 483 BCE. Numerous sources and traditions of Sri Lanka also establish that Ravana and Vibhishana were the kings of Sri Lanka. Buddhist text Lankavatara Sutra mentions that Ravana was a great follower of Buddhism. Evidently, Buddhists concocted it to convince the Simhalese people that their great king Ravana also followed Buddhism.

Ravana belonged to Pulastya gotra. The ancestors of Ravana had politically dominated in South India and Sri Lanka during pre-Ramayana era. Valmiki Ramayana informs us that Ravana and Vaishravana were the sons of Vishravas and Kaikesi. Seemingly, Vaishravana became the king of Sri Lanka and Ravana inherited the kingdom of his father in South India. The golden city of Lankapuri was designed and built by Vishvakarma. Lankapuri was the most beautiful city of the world during Ramayana era. Ravana forcibly took over the city of Lankapuri and Pushpaka Vimana from his brother Vaishravana also known as Kubera. Thus, Ravana became the emperor of a vast kingdom extended from Sri Lanka to Dandakaranya of South India.

(Source): academia.edu: The Chronological History of Ancient Sri Lanka
India history book cover
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The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

[Ravana in Pali glossaries]

ravana : (nt.) roaring; howling.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Ravaṇa, (adj. -nt.) (fr. ravati) roaring, howling, singing, only in cpd. °ghaṭa a certain kind of pitcher, where meaning of ravaṇa is uncertain. Only at identical passages (in illustration) Vism. 264=362=KhA 68 (reading peḷā-ghaṭa, but see App. p. 870 ravaṇa°)= VbhA. 68 (where v. l. yavana°, with?). (Page 566)

(Source): Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary
Pali book cover
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Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

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Marathi-English dictionary

[Ravana in Marathi glossaries]

ravānā (रवाना).—p a ind ( P) Set out; started in order to go; departed. v kara & .

--- OR ---

ravānā (रवाना).—m ( P) A pass or a permit.

--- OR ---

rāvaṇa (रावण).—m (S) The sovereign of Lanka or Ceylon, killed by Rama or Ramachandra. Hence, appellatively, a huge and ugly fellow. Pr. rāvaṇāsa bhikēcē ḍōhaḷē Used (in allusion to the legend of Rawan̤'s assuming the garb and air of a beggar to carry off Sita) in predicting, from his adopting low and mean artifices, the ruin or fall of a person. rāvaṇa or rāvaṇācī laṅkā jaḷaṇēṃ The singing or din of the ears when closed up. rāvaṇa mājaṇēṃ-mātaṇēṃ-hōṇēṃ To become very haughty or insolently refractory.

(Source): DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

ravānā (रवाना).—p a ind Set out; departed. n A pass or a permit.

--- OR ---

rāvaṇa (रावण).—m The sovereign of laṅkā. A huge and ugly fellow. rāvaṇa mājaṇēṃ To become very insolent.

(Source): DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

[Ravana in Sanskrit glossaries]

Ravaṇa (रवण).—a. [ru-yuc Uṇ.2.71] Crying, roaring, screaming.

2) Sonorous, sounding; उत्कण्ठावर्धनैः शुभ्रं रवणैरम्बरं ततम् (utkaṇṭhāvardhanaiḥ śubhraṃ ravaṇairambaraṃ tatam) Bk.7.14.

3) Sharp, hot.

4) Fickle, unsteady.

5) Jesting.

-ṇaḥ 1 A camel; स्वनाम निन्ये रवणः स्फुटार्थताम् (svanāma ninye ravaṇaḥ sphuṭārthatām) Śi.12.2.

2) The cuckoo.

3) A bee.

4) Sound.

5) A big cucumber.

-ṇam Brass, bell-metal.

--- OR ---

Rāvaṇa (रावण).—a. [ru-ṇic lyu] Crying, screaming, roaring, bewailing; इत्युक्त्वा परुषं वाक्यं रावणः शत्रुरावणः (ityuktvā paruṣaṃ vākyaṃ rāvaṇaḥ śatrurāvaṇaḥ) Rām.3.56. 26 (com. śatrūn rāvayati krośayati śatrarāvaṇaḥ).

-ṇaḥ Name of a celebrated demon, king of Laṅkā and the chief of the Rākṣhasas; स रावणो नाम निकामभीषणं बभूव रक्षः क्षतरक्षणं दिवः (sa rāvaṇo nāma nikāmabhīṣaṇaṃ babhūva rakṣaḥ kṣatarakṣaṇaṃ divaḥ) Śi.1.48. [He was the son of Viśravas by Keśinī or Kaikaśī and so half-brother of Kuber. He is called Paulastya as being a grandson of the sage Pulastya. Laṅkā was originally occupied by Kubera, but Rāvaṇa ousted him from it and made it his own capital. He had ten heads (and hence his names Daśagrīva, Daśavadana &c.) and twenty arms, and according to some, four legs (cf. R.12.88 and Malli.). He is represented to have practised the most austere penance for ten thousand years in order to propitiate the god Brahman, and to have offered one head at the end of each one thousand years. Thus he offered nine of his heads and was going to offer the tenth when the God was pleased and granted him immunity from death by either god or man. On the strength of this boon he grew very tyrannical and oppressed all beings. His power became so great that even the gods are said to have acted as his domestic servants. He conquered almost all the kings of the day, but is said to have been imprisoned by Kārtavīrya for some time when he went to attack his territory. On one occasion he tried to uplift the Kailāsa mountain, but Śiva pressed it down so as to crush his fingers under it. He, therefore, hymned Śiva for one thousand years so loudly that the God gave him the name Rāvaṇa and freed him from his painful position. But though he was so powerful and invincible, the day of retribution drew near. While Rāma who was Viṣṇu descended on earth for the destruction of this very demon was passing his years of exile in the forest, Rāvaṇa carried off his wife Sītā and urged her to become his wife but she persistently refused and remained loyal to her husband. At last Rāma assisted by his monkey-troops invaded Laṅkā, annihilated Rāvaṇa's troops and killed the demon himself. He was a worthy opponent of Rāma, and hence the expression:-रामरावणयोर्युद्धं रामरावणयोरिव (rāmarāvaṇayoryuddhaṃ rāmarāvaṇayoriva) |].

-ṇam 1 The act of screaming.

2) Name of a Muhūrta.

(Source): DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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Relevant definitions

Search found 598 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Dashamukharavana
Daśamukharāvaṇa (दशमुखरावण).—Rāvaṇa, the enemy of Śrī Rāma. (See under Rāvaṇa).
Ravanari
Rāvaṇāri (रावणारि).—Name of Rāma. Derivable forms: rāvaṇāriḥ (रावणारिः).Rāvaṇāri is a Sanskrit ...
Khadgaravana
Khaḍgarāvaṇa (खड्गरावण) or Khaḍgarāvaṇatantra refers to one of the twenty Bhūtatantras, belongi...
Prataparavana
Pratāparāvaṇa (प्रतापरावण) is the name of an Ayurvedic recipe defined in the fourth volume of t...
Khadgaravana-tantra
Khaḍgarāvaṇatantra (खड्गरावणतन्त्र) or simply Khaḍgarāvaṇa refers to one of the twenty Bhūtatan...
Sita
Śīta (शीत, “cold”) refers to one of the eight kinds of Vīrya (potency), representing characteri...
Vibhishana
Vibhīṣaṇa (विभीषण) participated in the war between Rāma and Rāvaṇa, on the side of the latter, ...
Rama
1) Rāma (राम) is the son of king Daśaratha who was sent to the forest with his wife Sītā and hi...
Shurpanakha
Śūrpaṇakhā (शूर्पणखा).—Rāvaṇa’s sister.Viśravas, son of Brahmā and Kaikasī daughter of Sumālī l...
Jatayu
Jaṭāyu (जटायु) or Jaṭāyus was slain by Rāvaṇa, according to in the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 51...
Lanka
Laṅkā (लङ्का).—The hypothetical place on the equator where the meridian of Ujjain intersects it...
Kumbhakarna
Kumbhakarṇa (कुम्भकर्ण).—Genealogy. Descended from Viṣṇu thus: Brahmā—Pulastya—Viśravas—Kumbhak...
Shuka
Śuka (शुक) participated in the war between Rāma and Rāvaṇa, on the side of the latter, as menti...
Marica
Mārīca (मारीच) or Mārīcasaṃhitā is the name of a Vaiṣṇava Āgama scripture, classified as a rāja...
Jaya
Jayā (जया) is another name for Kapikacchu, a medicinal plant identified with Mucuna pruriens (v...

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