Ravanan was well known for his talent in playing Veena. It is said that he even pleased lord shiva with his ability to play veena so beautifully. He played the hastha veena which later became the ravana hastha veena, now a popular fiddle of western India. Ravana was one of the greatest brahmins of his day. It is said that when shiva and parvathi built a golden palace they decided to call upon the greatest Brahmin in the world to do the house warming ceremony and it was none other than ravanan. The latter part of the story goes that when parvathi gave him a boon, he asked for the palace itself and the palace and the land bearing that palace was cursed by parvathi. The curse was: “This palace and all those who live in this land shall always remain in conflict”. Thus giving us the modern srilanka. He also had the Navagrahas at his command. Overall ravanan’s character was a perfect amalgam of both brahmin’s characters (knowledge and greatness) and rakshasa characters (strength and valor). Truly a warrior one does not want to oppose unless one is Lord Rama.
Now for the story, Ravana was a happy father when he heard that his daughter sita married Lord Rama. But his happiness was short lived for rama was sent in exile and sita followed him into the forest for the 14 years exile. It was hell for Ravanan who could not take any action, because to the outside world he had nothing to do with Sita but as a father he could not just sit around and see his daughter suffer in the forests. Ravanan was forced to sit in silence. But he was so furious with Bharatha and his mother. It was then that the news reached him. Bharatha had followed Ram into the forests and offered the throne to Ram. Ram had graciously forgiven both baratha and his mother and sent bharatha back to the kingdom with the promise that he would return in 14 years. This calmed ravanan a bit. His anger over bharatha did reduce but still could not accept the fact that his daughter sita was suffering in the forests. His sorrow grew so much that he began to mumble her name even in sleep. It is to be noted that mandodari did not know any thing about sita. When she got consciousness and enquired about the baby Ravanan was forced to lie that the baby was born dead. Else she would never accept to part with the baby. So now when she heard him mumbling ‘sita… sita…’ in his sleep she assumed that sita was his love interest and picked up a fight with ravanan and he mamaged the situation by saying “that was the name I gave our 1st baby who passed away as soon as she was born”. Mandothari believed it totally. Ravanan started believing that he could not do anything to protect his daughter when all of a sudden shurpanaka, his sister, came wailing to him. As fate would have it she had met none other than Sita, Ram, Lakshman in the woods. She was awestruck with Ram and Lakshman’s charm. So she had requested Ram to marry her but he turned down the request saying he was married and then she approached Lakshman with a similar request and again was turned down. She was so furious with sita because she thought that if it were not for sita she could have married Ram. When she tried to attack Sita, Lakshman attacked surpanaka and she retreated into the woods wailing in pain. She went straight to Ravanan and complained about Ram and Lakshman. Ravanan was furious with Shurpanaka for having tried to attack his own daughter…
… to be continued.