Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Modern legend has it that he was born in his father's hermitage located at the village 'Bisrakh' in Ghaziabad , India. Ravana was married to Mandodari , the daughter of the celestial architect Maya. Meghanada, also known as Indrajeet was their son.
Ravana is depicted in art with up to ten heads, signifying that he had knowledge spanning all the ten directions. He was an accomplished scholar and a Veena player. The demon gained enormous powers when he prayed to Brahma, who granted him a boon. Ravana wished that his life be protected from Devas (divinities), Asuras (enemies of the Devas), Rakshasas (demons), Gandharvas (celestial musicians), Yakshas (demigods), or other celestials or magical beings. In his arrogance, Ravana forgot to ask for protection from man. After gaining such immense powers he turned evil and selfish.
The Suras then had a conference to establish a way to end the evil of Ravana. It was then decided that it had to be done by a human.
To kill the evil Ravana, Vishnu assumed a human form and incarnated as Rama. Ravana captured Sita, Rama's wife. In order to retrieve Sita, Rama leads an army of both humans and monkeys (Vanaras) to destroy Ravana. Sugriva and Hanuman were the major helpers. The occasion of Ravana's death (i.e victory of good over evil) is celebrated as Dussehra (also spelled Dussera). On this day, effigies of Ravana are publicly burnt.
Ravana was a great devotee of Shiva and is supposed to have composed the Shiva tandava stotra . But his actions and behavior show that "piety without virtue is useless".
In the Ramakien, the Thai version of the Ramayana, Ravana is also called Tosakanth.
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