Powerful Indian DEMON who is lord and master of the fearsome RAKSHASAS. Ravana’s parents are Visravas and Nikasha, descendants of the first demons created. Ravana is equal in stature to SATAN. He and his hordes of demons live on the island of Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon).
   Ravana has 10 heads, 20 arms, copper-colored eyes, bright teeth, and a huge form. His body is covered with the scars of battle wounds. He can stand as tall as a mountain and with a single look stop the Sun and Moon in their paths. He breaks all laws and ravishes any woman of his choice. He has a regal bearing.
   The Ramayana tells a great deal about Ravana. The city of Lanka, solid gold, was built by Visva-Karma for Ravana’s half brother, Kuvera. Ravana overthrew him and stole his magical chariot, which he uses to leave the island and stir up trouble in the world.
   Ravana has a trickster side to him. He spent years in penance to Brahma, then forced the great god to repay him by making him invulnerable to all the gods. Then he declared war on the gods, who could not defeat him. He captured many of them, forcing them into servitude on Lanka. Eventually they escaped and plotted their revenge.
   Ravana went next to Siva and did penance, hoping for the favor of immortality. He stood on one of his heads for 1,000 years. Siva was unmoved. Ravana cut off the head and stood on another one for 1,000 years. This went on until Ravana had exhausted all of his heads, and it seemed that he would have to cut off the last one. Siva at last granted Ravana immortality, the most beautiful woman in the world, and the sacred phallus, Atmalingham, for his mother. The boons were short-lived, however, for Siva tricked Ravana on his return to Lanka and forced him to return all the favors.
   Ravana declared war on the gods again. Still unable to defeat him because of his invulnerability, they appealed to Vishnu for help. Vishnu cut himself into quarters, each of which became mortal. The strongest and purest was Rama, who had the power to kill Ravana.
   Ravana kidnapped Rama’s wife, Sita, and imprisoned her on Lanka. He threatened to eat her unless she agreed to marry him. Sita held him off long enough for Rama to build a bridge to Lanka, where Rama engaged in battles with Ravana. Finally, Rama shot an arrow clean through the demon, killing him.

Encyclopedia of Demons and Demonology. . 2009.

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