When Ravana was the greatest worshipper of Lord Shiva, why could not he pick up Shiva's bow during mother Sita's svayamwar?

And is Ravana rightly termed to be the cruelest and most wicked rakshasa?

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    Welcome to Hinduism.SE! Ravana going to Sita's Swamvara isn't mentioned in the Valmiki Ramayana. It may be mentioned in some later versions though. – Keshav Srinivasan Feb 9 '16 at 16:49
  • Welcome too sir....but how can it happen that shiva's greatest devotee didnt attend the ceremony involving shiva's gifted bow – Sachin Bahukhandi Feb 9 '16 at 16:53
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    Why do you think ravana should have lifted the bow?Just because he was the greatest devotee??It was not destined to be thats why it did not happen.BTW, Ravana's ego was too much inflated.Thats the main reason why he wasn"t successful. – Rickross Feb 9 '16 at 18:05
  • And is Ravana rightly termed to be the cruelest and most wicked rakshasa? At his time. We have new contenders now. – sv. Feb 9 '16 at 18:14
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    @SachinBahukhandi Vibhishana warns and pleads Ravana not to bring the downfall of Lanka and to stop listening to corrupt ministers who always support whatever he (Ravana) says. He tells him to return Sita and save Lanka but he doesn't listen. It all ends well though, since Rama appoints Vibhishana, the saner of the 3 brothers, as the new king after Ravana's death. Now would a good king worry about his own selfish interests or think more of the safety of his people and kingdom? See this answer on why Ravana did not touch Sita; it's not out of his goodness. – sv. Feb 9 '16 at 20:38

Sita's svayamwar does not happen according to Valmiki Ramayana.

Janaka decided to offer his daughter Sita to a person who can able to strings the bowstring of that bow of Shiva. Many kings failed to achieve this and the name of Ravana is not at all mentioned.

"Hers is a non-uterine birth as she surfaced from the surface of the earth, but fostered as my own soul-born girl and I determined [to giver her in marriage to a bridegroom where his] boldness is the only bounty, [I receive in that marriage...] [1-66-14b, 15a]

"Oh, eminent sage, as my daughter has surfaced from the surface of earth and has come of age, the kings, [having heard my declaration that the bounty for Seetha is boldness alone,] have come and besought for her... [1-66-15b, 16a]

"To all of those kings who are beseeching for the girl, I have not given my daughter, saying that she will be given for a bounty of boldness... [1-6-16b, 17a]

"Then all the kings convoked and on arriving at Mithila, then they wanted to ascertain the calibre [of the bow, vis-a-vis their own...] [1-66-17b, 18a]

For them, those who wanted to ascertain the calibre of the bow, that bow of Shiva is fetched to their proximity, but they are incapable to joggle it, or even to catch hold of it... [1-66-18b, 19a]

[Sarga 66 : Bala Kanda : Valmiki Ramayana]

While showing it to Rama and Lakshmana, Janaka announces that he will offer her daughter if Rama can able to do it

"Oh, tigerly sage this is that supremely radiant bow, and oh, saint of sacred vows, I will show it, even to Rama and Lakshmana... [1-66-25b, 26a]

"If Rama strings the bowstring of that bow, oh, sage, I will offer my daughter, whose birth is non-uterine, to Dasharatha's Rama..." [So said Janaka to Vishvamitra.] [1-66-26b, c]

[Sarga 66 : Bala Kanda : Valmiki Ramayana]

Ravana is rightly termed as wicked Rakshasa. An event justifies it is carrying away Sita forcefully by Deception

....And from Janasthana, that mighty Rakshasa monarch, the wicked Ravana, carried away his (Rama's) queen by stratagem and force, deceiving, O sinless one, that foremost of men, through the agency of a Rakshasa, Maricha, who assumed the form of a deer marked with gem-like and golden spots.

[SECTION CXLVI: Tirtha-yatra Parva: Vana Parva : The Mahabharata]

Ravana is rightly termed as cruel. Ravishing Ramba is one such example of his cruelty. Along with it, his cruelty can be justified from his following statements to Sita

"O Seetha with best complexion! Whatever limit has been made by me to you, those two months are protectable to me. Thereafter ascend my bed. Above two months you not desiring me as husband will be killed in my kitched for my breakfast."[8,9]

[Sarge 22 : Sundara Kanda : Valmiki Ramayana]

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