[This is a question I'd asked on Yahoo! Answers some time ago which did not elicit any particularly helpful responses thereat.]

Both the thousand-armed Hehaya king Kārtavīryārjuna and the ten-headed Rākṣasa Rāvaṇa are said to have conquered the entire universe at some point, subduing even the gods in the heavens themselves; and each one of them was eventually defeated and killed by an avatāra [incarnation] of the god Viṣṇu [Vishnu]. Kārtavīryārjuna supposedly ruled the world, from his capital of Māhiṣmatī, for 86,000 years! Also he once captured and imprisoned Rāvaṇa for an entire year before Rāvaṇa's grandfather Pulastya brokered his grandson's release and Kārtavīryārjuna and Rāvaṇa became friends for life. So how can they both have ruled the universe if they lived in the same time-period (and especially considering the extraordinary length of Kārtavīryārjuna's reign)? Did they share the throne, or alternate their rule, at any point?

Since Kārtavīryārjuna was killed by Viṣṇu's 6th avatāra, Paraśurāma, while Rāvaṇa was killed by Viṣṇu's 7th avatāra, Rāma (or Rāmacandra), then eventually Rāvaṇa must have been emperor for a while after Kārtavīryārjuna's death. But what about when both emperors were alive, and friends?

And how does Kārtavīryārjuna's conquest of the universe fit in to the story about the foundation of the kingdom of Laṅkā, when Rāvaṇa's grandfather Sumali and Sumali's brothers Mali and Malyavan attacked Devāloka, the home of the gods, and were killed by Viṣṇu? Was Kārtavīryārjuna ruling over Devāloka at the time of the three brothers' attack?

  • Kartavirya conquered only the earth as far as I know; He didn't go to other lokas.
    – Surya
    Commented Jun 14, 2016 at 9:28
  • I think that maybe Ravana ruled hell & heaven, but Kartavirya ruled the earth. Commented Nov 5, 2017 at 13:44
  • related hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/23261/…
    – YDS
    Commented Jan 22, 2022 at 14:07
  • Ravana was the strongest of his time... Sri Rama killed him. The story of Lartavirya defeating Ravana comes in Uttarkand (Book 7) od Ramayana...The Book 7 of Ramayana is a later addition amd not a part of Original Valmiki Ramayana.
    – Singh S1
    Commented Jan 23 at 7:53

4 Answers 4


Ravana miserably lost to Chandravanshi dynasty King Kartaviryarjuna in Mahishmati, present-day Maheshwar in Madhya Pradesh state. Ravana's grandfather Rishi Pulastya had to request Kartaviryarjuna to release Ravana from captivity [Ref: Ramayana 7.36-38].


Karthiveerarjuna won over ravana hence all other worlds were pleased he never attacked devloka or other spaces. He ruled on earth.whereas Ravan won Indra too. Ravan hence ruled earth,devlok and pathal lok (by default, since he was not just ravan..he was Ravanasura..an assured or one who dwells in patjala) Source: Ramayana and Parusurama stories

  • 2
    Welcome to Hinduism SE. You should site sources. Commented Jun 14, 2016 at 9:52

Kartavira Arjun was younger than Ravana. He is supposed to have subdued Ravana when he was married and Ravana was still a teenager then. Wikipedia doesn't mention their friendship. Kartavira Arjun must have grown at a faster pace than Ravan because of the blessings of Lord Dattatreya.

Abridged from : https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kartavirya_Arjuna

  • 1
    Welcome to Hinduism.SE. The references from Wikipedia are not considered standard as they can be edited and manipulated. Please cite reliable sources :)
    – ABcDexter
    Commented Jun 16, 2016 at 2:47

This katha of Arjun and Ravana, comes in Uttara kand of Valmiki Ramāyan chapter 31-33, Ravan was captured by Arjun, then rishi pulastya saved him. I don't know how authentic this katha is. and you will find this katha in several puran also.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .