• Ravana did many adharmas and got curses which let to the entire destruction of the asura race and him.


  • How many curses were given to ravana and what were the reasons for giving them to him ?

3 Answers 3


In this chapter of the Yuddha Kanda of the Ramayana, right before deciding to wake up Kumbakarna, Ravana enumerates various curses that he's received which have led up to the defeat he is now experiencing:

All that great penance performed by me became a waste indeed, for, I who am equal to Mahendra the Lord of Celestials have been defeated by a mere man! The terrible words of Brahma the Lord of Creation saying, 'You know of the threat from men' appear true. That is so. I sought immunity from death at the hands of celestials, titans or celestials musicians, or semi divine beings or demons or serpent-demons, but of man I made no mention. Rama the son of Dasaratha is the man I think of whom Anaranya born of Ikshvaku dynasty formerly spoke, saying: 'O, the worst of demons, the worst of your race and the wretched one! In my race will be born a man who will slay you in battle with your sons, ministers, army, horses and charioteer. Further, I was formerly cursed by Vedavati when she was humiliated by me. The same Vedavati is born as the highly fortunate Seetha the daughter of Janaka. What was predicted by Parvati the consort of Shiva, Nandishvara the attendant of Shiva, Rambha the wife of Nalakubara and Punjikasthala the daughter of Varunda has come to pass! The words of the sages never prove false.

Let me enumerate them more systematically:

  1. In this chapter of the Uttara Kanda of the Ramayana, Ravana goes to the Sharavana forest, the birthplace of Shiva's son Kartikeya, and he mocks Nandi for having a monkey-like face. So Nandi curses him to be defeated by a race of monkeys:

    As O Dasanana, deriding me for my monkey like form, thou hast indulged in a laughter resembling the bursting of thunder, so Vanaras endowed with prowess, and possessed of my form and energy shall be born for compassing the destruction, of thy race. And armed with teeth and claws, and fierce and furnished with the fleetness of thought, and mad for encounter, and bursting with vigor, and resembling moving mountains. And being born, they shall crush thy high pride and power along with thy courtiers and sons.

  2. In the next chapter of the Uttara Kanda of the Ramayana, Ravana attempts to ravish Brihaspati's granddaughter Vedavati, but she commits suicide to prevent that and she curses him right before she dies:

    Thou abject, having been outraged by thee I wish not to live. Therefore, O Raksha, I will enter into fire in thy very presence. And as I have in this world been dishonored by thee thou at nefarious. I shall again be born to compass thy destruction. It lieth not in a female to slay a male intent on sin; and if I utter a curse, it shall cost my asceticism. But if I have done anything, given away any thing, offered obtations unto the fire, then I shall be the chaste daughter of some virtous person, albeit unborn of any female vessel.

    As I discuss in this answer, Vedavati was reborn as a Sita lookalike and let to Ravana's demise.

  3. In another chapter of the Uttara Kanda of the Ramayana, Ravana kills Anaranya king of Ayodhya, who curses Ravana to be killed by a future descendant of Anaranya:

    If I have practised charity, if I have offered oblations into fire, if I have carried on pious, penances, if I have governed my people well, then be my words verified! There shall spring in the line of the high souled Ikshwaku, one named Rama son unto Dasaratha, who shall deprive thee of thy life.

But the ultimate curse which led to Rama killing Ravana is the curse of the Sanatkumaras on Jaya and Vijaya, which I discuss in my answer here.

  • 1
    Fabulous compilation Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 10:13
  • What about the Parvati part? In your quote Ravan mentioned Parvati depicting his downfall. Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 19:27

RAvana had a curse from Nalakuvera, according to which he cannot approach an unwilling woman. Upon doing so, his head would burst. This refrence was used by lord Brahma to prove Sita's purity to Shri RAma, who was unwilling to accept Sita:

And Brahma himself then said, '... The wretch, however, abducted Sita for his own destruction. And as regards Sita, I protected her through Nalakuvera's curse. For that person had cursed Ravana of old, saying, that if he ever approached an unwilling woman, his head should certainly be split into a hundred fragments. Let no suspicion, therefore, be thine! O thou of great glory, accept thy wife! [MahAbhArata - Vana Parva]


I have summarized Puranic Encyclopaedia page 646-647 for easier reading. Ravana had invited on his head eighteen shapa (curses) as follows:

(i) Ravana once insulted Rambha, the betrothed wife of Nalakubara during her tour at a place near Alaka. On hearing about the insult Nalakubara cursed that Ravana should die with his ten heads broken.

(ii) While Vedavati, the only daughter of sage Kusadhvaja, was doing tapas to secure Sri Madhava as her husband. Ravana committed rape on her and she cursed him thus : "You and your family will be ruined by Lord Narayana on account of me."

(iii) He invited a Vedic brahmin to install the idol of Tripurasundari given to him by Siva. As the brahmin happened to be a bit late to come, Ravana imprisoned him for seven days, and the old brahmin cursed that Ravana would be imprisoned seven months by a man.

(iv) For calling Nandikesvara 'monkey' at Kailasa, Nandikesvara cursed that Ravana and his kingdom would be destroyed by monkeys.

(v) As Vasistha refused Ravana 's invitation to teach the Vedas etc. he took the former captive. When he was released from captivity by the solar King Kuvalayasva, Vasistha cursed that Ravana and his family would be destroyed by those born in the solar dynasty.

(vi) Ravana once saw sage Astavakra at Slesmataka and gave him a kick saying, 'Oh ! handsome fellow ! I shall cure your eight hunches", and the sage cursed Ravana as follows : For kicking me, a poor innocent sage, you will be kicked from head to foot and foot to head by monkeys."

(vii) Ravana once poured on his own head water kept purified by mantras by Dattatreya to bathe the head of his Guru, and the latter cursed that Ravana's head would be polluted by the feet of monkeys,

(viii) When Ravana molested and wounded the lips of Dvaipayana's sister in his own presence he cursed that Ravana's sister would be mutilated by a man and he would be humiliated by monkeys.

(ix) Ravana cruelly manhandled Mandavya maharsi, then the latter cursed that Ravana too would be roughly handled by a monkey.

(x) Ravana once dragged by hair the wife of Atri in his very presence, and Atri cursed that Ravana will have to witness his wife being denuded of her dress and dragged by the hair by monkeys.

(xi) Narada refused to explain the meaning of 'Om' to Ravana and the latter threatened to cut the tongue of Narada. Narada then cursed that all the ten heads of Ravana would be cut by a man.

(xii) Ravana once raped Madanamaiijari, wife of Rtuvarman, and the latter cursed that Ravana would be killed by a man.

(xiii) Once maharsi Maudgalya was sitting in the svastika pose resting his neck on the yogadanda (a short stick-like piece of wood with a handle) Ravana happened to come there and he cut into two the yogadanda with his Candrahasa (sword) with the result that the maharsi fell down with face upwards and broke his back-bone. The maharsi then cursed that Ravana's Candrahasa would prove ineffective in future.

(xiv) Certain young brahmin girls who had gone for sea-bath were humiliated by Ravana in the presence of their mothers when they cursed that the wife of Ravana would be insulted in his very presence by monkeys.

(xv) Ravana once humiliated Svahadevi, wife of Agni in his very presence and Agni cursed that Ravana's wife would be humiliated by monkeys in his presence.

(xvi) Ravana killed by one blow on his chest King Anaranya of the solar dynasty who sought refuge with him, and the King cursed that Ravana would die with all his ten heads cut by the arrows of a prince of the solar dynasty.

(xvii) When Ravana was about to return after conquering Devaloka and taking the devas captives, Sulekhadevi, daughter of Brhaspati tried to take shelter somewhere when Ravana attempted to catch her by force. Then Brhaspati cursed that Ravana would die hit by the arrows of Rama.

(xviii) Ravana tried to humiliate Punjikadevi, daughter of Brahma, and the latter cursed that Ravana would die with all his ten heads broken if he touched unwilling women.

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