It is often heard that Raavan was one of great person to live. He was expert in Vedas, and other scriptures. He was sitar player. However, I'm not able to find any scriptures' details to ascertain this. So far, I have found that Raavan was adharmi right from birth, perhaps the most evil Rakshash ever born (although not the most powerful one : Valmiki Ramayan, Uttarkand, Ashtam sarg, Shlok 24)

For example, Raavan had no knowledge of Bhagwan Shankar, even after receiving boon from Brahma. His ignorance of Shiva's great powers and that he was savior of Rakshash clan is clearly exposed in Valmiki Ramayan, Uttarkand, Sarga 16. How could such an ignorant be a great scholar?

My question is not limited to just ved gyaan. What were his dharmik or positive qualities if any (besides his tap for brahma and Mahadev, and a fierce warrior)? Did he ever help someone or did positive acts? Thank you.

  • 1
    The only positive act he did was probably to fight with God to get his grace.
    – Adiyarkku
    Jul 10, 2021 at 6:05
  • Most of his greatness's are present in the four-five chapters starting from here
    – hanugm
    Jul 10, 2021 at 23:22
  • 3
    But, in sanathan dharma, reading scripture, possessing skills or doing tapas for boon are never considered as ultimate or in-fact great. Only character and the consequential knowledge of a character are of prime importance.
    – hanugm
    Jul 10, 2021 at 23:25
  • Very True. It is like learning to be an engineer but using knowledge to build weapons to hurt people or self benefit
    – sbharti
    Jul 11, 2021 at 8:30
  • he was sitar player Veena, probably. The sitar is a relatively new instrument. Jun 29, 2022 at 10:36

2 Answers 2


How could such an ignorant be a great scholar?

Indeed, Ravana was chaturvedi pandit and well versed in Shadanga of vedas. But, this is just because he was born in Brahmin Kula, thus following Brahmin dharma of Vedapath, and sandhya was his dharma and he was ought to do it! Thus, he was a bestest of Ghanapathi (घणपाठम् - a branch of vedic rendition).
His father Visravas was a vedic scholar as he was the grandson of Brahmā. This can be found in padma puran.

Padma puran, 5th Skandha, Chapter 6-

“O king, Brahmā brought forth the creation. His son was Pulastya. From him was born Viśravas, conversant with the Vedic lore. He had two wives, who were of a chaste conduct. The name of one was Mandākinī, and the other one was known as Kaikasī. 

So, no doubt if Ravana was such well versed in Vedas, as he ia the great grandson of Brahmā himself.

In Valmiki Ramayana, Yuddha Khanda, Rām says this to Vibhishana regarding Ravana after he dies,

एषोहिताग्निश्च महातपाश्च |
वेदन्तगः कर्मसु चाग्र्यशूरः |
एतस्य यत्प्रेतगतस्य कृत्यं |
तत्कर्तुमिच्छामि तव प्रसादात् || ६-१०९-२३
"He maintained a perpetually sacred fire. he practised great religious austerities. He completely mastered Vedas, the sacred scriptures. He was highly proficient even in the ritual acts. I desire to do, with you graciousness, that which is to be performed to him, who has departed to the other world."

But does that make him a hero? Never.

Padma puran 5th skanda, chapter 7- Agastya said,

You killed that demon born in the stock of a brāhmaṇa demon. You overthrew that lord of demons, the son of Pulastya, who troubled the entire world.

Thus, thou he was a Brahmin he was demon. By doing Ghanapath he was just doing his Dharma, no wonder.

This can be explained as said in Bhagwat Geeta, chapter 7, shlok 4 & 5-

यः शास्त्रविधिमुत्सृज्य वर्तते कामकारतः।
न स सिद्धिमवाप्नोति न सुखं न परां गतिम्।।
Ignoring the precept of the scriptures, he who acts under the impulsion of passion, he does not attain perfection, nor happiness, nor the supreme Goal.

तस्माच्छास्त्रं प्रमाणं ते कार्याकार्यव्यवस्थितौ।
ज्ञात्वा शास्त्रविधानोक्तं कर्म कर्तुमिहार्हसि।।
Therefore, the scripture is your authority as regards the determination of what is to be done and what is not to be done. After understanding (your) duty as presented by scriptural injunction, you ought to perform (your duty) here

That's exactly what Ravana did. He just blimdly followed scriptures, he did it with a sense of duty without putting heart and soul into it. Indeed he was a great Shiv Bhakta, wrote various tantras too.

Don't know why everyone hypes so much about Ravana being proficient Ghanapathi. Banasur too worshipped Shiva with vedic hymns, Narakasur was the foremost tantric sadhaka of Kamakhya, Mahishasur too was the devotee of Devi.

Anyways back to discussion,

In Yudh khand Mandodari laments over Ravana's death in such a way,

इन्द्रियाणि पुरा जित्वा जितन् त्रिभुवणं त्वया |
स्मरद्भिरिव तद्वैरमिन्द्रियैरेव निर्जितः || ६-१११-१८
"In the past, by performing a great penance, you conquered the senses and conquered the three worlds. Now, as if revenging that enmity, those very senses conquered you."

ओजसा दृप्तवाक्यानां वक्तारं रिपुसंनिधौ || ६-१११-५२
स्वयूथभृत्यगोप्तारं हन्तारंभीमकर्मणाम् |
"He used to utter arrogant words with vigour in the presence of his enemies. He was the protector for his troop and his servants. He was the killer of those who indulged in terrible acts."

नैकयज्ञविलोप्तारं त्रातारं स्वजनस्य च || ६-१११-५४
धर्मव्यवस्थाभेत्तारं मायास्रष्टारमाहवे |
"My husband ruined several sacrificial performances. He was the protector of his own people. He violated the moral order. He violated the moral order. He created conjuring tricks on the battle-field."

देवासुरनृकन्यानामाहर्तारं ततस्ततः || ६-१११-५५
शत्रुस्त्रीशोकदातारं नेतारं स्वजनस्य च |
"He used to bring the virgin-daughters of gods, demons and human beings from here and there. He brought mourning to his enemy's wives. He was the leader of his own people."

लङ्काद्वीपस्य गोप्तारं कर्तारं भीमकर्मणाम् || ६-१११-५६
अस्माकं कामभोगानां दातारं रथिनां वरम् |
"He was the protector of the island of Lanka. He was the doer of terrible deeds. He was the bestower of desires and sensual gratifications to us. He was excellent among the chariot-warriors."

She mentiones him to be Jityendriya, the best leader, and protector of Lanka, and who gave sensual gratification.
But, the if you see closely you will find that Mandodari though praising him, she mentiones more vices than virtues. Since, he thought only about himself and his clan. Nothing else ! This can be a good trait, but he risked whole world for it. That's not acceptable.

Yet to say, Ranava is a Gana of Mahadeva, and also one of his Vahana in utsavams.

enter image description here

Sundareshwar samet Shree Meenakshi devi on Ravana vahana, at Madurai, Chitrai Utsavam.

Arunchaleshwar with his consort on Ravana vahana, Arunachal Brahmotsavam.

कालिकार्पणमस्तु । 🌺

  • Actually what I have heard from some vedic chanters and sanskrit scholars is that ravana was the first one to see/find the ghanapatha. I don't know about authenticity of this statement.
    – LSSJ Broly
    Jun 27, 2022 at 11:49
  • Btw, as mentioned in your answer, can you list out some tantras which ravana wrote?
    – LSSJ Broly
    Jun 27, 2022 at 11:50
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    @LSSJBroly There r many proofs & thus a conclusion is derived tht Ravana Samhita was indeed written by Ravan. The 'मेघनाद विराचीतम्' which you told, actually comes frm a book which is highly interploted. It is the same book which included Shabar mantras, I have seen the book myself, n its fake. Theres an authentic book wid, w 2 w translation given & in preface the author has explaind how Ravan Samhita is written by Ravan himself & spoken by Dakshinamurti prabhu.Probably, it can make a new thread on it on HSE.So, rest assured I found facts true & thus Ravan Samhita is written by Ravana himself. Jun 28, 2022 at 4:43
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    @LSSJBroly exoticindiaart.com/book/details/ravana-samhita-haa168 , It's visible for a fews pages alas. Read the preface, it clearly says all this was written by Ravana but, Meghanad just had compiled it and put to public. Thus the tag, 'मेघनाद विरचितम्'. Where actually it should be Ravan virachitim 😅. Also, as I said it to says that Ravana wrote extensively on Politics and Ayurveda, but majority of txts couldn't be found anywhere. The author is from Kashi, and thus the authenticity of what he quotes in book is unquestionable. Jun 28, 2022 at 5:32
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    Thanks :D and especially thank you for clarifying that this book is fake.exoticindiaart.com/book/details/…
    – LSSJ Broly
    Jun 28, 2022 at 17:11

I too don't recall reading any such 'Dharmic' qualities in Ravana. He r*pes woman, plunders from innocent. In fact, even the assumption that Shiva Tandava Stothram was his creation, was probably apocryphal.

Most of these distortions are leftist propaganda. I think it's called normative inversion. Since they cannot directly attack Rama, they want to elevate his enemy.

  • In Ramayan there is no mention of Shiv tandav strotam. Nowhere it says he's shiv bhakt (or bhakt of any god for that matter) .
    – sbharti
    Jul 10, 2021 at 20:35
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    @sbharti There are traditions, pre-modern, of Ravana being considered as a devotee of Siva. For instance, in Srisailam, there is a seva called Ravana vahana seva. In some temple architecture too, he is depicted as a devotee of Siva. Whether these traditions are derived from any scriprures, I do not know.
    – user23407
    Jul 11, 2021 at 1:51
  • Yes I do believe tradition counts and maybe even more than book because tradition is a living entity, hundreds or possibly thousands of years. Many times we are not able to find scriptures about them. Hopefully "historical notings" about the tradition can put more light on them.
    – sbharti
    Jul 11, 2021 at 8:24

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