King Raavan

You must already know about King Raavan, but here is a beautiful episode of his life which you are probably not aware of.

One day, King Raavan and his wife Mandodari sat in their flying vehicle ‘Pushpak’ and went to Ashtapad tirth (a pilgrimage mountain range). King Bharat had built a beautiful Jain temple on top of this tirth. There, King Raavan, along with his subjects, worshipped Lord Shiv. Great devotion for the Lord arose in his heart, and he asked for a ‘veena’ (a string instrument). He strummed the ‘veena’ with his fingers and began to sing hymns devotedly.

Just then, the serpent king, Dharnendra Dev, arrived and after bowing down to all the twenty four Tirthankars, he sat down next to Raavan. Raavan asked him about the importance of Ashtapad tirth. The serpent king related the importance to him. Upon hearing the importance, Raavan’s heartfelt devotion increased greatly and he began to sing hymns with elation and bliss. While strumming the ‘veena’, he became so engrossed in his devotion that it felt as though he had become one with the Lord.

Then, all of a sudden, one of the strings of the ‘veena’ broke and it could no longer be played. Raavan’s eyes opened. Raavan thought, “Oh! May the flow of devotional hymns not break!”, so he immediately slit his own hand, pulled out a vein from within, fixed it in place of the broken string and continued the devotional hymns. It was as if the string had not broken and he once again became deeply engrossed in his devotion for the Lord. His devotion for the Tirthankars reached such a high level that he charged the ‘Tirthankar Naamkarma’ (karma to become a Tirthankar in the future). Upon seeing this, the celestial beings showered flowers on Raavan and praised his devotion.

So friends, if one’s intentions spoil, then one gets a lower life form, and if one’s intentions are noble or good, then one gets a higher life form. King Raavan will become a Tirthankar in the next cycle of twenty four Tirthankars. Therefore, on ‘Dusshera’ day, one should not burn Raavan’s effigy or enjoy watching it burn either.