Chapter 6
RAVANA: A NON VIOLENT "GANA-NAYAKA", (CHIEF OF REPUBLICS) CONTEMPORARY WITH THE BUDDHA.

Sidhartha Gautam Buddha and Ravana were contemporary. The principle of the Dhamma of Buddha and culture of "Rakshas" of Ravana were more or less similar. The Brahmins' culture of Ashrams had spread their web throughout the area to spread their concept of God and Yajnayas over the Adivasi thereby causing great danger to the traditions of Adivasi republics. There was a great conspiracy by the Vedic Rishis to start the internal revolt and struggle amongst different Adivasi republics because in North India the Buddhists created a strong influence. The Aryans had prepared themselves to oppose the Buddhist challenges.

Mahatma Ravana was a great world renowned hero of the Raksha Gana. Walmiki himself has called him Mahatma. Ravana was grand son of Pulsta and son of Wirsawa. In the Adivasi language Koytur "Pulai" means lion. The totem of Pulstya was lion. Trunbindu was wife of Pulstya. Wirsawa, whose other name was Kubara Virendu, had a wife Kakeya and Ravana was their son. The name Ravana has originated from their totem, though the complete name of Ravana is different. Ramdeo Paswan in his book "bharat se Arya", mentioned full name of Ravana to be "Raujaner Varendu Narendar" (RaVaNa) and its short form was Ravana. [Dalit Voice, May 1-15, 1998] His wife Mandodari was daughter of Danava named as Maya. The Rakshas Gana of the Ravana belonged to Daitya race and his mother also belonged to the same race.

Ravana was a very powerful hero of battles. He had only one mouth two hands and two legs. Aryan Pundits depicted him in a corrupt form to the society out of hate and contempt.

The real enemy of Aryans until then were the Indigenous people in this country and therefore they were called Rakshasas and Daityas. Ravana being in the Daityas race and Rakshasa Gana he was depicted to have 10 mouths. In this connection H. D. Sankaliya observed:

Ramdas's important contribution was to show that Ravana and his kith and kin were ordinarily human beings and Ravana had only one head, two arms and two feet. [p. 47, "Ramayana Myth or Reality]

As Ravana was very brave and powerful warrior he was compared with the powerful star in the sky and 10 th being himself, he was called Dash Mukha as a rhetoric. Another idea of calling him Dashmukh was he was strong enough to beat 10 wrestlers at a time. Mahatma Buddha was also called "Dash Tathagata Balopen" because he was endowed with 10 "balas". Similarly, Ravana had 10 powers and hence he was called Dashmukha.

Mahatma Ravana was black and very handsome, smiling, humorous and brave hero full of power and enthusiasm. Walmiki has himself described Ravana as a great scholar, great saint, a lenient and kind hearted savour of the people, a powerful warrior, was full of piety to others, very truthful and supporter of justice, equality and non violence. In the "Lanka Avatar Sutra" of Bengali Ramayana, Ravana is describes as a great philosopher like Aristotle and Plato. A scholar by name Kirthwas has observed that Ravana was ruling his subjects with love and affection and was highly respected by his subjects. He had obtained divine powers by heavy "tapasya". He was also learned in Aayurveda and was a father of Trantras and a master of music. The art of music of Ravana appeals to every Adivasi.

The republics system of Adivasi and Ravana.

The system of republics - "Gana" - is the main basis of Adivasi culture. The deity of each Gana is different and is worshipped by Adivasi in form of plants and animals. They consider these totems as sacred, and their identity is based according to their totem. Ravana had also a totem of Raksha Gana of Adivasi and his totem was a palm tree. That Ravana and his followers were related with totemic culture can be seen from the examples of Ravana (palm tree), Shurpanakha (palm tree), Tadaka (palm tree), Maricha (shal tree), Shabari (tree of berries). His co-workers were worshiping animals totems for like Hanuman, Wali, Sugreeva, Angad (all monkeys), Jambuwants (bear), Jatayu (vulture). Adivasis worshiping trees are called Maravi. M. S. Purnalingam Pillai observes:

"Ravana and his race Rakshas belong to the human race and in all probability to the "Marava" community of the present day." [p. 10, "Ravana: King of Lanka"

H. D. Sankaliya observes:

"Thus the view that Ravana and other Rakshasas were in truth an aboriginal tribe, most probably the Gonds and Vanaras, belong to other tribes such as the Savaras and Korku, seems to be justified" [p.47, "Ramayana Myth or Reality"]

This proves that Ravana and others were Adivasis from different ganas. Chandrika Prasad Jidnyasu observed that Ravana was Gond and his Lanka was in Central India. [p.22, "Ravana aur uski lanka"] Purnalingam Pillai observes:

"A mystery by GRSM Ravana is represented as the titanic or in other words the anti Brahmanical aboriginal fetish worshiping monarch of Lanka or Ceylon". [p.77, "Ravana: King of Lanka"]

Ravana was against Vedic Yajnyas

Basically, Ravana was a worshiper of nature and used to hate the Aryans Rishis and deities killing their totems in yajnyas. Manu enjoins killing of animals in Yajnyas as Madhupark [p.66, "Ravana aur uski lanka"]. It therefore follows that Ramayana is a story of conflict between Adivasi culture versus Aryans culture. "Marathi Vishva Kosh" vol. 14, p. 781 mentioned Ram Lakshman driving away Maricha, Subahu from the Yajnya of Vishwamitra. Ramaswami Periyar observed that Ravana was hating Vedic deities and Rishis because they were indulging in cruelly killing of animals and there was no other reason. [p.26, "Ravana aur Uski Lanka" by Chandrika Prasad Jidnyasu]

Raksha culture of Rakshasas

Mahatma Ravana had started a struggle against the Vedic Yajnyas to protect the culture of Adivasis and his Rakshasa Gana. "Raksha" means to protect. Acharya Chatursen named his book "Wayam Raksham", meaning "we protect" [p.131, "Wayam Raksham" by Acharya Chatursen] Aryans always hated the Adivasis as seen by depicting them as enemies of Gods and men [p.999, v.14, "Marathi Vishva Kosh"]

Ravana was worshiper of Shiva

The Siva worshiped by Ravana was not the same as Vedic Rudra and was against the Vedic yajnyas. Shiva is truth and good. His totem was a bull and he was king of Daitya ganas. It is also said that the Siva that was being worshiped by Ravana was ancient Buddha. Ravana used to worship by music. M. S. Purnalingam Pillai observes:

"By his austerities and penances for years he obtained boons from Shiva as longevity and broad bright sword which gave him victory."[p.20, "Ravana:King of Lanka"

There is also a book by Ravana on music, says Chandrika Prasad Jidnyasu [p.47]

Ravana was contemporary of Buddha

Chandrika Prasad Jidnyasu has observed that Ravana was contemporary of Buddha and has attended His discourses and believed in Buddha's karuna and non violence. Acharya Narendra Deva in his "Buddha Darshna describes Ravana asking one hundred questions to the Buddha about Buddhist doctrine like Nirvana. [p.53-54, Ravana aur Uski Lanka] Ravana has accepted the concept of Nibbana and Shunyata of the Buddhists.

Totemic culture of black Buddha and Ravana

Sidhartha Gautam Buddha belongs to Shakya Gana of Adivasis having totem of the tree of Salai and Gautam means a bull which was his totem. Debiprasad Chattopadhyay has observed:

"In actual fact, there were a number of clans within the Shakya tribes, and one of these gave the Buddha his name Gotama (Gautam)." [p.472, "Lokayat"]

The totem of Ashoka was the Ashoka tree and peacock, today's national bird, was the totem of his Maurya gana and was being worshipped during Buddha's times. Ravana's region had plenty of Shal trees and hence Dandaka vana was also called "Shalvana", [Waman Puran,90.32] says Prof. Hiralal Shukla, "aadivasi asmita aur vikas", [p. 84-85]. To kill Mahabali Vali, Rama had to use arrows of Shal tree, because shal tree was Vali's totem, as Sugreeva had told Rama that Vali can not be killed otherwise. H. D. Sankalia observes:

"It is Rama with one arrow only pierces all the seven sala trees" [p.11, "Ramayana: Myth or Reality"]

The society, worshiping totems, naturally was against Vedic Yajnyas. Ravana and Buddha both were believers of nonviolence, and were the heroes of struggle against Yajnyas. Adivasi Ravana and Buddha and Charwaka were criminals in the eyes of Aryans. [p.28, Chandrika Prasad Jidnyasu: "Ravana Aur Uski Lanka"]

Ramayana, the struggle of Whites against Blacks

By the participation of brown colour of Wanaras it seems that the Rishis had civilized the wanaras. Master Purnalangam Pillai observes:

"They were in colour and complexion black opposed to the Aryans, who were bright or fair in colour and features. It (the Ramayana) represents the Rakshas as black of hue, and compares them with black cloudier and masses of black collyrium, it attributes to them curly wooly hair and thick lips, it depicts them as Loaded with chains, collars and girdle of gold and the other bright ornaments which their race has always loved and in which the kindred races of the southern still delight." [p.9-10, "Ravana: King of Lanka"]

Fraser believes that there existed in Lanka, even before the Rakshasas, a culture of Black people. Some scholars believe that Rama had destroyed the culture of Black people in Indian Ocean. [5.63,"Siteyacha Parityag" by Arvind Kumar]

All the Ganas in Raksha culture of Ravana were black and had a black flag.

"Ravana was a dark-skinned man who had not more than two hands and one head and he had carried away Sita in his hand" [p.61, "Ramayana: Myth or Reality"

The people who influenced Ravana were also Black, like (1) the Buddha who showed him way of Nirvana, so was His father Shuddhodana, (2) Alar Kalam, who taught Sankhya to Buddha. (3) Shiva, whose disciple Ravana was, was also Black. Shiva was a Buddha before Gautama, the Buddha. (4) All relatives of Ravana were Black like Kumbhakrna, Meghnad, Shurpanakha, Mandodari, Tadika, Maricha, Bali, Shambuka Shabari, Subahu were all black.

There was a culture of black people in India and they had importance in Buddhist and Raksha culture. Siva, Charwaka, Buddha, Alar Kalam, Ravana, all considered black as a sign of success.

Rama went to forest for 14 years to destroy the Adivasis. He had preferred killing of Adivasis to the pleasures of king's palace. All those killed in Ramayana war were black Rakshasas and Vanaras, and not a single white Aryan was killed.

Killings were because of black colour

Bali, Matang, Shabari, Maricha, Lawanasaur, Tadka and Thadamai, Shambuk were all Black. All this proves that the struggle depicted in Ramayana was a struggle between White coloured Aryans crusading against the Black Adivasis and in the real sense was a struggle between Blacks and Whites.

Black Ravana and Sita

As Ravana was present on the occasion of Sita Swayamvar it can not be gainsaid that his relation with Ram Lakshmana Sita were not friendly. The black beauty Shurpanaka was insulted by Rama and Lakshmana. To her proposal of marriage, why did they not tell her that they were already married, why was she disfigured? The real reason of this was that Mahatma Ravana had accepted Buddhist philosophy of nonviolence and opposed the killing of animals in Yajnyas. To avenge this Rama cut the nose and ears of Shurpanakha, who was much more beautiful than Sita herself.

There was no crime in the kingdom of Ravana. The justice was done by Ganpanchayats and the punishment was Eye for an eye and hand for hand. No brother would have tolerated the torture of Shurpanakha. Ravana took away Sita to question Rama in her presence. At the time of Swayamwara of Sita Ravana was already known to Rama but still Rama kept on searching him. It appears therefore that to liberate Sita was his secondary aim and the main aim was to destroy the culture of non violence of Ravana.

Ravana kept Sita very respectfully in the Ashoka Watika and treated her with great respect as a guest and followed political protocol. He never tried to outrage her modesty or to rape her. As a matter of fact there are many folk songs among the Adivasis that one can hear describing that Ravana had not abducted Sita but she has gone with him with her willingness.

Korku Adivasis worship Ravana and Meghnath. Ravana was very handsome and expert in music and dressed attractively. That is why Sita went with Ravana with full willingness. G. B. Pradhan, "Korku che San war" edited by Sarojani Babar - "Adiwasi che San War", [p. 55-56] has given detailed folk songs prevalent among them. The summary of these is as follows:-

Sita was asked what did you see in Ravana in the guise of a Sadhu on which she replied that she went behind Ravana by seeing at his crown. She went behind Ravana looking at stick in his hand. She went behind Ravana looking at a cloth bag on his shoulder. She went behind Ravana looking at musical instruments in his lips.

Thus it appears that Sita went of her own with Ravana but misunderstanding of was spread among the masses to create the feeling of hate against him. The reason of this was that Mahatma Ravana was out side the caste system of Hindus, was nonviolent and was a great personality observing karuna.

It appears Sita had accepted many traditions of Ganas of Ravana during her stay in Lanka and learned the Dravidian language of Ravana. It is mentioned that, "Hanuman spoke to Sita in a Dravidian Language which was intelligible to her and not in Sanskrit. [p. 65, "Ravana King of Lanka"] Not only that but she started worshiping the Black Shiva. "Sita was a Dravidian lady worshiping Shiva." [p. 68, "Ravana: King of Lanka"]


Send e-mail to dalits@ambedkar.org with questions or comments about this web site.
No Copyright 2000 dalit e-forum Last modified: April 11, 2000