Ravana’s pride


I am taking part in the Write Tribe Festival of Words – 1st to 7th September 2013.

This post is the seventh and last of a series of trying to correlate the Seven Sins to characters and incidents referred to in the Ramayana.

Read Post 1 – Kumbhakarna’s sloth

Read Post 2 – Surpanakha’s lust for Rama

Read Post 3 – Vali’s greed

Read Post 4 – Kumbhakarna’s gluttony

Read Post 5 – Sita’s wrath

Read Post 6 – Manthara’s envy

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Please note that there are various versions of this great epic and therefore my post might contradict with what you have heard or read of this particular incident in the Ramayana. This is only an attempt to map the seven deadly sins to incidents or behavior of particular characters in the Ramayana in a given situation and I have taken liberties with my own interpretations of the same. No offense is meant to any version of this wonderful epic.

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HanumanBurningLanka

The capital city of Lanka was the pride of Ravana’s empire. One version of its description seems superhuman even by modern day standards. The central palace complex was a massive collection of several large looming towers and huge structures that were more than a few square kilometers in area. Legend has it that most of these buildings were built with marble, ivory and other precious metals found in the era. Tales of Lanka, its beauty and grandeur were told by people far and wide in those days and Ravana took immense pride in his capital city which was the crowning jewel of his vast empire.

After Ravana had kidnapped Sita and kept her hostage in the city of Lanka, Hanuman, Rama’s faithful friend volunteered to fly over the Indian Ocean to Lanka to ensure that Sita was safe and sound. When he flew there, he also marveled at the grandeur and the beauty of the city. After locating Sita in the Ashoka Vana and informing her that her husband Rama was on his way to rescue her, he decided to toy with Ravana for a while.

He allowed himself to be captured and demanded an audience with Ravana himself. Since Lanka had never before seen a vanara such as Hanuman, Ravana granted him an audience. When he heard that Hanuman was an envoy of Rama, Ravana was furious and asked his soldiers to set the vanara’s tail on fire. Hearing this, Sita prayed to Agni, the God of Fire and requested him not to harm Hanuman.

Consequently although his tail was on fire, Hanuman was not hurt nor did he feel a thing. Using his magical abilities, he then proceeded to escape from Ravana’s soldiers and hopped from one building to another in the city of Lanka setting fire to each of them with his tail. In a matter of a few minutes, he had managed to set ablaze the whole of Lanka.

Thus, Lanka which had prompted the sin of pride in someone as pious as Ravana was reduced to ashes in a matter of a few hours due to the antics of a mischievous monkey-man.

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Image courtesy: Google Image search