Home India News Ravana burnt elsewhere, worshipped in parts of Madhya Pradesh

Ravana burnt elsewhere, worshipped in parts of Madhya Pradesh

By Sanjay Sharma, IANS,

Bhopal : While most Hindus end their Dussehra celebrations by burning the effigy of Ravana to symbolise the victory of good over evil, the 10-headed demon king of Hindu mythology is worshipped in two Madhya Pradesh districts.

When temples across the nation will resonate with prayers to lord Ram Monday, a small temple to Ravana in Vidisha district’s Ravangram village will echo with the prayer, “Ravana Baba Namah”.

The temple has an ancient idol of Ravana in a reclining position believed to have been constructed between the ninth and 14th century. The villagers believe it would be a bad omen to have the 10-foot idol stand erect and say that whenever this was done, some unexpected incident had occurred in the district.

In the village, the demon king has been worshipped as a symbol of prosperity for over 600 years by Kanyakubja Brahmins, a Brahmin sub-sect to which Ravana was believed to have belonged.

He is regarded as a scholar and people worshipping him believe burning the learned king, who knew all the Vedas (ancient Hindu scriptures) and was a devotee of lord Shiva, is not justified.

This is not restricted to Ravangram village. Ravana is also worshiped in Ravana Rundi in Mandsaur district and Shajapur district’s Bhadkhedi.

In Mandsaur town, members belonging to the Namdeo Vaishnav Samaj, a Hindu sect, who worship the demon king on Dussehra, believe Ravana’s wife Mandodari belonged to the town and they regard him as a son-in-law.

A 35-foot high 10-headed Ravana statue was installed in 2005 at Ravana Rundi in the Khanpur area of Mandsaur.

A 25-foot high lime and brick ancient idol of Ravana existed there till 1982. It developed cracks due to lightning and was ultimately destroyed.

The idol is worshipped every year and women in the area remain behind the veil on Dussehra since they regard Ravana as their son-in-law, while men make offerings at his statue if their wishes came true.

Ravana and his son Meghnad are similarly worshipped at Bhadkhedi village in Shajapur district of western Madhya Pradesh.

Indore-based Rajesh Batham, who has been worshipping Ravana since his ancestors did so, believes that burning him is not right. He informed that the demon king’s idol is decorated in Shajapur every year on Dussehra and not burnt.

He said this was also the case in Rajasthan’s Hadauti village, while Gond tribals of Chhattisgarh also have a tradition of worshipping ‘Lankapati (King of Lanka)’.

According to mythology, Ravana was the grandson of the creator of the universe, Brahma, son of the sage Vishrava and younger brother of Kubera, the deity of wealth. He is also believed to have been a scholar, connoisseur of arts and a devout follower of Shiva.

Ravana is credited by many for writing a commentary on the Vedas and verses on medicine.