77. The City Of Desires

Mandodari, the daughter of Maya, became the wife of Ravana.  Maya constructed for them a huge fortress greater than anything that existed on the Earth.  Decked with gold, silver, and precious jewels, even the fortress walls shone resplendently.  Surrounding the island of Lanka on all sides, the ocean kissed the Kingdoms golden walls, as if bowing to the architectural marvel that had been created.

There in Lanka lived great demons lead by their king Ravana, even the Gods were disturbed as his powers grew immense. Displaying his might at every opportunity, Ravana even lifted the holy mountain of Kailasa in-front of Shiva himself.

Ravanas glory grew as he conquered region after region. With every new gain, his passions and greed were further ignited. With his giant brother Kumbakharna by his side, he felt invincible.  Fortunately for the world he slept for six months a year, if he were to eat every day, the food on the planet would be exhausted!

Skilled with the power of Maya (illusion and deceit), Ravanas demons brought distress to living beings all over the world. With his arrogance consuming his every word he said, Ravana spoke in his court, ‘Every heavenly or Godly being should be considered my enemy. Kill them all! Ruin the prayers and rituals of spiritual people throughout the world.  Where there are Brahmanas, interrupt their offerings, prevent them from eating, ruin their chanting, without their spiritual practices, they will lose their minds.  Even the Gods will kneel before me when the chaos ensues. Whether I kill them or keep them alive, that I shall decide once the world is under my control.’

Ravana called forth his oldest son Meghanada and said, ‘Conquer the Gods my son, capture the riches of the Earth and display our glory!’  Roaring like a lion, and mad with lust, he vowed to bring his fathers wishes to fruition.’

Everything they did was contrary to the words of the Vedas, everything they stood for was adharma (unethical).  Whatever Ravana instructed his ministers to do they did with precision.  They tormented the Gods of the sun, the moon, the wind, the earth, men, women, nobody was spared. He did everything he could to eradicate sacredness. The cows were killed, Brahmanas captured, no village spared.

Dharma was nowhere to be seen, love of God disappeared, there were no Gurus, no wisdom, nobody would even dream of reading the holy Vedas or Upanishads.

Nobody meditated, or chanted mantras, or performed Yoga.  If Ravana heard of a compassionate act occurring he would prevent it.  Such was the corrupt state of the world. With every act of the evil, the hunger for more evil grew, such is the result of performing awful deeds.

The terrible vision of Lanka under the rule of Ravana shows us the darker side of our nature.  When under the spell of desire and anger, we lose all sense of virtue and become lost in an endless quest for more, and more gratification.  Ravana and his kingdom represent negative attributes, greed, anger, selfishness, harm, untruth, arrogance.   The asuric disposition.  The Bhagavad Gita gives us a description of the this malevolent disposition in chapter seventeen.  Shri Krishna reveals lust, arrogance, conceit, envy, pride, anger, selfishness, as some of the attributes of the malevolent.