Please accept my humble pranams. All glories to Srila Prabhupada, all glories to Srila Gurudeva!
Now-a-days we come across attempts to explain away the fact that that Ravana was a highly unrighteous character, an adharmi. This is probably because of Ravana's enormous attributes in his material relationships. As Hanuman correctly observed in the Ramayana (5.49.18),
"Perhaps if Ravana had not been a demon, so strong in unrighteousness (adharma), he would have been a wonderful leader; a protector even of the celestials in heaven, including Indra!"
In the words of Sita in the Ramayana (5.21.10), Ravana did not follow in the footsteps of saintly people (santas), and his mind was perverse because it was not fixed up in the dharma of traditional etiquette (aacaara).
iha santo na vaa santi sato vaa naanuvartase
tathaahi viparitaa te buddhiraacaaravarjitaa
"It must be that either there are no saintly people here to guide you or that you do not follow them, for your mind is perverse and devoid of etiquette."
The foundation of aacaara or traditional behavior is
1) protection of our dependents or those weaker than ourselves,
2) making friends with equals and
3) serving those we depend upon as more powerful than ourselves. Ravana behaved against these three in the following ways:
1) Out of lust, Ravana sometimes abused women instead of protecting them. One example is Rambha, whose husband Nalakubara cursed Ravana that his head would explode if he would force a woman to enjoy with him again. But that did not hinder Ravana from kidnapping Sita with the hope that she would voluntarily enjoy with him at some point. But instead, Sita chalked the course of his death by the hands of her husband. Actually, Ravana did not get the real Sita, because the husband of Rama is the Goddess of Fortune whom, only He can enjoy. It was because Ravana got the illusory Sita that he had to suffer the misfortune of death. Similarly, all of us aspiring here to enjoy the Lord's illusory feminine power (Maya-Sita) apart from Lord Ramachandra, are invariably cursed by Her to die and take birth in Her material wombs endlessly.
2) He avoided the friendliness of warrior equals wanting to save him from death, including Kumbhakarna and Vibhisana, advising him to return Sita to Rama.
3) And he did not pay heed to the words of his seniors either such as Bali who told him not to fight Rama, or Lord Brahma, whom he served with austerities not for the sake of dharma but only for getting enjoyment from him. Ravana wanted Brahma's blessings to become an unconquerable demon, so that he could enjoy matter without hindrance. Brahma fulfilled his wish only to the part of making him unconquerable in general, because he couldn't make him deathless; but that was enough to make Ravana fully inspired for enjoying the world. Similarly, the world is full of people who know they are going to die, but that doesn't stop them from hedonism.
In this connection, Srila Prabhupada speaks about how having this demoniac Ravana character within ourselves destroys us. "Ravana-class men means they want to take away the goddess of fortune, Sita, from the custody of Lord Ramachandra. That is their business. They do not know that wealth, riches, they are fortune, they are the property, they are enjoyable by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Krishna says, bhoktaaram yajna-tapasaam sarva-loka-maheshvaram [Bg. 5.29]. He is the enjoyer. But Ravana-class men, they think that "I am enjoyer. Get out Sita from the custody of Ramachandra. I shall enjoy." But the result is the Ravana-class of men becomes vanquished." (From a lecture on Caitanya Caritamrita, Adi-lila 7.119, Feb 17, 1971)
Let us pray that we may become saved from the adharmic character of Ravana :
1) by never abusing but rather protecting our dependents;
2) by heeding the friendly advises of our peers rather than discarding them out of pride; and
3) by serving the instructions of our superiors not for any ulterior motives but simply for pleasing the Lord and His servants (gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor daasa-daasaanudaasah).
Thank you very much,
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Amogha-drk Krsna dasa
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