Ravana Vs Rama – Dravidian Vs Aryan – Kambaramayanam – Part 2


Political situation of Tamil Nadu

During Sangam era, the land was divided into self sufficient food producing units called Naatus. Each had its own army and a chieftain/king. There were constant wars between these Naatus. Most of the time these war was not waged to acquire or conquer the land and rather the victorious king just wanted his supremacy to be acknowledged, hence just wanted the defeated king to pay him tribute. The kings and soldiers were expected to fight with bravery and reckless disregard of death. There were no big empires though Chera ,Chola and Pandiyas had bigger share of land. For the people, King was the most supreme person and a connection between the divine world and this world. King had loyal followers who would take their life to save him. Religion and state were never combined.

An important change happened in the North which influenced history of India thereafter.

The Guptas were the ruling dynasty in the North India. The Guptas called themselves devotees of god. They took name of gods(Skanda Gupta,Kumara Gupta etc). They inscribed Varaha(boar) and Lakshmi in their coins. They made mythology a state concern and enlisting Vishnu and his heroic incarnations for their politics. The Guptas sponsored god and they almost believed god sponsored their kingdom. Not only were the first Hindu temples built and first Hindu icons were sculptured during this period but the official forms of Hindu myth were put down during this period. By end of 5th century each god had his/her own family, minions and enemies like a real human dynasty. Skanda the warrior god, one of the favorite gods of the Guptas was integrated to the family of Shiva and Krishna as a god with his own legends and sub cults also developed in Gupta Period.

The religion and the State were now integrated and dependent on each other.

This was situation in North India when Pallavas came to the South. Pallavas were the first empire builders in Tamil Nadu. They wanted to have a stable rule, unlike the prevalent conditions in Tamil Nadu where each Naatu was waging war against another one constantly. The Pallavas wanted to remove the chieftains and armies out of the Natus as the Chieftains always waged war and caused insecurity to their Kingdom. So the Pallavas transferred their land which they conquered from chieftains to non militant landlords or Brahmins. Sanskrit, Brahmins and temples were part of imperial designs of Pallavas. The Sanskrit language gave much needed dignity and resonance to the upstart kings , Brahmans blessed and legitimized them and also gave genealogy to them if they lacked one. Temples and towns assured the presence of the king and his patronage to the popular religion and deity. All three of them were related with god. The Pallavas followed the model of Guptas in integrating religion and state.

The same model was followed by the upper caste non Brahmin land lords. They allied themselves with the Brahmins and adopt a Hindu life style. They patronized the central king of the big kingdom and in return gets protection from war waging chieftains.

In later Pallava period and Chola period the land was directly given to the Brahmins and Brahmins were the landlords. In later period the lands were donated to the Temples and all domestic works like digging tanks and wells and irrigation was taken care of the Temple administration. The power of chieftains was slowly and steadily removed.

Kamban and his Ravana:

Kamban was a poet well versed in Sangam poetry and Vaishnava Bakthi literature Divya prabandam. He has portrayed the character of Ravana as an Ideal Tamil king of the old order. His main concern is power and he is prepared to go to any extent to preserve it. He has a great army which can never be conquered and he himself is a great warrior in war.

He is perfect king and everything is in order till he sees his sister mutilated. The only possible mistake Ravana committed was his live sickness towards Sita whom he seized by carrying a portion of ground (by Tamil ethics one wasn’t supposed to touch an unwilling women). Now Ravana’s perfect world is challenged by Rama who is representative of Dharma and the god himself. Finally Rama defeats Ravana and Dharma prevails all over the world defeating the old order.

Kamban models the character of Rama based on the life of kings during the Sangam age and what ever indigenous Tamil elements which he feels doesn’t fit into notion of Dharma he assigns it to Ravana and he assigns all characteristics of Dharma and associated northern elements of Hinduism to Rama. He includes many of the philosophies reflected by Nammalvar’s poem. One of them being that god was not only source of good but also source of evil. So the imperfect acts of Rama are just play by god which sets off sequence of events so that at the end of the play Dharma prevails.

The power of Kamban’s Ravana makes most of us forget , Ravana was a Brahmin by birth.Ravana was born to the Brahmin father and Daitya mother. He was half brother of lord of wealth Kuberan. Kamban’s words make us believe Ravana was a true Dravidian king.

Kamban’s Ravana and Dravidian movement:

After the start of Dravidian movement, most of the Dravidian leaders questioned the work of Kamban. They felt Ravana was the true hero for the work and was unjustly defeated by Aryan forces who felt jealous about the much superior Dravidian culture. The also criticized the character of Rama who had various moral fallicies(eg. his behavior towards Sita after rescuing her, killing of Vali etc.). A Tamil poet Kulanthai Pulavar composed an epic ‘Iravanan Kapiyam’ where Ravana was the hero of the epic. R.S.Manohar a popular theatre person also made a very popular stage play titled ‘Lankeswaran’ where Ravana was the hero of the Drama. He also went on to make that stage play as a movie with same title, with Rajesh as the Ravana and Revathi as Sita.

There are so many versions of Ramayana and Kamban’s is a popular one, since he has adopted the story from North to typical characteristics of South, taking elements from Sangam and Bakthi literature.

Reference:

The forest book of Ramayana of Kamban by George L. Hart and Hank Heifetz

The Four Hundred Songs of War and Wisdom by George L. Hart and Hank Heifetz

The Poems of Ancient Tamil by George L. Hart

Smile of Murugan by Kamil Zvelebil

Hymns of drowning by A.K.Ramanujan

History and Culture of Tamil Nadu by Chitra Mahadevan

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20 thoughts on “Ravana Vs Rama – Dravidian Vs Aryan – Kambaramayanam – Part 2”

  1. “Skanda the warrior god, one of the favorite gods of the Guptas was integrated to the family of Shiva and Krishna as a god with his own legends and sub cults also developed in Gupta Period.”

    What is the reference for this. ?

    Skanda being a northern equivalent of murugan, what circumstances forced the guptas to become devotees of skanda ?

  2. They were not forced to become devotees of Skanda….Skanda was their favourite god…. they had inscription of the warrior god and alsonamed after him Skanda gupta….Kumara Gupta….

    There seems to be two different sect of Skanda worship one treating him as brahmin and other as a warrior god….during Gupta period Skanda was poineered as the warrior god and …. Kumarasambhava was written during thier period which was the first major literature to say Rudra and Uma were father and mother of Skanda…..

    For the lines I have secondary references

    for Murugan its
    Many faces of Murukan by Fred Clothey
    For Krishna line it is
    Hyms of drowing by A.K.Ramanujan

  3. Hi,
    Good post palani, i need citations for Guptas moulding hinduism to suit their needs of nation building and the pallavas following her path.
    Ive read a few parts chitra mahadevan’s book i thought shes very biased..most of her citations are from sanskrit inscriptions..i thought she has written this book only for belittleing tamils..did u get the informations like pallava land grants from her book ?

    Your blog is too good i must say..keep doing the good work..

  4. It is said there were 11 Ravana found in Sinhalese history such as Nala Ravana, Manu ravana, Punu ravana and Dasis Ravana. The most famous Ravana is the king who fought with Indian hindu prince Rama. He is called Dasis Ravana which means the king with 10 great talents. The Dasis Ravana lived lived nearly 5000years ago in Sri Lanka. He was a descendant of Surya Wansha and Hela Raskshasa tribe. (Ancient Sinhalese tribe) He was one of the best fighters in Angampora, the traditional martial arts of ancient Sinhale.
    King Dasis Ravana was a great Scholar in Ayurvedic medicine. He was the person who invented Arka Shastra. The book Arka Prakshaya reveals this truth to the present world. As his willing to research in Ayurvedic medicine he wrote several books revealing the cures for many diseases. In one book he wrote “Eating beef cause to infect ninety eight new diseases to human beings. The book “Kumara Tantraya” which reveals the treatments for infant diseases was written by him accepting the request of his pregnant queen Mandodari.
    He has children and the eldest one was Indrajith also known as Meghanada who followed his father’s steps. There are some hints in Sri Lankan rock inscriptions about the daughter of king Dasis Ravana.

    King Ravana’s kingdom was Lankapura. The kingdom is almost disappeared today. But If you keen on Sri Lankan folklore and ola manuscripts there you can find some remaining sites of Lankapura today known as Seegiriya and Trincomalee.

    King Ravana invented the bow of Violin. He also narrated very first Ragas, the musical compositions of Eastern classical music known as Lanka Dehena and Sinhala. Siva thandawa is one of the great devotional compositions done by him, which is still being in use in India.
    He was the first king flew over the world with his aero plane, known as Dandumonaraya or Vimanaya, Kashtawahana.

    Some evidence of Dandumonaraya the aeroplane is found in Rock inscriptions, Jataka Stories and Ola manuscripts. The Sinhalese folk stories are enriched with Ravana Stories.
    King Ravana was continuing a vegan oriented life style and was a real nature lover. According to Lankavatara sutta he was Buddhist and worshipped Kashyapa Buddha. Once he invited Kashyapa Buddha to visit Lanka and deliver his sermon to Sri Lankan citizens who practice yoga and follow Buddhism.

    Today the time has changed and many of us do not know the real history of king Ravana and throw our folk tales away without considering any valuable parts of them. King Ravana was one of the best emperors found in Sri Lankan History.

    There are more than 300 Sinhalese village names related to king Ravana era. In addition, there are some more places and remains in which the Rama Ravana war took place in Sri Lanka.

  5. There is a epigraph that is located at Yala . Which is described that Buddhist Ravana’s daughter Sohili had donated cavern to Maha sangha under the Kashyapa buddha.
    Likewise there is a epigraph at Nuwara eliya which was indicated that Ravana’s chief MInister Makara had donated cavern to venerable Maha Sangga under the Kashyapa buddha.
    Besides there are a lot of evidence that we can prove the Ravana is purely sinhala(Siw hela) buddhist king as well as vegetarian. Ravana had indicated one of his medical book that by eating beef , human have to sicken 98 diseases.
    Great king Ravana was descendent from Raksha(demon) group who are one major group under the siwhela(Sinhalease.). Tamils are saying that Ravana is demon king. Then we can assure that Ravana is totally sinhala king.
    If you would read Lankawathara Sutta , that had indicated clearly that Ravana was buddhist under Kashayapa buddha.

  6. if ravana was about 5000 yrs ago and buddha about 2500 yrs ago- please expalin how ravana is described as buddhist?

    If ravana was a vegan – then how is it that today vege are more common in north india.

    if the war between ravan and rama was south vs. north – how come again that the north is more vegetarian, and that the oppressive caste system is present in both regions?

  7. dee,
    >>
    if ravana was about 5000 yrs ago and buddha about 2500 yrs ago- please expalin how ravana is described as buddhist?
    <<

    Yes, "Gauthama Buddha" was born about 2500 years ago. BUT pls read his comment again.

    "If you would read Lankawathara Sutta , that had indicated clearly that Ravana was buddhist under Kashayapa buddha."

    The names of 28 Buddhas <–

    1 Taṇhaṅkara
    2 Medhaṅkara
    3 Saraṇaṅkara
    4 Dīpankara
    5 Koṇḍañña
    6 Maṅgala
    7 Sumana
    8 Revata
    9 Sobhita
    10 Anomadassi
    11 Paduma
    12 Nārada
    13 Padumuttara
    14 Sumedha
    15 Sujāta
    16 Piyadassi
    17 Atthadassi
    18 Dhammadassi
    19 Siddhattha
    20 Tissa
    21 Phussa
    22 Vipassi
    23 Sikhi
    24 Vessabhū
    25 Kakusandha
    26 Koṇāgamana
    27 Kassapa <——-
    28 Gautama

    >>
    If ravana was a vegan – then how is it that today vege are more common in north india.
    <<

    THE ANCESTRY OF RAVANA // from **Hndu books universe**

    A close study of the Ramayana, particularly the last book or Uttara Kanda, reveals that Ravana, the enemy of Lord Rama, was not a Dravidian, but related to the Sri Lanka, who are considered to be Aryans-that Ravana was a migrant to Sri Lanka from the Vedic family of the Yadus, perhaps deriving originally from the city of Mathura south of Delhi. The first wave of migrants to Sri Lanka from the north was from Gujarat and of the Yadu family, which dominated the southwest of India and from the region of Gujarat had access to the sea on which they travelled far in their trading and colonizing ventures.

    ———
    Sri Lanka Buddhists, such as predominate in the country today, traditionally held Ravana in respect, perhaps knowing he was one of their own ancestors. The famous Buddhist Sutra, the Lankavatara, looks to Sri Lanka as a holy land and the Sutra is given in honor of Ravana himself, who is styled as the king of the Yakshas, much like Kubera in Hindu thought.

    >>
    if the war between ravan and rama was south vs. north – how come again that the north is more vegetarian, and that the oppressive caste system is present in both regions?
    <<

    Hence the recent tendency of South Indian politicians to look up to Ravana as a Dravidian hero may be misplaced. Ravana more properly belongs to the peoples of Sri Lanka, whose ancestry derives from the north, as does his brother Vibhishana who was an ally of Rama.

    Hanuman, who was Rama's best devotee, better represents the ancient Dravidians (who incidentally were also Aryans, in that they have always been portrayed in Vedic and puranic literature as descendants of Vedic people, including the seers Agastya and Vishvamitra, and traditionally called themselves Aryans). Unfortunately various groups have tried to use the Ramayana for political gain without ever really examining the details of the story! Rama was not the first northerner to come to the south of India.

    Refer above links. You can get more information.

  8. all the historical events influenced by politics and the superior one or powerful wants to reigned alone in the world.I think Ramyana and Mahabharta is the example ,we cant imagine and think that what is the true story regarding these epics but i think please read these epics by understand the caste politics(dravid and aryan) and also try to understand the practical things not to believe on bookish knowledge.

  9. Ravana is not a Hindu or a Buddhist. He is Rakshasa who worshiped Raksha. The entire tribe worshiped only Raksha. That’s why they were called as Raksha. In that era Sri Lanka had four powerful tribes. Raksha, Yaksha, Naga , Deva. To the order they worshiped Raksha, Yaksha, Naga, Deva. I don’t know which gods were worshiped by Devas but Raksha Ravana no God.

  10. If someone says that king ravana is a tamil person, that’s the biggest lie on this earth.. :D he was a sinhala king in sri lanka.and also today sri lanka is the land of sinhalese.. I don’t want to tell more but if someone wants to learn on ravana please don’t follow such mad things.. :D ravana is tamil hahah

  11. The incident described in Ramayana took place in today’s Madaypradesh and Utter Pradesh which is known as Kosla Rajyam some 1400 years ago. When the aryans migrated to south they changed the story to look a real one and followed the Greek Odessy. Above comments is written by some who try to prove that Singalese are the owner of the ceylon. Basically ceylon was occupied by Naga people and they are the majority and they lived all south and northern India. Please note the name NagarKoil in Tamil Nadu and Nagaland in North India.(land of Nagas). There is no Budhism prior to Guatama Budha. The word Hindu was formed back in 1830 to show the majority to British to out number muslim population. Only brahmins is considered as Hindu. The word Hindu means thief and robbers as per Persian language.

  12. Hi all,
    I dont know who is Dravidan and Aryan in his story.. But all I know is the practical reality that the race can be indentified from the skin colour straight away..
    Most of the depictions of Ravana were stating he is black or red in color, which is the color of the people of south (whether south India or Sri Lanka it doesnt matter as both the people share a common ancestry 10,000 years ago which was believed to be from a combined land mass called as Kumari Kandam or ‘Lemuria’ and thus all of Lankans and Tamils comes under ‘Dravidans’)
    Thus Ravana must be a Dravidan.. but in contrary there were very few depictions where Ravana is fair in colour!
    Regarding Lord Ram, it is obvious that he is blue (meaning black) in colour which may force to tell he is a Dravidan too but wait, his siblings are all fair except Ram. So, according to Ram’s family he must be an Aryan. (But I dont know what made Ram look dark).

  13. I have an explanation to the dark skinned nature of Lord Rama..

    It was in 12th century Lord Rama was started to be seen as an avatar of
    Lord Vishnu and until then Lord Ram was viewed as an ancient king. According to it no temple existed for Rama until 12th century.. It was the Poets after 12th century started popularizing Rama as an avatar of Vishnu..

    As they started to mention Rama as Vishnu’s avatar they wanted Rama to look like Vishnu too.. That is the reason why they made the light skinned Aryan king Rama to look like dark shinned Vishnu by portraying Lord Rama in blue colour, purposely.,

    ie., Lord Rama never could have been blue/dark in colour. He was purposely made to look dark starting form 12th century to make his look like Vishnu..

  14. @The Mystic Scientist
    Kumari kandam is not the whole lemuria but a part of it.Before 10000 years or more there used to be a landmass which connects to south east africa to india to america as map during ancient time was different as of today map.

    According to sources today’s sri lanka has little connection with the ravana’s lanka according to ramayana as the latter has been submerged under water.

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