Ignorant mind of Ravana
After the war at Panchavati on the banks of Godavari river, Akampana, one of the survivors went back to Lanka. He met Ravana and said “King!! Our army at Janasthana is destroyed and Janasthana is an empty place now”. Ravana was shocked and became very angry and said, “Who destroyed my Janasthana? Is it Yama, Agni or Vishnu? Who killed my men?” Akampana fearfully replied, “Oh King, it was Rama, Son of Dasaradha fought with Khara and Dushana”.
Ravana was surprised to know that a human had the power to destroy 14,000 men of his army. Ravana said, “I shall destroy these little worms of men”. Akampana said, “Oh Ravana, no one can conquer Rama. When I say no one, I mean no one. Not even you can kill him. There is only one way of killing him. His wife is with him he loves her. The whole earth is not equal to her beauty. If you can carry her off, separation from her will kill Rama. Think how you can do this. Do not think of a battle with him!!”
When he heard of Sita’s beauty, Ravana’s desire was kindled. He began to think that the defeat of Khara and his army provided an opportunity to gain one more beautiful wife. He welcomed Akampana’s advice and told him that he agreed with Akampana’s plan. Next day morning, Ravana flew in his magical chariot and reached Ashrama of Mareecha. Mareecha welcomed Ravana and enquired him about the purpose of his visit.
Ravana said” Mareecha! Rama, son of Dasaratha, has destroyed Janmasthana and killed the whole army. To take revenge, I have planned to carry off his wife. I came for your help as you’re the only one who can help me”. Mareecha was horrified to hear this and tried to convince Ravana from his evil thought. He said, “Ravana! What plan is this? Some enemy determined to destroy you. By pretending to be your friend, he has given you this plan. Whoever gave you this advice, wishes to see your end. It is like asking you to put your hand into the mouth of a sleeping cobra and pull out its fang. Are you not happy with your wives Return to them and enjoy your life and prosperity”? Ravana has great respect towards Mareecha and his counsel appeared right to Ravana. Ravana returned to Lanka reluctantly.
Fate would not let him listen to the good advice of Mareecha. His sister Shurpanakha came to his court one day. Ravana was shocked to see her completely disfigured and asked her for the cause. Surpanakha narrated the whole story of how Lakshmana has cut her ears and nose. Shurpanakha said, “Brother!! Rama, along with his brother Lakshama destroyed your army. They have caused great misery to me. It happened in your kingdom. The king who does not deal with concerns of the kingdom in person and on time, he will be ruined. Besides, Rama’s wife Sita is very beautiful. No one in this world can match her beauty. She should be a prized possession of mighty king like you but not an ordinary person like Rama.”
After listening to Shurpanakha, Ravana thought about Sita’s beauty again. He remembered Mareecha’s advice but his desire for Sita’s overpowered his concerns on the consequences”.
Ravana went back to Mareecha again to seek help. Looking at Ravana, Mareecha said, “ you have come unannounced again. Is there a concern? How can I help you?”. Ravana said, “ I came to seek your help. Rama has killed my brothers, he killed my army and he insulted my sister and caused a lot of pain to her. He has insulted our race. If I don’t react and sit still, how can I be a King? It is my dharma(duty) to disgrace Rama and punish him.
Rama’s wife Sita is the most beautiful woman. Losing such a wife, I am sure Rama will languish in sorrow. It will be easy to kill him then take revenge. In courage, strength, skill and magic powers, no one on the earth is equal to you. I want you to turn yourself as a golden deer with silver spots. True to the character of a woman, Sita will insist on Rama and Lakshmana to pursue and capture the deer. When Rama and Lakshmana are engaged, it will easy to abduct Sita”.
Mareecha was shocked and his face became pale. He was frightened by Ravana’s plan and said, “Ravana it is my duty to speak the harsh truth. Sweet words might please you but will surely lead you to danger and ruin. Who is the enemy who has put these thoughts in your mind? Your informants have not told you the truth about Rama. He is not a criminal, but a dutiful son who came to the forest to honour his father’s word. Who told you that he is a seeker of pleasure and falsehood. Rama is an embodiment of dharma and he employs his strength and courage in the service of Dharma. Do not make Rama an enemy. It will destroy Lanka and your race.
How dare you could cast your eyes on Sita? How can you think that by separating her from Rama, Sita will yield to you? Can anyone deceive the sun and steal the light from the sun? If you ever approach the blazing fire Sita, you will be reduced to ashes. Do not seek your own death and do not approach the fire guarded by Rama.
One should not launch on the course of action without full thought. If you persist in your foolish plans, I can see the destruction that awaits you. Avoid this great sin. If you are angry with Rama, fight him face to face and meet your death like a warrior. Do not follow the fraudulent path and drag me into this.”
Ravana became very angry and shouted, “I did not come to you for your advice. I am the King and I have decided. You should do what I want from you. Transform into a beautiful golden deer and attract Sita’s attention. You should draw Rama and Lakshmana away to a distance and I will abduct Sita. If you do not listen to me, I am going to kill you right away”.
Mareecha thought himself that Ravana is under the shadow of doom and he is not going to listen to his good advice. He said, “Ravana, I have given you good advice but you will not listen. If I don’t listen to you, you are going to kill me anyway. If I carry out your wishes, I am sure to die in the hands of Rama. I prefer to die at the hands of Rama on whom I have great respect. I will do what you are asking me to do.”
Ravana was overjoyed hearing this and said, ”Now, you are my old dear friend again”. Both Ravana and Mareecha proceeded towards Dandaka forest.