Since our childhood, we have been drawing ten heads of Ravana every Dussehra. But how many of us actually know how these 10 heads originated and what do they signify?
Let’s look at a brief and easy way of understanding this mystery.
Ravana performed tapasya for several years to please Lord Brahma. In order to please the Lord, Ravana had chopped off his head 10 times. But, each time he had sliced his head, another head reappeared. And his tapasya continued.
Finally, Lord Brahma was pleased with Ravana and granted him a wish. Ravana wanted immortality which Brahma refused and instead gave him celestial nectar of immortality. Dasamukha Ravana, with 10 heads and 20 arms became the strongest and most powerful being on Earth.
What does each signify?
As per one of the mythological belief, the 10 heads of Ravana signifies the 6 shashtras and 4 Vedas. This made him a great scholar and the most intelligent person of his time.
A highly learned Brahmin, Ravana has to his credit over a dozen of texts of which Arkaprakasha, Kumaratantra, Indrajala, Prakrata Kamadhenu, Prakrata Lankeshvara, Ravana Samhita, Rigveda Bhashya, Ravanabheta and Krishna Yajur Veda are some of the best known.
Another story says that it signifies 10 forms of love; in a negative sense.
- Kaam – lust
- Krodha – anger
- Moha – delusion
- Lobha – greed
- Mada – pride
- Maatsarya – envy
- Manas – the mind
- Buddhi – intellect
- Chitta – will
- Ahamkara – ego
The great king Mahabali advised Ravana to shun nine emotions (except Buddhi).
It is said that the head controls our destiny and the ten 10 heads of Ravana controlled his actions which ultimately led to his destruction.
Modern Interpretation of the ten loves are:
Ravana’s ten heads signify that when you have more than you need, it serves no purpose and is useless. Inspite of being so learned, all the learning was of no use when he did not put them into practice? With so much of wealth, intellect, power and everything he had, he still could not enjoy anything because of his excessive desires. He became a slave to his feelings which finally led to his death. The 10 heads in modern day world can be related as:
- Ego or ahankara
Loving your designation, your post or qualifications
- Attachment or moha
Loving your family & friends
- Regret or paschyataap
Loving one’s perfect self – which leads to
- Leading to anger or krodha
Loving/expecting perfection in others
- Hatred or ghrina
Loving the past
- Fear or bhaya
Love for the future
- Jealousy or irshya
Wanting to be no.1 in everything
- Greed or lobha
Loving more and more material things
- Lust or kama
Loving parts of the body of the opposite gender
- Insensitivity or jaddata
Loving fame, money, and children