Submitted by alvin on Sat, 2016-10-08 09:43 Year after year, Hindus in India and in other countries make an effigy of Ravana and consign it to flames on Vijayadashami amid fun and festivity. It is an occasion on which millions of rupees are spent in this poor country but no one has researched to find who gains from these celebrations. In Delhi, the burning of the effigy is witnessed by the ambassadors of various countries and by government dignitaries. In Mysuru, not long ago, it was the king who himself led various festivities. Huge crowd of masses throng the festival site yet no one seems to know for certain whether Ravana actually had ten heads or whether Kumbakarna actually slept for six months continually or whether Hanuman had an army of monkeys. And yet the festival is celebrated with gusto, alleging that Ravana was the king of Sri Lanka, while this belief is strongly refuted and contradicted by the people of that country who say that there has been no such king in their ancient history! The story of Rama and Ravana, which forms the basis of this festival, was first written by sage Valmiki; and it is said that Narada, son of Brahma, who is generally the original source of all the ancient myth and legend, is the prime source in this case also. There is another Ramayana known as the Adhyatma Ramayana, which provides the spiritual interpretation of the story. This attempt must have been aimed to rationalise the episode for the intelligentsia and the serious thinkers who must have found it difficult to believe that a human figure could have ten heads or that Hanuman was a monkey chief and many more things of that sort. The real meaning of this great episode In fact, in the light of science of biology and neurology, whether a human being could have ten heads and yet grow up in a normal way to rule a kingdom, we have no option but to come to the conclusion that the belief must only symbolical and mythological. Even the name Ravana, which in Sanskrit means one who makes people weep, is a pointer that the episode is symbolic. In current diction and modern phraseology, head is considered to be a symbol of one’s mind and the face is considered to be a mirror of one’s thoughts, moods and mind. The 10 heads of Ravana are, therefore, symbolic of man’s uncontrolled thoughts, and the ten faces symbolise the society in which men and women have five vices each, for the word Ravana as stated earlier means, ‘one who makes others weep’. It is these vices which cause sufferings and make a soul their captive as Ravana had made Sita. Rama, on the other hand, represents God, for the word Rama means, ‘one who pleases or gives happiness to souls’. Rama, therefore, stands for the God who descends at the time of extreme unrighteousness and sufferings and liberates people from evil or maya. The demon Ravana with ten heads may also be compared with the 10 sense organs - five organs of knowledge and five of action - which have come under the influence of the demonic qualities. The stealing of Sita is to be compared with loss of reasoning or the giving up of the boundary line of spiritual discipline and getting diluted by maya. The golden deer, Maricha, stands for the temptations and allurements of the world. A person observing strict celibacy, cultivating qualities of selfless service, devotion to duty, simplicity, purity and dedication is Hanuman. He was a monkey before but he had now become Hanuman, conqueror of mind, because of his love for and constant remembrance of Rama. One who has proper aim or goal in his mind is Lakshamana. Kumbhakarna, another important character in Ramayana, symbolises lethargy and Meghnath stands for ferocity and thundering speech. The whole episode, therefore, is about liberating the human souls from the captivity of the well known five vices besides lethargy and rough speech with help of Lakshamana, Hanumana and his army, i.e. by giving to souls the proper Laksha or aim of life and helping them with the company of others, led by the celibate and faithful Hanuman. Taken in this sense, Ravana has neither been killed nor consigned to flames yet. He is still very much alive, for maya still rules the mind or Lanka of everyone’s mind. The devil has not loosed his control over human nature. Kumbhakarna and Meghanath - Lethargy and impoliteness - can still be seen. Human soul is still in Ravans’s captivity. Victory has not yet been scored yet the Festival of Vijaydashami will be celebrated on 11th October as before, with millions being spent and masses and the classes bearing witness to a mere effigy being burnt, believing that Ravana and associates are dead and gone! Would anyone see the truth and see that Rama has come again to destroy Ravana! Burning of an effigy is easier than burning the mighty Ravana, who is holding sway over their mind. People seek false satisfaction, year after year, by burning the effigy rather than the real Ravana, who in actual practice is getting bigger and bigger, a fact which goads them to make bigger effigies with the passing of each year!