Lust was the most important reason behind Ravana’s death. Shurpanakha, his sister cunningly planted the seed of lust in Ravana’s heart which became the cause of his downfall.
Shurpanakha wanted revenge because Rama and also Lakshman had refused her proposal of marriage. In anger, she tried to attack Sita and so Lakshman had to cut her nose. It was just a token punishment. She was furious. With her disfigured nose, she barged into the assembly of Ravana.
Shurpanakha describes Sita’s beauty to Ravana’s
Crying pitiful she said, “Ravana, my beloved brother, in the forest I saw a woman called Sita whose beauty is incomparable in the entire creation. Such a lovely woman who is more beautiful than any celestial woman is meant to be your wife. For you, I tried to snatch her away from her husband, Rama. But Lakshman, Rama’s brother, attacked me and cut my nose. For your sake, I suffered. Sita’s beauty is not of this world. She has a tender body, lotus eyes, soft lips and glowing face. If you get her, you will enjoy pleasure more than what the celestial beings enjoy. Go in the forest to see her beauty. And if you have any feelings for your sister then do punish the two brothers.”
Shurpanakha’s description of Sita’s beauty charmed the heart of Ravana. The more he thought about her, the flame of the fire of lust made him mad for her. He became desperate for her. He wanted Sita, Rama’s wife, at any cost.
Shurpanakha succeeded in her mission. She had cleverly planted the seed of lust in Ravana’s heart. She knew her brother was lusty. So, he will definitely try to get Sita. And when Rama and Lakshmana will oppose, his brother will kill the two brothers. Thus, she will succeed in avenging the insult.
Why Ravana failed to satisfy his lust?
In Bhagavad Gita 2.62 – 2.63, Krishna says that our miseries start taking shape as soon as we start contemplating on the objects of the senses. Contemplation gradually leads to attachment for the object and attachment give rise to lust. A lust haunted person tries his best to satisfy his material desires. But the way this world is created that no matter how best we try, we cannot fulfil our lust. Trying to satisfy lust is like pouring ghee in fire. The more we try to satisfy our lusty desires, our craving for that desire keeps on increasing. And our sufferings too increase in that proportion.
Just like a spark if unchecked has the capability of burning the entire house. Similarly, even a tiny little material desire if not checked slowly becomes too big to handle. It completely overpowers us and compels us to act on that desire. Many times, our worldly desires force us act in a sinful way for which we have to suffer.
Ravana’s misery began as soon as he developed a desire to enjoy Sita. To satisfy his nasty craving he kidnapped Sita and brought her to his kingdom, Lanka. But he failed to enjoy with Sita. Whenever he approached Sita, she rebuked him. He was insulted again and again by Sita. The mighty king of Lanka had become a laughingstock.
Did Ravana had a chance to rectify his mistakes?
It was not that Ravana, the demon king, did not have the chance to rectify his mistake.
His well-wishers tried to reason with him, make him understand the dangerous path he was pursuing.
Vibhishana, his brother, told him that it is improper to kidnap another’s wife. Mandodari, his chaste wife, who was herself extremely beautiful, tried to counsel him to give up attachment for another woman. Hanuman, Lord Rama’s dearest devotee, too tried to persuade him to return mother Sita. But Ravana, the ten-headed lusty fool refused all the good advice.
And finally, Lord Rama had to kill him.
Most important reason behind Ravana’s death
No one was the cause of Ravana’s misery, humiliation and death. Lust was the main reason behind Ravana’s death, the cause of his ultimate annihilation. History is testimony to the fact that lusty men (and also women) have never lived happily. Many powerful kings lost their kingdom because of their obsession for opposite sex.
The lesson which we should learn from Ravana’s life is that we should never allow lust to grow in our heart. We should constantly check our heart for any lusty desires. If it is there then nip it in the bud. Because if left unchecked then it will completely destroy us.
Everything begins with contemplation. Ravana heard about Sita’s physical beauty then began contemplating upon it and eventually started acting on that wrong desire. And finally, lust became the main reason behind Ravana’s death.
How can we engage our senses in positive spiritual activities?
What we see, what we hear, what we read and with whom we associate plays an important role in shaping our thought process. So, we should not allow our senses to indulge in any wrong activities. But senses need constant engagement and mind cannot remain empty. So, we should give our senses positive engagement.
- If we engage our eyes in reading spiritual literatures like Krishna book or Ramayana then our mind will constantly contemplate on the pastimes of Lord Krishna and Lord Rama. We will slowly lose taste for reading books which arouse lusty desires.
- If we engage our eyes in seeing the beautiful deities of Krishna and Rama then our eyes will remain absorbed in relishing the divine form of the Lord. Eyes will then not look for lusty objects.
- If we regularly hear kirtan and pastimes of the Lord then those transcendental words will constantly reverberate in our ears. In fact, our ears will again and again look for an opportunity to hear those divine words.
Association with devotees of Lord can transform our life completely. There are several examples in scriptures regarding this. A prostitute, Lakshahira, full of lusty desires went to Haridas Thakura to pollute him. But instead of polluting the great devotee, she quickly got purified of her lusty desires because of Haridas Thakura’s association. Haridas Thakura would always remain absorbed in chanting the names of Krishna. When Srila Prabhupada went to west in 1965 then scores of American boys and girls were quickly able to give up their sinful habits because of Prabhupada’s association. They became sincere devotees of Krishna.
How a devotee develops distaste for all lusty desires and enjoys spiritual bliss?
Sincere devotees of Lord never allow their senses to go astray. They carefully engage their senses in devotional activities of the Lord. So, they do not get enticed by any lusty desires. Devotional services to the Lord are so satisfying and pleasing that the devotees lose all taste for all material desires.
Sri Yamunacarya, a great devotee of Lord, confidently says, “Since I have been engaged in the transcendental loving service of Kṛṣṇa, realizing ever-new pleasure in Him, whenever I think of sex pleasure I spit at the thought, and my lips curl with distaste.” Bhagavad Gita 5.21
A devotee remains engaged 24 hours in a day in the service of the Lord so that lusty thoughts and desires does not sneak in in his heart. When the Supreme Lord Rama, the killer of the lusty emperor Ravana, sees a devotee’s sincere spiritual endeavor then with his divine arrow of love he flushes out all the desires for lust from the devotee’s hearts. The devotee then experiences everlasting transcendental pleasure which the Vedic scriptures talk about.