Ravana Samhita, is written the Asura King of Lanka, Ravana himself.
It is a compilation of secrets and rules revealed by Lord Siva himself to Ravana.
One day, Siva entered into the house of Ravana, and was surprised to find him sleeping.
Ravana prostrated himself uponthe floor in reverence.
With folded hands, he requested Siva to forgive him, as his offence was not a deliberate one.
Siva replied that the human birth was a difficult one to achieve, and it did no credit to Ravana’s intelligence to be daydreaming, especially during such a time.
Ravana requested Siva to be compassionate to his (obedient) servant, and to forgive the offence.
Ravana further asked Siva to order him as to which undesirable works he must shed.
Siva replied, my friend, things which are hidden even to the gods, those I shall reveal to you.
Pay attention to what I tell you. Whosoever shall accept what I have to say, he shall be freed from the burden of wrongdoing.
- O Ravana! A man (male) should not blow out a burning lamp.
- On the day of the fast, the deity being worshipped resides in the body of the person. Thus (on the day of the fast) one should be clean, sleep upon the floor and stay away from female company. If one subsists on a diet of fruits, and donates (does charity) to some brahmins as well, then the gods will be pleased, and give their blessings.
- Among all the metals, copper is considered to be the purest. It is said that when a person bathes with a copper vessel, the effect is the same as bathing in the waters of the (holy) Ganga.
- O Ravana! Fasting, paying respect to (one’s) deceased ancestors, and worship; one must observe these, one must not be indifferent to them.
- If an alien or stranger asks for something, then one should fulfill the request in accordance with one’s faith. [Do not be indifferent to his request]
- O Ravana! Whatever works you do, do so in the name of Narayana (God); no blame shall come upon you, and you shall remain free from distress.
- If it is neccessary to speak during meals, speak no ill of anyone, and speak no falsehood.
- No harsh and malicious words should escape from the lips of a married man to his wife. Because his wife is his better half, and the first among his well-wishers.
- If, morning to nightfall, a man sits (idly) upon the threshold of his home, then the wealth he has acquired through meritorious deeds shall be depleted; and his debts shall grow.
On hearing this secret dialogue, Ravana was lost deep in sorrow. Seeing him in a contemplative mood, and moved by compassion, Siva removed the affliction from his mind.
He said, this hidden secret was made manifest because of the baseness of your work. Whosoever shall accept (what I have revealed), it shall be of benefit to him.
Ravana replied, this boat (ark) – of moral guidance – shall help me cross the ocean of life. What capacity have I to sing its praise? Protect me; that is to say, instruct me further.
Then Siva understood that Ravana was his foremost officer, and instructed him:
- O Ravana! If another being asks for some food, do not be indifferent to his request.
- If one fulfills the request of another, this virtue cannot be equalled upon this earth. Because, in the happiness of a living being is found the happiness of God.
- Do not beg, borow or steal. Be satisfied with what the Lord Almighty, in his kindness, has given unto you.
On hearing this, Ravana praised Siva, and requested him to dispel his ignorance…
- O Ravana! A person who is sitting in the company of other persons, and brings some food along with him, he should not eat alone. [he is at fault]
- On the bed that a married man shares with his wife, a brother – male relative – should not sit on that bed. [he is at fault]
- The person who makes still the mind – is of one mind – and listens to (religious) discourses with emotion and feeling, he shall attain to heaven!
- O Ravana! If something has been given to you (for safe keeping), and you deny it, your woman shall go barren. [figuratively speaking]
- If a man criticizes his family or clan, then how will he face his (own) son ?
- A person who praises himeself, or is pleased upon hearing his (own) praise from others, no good will come of it!
- No harsh words should be spoken to one’s father or elder brother.
- The man who abandons his lord or master in the midst of battle (out of cowardice) he shall be damned. [court-martialled]
- During his lifetime, the person who does not visit the Ganga – or other places of pilgrimmage – that person’s life (in this world) is akin to an animal’s.
- O Ravana! To hurt your tribe, to kill a living being, or to speak ill of someone (without basis), this constitutes sin.
- The man without offspring (to continue his family line), has no place in this world!
On hearing this, Ravana asked who will offer water to long-dead ancestors [a form of ritual or prayer to appease the spirits of the dead] if the man is without issue?
Replying to this, Siva said that if a man is without issue, a devoted (and chaste) wife may pour water to deceased ancestors.
- O Ravana! Only after a great deal of effort, and a good deal of prayer and devotion, does a man attain to his ends. Man should be satisfied with what God has given; happiness and sorrow, gain and loss, good and bad, these should be seen with equanamity. When the end approaches, mother and father cannot help you, nor can your brother; it is only your good deeds that stand by you.
- Cutting down a Mango tree is no less than killing a Brahmin; and the merit gained from planting a garden (full of trees) is equal to a thousand sacrifices.
- This should also be known that the father is affected by the deeds of the son.
On hearing this discourse, Ravana was lost deep in thought.
He said (to Siva): I have understood some of the things you have said, and other things I have understood not. How shall I gain salvation when my time comes?
Siva saw that Ravana was drowned in sorrow, and (out of his kindness) reassured him. He told Ravana not to think too much, but to be patient, and to meditate.
Because this discourse would free him from wrongdoing, and help him gain salvation.
Siva says : O Ravana! The person who is wrathful and displeased at the wealth or prosperity of others, that person will become a pauper in this world and will suffer in the other world.
Ravana asked Siva to give him some more advice…
Siva said that if a man does not follow his master’s orders, then he will be sorry for it.
On hearing this, Ravana questioned Siva saying what would happen if the man were given a task that were unreasonable or impossible to carry out?
Siva replied that until further orders are given, he should attempt to carry out that task to the best of his abilities.
Ravana asked Siva what if he failed in his duties altogether?
Siva replied that the man should ask for forgiveness (from the good lord) for his fault.
- If a person embarks upon a (religious) pilgrimmage, he should not stop on the way to enjoy the hospitality of others.
- Neither parent – mother or father – should hit or hurt a child who is crying.
- O Ravana! A man should pay (due) wages to his servant.
On the question of remarriage, Siva says that if a widower marries again, he will have neither happiness, wealth or progeny in this world.
Ravana replies that if a man without issue marries again, then he is not at fault. But, if he has a child (from a former marriage), he should not marry again.
Siva says : O Ravana! A person who keeps this discourse in mind, he will find happiness, both in this world and in the other world. And, he will carry out his duties to God with a selfless spirit and a happy frame of mind.
Ravana Samhita, has much more and few chapers dedicated to Astrology.
Ravana also invented the Ayurvedic method Arka Sastra.
Apart from that, upon his queen Mandorari’s request, he also wrote Kumara Tantra and Oddisa Tantra etc.
Kumara Tantra is a book with treatments for infant diseases.
In one of his writing, he writes “Eating beef cause to infect ninety eight new diseases to human beings.”