Ravana was a learned Brahman and rushed to protect his sister, whereas Rama caused misery to his parents, unfairly defeated Bali, was a football of other people’s opinions, and threw his wife out. Why do we consider Rama as good and Ravana as evil?
To the above doubt raised by a devotee in his Satsang, Sri Sri Ravishankar of Art of Living, giving explanation in his own words…. Let’s read it further…
It appears as if this is the Ramayana of Sri Lanka! (laughter) Every story has two sides. Ramayana from a different angle shows that Ravana was a good person. Lord Rama himself said so. He never said that Ravana was bad. He told Lakshmana that Ravana was a wise scholar and that he should learn the knowledge Ravana has, before he (Lord Rama) went to him.
There is another very beautiful story. When Lord Rama wanted to install the Shivalingam in Rameshwaram to pray to Lord Shiva, he could not do it without his wife and without a Brahman priest. He requested Ravana for help. Ravana himself brought Sita and acted as the priest for the pooja ritual and helped in establishing the Shivalingam. Ravana even blessed Lord Rama with long life when Lord Rama touched his feet after the pooja. Ravana said that he was bound by his duty at that moment as a priest to bless Lord Rama. When one asks for blessings from a priest, he is obligated to grant them.
It is also a tradition that the purohit has to arrange the samagri (ingredients) of the pooja which the yajamana (one for whom the pooja is conducted or organized), and since the consort of Lord Rama was not available for the pooja, he arranged to bring Lord Rama’s wife Sita to him for the pooja. How many of you here have not heard this story?
Sage Agasthya advised Lord Rama that without praying to Lord Shiva he could not win the war. He had to install the idol (Shivalingam) of Lord Shiva at Rameshwaram for this. So Lord Rama made the arrangements for this. Lord Hanuman said that he would bring Shivalingam from Kashi (Varanasi). A purohit was needed before Lord Hanuman returned for the muharat (auspicious time for the pooja). And it was believed that there was no greater devotee and purohit than Ravana at that time.
Have you seen the picture/image of Rameshwaram? In that image, Ravana is present, Vibheeshan (Ravana’s younger brother who moved to Lord Rama’s camp before the war) is also present. The pictures are sold there locally. So, after the prana pratishthan (ritual act of installing the shrine or idol of the deity to be worshipped), when Lord Rama sought the blessing of the purohit, i.e. Ravana, he blessed him with ‘Vijayi Bhava’ (May you be victorious!) After the pooja was over, Lord Hanuman arrived and was upset that though he had brought the Shivalingam from Kashi, the puja was already over. So then Lord Rama, in order to pacify Lord Hanuman, installed the Shivalingam brought by him also. So there are two Shivalingams – One is Rameshwaram and the other is known as Hanumathlingam. This is the story.
So, you should imbibe and take only good virtues from everyone. If you look only for vices then you will find only vices. You will see faults in Lord Rama and even more faults in Lord Krishna. That is why the Jains have kept Lord Krishna’s place in hell. They say that he will not remain there forever. The next time he will be the first Tirthankar. He is such a great Atmagyani (a Self-realized Soul).
Our culture is very unique. One should not be caught in the negativity of cravings and aversions. Overcome them and search for the Truth.