10/09/2008

2 Himalayan Ravana Demon masks from Rajbansi people. Nepalese demon mask, nepalese demon masque,nepalese maske. ETHNOFLORENCE COLLECTION.

ETHNOFLORENCE

2008

VINTAGE EDITION

Interesting, complete and rare Himalayan Ravana Demon mask. Indian or Nepalese  Terai.

 

 

 

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Imposing the  frontal view of this demon  mask with "10 heads".

 

 

For a comparation with the Newary people Demon mask style see on http://ethnoflorence.skynetblogs.be/post/6214510/newari-c... .

For a comparation with another Hindu denon mask of the same region see on: http://ethnoflorence.skynetblogs.be/post/5936779/himalaya... .

 

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Frontal view detail.

 

 

 

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Frontal view side A.

 

 

 

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 Frontal view side B.

 

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Central face detail view.

 

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Detail.

 

 

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The style of the chin, not balanced with the prospetic axe of the face,  its really similar whit the same detail of an handle mask of King or Hero from Himachal Pradesh.

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See more on : http://ethnoflorence.skynetblogs.be/post/5887534/himachal... .

 

 

The verticality that spirit both the masks is obvious.

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Side A face 1. The style of the eyes and the patina  of this and follow  group of demon heads is similar with the style of a Kali mask of Ethnoflorence Collection edited on http://ethnoflorence.skynetblogs.be/post/6194834/ancient-....

 

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For a stylistic comparation se more on http://ethnoflorence.skynetblogs.be/post/6194834/ancient-...

 

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Side A face 2.

 

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Side A face 3.

 

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Side A face 4.

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Side B face 1.

 

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Side B face 2.

 

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Side B face 3.

 

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Side B face 4.

 

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Side B face 5.

 

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Central back side view.

 

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Back side detail view.

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Back side B view detail.

 

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Back side B view detail.

 

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Back side B view detail.

 

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Back side A view detail.

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Back side A view detail.

 

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Ravana mask n2.

 

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Frontal view crown detail.

Among the Ethnoflorence collection of   himalayan crowned  mask I suggest a visit to an understanding black kali crying mask, something of really unique and  similar to a Fang reliquary, see more on http://ethnoflorence.skynetblogs.be/post/5844563/himalaya... .

 Complitely different the style of a crowned male  mask of King or Hero from Himachal Pradesh, see more on http://ethnoflorence.skynetblogs.be/post/5887534/himachal... .

For a more classic view of the Kali masks iconography see the comparation of three items on http://ethnoflorence.skynetblogs.be/post/5977909/differen... .

 

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3/4 view of the same detail.

 

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Frontal view detail.

 

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Below frontal view.

 

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Side A view.

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Side A view detail.

 

 

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Side A detail view.

 

 

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Side B view.

 

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Side B detail view.

 

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Side B detail view.

 

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Back side view.

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Back side view detail.

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Back side view detail.

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Below back side view.

 


GetAttachment2

Ravana mask at American Museum of Natural History, New York http://www.amnh.org/home/  (photo Ethnoflorence, Ethnoflorence Archive)

GetAttachment3

Ravana mask at American Museum of Natural History, New York http://www.amnh.org/home/ (photo Ethnoflorence, Ethnoflorence Archive)

 

From Wikipedia:

 

 

Ravana, also transliterated as Raavana, Ravan or Raavan, (Devanagari: रावण Rāvaṇa;Kannada: ರಾವಣ Raavana;Tamil: இராவணன் Raavanan; Khmer: Krong Reap; Malay: Rawana; Lao: Hapkhanasouane; Thai: ทศกัณฐ์ Thotsakan, lit. the person with ten necks;Sinhala: රාවණා) was a mythical king of rakshasas (demons), with great supernatural power, who is said to have ruled Lanka about 6000 years ago.

He plays a major role in Hindu mythology, especially in the Ramayana, where he is mainly depicted negatively as a brute, and most infamously as having kidnapped Rama's wife Sita and being killed by her husband.

This depiction is, however, open to other interpretations. Ravana is also mentioned as a great scholar, a capable ruler and a devoted follower of Shiva, and he has his apologists and staunch devotees within the Hindu traditions. The actual meaning of "10 headed" shows the positive side of Raavana: he possesses very thorough knowledge in 4 vedas, and 6 upanishadas, which made him as powerful as 10 scholars.

Ravana is also said to have authored Ravana Sanhita, a powerful book on the Hindu astrology, also known as Kaali Kitab. Ravana possessed a thorough knowledge of Ayurveda and political science. He is said to have possessed the nectar of immortality, which was stored under His navel, thanks to a celestial boon by Brahma

 

Ravana was born to his father Brahmin sage known as Vishrava and his wifemother , the daitya princess Kaikesi. He was born in the Devagana gotra, as his grandfather, sage Pulastya, was the one of the six human sons of Brahma. Kaikesi's father, Sumali (or Sumalaya), king of the Daityas, wished her to marry the most powerful being in the mortal world, so as to produce an exceptional heir. He rejected the kings of the world, as they were less powerful than him. Kaikesi searched among the sages, and finally chose Vishrava, the father of Kubera. Ravana was thus partly Daitya and partly Brahmin.

His brothers were Vibhishana and Kumbhakarna. Through his mother, he was related to the daityas Maricha and Subahu. Kaikesi also produced a daughter, Meenakshi ("girl with fish like eyes"), although later she was dubbed the infamous Shoorpanakha "winnow-like nails".

His father Vishrava noted that while Ravana was aggressive and arrogant, he was also an exemplary scholar. Under Vishrava's tutelage, Ravana mastered the Vedas and the holy books and also the arts and ways of Kshatriyas (warriors). Ravana was also an excellent veena player and the sign of his flag had a picture of veena on it. Sumali, his grandfather, worked hard in secret to ensure that he retained the ethics of the Daityas.

The Ramayana tells the Ravana had close connections with region of the Yadus, which included Gujarat, parts of Maharashtra and Rajasthan up to Mathura south of Delhi. Ravana is believed to be the related to Lavanasura also regarded as a Rakshasa, of Madhupura (Mathura) in the region of the Surasenas, who was conquered & killed by Shatrughana, youngest brother of Rama.

After worshipping a Shiva Linga on the banks of the Narmada, in the more central Yadu region, Ravana was captured and held under the control of King Kartavirya Arjuna, one of the greatest Yadu kings. It is very clear from the references in the Ramayana, That Ravana was no commoner among the Humans or Asuras, a great chanter of the Sama Veda.

It is mentioned in the One of the Chapters of the Srimada Bhagvata, that Sita was actually his Daughter. During one of the Ceremonial Yagna By Lord Shiva. Ravana was given the Boon Water,which he was told to give to Mandodari, While on way back to his Kingdom, Both the Husband & wife slept in a Lonely Forest. During the Night, Ravana felt Thirsty. So he drank that Water & was Impregnated, While on the way back next day, He coughed ferociously & Seeta is said to have landed in Janakpur, The Kingdom of King Janaka, Who while Ploughing in ceremony after performing the Yagan for the Rains in his Drought Hit Kingdom, struck a metal Veassel with the lowest Blade of the Plough Calles Seet, This is How Seeta's Name Originated.

 Tapas to Brahma

Following his initial training, Ravana performed an intense penance to Brahma (the creator god), lasting several years. Pleased with his austerity, Brahma offered him a boon. Ravana asked for immortality, which Brahma refused to give, but gave him the celestial Nectar of immortality. The nectar of immortality, which was stored under his navel, according to which he could never be Vanquished till the Nectar was dried out.

Ravana then asked for absolute invulnerability and supremacy before gods and heavenly spirits, other demons, serpents, and wild beasts. Contemptuous of mortal men, he did not ask for protection from these. Brahma granted him these boons, and additionally great strength by way of knowledge of divine weapons and sorcery.

 King of Lanka

 

He plays a major role in Hindu mythology, especially in the Ramayana, where he is mainly depicted negatively as a brute, and most infamously as having kidnapped Rama's wife Sita and being killed by her husband.

This depiction is, however, open to other interpretations. Ravana is also mentioned as a great scholar, a capable ruler and a devoted follower of Shiva, and he has his apologists and staunch devotees within the Hindu traditions. The actual meaning of "10 headed" shows the positive side of Raavana: he possesses very thorough knowledge in 4 vedas, and 6 upanishadas, which made him as powerful as 10 scholars.

Ravana is also said to have authored Ravana Sanhita, a powerful book on the Hindu astrology, also known as Kaali Kitab. Ravana possessed a thorough knowledge of Ayurveda and political science. He is said to have possessed the nectar of immortality, which was stored under His navel, thanks to a celestial boon by Brahma.

After winning these boons, Ravana sought out his grandfather, Sumali, and assumed leadership over his army. He then set his sights on capturing the island city of Lanka.

Lanka was an idyllic city, created by the celestial architect Vishwakarma for Kubera, the treasurer of the gods. Kubera had generously shared all that he owned with Ravana and the latter's siblings, who were Kubera's half-brothers and half-sister through his stepmother Kaikesi. However, Ravana demanded Lanka wholly from him, threatening to take it by force. Vishrava, their father, advised Kubera to give it up to him, as Ravana was now undefeatable.

Although Ravana usurped Lanka, he was nevertheless regarded as a benevolent and effective ruler. Lanka flourished under his rule, to the extent that it is said the poorest of houses had vessels of gold to eat and drink off, and hunger was unknown in the kingdom.

 Devotee of god Shiva

 

Following his conquest of Lanka, Ravana encountered Shiva at his abode in Kailash. Here Ravana attempted to uproot and move the mountain on a whim. Shiva, annoyed by Ravana's arrogance, pressed his littlest Finger on Kailash, pinning him firmly and painfully under it. His ganas informed Ravana of whom he had crossed, upon which Ravana became penitent. He composed and sang songs praising Shiva, and is said to have done so for years until Shiva released him from his bondage.

Pleased with his resilience and devotion, Shiva gave to him the divine sword Chandrahas ("Moon-blade"). It was during this incident that he acquired the name 'Ravana', meaning "(He) Of the terrifying roar", given to him by Shiva - the earth is said to have quaked at Ravana's cry of pain when the mountain was pinned on him. Ravana in turn became a lifelong devotee of Lord Shiva and is said to have composed the hymn known as Shiva Tandava Stotra.

After Ravana had been give the Celestial juice of Immortality by Brahma, he went on to please Shiva. He cut his head & put it as sacrifice for pleasing Shiva, but Shiva replaced his head with a new one. This was repeated Nine times, on which Shiva was happy & pleased with Ravana's resilience & devotion. Thus he also got name Dassa-sheesha.

 Emperor of the Three Worlds

 

His abilities now truly awe-inspiring, Ravana proceeded on a series of campaigns, conquering humans, celestials and other demons. Conquering the netherworld completely, he left his son Ahiravana as king. He became supreme overlord of all asuras in the three worlds, making an alliance with the Nivatakavachasand Kalakeyas, two clans he was unable to subdue. Conquering several kingdoms of the human world, he performed the suitable sacrifices and was crowned Emperor.

Kubera at one point chastised Ravana for his cruelty and greed, greatly angering him. Proceeding to the heavens, Ravana fought and defeated the devas, singling out his brother for particular humiliation. By force he gained command over the gods, celestials, and the serpent races. At the time of the Ramayana, set several hundred years later, Ravana is shown as dominating all human and divine races - so much so that he can command the Sun's rising and setting.

Ravana was known for his virility and his aggressive conquests of women. Ravana had several wives, foremost of whom was Mandodari - daughter of Mayasura and an apsara named Hema.

Mandodari was renowned for her wisdom and grace as well as beauty and chastity. She is often compared to Sita, one of the most beautiful woman described in Indian spiritualism.

In addition to his wives, Ravana maintained a harem of incredible size, populated with women whom he captured in his many conquests, many of them accepted and lived happily in his harem for his great manhood, power, and knowledge of different subjects. Ravana was known force himself upon any woman who rejected his advances. Two significant encounters occurred that would shape the course of the Ramayana.

The first was the encounter with the sage-woman Vedavati. Vedavati had been performing penance with the intention of winning Lord Vishnu as her husband. Ravana met her at her hermitage, her beauty enhanced by the austerities she had performed. She, however, rejected his advances. Ravana molested her, up which she stated that she would be the cause of his fall. Vedavati is said to have been reborn as Sita, causing Ravana's death and winning Vishnu (as Rama) as her husband.

The second was his encounter with the apsara Rambha, upon whom he forced himself. Rambha was betrothed to Kubera's son, but her plea that she was like a daughter to him did not deter Ravana. Angered at this, Kubera's son cursed Ravana, stating that his ten heads would fall off if he forced himself upon any woman thereafter. This curse is said to have protected Sita's chastity while she was Ravana's captive for nearly a year.

 Depiction in other Scriptures, as Vishnu's cursed doorkeeper

 

In the Bhagavata Purana, Ravana and his brother, Kumbakarna were said to be reincarnations of Jaya and Vijaya, gatekeepers at Vaikuntha, the abode of Vishnu and were cursed to be born in Earth for their insolence.

These gatekeepers refused entry to the Sanatha Kumara monks, who, because of their powers and austerity appeared as young children. For their insolence, the monks cursed them to be expelled from Vaikunta and to be born on Earth.

God Vishnu agreed that they should be punished, but agreed to mitigate their curse. He asked them whether they wanted seven births as devotees of Vishnu or three births as enemies of the Lord. Since they wanted to return as soon as possible, they agreed to be born in three births as evil-doers. As according to the Vishnu Puarana, once Narada wanted to get the Shape & form of Lord Vishnu, so that he could marry a Princess on whom he had developed infatuation (although it was a Vishnu's mesmerisation. On desperate request of Narada, Lord Vishnu actually made him look like a monkey. Narada straightaway went to the Swayamvara of that Princess. The princess is said to have passed Him three times, when he didn't still realise why he was rejected(as he believed that he looked Like Lord Vishnu). Other Princesses present there made fun out of his Appearance & told him to just have a look at himself before looking at the Princess. He went to a nearby fountain & looked in the water. He was furious to find that, he infact looked like a monkey. Lord Vishnu was also present there. Narada cursed him saying that in 'Treta Yuga his beloved wife will get kidnapped by a Demon. He will be compelled to seek help from the monkeys. The two Door Keepers of Lord Vishnu, Jai & Vijay, were also present there laughed uncontrollably at Narada's plight.Enraged he hurled another curse at them as, hat they should live on Earth as Demons at that time. Just then when the princess put the Swayamvara Garland on Vishnu's neck and she came to her real incarnation as Goddess Lakshmi. On this Narada realised his mistake and asked for apology from Lord Vishnu. Upon which Vishnu said that, it was bound to happen. Jai & Vijay pleaded to Lord Narada to forgive them. But a curse could never be taken back, so he limited the Curse to Three Lives. Lord Vishnu came to their rescue & said that he would each time he bring them Mokhsha by Killing them & that they would be back in his service after that.

In the first birth,in kritaYuga Jaya and Vijaya were born as Hiranyakashipu and Hiranyaksha. Vishnu incarnated as Varaha and Narasimha and killed them both. In Treta Yuga they were born as Ravana and Kumbhakarna and were killed by Rama. Then in Yuga. In their final birth, they were born as Shishupala and Dantavakra, and killed by Sri Krishna. After the end of three births, they returned to Vaikunta.

 Ravana's family

 

This section deals with many members of Ravana's family. Since they are hardly mentioned outside the Ramayana, not much can be said about them. They are presented here as they are in the Ramayana, which is viewed by some as being only the point of view of Rama devotees, but is the most complete account of the story that is known.

Ravana was married to Mandodari, the daughter of the celestial architect Maya. He had seven sons from his three wives:

  1. Indrajit
  2. Prahasta
  3. Atikaya
  4. Akshayakumara
  5. Devantaka
  6. Narantaka
  7. Trishira

Ravana's paternal grandfather was Pulastya, son of Brahma. Ravana's maternal grandfather was Malyavan, who was against the war with Rama, and his maternal grandmother was Tataki. Ravana also had a maternal uncle, Maricha.

Ravana had six brothers and two sisters:

  1. Kubera - the King of North direction and the Guardian of Heavenly Wealth. He was an older half-brother of Ravana: they were born to the same father by different mothers.
  2. Vibhishana - A great follower of Sri Rama and one of the most important characters in the Ramayana. As a minister and brother of Ravana, he spoke the Truth without fear and advised Ravana to return Kidnapped Sita and uphold Dharma. Ravana not only rejected this sane advice, but also banished him from his kingdom. Vibhishana sought protection from Sri Rama, which was granted without hesitation. He is known as a great devotee of Sri Rama.
  3. Kumbhakarna - One of the most jovial demons in Hindu mythology. When offered a boon by Brahma, he was tricked into asking for unending sleep! A horrified Ravana, out of brotherly love, persuaded Brahma to amend the boon. Brahma mitigated the power of the boon by making Kumbhakarna sleep for six months and being awake for rest six months of a year (in some versions, he is awake for one day out of the year). During the war with Sri Rama, Kumbhakarna was awakened from his sleep. He tried to persuade Ravana to follow Dharmic path and return Sita; seek mercy of Sri Rama. But he too failed to mend the ways of Ravana. However, he fought on the side of Ravana and was killed in the battlefield. Before dying he met Vibhishana and blessed him for following path of righteousness.
  4. Khara - King of Janasthan. He protected the northern kingdom of Lanka in the mainland and his kingdom bordered with the KosalaKingdom, the kingdom of Rama. He was well-known for his superior skills in warfare.
  5. Dushana - Viceroy of Janasthan.
  6. Mahiravan - King of the Underworld ruled by the rakshasas by Ravana and Demon King Maya.
  7. Kumbhini - sister of Ravana and the wife of the demon Madhu, King of Mathura, she was the mother of Lavanasura. She was renowned for her beauty and later retired to the sea for penance.
  8. Surpanakha - the evil sister of Ravana. She was the ultimate root of the kidnapping of Sita Devi. She was the one who instigated her brothers to wage a war against Rama. 
  9.  Ravana Temples

Despite Valmiki's portrayal of Ravana  as a villain, there are several temples where he is worshipped. Ravana is considered most revered devotee of Lord Shiva. The images of Ravana are seen associated with lord Shiva at some places.

There is a huge Shivalinga in Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh, supposedly installed by Ravana himself, with a statue of Ravana near by. Both Shivalinga and Ravana are worshiped by the fishermen community there.

In Sri Lanka, a thousand years ago, King Walagamba is said to have constructed cave temples for Ravana in the Ella Valley.

Thousands of Kanyakubja Brahmins of the village Ravangram of Netaran, in the Vidisha District of Madhya Pradesh, perform daily puja (worship) in the Ravan temple and offer naivedyam / bhog (a ritual of sacrifice to the Gods. Centuries ago King Shiv Shankar built a Ravana temple at Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. The Ravana temple is opened once in a year, on Dashehra Day, to perform puja for the welfare of Ravana.

A Jain temple in Alvar, Rajasthan is called the Ravan Parsvanath Temple. The legend says that Ravana used to worship Parsvanath daily. While Ravana was on tour to Alvar he realized that he forgot to bring the image of Parsvanath. Mandodari, Ravana's wife, is said to have made an image of Parsvanath immediately. And hence the Ravan Parsvanath temple at Alvar.[7]

Ravana is said to have married Princess Mandodari at a place about 32 kilometers away from Jodhpur, which is now called Mandor. There is a mandap (altar or pavilion) where Ravana is said to have married Mandodari, and which the local people call Ravan Jee Ki Chanwari.

At the altar can also be found the images of Saptamatri (Seven Mothers) flanked by Ganesha and Veera Bhadra. The Saptamatri images are said to precede the time of the Pratihara Dynasty (founded in the 6th Century AD) and are in fact reminscent of the images of seven female deities of Harappa - the oldest civilization in India. In the nearby stepwell, a stone bears a script that resembles the Harappan script.

The Dave Brahmins of Mudgal Gotra, Jodhpur/Mandor, said to be Dravida Brahmins who were originally from Gujarat, claim to be the descendants of Ravana. The say that since time immemorial they are performing the shraddh (death anniversary) of Ravana on Dashehra Day every year. They offer pind daan and take a bath after that ritual. They recently erected a Ravan temple in Jodhpur, where daily puja is performed.

There is a theory, that points the southern part of Sri Lanka as the Capitol of Ravana hence the name Ruhuna came to existence. "Ruhuna" may of have derived from the word's Ravana Pura or Rohana Pura.

 Popular Culture

Ravana has been depicted as a cybernetic being possessing great powers in the Virgin Comics series Ramayana 3392 AD. In this series, Ravana is shown to be devoid of any human feeling and only embodies pure evil.

In an animated television film named after the Ramayana, Ravana is a luxury-loving, arrogant emperor who kidnaps Sita (as suggested above) to punish Rama for the mutilation of Shoorpanakha. He is mostly shown as an ordinary man, albeit with pointed ears and the ability to change shape. When he is angry or combating Rama, he assumes the commonly perceived features of multiple heads and (except in the first such scene) twenty arms.

Ashok K. Banker, a novelist who wrote a fantasy series featuring the Ramayan's basic storyline and characters, depicted Ravana as a dar lord capable of projecting himself into inanimate objects, of demonicpossession, and of other feats of magic. Nearly all the legends described above are ascribed to him, but his character undergoes some significant changes throughout the series. He is at first depicted as an archvillain, but evolves gradually into a thing of smaller scale, ultimately to the point of seeming fully human despite his ten heads. When he goes to face Rama for the last time, Ravana is fully aware that he will die in this battle and seems to know the histories of all of his own previous incarnations. He is shot down dramatically and dies with elegance.

Rama has also been depicted in the original(but non-canon) "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" novel, "Resurrecting Ravana" by Ray Garton. In the novel, Gile's old foe Ethan Rayne cons the granddaughter of Benson Lovecraft out of a statue of Ravana, planning to resurrect the God with the aid of the Rakshasa, lesser demons which induce close friends to argue and eventually brutally kill each other.

 

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