Rama seeks Ravana’s Wisdom


Rama Kills Ravana

At the end of the war in Ramayana, Ravana lies mortally wounded on the battlefield. Rama turns to his brother Lakshmana and says, “While Ravana was a brute he was also a great scholar. Go to him and request him to share whatever knowledge he can.”

The obedient Lakshmana rushes to Ravana’s side and whispers in his ears, “Demon king, all your life you have taken not given. Now the noble Rama gives you an opportunity to mend your ways. Share your vast wisdom. Do not let it die with you. For that you will surely be blessed.”

Ravana responds by simply turning away. An angry Lakshmana goes back to Ram and says: “He is as arrogant as he always was, too proud to share anything.”

Rama looks at his brother and asks him softly, “Where did you stand while asking him for knowledge?”.

“Next to his head so that I hear what he had to say clearly.” said Lakshmana

Rama smiles, walks to where Ravana lies. Lakshmana watches in astonishment as his brother kneels at Ravana’s feet. With palms joined, with extreme humility, Rama says, “Lord of Lanka, you abducted my wife, a terrible crime for which I have been forced to punish you. Now, you are no more my enemy. I see you now as you are known across the world, as the wise son of Rishi Vishrava. I bow to you and request you to share your wisdom with me. Please do that for if you die without doing so, all your wisdom will be lost forever to the world.”

To Lakshmana’s surprise, Ravana opens his eyes and raises his arms to salute Rama, “If only I had more time as your teacher than as your enemy. standing at my feet as a student should, unlike your rude younger brother, you are a worthy recipient of my knowledge. I have very little time so I cannot share much but let me tell you one important lesson I have learnt in my life. Things that are bad for you seduce you easily; you run towards them impatiently. But things that are actually good for you fail to attract you; you shun them creatively, finding powerful excuses to justify your procrastination. That is why I was impatient to abduct Sita but avoided meeting you. This is the wisdom of my life, Rama. My last words, I give it to you.”

With these words, Ravana dies.

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  1. Just to be clear, there is nothing like this in the Adikavi Valmiki Ramayana. Ravana struck by Brahmastra delivered by Rama, dies instantaneously. Vibhishana praises his brother’s scholarship, nobility and positive aspects; and asks Rama’s approval for last rites. Rama says. ” enemity ends with death (meaning, there is no question of not honoring the dead). Please perform uttara kriya to your brother. He is like my brother as well”. I wish the site had given reference for their material.

    • Thanks for the response Sreekrishna Ji. When I initially stumbled upon this story, I wasn’t sure of its validity. However, when I heard the story in one of the discourses by a spiritual leader, I was convinced of its authenticity. Thanks for your input once again. Please give me some time to verify and get back on the exact source references for the benefit of all readers.

      As you must be aware, even though Valmiki Ramayana is the pramana, Ramayana has maximum versions in various Asian languages. Pending reference for this story in Valmiki’s Ramayana, it gives a very valuable message for us to ponder upon and hence worth a read.

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