Posted on: 23 September 2013

Digital Rare Book:
Ravana The Great : King of Lanka
By M.S.Purnalingam Pillai
Published by The Bibliotheca Munnirpallam, Tinnevely District - 1928

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Gouache painting on paper, part of an album of seventy paintings of Indian deities. Ravaṇa with ten heads and twenty arms. In his right hands he carries a bow, sword, pestle, lotus flower and a number of unidentifiable objects, mostly weapons. In his left hands are the brahmastra (a magical weapon, shown here as a multiheaded arrow), a buckler, dagger, pasha, an unidentified object, a kattar (?), chakra (discus) and a bell, ghanta. His ten foreheads are decorated with vibhuti (ash of cow dung) and a red tilaka.

Company School
Trichinopoly Style
1830 (circa)

© Trustees of the British Museum

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It is from such books people have to be protected. This work is baseless, factually inaccurate, one-sided and agenda-driven. Glorifying the 'good' in Ravana need not come at the expense of finding fault with the others. What else can one expect from a Saiva Siddhanthin - other than a book full of blatant lies?

The book presupposes Aryan invasion into Dravidian land -a myth in itself. Second, it tries to make sense of a mythical Ravana by comparing his lineage with the present day castes and tribes found in South India and does a thorough screwup of it.


Ravens was a soul so eager for enlightenment that he requested to live the karma of 10 lives in one...

Ravan was a great Shiva devotee, and a very learned at that.