Sage Vishrava is the son of Pulastya Bramha, one of the ten Prajapathis called Bramha-Manas Putras. He had two wives – Varavarnini and Daitya princess Kaikasi. Kuber, the lord of wealth is Vishrava’s son from Varavarnini and Ravan, Kumbhkarna, Shurpanakha and Vibhishana are his children from Kaikasi.
Born to a Brahmin father and asur mother, Ravan was half Brahmin and half rakshas.
Ravan usurped the golden kingdowm of Lanka, built by Mayasur, from his step brother Kuber and became the king of Lanka. He also took over the golden aircraft, Pushpaka Viman. It was using this he kidnapped Sita.
He was an outstanding warrior, mastered the Vedas, and was an expert in statecraft, so much so that Ram instructed Lakshman to learn the art of statecraft and diplomacy from the dying king.
Ravan turned a devotee of Lord Shiva after Shiva crushed Ravan’s forearms while he tried to dislodge Mount Kailash to get Shiva’s attention. Ravan composed the Shiv Tandava Stotra to please the lord and release his arms. The demon king whose birth name was Dashanana, was named Ravan which meant “(He) Of the terrifying roar” by Shiva. Shiva also gifted Ravan a weapon – Chandrahas – with a warning that if used for unjust causes, it would return to him.
Ravan got a boon from Lord Brahma after a thousand year penance that his life would be concentrated at his navel and that no god, demon, kinnar or gandharv could ever kill him. Out of arrogance, the demon King did not seek protection from human beings.
Ravan conquered the three worlds defeating all gods, celestials and serpent races. He made alliance with the only two clans he was unable to defeat – Nivatakavachas and Kalakeyas.
Ravan’s sister Shurpanakha is said to be the main cause of the war between him and Ravan. Shurpanakha was rejected by Lakshman when she proposed him and he even cut her nose. It was after this she incited Ravan to kidnap Sita describing her beauty, finally leading to the war.
Vibhishan, youngest brother of Ravan was a Ram devotee. It was he who told Ram he could kill Ravan only by striking an arrow at his navel. Ram struck an arrow at Ravan’s navel, killing him.
Source: India Today