When the demon king Ravana was attacked by Lord Rama and was nearing his death, Rama asked his brother Lakshman to go to him and learn something which no other person except an erudite Brahmin like Ravana could ever teach him.
The story goes that after shooting the fatal arrow on the battlefield of Lanka, Ram told his brother, Lakshman, “Go to Ravana quickly before he dies and request him to share whatever knowledge he can. A brute he may be, but he is also a great scholar”.
At this Ravana said that if you have come to me as a student then you must sit at my feet because teachers must be respected and you want to learn lessons.
Lakshman went to Ravana and this time he stood near his feet. Ravana seeing Lakshman standing near his feet told him secrets that would make anyone’s life successful.
1. Value Time
2. Never Underestimate
He said that he committed the mistake of underestimating humans & monekys; whom he thought were lesser in strength than a daitya or asura. And as a result, he lost the battle and ultimately cost him his life.
This he related to the boon of immortality that he received from Lord Brahma.
3. Never Reveal Your Secrets
Raavan told Laxman that he made a mistake of telling his life’s secret to his real brother Vibhishan, which ultimately backfired. Raavan called this his biggest mistake of life.
4. King’s Lesson
Ravana also told Lakshman about politics and statesmanship:
1- Do not be the enemy of your charioteer, your gatekeeper, your cook and your brother, they can harm you anytime.
2- Do not think you are always a winner, even if you are winning all the time.
3- Always trust the minister, who criticises you.
4-Never think your enemy is small or powerless, like I thought about Hanuman
5- Never think you can outsmart the stars, they will bring you what you are destined to
6- Either love or hate God, but both should be immense and strong.
7–A king who is eager to win glory must suppress greed as soon as it lifts its head.
8–A king must welcome the smallest chance to do good to others, without the slightest procrastination.
Valmiki describes Ravana as the greatest devotee of Shiva. In many folk versions of the epic, such as Ram-kathas and Ram-kiritis, we are informed that Ravana composed the Rudra Stotra in praise of Shiva, the ascetic-God.
He designed the lute known as Rudra-Veena using one of his 10 heads as the lute’s gourd, one of his arms as the beam and his nerves as the strings.
His ten heads were Kama (lust), Krodha (anger), Moha (delusion), Lobha (greed), Mada (pride), Maatsyasya (envy), Manas (mind), Buddhi (intellect), Chitta (will) and Ahamkara (the ego) -all these ten constitute the ten heads.
Ravana is of all the ten qualities. Such is the wisdom of Ravana, no wonder Ram asked Laxman to learn from him.
Ravana said, he had learnt these lessons through bitter experience. Greed arises from attachment to the senses and catering to them. Put them in their proper place; they are windows for knowledge, not channels of contamination.