The popular depiction of “Ravana Shaking Mount Kailash” is as shown in Ellora caves has a history which dates back to the Treta Yuga where Ravana defeated his half brother Kubera and assumed control over Pushpak Vimana. Follow along to know why Ravana attempted to lift the Kailash Mountain, and the boons and curses that he received through this journey.
RAVANA DEFEATED KUBERA
The mighty 10 headed Ravana had a half brother Kubera the king of Yakshas and God of wealth. Lanka was owned by Kubera. Ravana had warned Kubera to give up on Lanka as it previously belonged to Rakshasas. Kubera after being advised by his father Vishravasu, gave up Lanka’s possession to Ravana and moved to a place called Alakapuri to the north of Kailash.
Not satisfied with Lanka, Ravana then marched north to Alakapuri. After hitting Kubera on his head, and making unconscious, Ravana assumed his victory and took over Kubera’s Pushpak vimana, looted him and returned.
NANDI’s CURSE TO RAVANA
Ravana rode on the golden Pushpak Vimana on his way back to Lanka. Enroute came the holy Mt Kailash and he was unable to manoeuver over Kailash. In his pride he got extremely furious and impatient. When he forcefully tried to go over the Kailash, Nandi came in and warned Ravana that Kailash was the abode of Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati, and nobody was allowed to disturb them by going over Kailash.
An impatient Ravana then made a mockery of Nandi of being a bull. Which infuriated Nandi and he cursed Ravana that a bunch of Apes will come and destroy his city of Lanka as if they would destroy a fresh banana field.
RAVANA SHAKING MOUNT KAILASH WITH 20 HANDS
Ravana didn’t much care about the curse given by Nandi and went on to simply uproot the Holy Mount Kailash. He used the might of his 10 hands and 20 hands to lift Kailash. When the mountain started to tremble, It was first noticed by Devi Parvati, when she notified Lord Shiva, he already knew Ravana was behind this crooked act. The Lord Shiva pressed the mountain with toe of his leg and trapped Ravana beneath the mountain. This is popularly known as Ravananugraha.
RAVANA PRAYED TO LORD SHIVA
When Ravana got trapped beneath the mountain he screamed and cried with utter pain but all in vain. Lord Shiva trapped Ravana under the mountain for thousands of years. To show his apologies and impress Lord Shiva, Ravana then started to sing various hymns and stotras in Lord Shiva. Ravana composed the whole Shiva Tandava stotram trapped under the Kailash Mountain. Ravana was very skilful in playing the Veena. To impress Lord Shiva he ripped open his stomach and sang the Shiva Tandav Stotram with his intestines used as the strings of Veena.
LORD SHIVA FORGAVE RAVANA
Finally impressed by this Lord Shiva forgave Ravana shaking mount Kailash and brought him out from under the mountain. Then he not only gave his blessings but also gave him an invincible sword. Thus he got the name of Ravana – meaning the one who cried. Ravana was a supreme devotee of Lord Shiva. There were other instances of Ravana praying to Lord Shiva and trying to attain boons. One such boon was the aatma Linga that Ravana took from Lord Shiva which trembled the devas in Swarg. There was another time when Ravana took Devi Parvati with him. As it is popularly known Ravana also received the boon from Lord Brahma when he prayed along with his brothers Kumbhakarna and Vibhishana.