The Ramayana is one of the two famous epics of ancient India. The great poem is in Sanskrit and was composed by Rishi Valmiki.
Ravana means causing others to cry and weep. He was a famous king of demons or Rakshasa and the ruler of Lanka. Son of Visravas and younger brother of Kubera, the god of wealth, Ravana possessed ten heads and twenty arms but only two legs. His ten heads and twenty hands signified his great strength, might and intellectual power.
He was so powerful that he could stop the son and the moon in their courses. He could churn and measure the oceans and break the mountain tops. He was so arrogant and audacious that he tore off the top of Mount Kailash, the house and residence of Lord Shiva.
Ravana was a Brahmin by caste and grandson of Rishi Pulasya. He was horrifying in appearance with mountain-like body and thunder-like laughter and looked like the god of doom and death.
He acquired his matchless strength through great tapas but knowledgeable and learned person, well-versed in Vedas, arts, black magic, politics and other great skills.
Ravana snatched Lanka and the aerial chariot, Pushpaka from his brother Kubera. He reigned supreme and even the Indra, the god of gods was afraid of him. But, Bali could keep him captive for sometime in spite of his might. Because of a boon from Brahma, Ravana remained invincible and invulnerable to gods and other divine beings.
Vishnu incarnated himself as Rama mainly for the destruction of the wicked Ravana. Ravana’s crimes reached their climax when he abducted Sita, the wife of Rama when she was all alone in Dandkaranya forest. The wicked Ravana appeared in disguise with a begging bowl as a mendicant and abducted the most virtuous Sita.
Finally, Rama dispatched to Ravana to the abode of Yama and re-united with celestial Sita. Rama and Sita returned by aerial chariot, Pushpaka to Ayodhya along with Lakshmana and many other friends. He was crowned king and ruled for a long time, justly, protecting all beings as though they were his children.