Desire 6: Ravana’s unfulfilled desire
During the Treta-yuga, there was a great sage who engaged himself the performance of a fire sacrifice. By the potency of his chanting, the goddess of fortune appeared from the fire. Because she appeared from the chanting of Vedic mantras, he gave her the name Vedavati. She had exquisite beauty and exhibited oceans of good qualities. All the kings and princes across the Universe desired to have her as their Queen. But she had no desire for any of the mortals. Her only desire was to get Lord Visnu as her husband. Her father understood the mind of his daughter. He also understood that it is not easy to get the Lord. Great sages meditate for thousands of years, and still they cannot get a dust of His Lotus feet. So it would not be an easy task for his daughter. He encouraged her to go to the forest and perform severe meditation in order to attract the favour of Lord Visnu. For many years Vedavati remain in the forest, tolerating all the difficulties and obstacles.
One day the King of Lanka was flying over the Himalayan mountain range with a few of his close allies. As he flew, he noted an emanation of beauty, coming from a seclude area. Ravana told his demoniac associates to remain in the sky as he instructed Pushkara to descend to the woman ascetic. Women were not frequently seen in this deep meditative posture. Because of Vedavati’s personal sacrifice, the place around her was peaceful and tranquil. She sat with legs crossed while her lips slowly moved as she chanted the sacred symbol OM.
Ravana could see that she was all alone and within the demon’s mind, lusty desires manifested. He pondered who this youthful girl was. Such a girl should not be sitting and meditating on his enemy but rather should be living in his big palace as a queen of Lanka. He looked around to see if she was with anyone. Seeing no one around, he assumed gently human form and humbly approached her and asked who she was.
Hearing the gently voice of the demon, Vedavati opened her black lotus eyes. Seeing Ravana standing nearby, she invited him as guest into her hermitage. With a soft spoken voice she replied to Ravana inquires.
She was the daughter of a great sage Kushadwaj. She was the incarnation of the holy Vedas and she desired that she become the wife of Lord Visnu. Therefore she sat down alone meditating on her Lord.
Hearing Lord Visnu’s name evoked anger in Ravana’s heart. He loudly spoke with a voice of thunder, expressing the emotion of his heart
“O fair maiden”, why waste your time and energy on this Visnu? Who is he? He is a coward that hides in the heart of others. I am Ravana, King of Lanka. Come with me and enjoy the life of Queen.
Hearing these words from the ten-headed demon, Vedavati flared with anger. She rebuked the demon king to get out as her heart was only for Lord Visnu. Ravana enjoyed the activities of a high-spirited woman and desired that she make a residence within his arms. He grabbed her by the beautiful locks of hair. Feeling the strong grip of the demon, Vedavati chanted Vedic mantras cutting her hair, releasing her from his tight grip.
Vedavati could not stand been touch of another man, so she decided to leave her body. Before she entered a ball of fire she produced from within her, she uttered a curse.
The curse was that now she would give up her life but in her next birth she would take birth of a pious lady. In that birth she would be the destruction of Ravana and his entire demon race. After these words she consumed herself in fire. Ravana stood dumbfounded at the mystical sight. He meditated on her words for a while but thought nothing about it as he felt that he was well protected by the words of Lord Brahma, that he would never be killed by any demon or god. He left the area with an unfulfilled desire.