Raavan actually had ten heads

What do the 10 heads of Ravana mean?

Ravana, one of the most powerful beings to ever roam the earth, is also known as the supreme antihero in Ramayana. He was the king of Rakshasas and is represented with 10 heads and 20 arms, where he is named (10 faces) or (10 heads). He was born to Sage Vishravan and Asura mother Kaikashi.

Ravana's 10 heads symbolize the 6 Shastras and 4 Vedas and make him a great scholar and the most intelligent person of his time. He was a master of 64 kinds of knowledge and all weapon arts. Ravana is a highly learned Brahmin and owes over a dozen texts, of which Arkaprakasha, Kumaratantra, Indrajala, Prakrata Kamadhenu, Prakrata Lankeshvara, Ravana Samhita, Rigveda Bhashya, Ravanabheta, Krishna Yajur Veda, etc. are some of the most famous. He is known to have compiled Sama Veda with the relevant musical varas (notes) and his Shiva Tandava Stotra is still the most popular hymn ever sung in praise of Lord Shiva. His ten heads thus stood for this diversity of his genius.

Another negative interpretation of Ravana's 10 heads is a person's 10 emotions or senses:

  • Kaam (lust)

  • Krodha (anger)

  • Moha (deception)

  • Lobha (greed)

  • Mada (pride)

  • Maatsarya (envy)

  • Manas (the spirit)

  • Buddhi (intellect)

  • Chitta (becomes)

  • Ahamkara (ego)

Hindu traditions emphasize the importance of controlling one's senses and projecting only the intellect alone, which is considered to be paramount over others. The use of other emotions is considered detrimental to the growth of a soul. The great King Mahabali advised Ravana to avoid these nine feelings and to keep only the intellect, for which Ravana justifies that having all these facets is equally important and makes him a complete man.

The head controls our destiny and the ten 10 heads of Ravana controlled its actions that ultimately led to its destruction. The King of Lanka became a slave to his senses and since he could not control his desires, not only did he destroy himself and his clan, but the whole of Lanka was also put in ashes. Having all this knowledge and not being able to use one's powers was one of Ravana's greatest regrets as he lay dying on his deathbed.